PNedit's blog

    31 Jan 2011

    Sareena Rai

    Rai Ko Ris, a punk band from Nepal, toured Europe last autumn. Frontwoman Sareena Rai describes how the anarchist scene surprised her.

    One of the most amazing things that struck me was that 95% of all the shows were organized by people who were just hitting 40 or were beyond it. We were amazed to see such necessary collaboration between ages and sexes. I was sure we were going to be the only oldies (+37) at each show but in fact it is mainly “the oldies” keeping many underground venues and squats going.

    I was totally inspired by that.

    In one city in France I met three women who all played music or sang in at least three different bands, all above 40-years-old. They were politically active, loosely associated…

    31 Jan 2011

    Sareena Rai

    Rai Ko Ris, A punk band from Nepal, toured Europe last autumn. Frontwoman Sareena Rai describes how the anarchist scene surprised her.

    Much of my time in Europe was spent drinking… drinking tons of their best herbal teas and not-so-good chalky hot water. It was not until I got back to Nepal that I thought, maybe that chalky stuff all boiled up and hot probably didn’t help my voice recover one bit.

    Drinking alcohol is big in Europe, I decided. There is no party without a drink. And there is no gig without drink. There are band names about drink; there are band names named after beer, or drinking, or about being drunk, or having a hangover.

    If I listed them that would be my 2000-word article for ‘Pissed…

    31 Jan 2011

    Kelvin Mason

    <p>PN's Wales editor reflects on the UK climate change movement</p>

    Next month the Camp for Climate Action meets to discuss how we organise. Actually, the agenda will be much broader than process. At issue is not just how we do things but what we do. CCA is, of course, not unique in asking this question. Ever since the farce of COP15 in Copenhagen in 2009 environmentalism – radical and reformist – has been virtually rudderless. Observing that ‘the…

    31 Jan 2011

    Jill Gibbon

    Jill Gibbon on the "factory of the future"

     

    As the latest wikileaks show, the royal family is deeply involved in the military-industrial complex. While Prince Andrew acts as a blunderbuss, mouthing patriotism and interfering in anticorruption investigations against BAE Systems, the queen plays a more subtle and perhaps insidious role. On 18th November she ‘launched’ construction work on the Nuclear Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre outside Sheffield. Described as a “factory of the future” it will house research projects by Boeing, BAE Systems, Rolls Royce, and the UK and US military. Parts for drones are…

    30 Jan 2011

    Milan Rai

    <p>A paper submitted to the Movement for the Abolition of War</p>

    Zimbardo suggests that just as the trial of Nazi official Adolf Eichmann demonstrated the ‘banality of evil’, so a survey of known good actions demonstrated the ‘banality of heroism’. He suggests that most people seem to be capable of heroism, which includes a willingness to risk social sacrifices (in terms of ridicule or ostracism or harm to one’s career) as well as physical danger, and long-term, enduring, considered action as well as spontaneous responses to unforeseen events.

    What people committed to the abolition of war need to do, as well as dismantling military policies and…

    30 Jan 2011

    Milan Rai

    <p>A paper submitted to the Movement for the Abolition of War</p>

    This violation of conscience may occur as much in the pacifist society as in the munitions factory or the research laboratory.

    Having said this, different institutions and different social frameworks make different kinds of behaviour more or less likely. In professor Philip Zimbardo’s famous Stanford Prison Experiment, college students were randomly allocated the roles of guard or prisoner in a mock prison. Zimbardo wrote later: ‘We selected only those judged to be emotionally stable, physically healthy, mature, law-abiding citizens.’ The two-week experiment was terminated after six…

    30 Jan 2011

    Milan Rai

    <p>A paper submitted to the Movement for the Abolition of War</p>

    It turns out that it is quite hard to train soldiers to kill.

    Former US army ranger, and later professor of military science at Arkansas State University, lieutenant colonel Dave Grossman has written two books dealing with the psychology of inflicting lethal violence: On Killing – The Psychological Cost of Learning to Kill in War and Society (1995); and (with Loren Christensen) On Combat: The Psychology and Physiology of Deadly Conflict in War and in Peace (2004).

    Grossman started with a startling historical fact. US brigadier general SLA Marshall, a US Army historian during…

    30 Jan 2011

    Milan Rai

    <p>A paper submitted to the Movement for the Abolition of War</p>

    The argument of this paper is that for a long time we in the peace movement have been looking in the wrong places when we’ve been looking for the deepest roots of war. This has led to misdirection in creating strategies for abolishing war.

    The common argument against the effort to get rid of war is that violence is innate in human nature, and that therefore there will always be war.

    I would like to suggest that arguing against this position is the wrong move.

    If we as abolitionists allow ourselves to be trapped arguing about violence-as-part-of-human-nature, it will be…

    24 Jan 2011

    Milan Rai

    <p>Milan Rai reports from the WRI Triennial in India</p>

    One of the most poignant moments of the conference so far was Samarendra Das’s cry to the audience: “We do not want your research! It is not useful to us. We have simple questions, such as: what should the price of bauxite be?”

    The interesting things here are “useful research” and “we – you”. What is that polarity?

    Before talking about that, I should explain about the pricing question.

    Bauxite is often found on mountain tops; it’s the raw material for aluminium. In India, these mountains are for some reason often in tribal areas, and are sacred mountains. The bauxite…

    24 Jan 2011

    Virginia Moffatt

    <p>Virginia Moffatt reflects on having a partner imprisoned</p>

    To all intents and purposes, last Wednesday was a normal day. I dropped my husband, Chris Cole, in Headington and watched him walk away in the darkness to the London bus, as I often do. Then I  headed back home for the usual morning routine of breakfast, sandwich making, and the school run.

    But last Wednesday was different in one respect. For the second time in four years, Chris was returning to Westminster Magistrates to “wilfully refuse” to pay a fine he’d incurred during  an anti-arms trade …

    22 Jan 2011

    Jill Gibbon

    Jill Gibbon draws spooks and arms dealers in B'ham

    This month’s drawings come from a graduate recruitment fair, held at the NEC, Birmingham at the end of October. The impact of the recession was clear – the show barely filled one of the twenty exhibition halls, and it was dominated by defence. Exhibitors included BAE Systems, EADs, Rolls Royce, Selex, the army, air force, GCHQ and M15. In spite of this, defence was curiously absent from the list of careers in the show guide.

    BAE Systems appeared, instead, under almost every other category of job – Engineering, Finance, Human Resources, IT, Logistics, Manufacturing, Purchasing and…

    25 Oct 2010

    Sam McCann , Michael Albert

    <p>Climate change and capitalism: Six points of view</p>

    PN: In your view, can we halt runaway climate change without overthrowing capitalism? If not, why not? Or, if we can, why do you think that is possible?

    MA: In theory, yes – capitalism has a built in drive to accumulate – and a structural incapacity to count effects on the environment into market valuations. So left to its own, with regulation, etc., it is not just incredibly harmful and destructive of human potentials, productive of poverty, and so on – but it also so violates the economy that not only would it be impossible to stop climate…

    25 Oct 2010

    Sam McCann , Ewa Jasiewicz

    <p>Climate change and capitalism: Six points of view</p>

    PN: Can we halt runaway climate change without overthrowing capitalism?

    EJ: It’s interesting that you talk about overthrowing capitalism because I think there’s a commonly used expression—overthrowing or dismantling or smashing—and I think that can sometimes be a little bit inaccurate about the nature of capitalism, which is a social relationship, an economic relationship that we are all participating in and reproducing on a daily basis. So I liked John Holloway’s description of how we need to stop the reproduction of capitalism, and I think that…

    25 Oct 2010

    Sam McCann , Gabriel Carlyle

    <p>Climate change and capitalism: Six points of view</p>

    PN: In your view, can we halt runaway climate change without overthrowing capitalism?

    GC: I hope so – because if we can’t then it looks like we’re well and truly stuffed.

    PN: Why?

    GC: I think the burden of proof is on those who say that we can’t – not least because if they’re right then this severely limits the range of strategies that it’s sensible to pursue.

    Some activists simply assert that it’s impossible, as if it’s a self-evident truth.

    Too often the train of thought appears to be…

    25 Oct 2010

    Sam McCann , Cornerstone Cath

    <p>Climate change and capitalism: Six points of view</p>

    PN: How do you see the relationship between capitalism and climate change?

    CC: I think they’re inherently linked because capitalism can only exist with continual growth based on turning natural resources, i.e. bits of planet, into money. And the way it does that is by chopping it up, excavating it, turning it into product, burning it, disposing of it. Basically whatever it takes, we’ll degrade, and that leads to climate change.

    PN: Can we stop runaway climate change without overthrowing capitalism or at least altering the way our…