Activism

1 August 2022Comment

No 4 in our series about tackling SeaChange, a destructive quango in East Sussex  

Despite the huge sums of money that had been thrown at SeaChange Sussex, most people in Hastings were unaware of its existence.

SeaChange, the private company which had received millions of pounds of public money to ‘regenerate’ Hastings in East Sussex, including building the much-hated Bexhill-Hastings Link Road (see PN 2658), preferred to keep it that way.

I once went to a ‘consultation’ about yet another new road that SeaChange was building across yet another piece…

1 August 2022Feature

Campaigning wisdom from the heyday of CND, one of Bruce Kent's first pieces in PN

1982: Since I have been asked to do so, and not because I have any exclusive wisdom, experience or success in this field, I would like to share a few thoughts on the work of trying to mobilise public opinion for disarmament.

In recent years, public opinion for disarmament has been mobilised on a massive scale. That process has now to continue to the point when public opinion actually forces changes in national policies. To gather in a park is a most impressive act of witness. To…

24 June 2022Resource

A celebration of the ground-breaking right-to-protest decision

On 25 June 2021, the supreme court of the United Kingdom delivered a landmark judgement on the right to protest, ruling that deliberately obstructive protest can be legal.

Dozens of direct action cases have already benefited from the Ziegler judgement, including that of the Colston Four.

The supreme court reached their historic decision when considering the case of four Christian peace activists who had…

15 June 2022Blog

The Faslane Action for Bomb Ban Camp has led to at least four arrests outside RNAD Coulport, the nuclear warhead storage facility in west Scotland

At least four people have been arrested among the many actions this week at the FABB (Faslane Action for Bomb Ban) Camp in Peaton Wood, in western Scotland.

According to the FABB organisers, one of the arrestees was deprived of her heart medication for nine hours by police and threatened with being held overnight without access to her medication.

The FABB Camp is very close to RNAD Coulport in western Scotland, which holds the…

1 June 2022Feature

We hear from the activists behind the landmark legal ruling that deliberately obstructive protest can be legal

Two slogan-covered boxes are bundled out of a van. People lie down on the road next to the boxes. Within seconds, the police are there. So are other campaigners protesting against the DSEI arms fair, which is being set up in the nearby ExCeL Centre. Within minutes, the four people lying in the road – Chris Cole, Henrietta Cullinan, Jo Frew and Nora Ziegler – have been arrested.

This small action, which took place on 5 September 2017, led directly to a ground-breaking legal judgement…

1 June 2022Comment

No 3 in our series about tackling SeaChange, a destructive quango in East Sussex

‘You idiot. You naive, foolish, irresponsible nincompoop. There is really no description of stupidity, no matter how vivid, that is adequate. I quake at the imbecility of it.’

These are the words Tony Blair – not known for self-flagellation – uses in his memoir, A Journey, to describe his decision in 2005 to finally allow the Freedom of Information (FoI) Act to come into force.

When Blair was leader of the opposition, he pledged that if Labour came to power, he would…

1 June 2022Review

PM Press, 2021; 208pp; £16.99 (less for the e-book)  

Rebecca Subar has written a great book. It is not complicated, has lots of stories, and is easy to read. It got better and better as I read through it. I remain inspired. But who is Rebecca?

Rebecca is ‘a transmasculine anti-Zionist able bodied white American Ashkenazi secular Jewish mom.’ She understands both privilege and vulnerability, she knows both being ‘up rank’ and ‘down rank’. This gives her insight and empathy with other vulnerable groups.

Professionally, Rebecca…

1 April 2022Comment

How to hold a destructive quango to account – part two in a series

In 2015, I went with Peace News’ Emily Johns to the Hastings home of John Shaw, director of SeaChange, the ‘not for profit economic development company’ for East Sussex.

SeaChange – a private company – has been given millions of pounds of public money to ‘regenerate’ Hastings.

This ‘regeneration’ has included building the Bexhill-Hastings Link Road in the teeth of fierce local opposition (see PN 2658).

Emily and I had come from the site of SeaChange’s latest…

1 April 2022Review

Goldsmith Press, 2020; 432pp; £32

Having volunteered with a small religious group supporting homeless refugees in Calais and London, I resonated strongly with this book. In particular, it helped me to see, in hindsight, our contribution as part of an extraordinary international mobilisation of volunteers endeavouring to provide refugees and migrants with on-the-ground help.

The book is divided geographically into ‘flashpoints’; places where refugees and migrants gathered to cross borders or found their journey across…

1 February 2022Feature

Some other acquitted activists respond to the historic Colston Four verdict

To mark the Colston Four acquittal, we asked some other campaigners who’d been found ‘not guilty’ in protest cases for their reactions. We’ve put them in chronological order of their earliest not-on-technical-grounds acquittal (some of them have multiple court victories).

Chris Cole:

I was delighted to see the acquittal of the Colston Four for a number of reasons.

Firstly, it kept an evidently lovely bunch of people out of jail.

Secondly, it led to a whole raft of MPs…

1 February 2022Comment

Starting a new series: how a brilliant activist has held a secretive quango to account.  

Nine years ago, I was part of a big campaign to stop the Bexhill-Hastings Link Road, a monstrosity of a road that threatened fragile habitats in the service of ‘opening up’ land for development. We were also promised, of course, that it would reduce congestion on the coast road between the two towns – a promise that would be greeted with a hollow laugh by anyone with the slightest knowledge of road-building and ‘induced demand’ (more roads create more traffic).

It was a hard-fought…

1 December 2021News

Report from Youth & Student CND rep

This October, I went to Catalonia with three other representatives from Youth and Student CND (YSCND) to the International Peace Bureau (IPB) World Peace Congress in Barcelona. We were there to run a workshop, ‘“Protest and Survive”: Youth, Peace and Enduring Time’. It was an intergenerational workshop, designed to provide a space for different generations of the peace movement to learn from each other through the medium of games, discussions and pre-recorded videos.

As well as…

1 October 2021Review

Luath Press, 2021; 224pp; £12.99

For me, the most interesting chapter in Activism for Life was ‘Answering questions from a young activist’, in which Angie Zelter reflects on what makes for effective action and on her support for the direct action tactics used by current movements.

Most of the book, though, is storytelling along with an archive collection. Zelter covers 50 years of nonviolent direct action campaigns – from Greenham Common to the founding of XR Peace.

As she recounts her own experiences…

1 October 2021News

Palestine Action campaigner freed as campaign continues

A Palestine Action (PA) activist was released from Foston Hall prison after a 37-day hunger strike soon after our last issue went to the printers, on 23 July.

Yogi Bear had been remanded to prison on 17 June after refusing to accept extremely restrictive bail conditions following a PA occupation of the Arconic Factory in Birmingham. (See PN 2655.) They were released after the conditions were reduced to simply remaining in one fixed abode, which they were willing to accept.…

28 September 2020Feature

In January, we asked activists and groups around the country what they thought campaigners should be doing – this year and over the next 10 years. These are the responses we received.

Ali Tamlit (pictured right)

I’m interested in questions of: What does care look like? How can we support one another as whole people and communities – rather than seeing each other’s value in ‘productive’ activist times and then disappearing in times of burnout. And also how to balance accountability within this care?

Beyond this, as we go into the 2020s, although many positives will also happen, I think it’s important to acknowledge some trends which are likely to get worse: the…