1 June 2024Feature

The government is trying to intimidate anti-militarists into ending their campaigns

The sudden appearance of a ‘National Security Act 2023’ warning sign outside the Bristol offices of Israeli-owned arms manufacturer Elbit was a reminder to campaigners that as well as expanding public order laws, the government has also introduced sweeping changes to espionage laws that cover places where protests regularly take place.

Although this legislation was presented as necessary to counter hostile threats from foreign intelligence services, Netpol warned in 2022 that new…

1 June 2024News in Brief

The wonderful Nuclear Resister records the following arrests since our last issue, including at three Good Friday actions.

18 March: Two nuclear abolition activists, Rush Rehm and Jim Haber, arrested at Nevada nuclear test site, during the Pacific Life Community annual gathering. 27 March: George Killingsworth, Karen Pettit and Sylver Pondolfino arrested at Creech drone warfare base during the Nevada Desert Experience’s annual Sacred Peace Walk from Las Vegas to the Nevada nuclear test…

1 April 2024Comment

Seven behaviours to help us stay active and effective

To be in shape for the long haul, we have to get our minds and spirits ready, as well as jump into action.

When we’re in bad shape, our power is diminished – we’re less creative, more reactive, and less able to plan strategically. If we intend to stay active and effective in the world, we have a responsibility to tend to our spirits.

Here are seven behaviours we can use right away to strengthen ourselves, so we can keep taking more and more powerful and strategic actions.

1 April 2024Review

House of Anansi Press, 2023; 352pp; £14.99

Progressives need to talk and think much more about insecurity. Indeed, our failure to do so has been a ‘strategic mistake’.

So says author and activist Astra Taylor in this print version of her 2023 CBC Massey Lectures.

We all experience ‘existential insecurity’ as a core part of the human condition. We can all be wounded (physically and psychologically), we are all dependent upon others for our survival, and we will all die.

But, Taylor notes, we are all also ‘ensnared…

1 February 2024News in Brief

In January, activist training group Seeds for Change published the latest edition of their newsletter... five years after the previous one.

They launched three new direct action guides – ‘What is Direct Action’, ‘Action Planning’, and ‘The Impact of Convictions’ – and a new podcast mini-series.

Seeds have new funding to provide free workshops to activists. They urge groups to get in touch.

They also trailed a short film: ‘Prepare to be captivated by our upcoming animated…

1 December 2023Feature

A sneak-peak of a new exhibition at The Barbican

Erica Smith writes: In the book which accompanies Re/Sisters, Anna Feigenbaum defines three categories of eco-feminist: web weavers, tree huggers and water defenders. Feigenbaum suggests that the term ‘tree hugger’ dates back to 1730 when villagers in Bishoi, Kherjarli in northern India sacrificed their lives to save trees being cut down to build a new palace for the maharaja of Jodhpur. 250 years later, in the early 1970s, women from villages in the Garhwal Himalayas, northern…

2 April 2023News

Internationals assist over 40 activists

Following the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan in August 2021, an ad hoc team of internationals began regular Zoom meetings, co-ordinating efforts to assist Afghan activists who, for security reasons, have asked that we not name them or their group.

The inspiring efforts of young Afghans to share resources, seek equality, protect the planet and abolish all war, along with their willingness to host Western visitors, has sadly jeopardised their lives.

Mutually beneficial…

1 February 2023News in Brief

Over 100 people attended US peace activist Medea Benjamin’s 9 January online talk for Peace News, ‘War in Ukraine: making sense of a senseless war’. The event was ably chaired by Tom Unterrainer, chair of CND (who will also be chairing our 31 January talk).

A review of Medea’s book, War in Ukraine, can be found on p22.

The video of Medea’s opening remarks is now on YouTube:

1 February 2023News

Celebration of campaigns and community initiatives 'influenced by anarchist principles' to take place on 15 February

On 15 February, British anarchists will mark their first ‘Aggravated Activist Day’, after the event was called by participants in a workshop at the Anarchist Bookfair in London last September.

The workshop was run by Netpol, the Network for Police Monitoring, which pointed out in March 2021 that the police had stopped using the label ‘domestic extremist’, and replaced it with ‘aggravated activist’.

Anarchists are classified by the police as taking part in ‘high-level aggravated…

1 December 2022Feature

Head-on confrontation is not always the way to win

‘The trouble with you people is that you target ordinary people’s lives!’

The man with the white beard was angry. It was 3.50pm and he’d just showed up to his local branch of Barclays bank, only find it closed ‘due to unforeseen circumstances’.

‘Unforeseen circumstances! That’s you, isn’t it?’ he raged.

Barclays is Europe’s largest financier of fossil fuels, having provided over $166bn to the oil, coal and gas industries since the 2015 Paris Climate Agreement. So, as…

1 October 2022Comment

The final instalment in our series about tackling a destructive quango in East Sussex

SeaChange Sussex is a private not-for-profit company which has received tens of millions of pounds of public money to ‘regenerate’ Hastings in East Sussex. Andrea Needham has been monitoring it through Seachangewatch.

I’ve been plugging away trying to expose SeaChange for many years now. And, finally, it feels as if I’m not on my own.

For years, I read minutes of meetings, put in Freedom of Information requests, wrote blogposts, and posted them on my website. I sent out press…

1 October 2022Comment

Our Leeds-based cooperator has an inspiring six months

As the hecticness of summer recedes, the autumnal ‘new projects’ feeling has taken a real hold, despite the monarchical brake being applied. Festival stalls and workshops have generated relationships and ideas to follow up and enquiries to answer, while projects that were on a summer go-slow have risen to the top of the urgent list.

The world seems to be speeding up, and society finding it a little harder each day to hold the panic at bay. Or maybe it’s just adjusting back to life…

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…