Activist History

1 October 2021Feature

Erica Smith reviews a new book from Four Corners

The eighth of Four Corners’ picture-rich ‘Irregulars’ publications celebrates the powerful heritage of banners produced for and at Greenham Common Peace Camp between late summer 1981 and when the camps were finally disbanded in 2000.

Banners made by one of the Peace Camp founders, Thalia Campbell, often with the help of her husband, Ian, her children, friends and others, are well-represented in this book. Thalia was one of the women on the inaugural march from Cardiff to Greenham…

1 October 2021Review

Pluto Press, 2021; 256pp; £16.99

Roads, Runways and Resistance is infused with a sense of urgency in terms of the climate crisis.

Underpinned by 50 original interviews with activists, policymakers and lobbyists, Steve Melia surveys key campaigns against government transport policy over the past 30 years. These range from the anti-roads protests of the ’90s to the fight against airport expansion and the Extinction Rebellion (XR) mass actions of 2019. His review includes the fuel protests of 2000, which nearly…

1 October 2021Feature

An extract from a speech at the recent event 'Greenham 40th: Feminist Peace - opposing violence, militarism and war'

‘Greenham 40th: Feminist Peace – opposing violence, militarism and war’ was one of the many events organised by Greenham Women Everywhere this autumn to mark the 40th anniversary of the beginning of the Greenham Common Women’s Peace Camp in 1981. These events included an online series of ‘Weaving the Web/inar’ meetings organised by Greenham campaigners.

The ‘feminist peace’ webinar included local and international speakers involved in Women in Black (WiB) in conversation about the…

8 December 2020Comment

Magellans roll back gas price rise 

GOALS: To create dialogue with government and stop the increase of natural gas prices in the region.

SUCCESS IN ACHIEVING SPECIFIC GOALS: 5 points / 6
SURVIVAL: 1 / 1
GROWTH: 2 / 3
TOTAL: 8 / 10

For Chileans living in the southern Patagonia region, natural gas is crucial for heating their homes, most importantly during the frigid winter months.

The Chilean government had been subsidising natural gas up to 85 percent for all people in this region because…

8 December 2020Comment

Pat Gaffney reviews the new biopic of Franz Jägerstätter

It is not often that we see our peace heroes on the big screen. It can be a source of great joy or a complete disaster. So it was with some anxiety that I watched A Hidden Life, written and directed by Terrence Malick, telling the story of Franz Jägerstätter and his wife Franziska (‘Frani’).

The name may be familiar to readers. Franz was an Austrian conscientious objector who refused to serve in Hitler’s army and who was executed in Brandenburg an der Havel in 1943.

28 September 2020Comment

What can Extinction Rebellion learn from the experience of the Committee of 100?

The spectacle of thousands of predominantly young people taking to streets in nonviolent protest against the threat of climate catastrophe is reminiscent of the mass demonstrations and sit-downs of the anti-nuclear Committee of 100 in the 1960s.

Like Extinction Rebellion (XR), the Committee – as indeed the broader anti-nuclear movement – was a response to an existential threat to civilisation, possibly even to human survival.

Like XR, the Committee was committed to using mass…

28 September 2020Review

Granta, 2019; 192pp; £12.99

In the afterword to this, her latest collection of essays, Rebecca Solnit describes her book as ‘in a sense, transcripts of my side of some conversations with the society around me as it undergoes tumultuous changes, with the changemakers winning some remarkable battles against the forces trying to protect the most malevolent parts of the status quo as it crumbles away’. These include both ‘seismic activity in feminism, racial justice, climate action’ (among other movements) and ‘changing…

28 September 2020News

Conference marks 60th anniversary of Cale Rd's Peace House

This year, Peace House – the building on Caledonian Road which is home to Peace News, Housmans Bookshop, War Resisters International, Network for Peace, Campaign Against Climate Change, and many others – is celebrating its 60th anniversary.

To mark the occasion, we are organising a conference on 28 March.

‘Our Power Is Real: A Festival of Grassroots Social Change’ is a one-day event bringing together a wide range of community and grassroots campaign groups.

In…

1 December 2019Review

Matador, 2017; 210pp; £13.99

The sub-title of this book condenses a complex life into a compact haiku.

The author was born in London in 1965 to a Colombian mother and a father with Hungarian heritage. Charlie Kiss is his real name, but when he was born, his birth certificate identified him as female. He lived as a lesbian until his early 30s when he realised that he was transgender. It took until 2007 for him to complete his transition.

The early part of Charlie’s life saw him growing up playing…

1 December 2019Comment

Rubber tappers defend the rainforest

GOALS: Establish extractive reserves. Better marketing and price guarantees for rubber. Better living conditions for rubber tappers. Better marketing policies and working conditions for those who harvest nuts. Industrialisation and marketing of other ignored forest products. Research on plants and resources of the Amazon.

SUCCESS IN ACHIEVING SPECIFIC GOALS: 3 points / 6
SURVIVAL: 1 / 1
GROWTH: 3 / 3

In the 1970s, ranchers from southern Brazil began to…

1 October 2019Feature

A tribute to Donald Rooum

This page is a tribute to our very wonderful cartoonist, the life-long anarchist Donald Rooum, who sadly died as this issue was being prepared.

We will publish an obituary in the next issue.

Donald has been drawing cartoons for PN since 1962. We asked him to produce this graphic retelling for the 50th anniversary of the Challenor case in 2013 (PN2558).…

1 October 2019Review

New Internationalist, 2019; £11.99; 112pp

If you haven’t been living under a rock for the last 10 months, there’s a strong chance you’re aware that this year marks the 200th anniversary of the Peterloo massacre.

On 16 August 1819, an estimated 40–50,000 people assembled peacefully on St Peter’s Field in Manchester to hear the well-known reformer Henry Hunt speak on ‘the most LEGAL and EFFECTUAL means of obtaining a reform in the Common House of Parliament’.

The crowd was attacked, first by the Manchester and…

1 October 2019Review

Zed, 2019; 256pp; £20

This book was first published 25 years ago as Gay Pride to commemorate what was then the 25th anniversary of the Stonewall riots. This edition has lost the word ‘Gay’ (embracing the wider range of contemporary ‘Pride’) and has gained some additional photographs.

Introductory texts by Peter Tatchell and Hilton Als have been added to essays by Allen Ginsberg and Jill Johnston.

In Tatchell’s foreword, he reminds us of the massive strides made in the last 50 years. ‘Back…

1 October 2019Review

Verso, 2019; 624pp; £25

In this book, Cambridge university academic Priyamvada Gopal confronts the now infamous 2014 YouGov poll which found 59 percent of Britons thought the British empire was ‘something to be proud of’.

Resistance to empire was frequent, she notes, with connections formed between critics of imperialism based in the UK and rebels in the colonies.

Furthermore, Gopal argues that a form of ‘reverse tutelage’ took place, as insurgents and the movements they led helped to shape…

1 October 2019Comment

Students force Student Pride to drop BP

Photo: John Hill [CC BY-SA 3.0] via Wikimedia Commons

GOALS: ‘No Pride in BP’ demanded that National Student Pride l immediately drop BP as a sponsor of National Student Pride 2015 events, l commit to not enter into future sponsorship or partnership agreements with fossil fuel companies, and l develop a set of ethical sponsorship guidelines that take into account the environmental and human rights record of companies.

SUCCESS IN ACHIEVING SPECIFIC GOALS: 5 points / 6