Anti-militarism

1 October 2021News

Fortnight of protest against UK arms fair

Before the start of the DSEI arms fair in East London on 14 September, there were several arrests as many protesters attempted to blockade the two service roads used by vehicles carrying military hardware into the ExCeL Centre.

A great variety of groups organised a great variety of actions against DSEI this year, though numbers overall were smaller than in recent times.

This year, the mostly autonomous protests were co-ordinated by a coalition called ‘Stop the Arms Fair’ (STAF…

1 October 2021News

Rebecca Elson-Watkins is a Londoner, an activist and a writer. She's probably on some sort of watchlist as a rabble-rousing peacenik.

As part of the two weeks of protest against the Defence and Security Equipment International (DSEI) arms fair held in London’s ExCeL Centre, Stop the Arms Fair organised a Festival of Resistance on 11 September. They were joined by activists from Extinction Rebellion (XR), Campaign Against the Arms Trade (CAAT), Trident Ploughshares and others – there were even jointly-produced flyers available in the information tent (along with copies of PN). The XR activists I talked to all spoke…

1 December 2019News

White poppy wreath laid at Cenotaph

Photo: Veterans for Peace UK

On 10 November, Veterans for Peace UK marked Remembrance Sunday by walking to the Cenotaph in Whitehall, in central London, behind a banner saying ‘Never Again’. James Florey read a poem: ‘Suicide in the Trenches’. Jim Radford sang ‘1916’.

Ben Griffin, the outgoing national co-ordinator of VfP UK, laid a wreath of white poppies saying ‘Never Again’ (pictured).

1 April 2019Comment

'Is it an anarchist utopia? Of course not, don't be silly.'

In the last issue, I declared my intention to achieve the impossible and set up a commune – a living, working, playing, caring community of about 100 people. I don’t really believe it’s possible, but I am going to talk about it a lot and am full of good intentions to give it a go, just as soon as I have some time, maybe after the conference-organising is over, maybe once I’m in the swing of my new part-time job, maybe once we’ve dealt with the moths, updated the book, organised the house…

1 June 2018Feature

A ForcesWatch interview with poet and campaigner Ambrose Musiyiwa

A soldier gives a machine gun demonstration to a child in Leicester city centre. PHOTO: Ambrose Musiyiwa/Civic Leicester


ForcesWatch: Hi Ambrose! Thank you for putting on such a fantastic event in Leicester at the end of last year as part of the Leicester Human Rights Arts and Film Festival, ‘This is Belonging: Challenging militarism at home and abroad’. We had a lively and informed discussion, and it was great to be able to take part. Could you tell us a bit about how…

1 December 2017News in Brief

The ministry of defence (MoD) was facing ‘brutal’ cuts in a new strategic review, a Tory rebellion and ministerial resignations as PN went to press.

A £36bn ‘black hole’ in the defence budget had already been predicted back in 2010. Then Brexit devalued sterling by 11 percent against the dollar. MoD equipment purchases may cost £5bn more over the next decade as a result.

The government had ordered 138 US F-35 fighter jets. Now it is only confirming the first 48…

1 December 2017News

Anti-war veterans remember all war deaths

Members of Veterans for Peace UK line up in Whitehall, London, on 12 November for a Remembrance Day ceremony at the Cenotaph. VfP UK lays a wreath of white poppies and remembers all those killed in war, including civilians and enemy soldiers. The banner at the front says: ‘Never Again’. Photo: Veterans for Peace UK

1 December 2017Comment

Penny Stone reflects on this year's White Poppy gathering in Edinburgh

As I write, it is Remembrance weekend; a difficult one for many of us. For anyone who has lost family and friends to war, whether soldiers or civilians, it is important to have space to remember those people as well as the circumstances of their loss. Unfortunately, the pomp and circumstance surrounding our annual remembrance ceremonies based around the ‘victory’ of the First World War can be troubling for peace activists such as myself.

Most years I am involved with alternative…

1 October 2017Comment

How the armed forces and arms companies influence our schools and colleges

While arms companies have been at the top of the peace agenda recently with the DSEI arms fair, their involvement in education in the UK is less well known. Many of the top names have a presence – BAE Systems, Rolls Royce, Babcock, QinetiQ, Chemring. Some are big players, forging the way ahead, others have a smaller role.

A ForcesWatch report on military interests in education (out soon) will detail the extent to which this has developed and why. It looks at how the armed forces,…

9 December 2016Blog entry

A report from the Movement Against War youth delegation to the International Peace Bureau Congress on demilitarisation.

 

Young delegates stop nuclear missile launch at the IPB Congress!

From the 30 September – 3 October, MAW Youth (Jen Harrison, Becky Garnault, Maddy Ridgley) plus 2 competition winners (Ella Johnson and Khem Rogaly) attended the International Peace Bureau world congress in Berlin.

For 4 days we were immersed in fascinating panel discussions and workshops delivered by an impressive collection of academics, activists, writers, politicians and economists. In our…

1 December 2016News

Alternative remembrance day events held around UK

‘I would rather have been there than anywhere else in the world,’ said Scottish pacifist poet Ashby McGowan after the Alternative Remembrance Sunday Ceremony in London on 13 November. He added: ‘Like many of the people there, I was in tears during the ceremony.’

The Peace Pledge Union (PPU) organised the ceremony in Tavistock Square only a short distance from the official ceremony at the Cenotaph with its display of military pomp.

Ashby McGowan read some of his poetry…

1 December 2016News in Brief

Veterans for Peace UK had their largest Remembrance Sunday turnout on 13 November. 68 members of VfP walked behind a banner saying ‘Never Again’ to lay a wreath of white poppies at the Cenotaph in London.

The ceremony was the last piece of a four-day VfP UK gathering which included a public conference, a day-long AGM, and a guided peace walk in central London.

During the conference, a panel discussion on ‘Creating Enemies: Social perspectives’ was addressed by Bilal…

1 December 2016News in Brief

On 10 November, more than 100 peace activists blockaded the entrance to the annual conference of the European defence agency in Brussels, Belgium.

Organisers Vredesactie (‘Peace Action’) criticised the European Commission’s proposal to give money from the EU budget to support military R&D, initially €90m, rising to billions.

Bram Vranken, spokesperson for Vredesactie, said: ‘An industry with an annual turnover of 100 billion euros should pay for its own…

1 October 2016News

Cath Bann looks at the background to the upcoming demos at Fylingdales and Croughton

On 1 October, the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND) is organising a major protest simultaneously at RAF/USAF Fylingdales on the North Yorkshire Moors and at USAF Croughton in Northamptonshire.

Fylingdales is a US ballistic missile early warning radar base and could initiate a nuclear response to a missile attack. As part of the US missile defence system, it is also a component of the US nuclear strike force. At Croughton, the US will be spending £200m to turn the base into…

1 August 2016Comment

Attempts by pacifists to look back at the slaughter of war from an anti-militarist perspective – and official unhappiness at the puncturing of nationalist myths – have a long history.

Europe’s first International Nonviolent March for Demilitarisation took place in north-east France from August 4 to 10. People from 15 countries called for the conversion of military structures to civilian use, a nonviolent people’s defence rather than a suicidal military one, the abolition of military blocs, the liberation of objectors and total resisters to conscription, and civil rights for members of the forces.

The climax of the march was the afternoon of Sunday August 8, when –…