Anti-war action

13 August 2011Feature

Remember and resist

All over Britain, people came together to commemorate Hiroshima and Nagasaki Days. There were vigils, ceremonies and tree plantings whilst other people chose to raise awareness by leafleting, fasting or floating peace lanterns. This is a round-up of a few of the events that took place:

In Southampton, over 100 people gathered at Bitterne Park United Reformed Church Hall for a meeting with the Mayor, Cllr Edwina Cooke, and Bruce Kent. After the meeting the audience and speakers viewed…

13 August 2011Feature

“If you truly want to determine Britain's state of affairs, you should look to its young people.” Gordon Brown has often expressed this idea. It is time he followed his own advice. The young people of Britain want nothing to do with his policies of war.

In the run-up to the invasion of Iraq thousands of school students across Britain walked out of their schools and colleges. The spirit, defiance and sheer vibrancy of this mass action helped energise the anti-war movement.

13 August 2011Feature

Taxes for war — it's not just a case of whether to pay or not. Andreas Speck and Simon Heywood debate the merits of campaign strategies for effecting changes in the law.

A group of seven war tax resisters, 'the Peace Tax Seven' are about to commence legal action against the British government by seeking a High Court judicial review of the policy of compulsory military taxation. Some in the peace movement have argued that this approach is not only doomed to failure, but also that it could end up doing more harm than good. Eager to learn more, Peace News asked the two sides to put their case. This is what they said:

Simon Heywood: In our view…

1 July 2011News

Libya bombed by drones as activists call week of action against unmanned warfare.

Over the past month Libya has been added to the list of countries subjected to drone strikes by US and British forces, joining Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen and Iraq. Unfortunately, the list of countries facing these kind of remote attacks is only likely to grow as US military procurement plans, released this month, show that the Pentagon is planning to double its arsenal of large military drones over the next decade.

In Pakistan, anger at the continuing CIA drone strikes continues to…

1 July 2011News

Five anti-Trident activists acquitted after prosecution fails to make adequate case.

Five defendants arrested at the Devonport blockade in November 2010 went free after appearing before Plymouth magistrates on 9-10 June.

Three Scottish defendants, who had locked-on across the gate to the dock where Trident nuclear submarines are serviced, had been charged with “obstruction of a constable”. The prosecution tried to change this at the hearing to “obstruction of the highway”. The District Judge dismissed the cases because “obstruction of the highway” was a summary…

1 July 2011News

For 29 years it has been the frontline against Britain’s nuclear weapons. We need Faslane Peace Camp!

Faslane Peace Camp is now 29 years old. It is a humble collection of caravans and communal spaces by the side of the road near Faslane naval base where the British nuclear weapons and nuclear-powered submarines are stationed.

Many hundreds of people have lived at the camp over the years. They didn’t choose to live here for comfort or style, but because they wanted to be part of the constant vigil and direct action campaign against a morally-corrupt world with nuclear weapons.

1 July 2011News in Brief

Between 1-8 June, 12 members of Orlando Food Not Bombs, in Florida US) were arrested for feeding too many homeless people from their stall. A city ordinance forbids feeding homeless people in city parks without a permit or feeding more than 25 at a time with a permit. (Groups are only allowed two permits per year.) The police said FnB had fed more people than the permit allowed. FnB didn’t have a permit because they refuse on principle to apply for one! The penalty for violating the…

1 June 2011News

On 18 May, the UK government announced its plan to spend several billion pounds over the next five years on new nuclear-armed submarines.

PHOTO: Janet Fenton

The subs will be built with the more expensive PWR3 nuclear reactor rather than the less safe PWR2 one, but this will further increase the costs of the Trident replacement programme.

The aim is to base the new nuclear missile submarines at Faslane in Scotland until 2060. This is a decision that flies in the face of the will of the people of Scotland who have just elected a parliament with a clear majority of MSPs who are strongly opposed to nuclear weapons.

1 May 2011News in Brief

On 29 March, five “Disarm Now Plowshares” peace activists received jail sentences at Tacoma federal courthouse, Washington state, USA. Anne Montgomery, Bill Bichsel, Lynne Greenwald, Steve Kelly and Susan Crane (aged from 60 to 83), were ordered to pay $5,300 each, as well as between six and 15 months in prison, plus a year’s supervised release. The five were arrested inside the US naval base Kitsap-Bangor in Washington state in November 2009. They had cut through fences around the Trident…

1 May 2011News in Brief

On 19 March, the US “Stop These Wars” coalition, led by Veterans for Peace, sponsored a rally and protest at the White House, Washington DC, with over 1,500 people calling for an end to US war-making in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan and Libya, and for the release of Wikileaks defendant Bradley Manning. 113 people, including many veterans, were arrested. On the same day, 11 military family members and veterans were arrested for civil trespass in Hollywood, California, where they staged a sit-in…

1 May 2011News in Brief

The UN special rapporteur on torture, Juan Mendez, said on 8 April that the Pentagon was refusing to allow him a private interview with Bradley Manning, held for allegedly leaking secret US military documents to Wikileaks. On 21 March, Pentagon Papers whistle-blower Daniel Ellsberg was among 35 arrested during a solidarity protest at Quantico marine base, Virginia, where Bradley was being held. Banners read: “Caution, Whistleblower Torture Zone”. On 20 April, it was announced that Bradley is…

1 May 2011Review

Trine Day, 2010; 179pp; £9.23

I don’t doubt that this is an important book, it’s got a quote from Chomsky on the front, so it must be. And there are plenty of powerful stories in it that need to be heard. But, I did struggle to love it, which might perhaps be my problem.

I think it’s partly stylistic – the writer does tend to describe events in rather breathless “action hero” mode when a simpler clearer prose might do. But it’s also infused at other times with the kind of earnest dourness that gives the peace…

1 April 2011News

Irish peace activist Mary Kelly has won a six-year struggle to overturn a conviction for a $1m action against the invasion of Iraq in 2003.

It was in January 2003 that Mary entered Shannon airport in Ireland and took an axe to a US warplane bound for Iraq. She was arrested and held in Limerick prison before being charged with $1 million criminal damage and released on bail.

A few days later, the same warplane was disarmed by the Pit Stop Ploughshares after being repaired. They were charged with $2.5m criminal damage, but were unanimously acquitted after four trials. In Mary’s case, after two trials, one resulting in…

2 February 2011Blog entry

Follow-up piece to Virginia’s earlier post

Christian peace activist Chris Cole was released from HMP Wandsworth this morning after serving 15 days for an act of civil disobedience. Cole was arrested in 2009 for criminal damage in response to a nonviolent direct action at the Defense and Security Equipment International 2009 Arms Fair. He spray painted the entrance to the conference center with ‘Make Peace, not war machines’ and the ground outside with ‘Stop this bloody business’ and ‘Arms trade = death.’ After his arrest, Cole was…

1 February 2011News in Brief

Americas Watch

In November 5,000 protestors engaged in religious witness, performances, processions, vigils and direct action at the School of Americas in Georgia, USA, renowned for training Latin American soldiers in repression.
Thirty people were arrested and held for several days by police. Six people were sentenced to six months for trespass.