Anti-war movement

1 October 2023Review

Johns Hopkins University Press, 2023; 138pp; £37.50  

Concise, accessible and well-referenced, this is a wonderful book about a protest I wasn’t previously aware of.

Vincent J Intondi, professor of history at Montgomery College in Maryland, USA, sets the scene: surrounded by ‘advisors who believed nuclear war was a reasonable option to deal with adversaries’ in the early 1980s newly-elected US president Ronald Reagan massively increased both military spending and his warmongering rhetoric.

In response, the anti-nuclear movement,…

1 October 2022Feature

A guide to peace groups across the Channel

The largest – and historically the most significant – peace group in France is undoubtedly the Mouvement de la Paix (‘Peace Movement’), whose several thousand members are organised in 150 local committees. Founded in 1948, the Mouvement de la Paix was created by Second World War Resistance movements, free thinkers and communists driven both by the struggle against fascism and a revulsion against war.

Closely linked to the Communist Party, the Mouvement de la Paix has…

1 April 2022News

New anti-war statement omits NATO

Towards the end of March, a new British anti-war statement appeared online. Unlike the two main anti-war groups in the UK, ‘No War on Ukraine’ does not mention NATO expansion as a factor in the Ukraine crisis.

The Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND) and the Stop the War Coalition are part of the international ‘Peace in Ukraine’ coalition which organised the global day of action against the war in Ukraine on 6 March.

Members include US groups such as CODEPINK, Food Not Bombs…

28 February 2022Blog

Protests, petitions and statements from organisations and individuals demonstrate huge, and courageous, opposition to war from inside Russia. 

Below are statements opposing the war in Ukraine from groups in Russia. (They are all auto-translated from Russian – if you can help supply better translations, please do get in touch.)

As well as signing statements, thousands of Russians have gone out in the streets to protest against the war. 5,948 Russian anti-war protesters have been arrested since 24 February, according to OVD-Info, the Russian…

24 February 2022Blog

Peace movement statements on Russia's invasion of Ukraine 

Ukrainian Pacifist Movement (24 February)

Ukrainian Pacifist Movement condemns all military actions on the sides of Russia and Ukraine in the context of current conflict. We call the leadership of both states and military forces to step back and sit at the negotiation table. Peace in Ukraine and around the world can be achieved only in a nonviolent way.

War is a crime against humanity. Therefore, we are determined not to support any kind of war and to strive for the removal of…

1 June 2018Feature

An interview with one of the anti-nuclear campaign's regional branches

We decided to celebrate the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament’s 60th anniversary with a profile of one of its regional branches. The Yorkshire CND office is in Bradford, opposite the university. One of the branch’s contributions to the peace movement is its fundraising ‘Day of Dance’, which in Saltaire this April had 30 workshops at the event’s 46th outing. Benjamin Kaplan (BK) interviewed Matt Fawcett (MF) of Yorkshire CND more generally, on behalf of PN.

BK: How did Yorkshire CND…

1 December 2016Feature

An interview with the co-founder of the women-led US peace group CODEPINK.

CODEPINK’s Medea Benjamin at a protest on Wall Street, 2008. Photo: Thomas Good/Next Left Notes [GFDL] via Wikimedia Commons

Having become one of the most prominent US anti-war activists protesting against the US-led ‘war on terror’, Medea Benjamin, co-founder of the group CODEPINK, has now turned her attention to her nation’s close relationship with Saudi Arabia.

‘I’ve been doing a lot of work around the Middle East conflicts since the 9/11 attacks’, Benjamin, 64, tells…

1 October 2013Feature

Obama and Cameron have been forced to bow to their populations' anti-war sentiments

On 14 September, instead of launching air strikes on Damascus, US president Barack Obama was forced to agree to a Russian plan for disarming Syria’s chemical weapons under the supervision of a UN agency, the organisation for the prohibition of chemical weapons (OPCW). The resolution of the Syrian chemical weapons crisis by diplomacy was a triumph for what the New York Times in…

28 August 2012Review

Biteback, 2011; 384pp; £12.99

I cannot recommend this book too highly. It is an excellent compilation of all the myths, lies, nationalisms and vanities which have led us into wars past and present.

Swanson, who must be a bit older than his website picture suggests, has been active in the United States peace world for many years. He was at one stage the press secretary during Dennis Kucinich’s presidential campaign in 2004.

The book is self-published and a fund has now been created to enable it to be given…

2 July 2012Review

Pluto Press, 2012; 320pp; £19.99  

I’ve never been that drawn to reading histories of the peace movement but this book, with its particular perspective, has been an exception. I do like a bit of theory and this book has just enough of it, accessibly written, to provide a framework for analysing and understanding the diverse cross-national case studies offered.

The framework is a feminist one which, as Cynthia Cockburn argues, ‘has opened up a pathway for the left’, and is a necessary rather than optional tool for…

24 January 2012Letter

I have been struck lately by what seems to me mission creep within CND. For example, the conference that followed the London region AGM in January included a session entitled “Why are we war-mongering in the Middle East?” The public forum held after the region’s quarterly meeting on 2 November was a talk with an identical title.

The two presentations were admittedly very different. At the AGM, Greg Muttitt, author of Fuel on the Fire, while not answering the question posed, gave a…

13 August 2011Feature

An open letter to the Brighton anti-arms trade group Smash EDO.

Dear Andrew,

Thank you for writing in last month’s PN on Smash EDO’s outlook on strategy and movement-building. As I’d thought, Peace News and Smash EDO have a great deal in common, much more than divides us. There are differences in our thinking, but, after reading your article, I’ve come to the conclusion that you/Smash EDO aren’t so much in disagreement with “the Peace News approach”, as unaware of the position that PN represents.

There are all kinds of mixes in the…

13 August 2011Feature

The 15 February 2003 demonstrations, showed, as The New York Times observed, that “there may still be two super- powers on the planet: the United States and world public opinion.”

On the other hand, the grassroots mobilisation failed to prevent the invasion of Iraq. Media support? The heavy reporting of the British demonstration on 15 February seems to disprove the idea that the mainstream media opposes, under-reports or belittles grassroots movements. A Daily Telegraph columnist was…

1 March 2009Feature

Two academics survey the British peace movement

British anti-war groups active in the first years of the new century, in the era of the “war on terror”, are united predominantly by opposition to particular wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Protest events have been composed of a great array of activists, from feminists to Islamic patriarchs, the Liberal Democrats to Socialist Workers Party, from the deeply religious to the entirely secular, and from bereaved military families to supporters of the Palestinian cause.

So anti-war…

1 December 2008Review

Cambridge University Press, 2008; ISBN 978-0521670005; 392pp; £17.99

The title of this book, and the reputation of its author, suggests it could be a welcome addition to a peace activist’s bookshelf. However for anyone interested specifically in pacifism, rather than just peace, it is a profoundly annoying and disappointing book. Perhaps the stark use of a nuclear disarmament symbol on the cover, when much of the book is nothing to do with nuclear weapons specifically, should have been a warning of the muddle inside.

Another clue – for people who…