Class

Class
1 June 2019Comment

Recent elections in Australia and Spain hold lessons for UK campaigners, argues Milan Rai


Climate strikers in Melbourne in March 2019. Takver from Australia [CC BY-SA 2.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)]

Why should campaigners of any kind in Britain care about the May elections in Australia? Well, because there’s an important lesson for all activists in the defeat of the Labour party there, which had an ambitious climate agenda, and which everyone expected to win. These results showed again the…

1 June 2019Review

Lawrence & Wishart, 2018; 226pp; £18

In August 1976, women employed at the Grunwick photo processing plant in north west London walked out on strike. 30 years later, in 2006, women employees at Gate Gourmet, a factory that prepared in-flight meals for British Airways, also walked out.

This book describes how these two groups of women were led to take industrial action – and their subsequent betrayal by the trade unions. Their stories are set against an academic account of migrant settlement, work and family life in…

1 December 2018Comment

In the years ahead, British activists are going to have to become better at building cross-class, multi-racial movements for change.

GarciaLopezLuisGaspar [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC BY-SA 4.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)], from Wikimedia Commons

As I write, Britain is in the middle of the most extraordinary political uncertainty as it tries to leave the European Union (EU). As we pointed out before the referendum, Brexit…

1 August 2018Feature

Lyndsay Burtonshaw reflects on PN's recent three-day workshop

Grenfell Tower Photo: city students union

This summer, after two years of preparation (and a postponement in 2017 partly because of family ill-health), Peace News finally brought the wonderful Betsy Leondar-Wright to the UK to lead what we think is the very first anti-classism training of activist trainers that’s ever taken place in the UK. The other facilitators were Kathryn Tulip of the Navigate training collective and Milan Rai, PN editor. This is an account from…

1 June 2018Feature

A chapter in the story of the next American Revolution

This is an excerpt from a new book by US activist and thinker Michael Albert. RPS/2044 is an oral history of a revolution in the US, about 25 years from now. The book is made up of interviews (conducted in the future) by ‘Miguel Guevara’ (MG) with the people who helped to make the revolution. They describe how their organisation, ‘Revolutionary Participatory Society’ (RPS), began in 2020, developed over the years, and won its victory in 2044. RPS 2044 connects the movements that…

1 April 2018Feature

Thursday 14 – Sunday 17 June 2018

Do you want to strengthen your workshop facilitation skills? Do you want to help social change groups and mission-driven NGOs deal more skilfully with social class and classism in their own organisations, in their members’ lives and in the wider society? If so, Exploring Class may be for you.

This intensive, three-day Training of Trainers draws on several decades of work in the US and will adapt US tools to the UK class system. This residential draws in particular from the…

1 February 2018Feature

Upcoming PN workshop: Thursday 14 – Sunday 17 June 2018

Do you want to strengthen your workshop facilitation skills? Do you want to help social change groups and mission-driven NGOs deal more skilfully with social class and classism in their own organisations, in their members’ lives and in the wider society? If so, Exploring Class may be for you.

This intensive, three-day Training of Trainers draws on several decades of work in the US and will adapt US tools to the UK class system. This residential draws in particular from the…

1 February 2018Feature

Peace News interviews a working-class woman about the difference CAAT’s paid internship made to her life

This is the second in our series of interviews with working-class activists. These are Holly’s words:

“Growing up working-class erodes your confidence, almost by design. I just didn’t feel confident in any life stage, that I’d be able to excel or do well, or that anyone would actually want me as part of what they’re doing. People talk about ‘impostor syndrome’* all the time now. I do believe everyone has it, but if you’re from a disadvantaged background, it’s... it’s…

1 October 2017Feature

Conversations with working-class peace activists: Chris Cole

Chris Cole just before he disarmed, with this hammer, parts for the Eurofighter and Hawk aircraft at British Aerospace’s factory in Stevenage, on 6 January 1993.

We talked about class with Catholic peace activist Chris Cole during the DSEI week of action. He had been arrested a few days earlier (in his first lock-on) while blockading the set-up of the arms fair with other Christian peace activists. Chris has been involved in nonviolent direct action for almost 30 years. We met him at…

1 August 2017News

Come to PN's digital tools dayschool in January 2018!

We’ve had to postpone a major workshop to June 2018! We’re also organising a digital tools dayschool, ‘Weaving Our Own Web’, in January!

This July and August, Peace News was meant to have been hosting noted author and trainer Betsy Leondar-Wright from the US group, Class Action. We have been big fans of Betsy’s work on class and classism (while recognising that there are differences between class in the US and in the UK). We interviewed Betsy over three issues in 2015–…

1 August 2017Feature

How can middle-class campaigners become better at cross-class collaboration? An excerpt from the pioneering book Class Matters

After some painful rifts along class lines in the 1990s, I began looking for resources about cross-class alliances. Fred Rose’s and Linda Stout’s wonderful books helped me – but I found no workshops to attend, no newsletters to read. Slowly I came to the conclusion that I could write something myself. In 2002, when I thought of writing for middle-class activists in particular, the ideas started to flow.... Writing this book was like making a patchwork quilt. In patchworking, you cut away…

1 August 2017Feature

NEW DATES 14 –17 June 2018

Do you want to strengthen your workshop facilitation skills? Do you want to help social change groups and mission-driven NGOs deal more skilfully with social class and classism in their own organisations, in their members’ lives and in the wider society?

If so, Exploring Class may be for you.

This intensive, three-day Training of Trainers draws on several decades of work in the US and will adapt US tools to the UK class system. The residential draws in particular from the…

1 June 2017Feature

Meet Betsy Leondar-Wright at this year’s ground-breaking Peace News Summer Camp

When the organising collective gathered to think about this year’s Peace News Summer Camp, we were still reeling from the EU referendum result and the election of Donald Trump.

We tried to think about what we needed to help us keep going as activists, and what would help our movements to keep going in the middle of this bewildering turmoil and with the growing scale of the threats that we face.

That’s why we chose this theme together: ‘Surviving Politics – self…

1 April 2017Feature

How would anti-racism infused with working-class culture be different from the common practices of today?


Betsy Leondar-Wright. Photo: Rodgerrodger via Wikimedia

I’ve been asked a question that I can’t answer, and I wonder if you, the reader, can help answer it.

The most common forms of anti-racist consciousness-raising practised on the left today – workshops; special sessions to talk about internal race dynamics; book discussions; instantly ‘calling out’ oppressive comments; and hammering out statements of ideological commitment, all using specialised terms such as ‘white…

1 February 2017Comment

We need to develop empathy - and where appropriate solidarity - with those who voted to leave the EU, argues Milan Rai

Trump supporters react as Trump speaks at the Inauguration ceremony. Photo: Lorie Shaull

Class and classism are becoming more and more important issues for all sorts of movements, especially as we try to deal with the rise of racism, Islamophobia and authoritarianism at home and abroad. It’s important that these efforts don’t themselves become oppressive to working-class and poor people, and that we find class-inclusive ways to work on these issues.

Peace News