1 June 2015Review

Pluto Press, 2015; 192pp; £12.99

It’s easy to forget, but art galleries are ‘our’ galleries: they are supposed to belong to us. You might even like to think of them as having taken the place of (now defunct) churches. So how did oil money seep through their walls?

Mel Evans begins by charting the journey of arts funding in the UK. The Arts Council of Attlee’s postwar Britain was deliberately at arm’s length from the state. Thatcher and Tebbit increased government involvement, which enabled New Labour to follow…

28 September 2014Review

Pluto Press, 2012; 280pp; £16

In the mid-18th century, the East India Company (EIC) accounted for half of the world’s trade, had its own army and enjoyed tax-raising powers over 10 million Indians. Yet, strangely, not a single London memorial exists to remember it.

The Battle of Plassey (1757) kicked off the EIC's takeover of a large swathe of Bengal. Company execs bought up and hoarded rice, contributing to huge famines throughout the 18th century. Robins cites an 1878 article from the Journal of the…

1 October 2013Review

OR Books, 2012; 118pp; £7

Since creating the post-religious Church of Stop Shopping in 1999, the Reverend Billy has held services in churches, community centres, forests, fields, parking lots, shopping malls and – above all – inside brand-name stores across the US and Europe, preaching against consumerism, and for economic and ecological justice.

The creation of actor Bill Talen, the Reverend Billy is…

9 March 2013News in Brief

A third of people in Britain are currently boycotting the products or sevices of a company because it does not pay its fair share of tax in the UK, according to a new Christian Aid survey.

Two out of three Britons believe tax avoidance is morally wrong, and 80% say that multinationals’ tax avoidance makes them feel angry.

A massive 89% of those questioned said it is unfair that they have to pay their…

9 March 2013News in Brief

Britain’s banks are avoiding billions in tax, using an accounting loophole, The Times reported on 1 March.

Banks borrow money by issuing IOUs called ‘bonds’. If confidence in a bank grows, the value of its bonds increases, and it could in theory cost more to buy back the bond than to pay off the money owed.

Using the ‘fair value on own credit’ rule, a bank could then enter a loss in its accounts. The…

8 March 2013News

There has been a furious response to the news that transnational power company EDF is suing 21 anti-climate change activists for £5m for shutting down an EDF power station in Nottinghamshire for a week.

A petition by the parents of one of the activists gained 50,000 signatures online in its first week, and a call has gone out to shut down the annual EDF Talk Power Conference on 1 May.

Two chimneys at the West Burton gas-fired power station were occupied last October by 16 ‘No Dash for Gas’ campaigners to protest at the government’s plan to build up to 40 new gas-fired power stations (see PN 2552-2553).

On 20 February, 21 ‘No Dash for Gas’ activists…

1 December 2012Review

Verso, 2012; 344pp; £16.99

Platform is a unique organisation combining art, activism, research, and education. Based in London, for over a decade it has been exploring the multi-dimensional reach of the oil industry into society, a ‘Carbon Web’ that encompasses governments, giant oil companies, banks, and a myriad other organisations, from law firms to universities, NGOs to cultural institutions. Written by two members of Platform, The Oil Road is an important component of this project, focussing on the story of how…

17 October 2012Feature

This article is only available in the paper version of Peace News.

17 October 2012News in Brief

Back in the UK, a group called 'The Intruders' managed to gatecrash two high society events, first giving the former head of the government tax body HMRC a 'lifetime achievement award for services to corporate tax avoidance' on 27 September. Dave Hartnett was accused of being…

17 October 2012News

The Campaign Against Arms Trade celebrates a double victory

On 10 October, the Campaign Against Arms Trade (CAAT) celebrated a victory in helping to break sponsorship links between arms manufacturer Finmeccanica and London's National Gallery. The news came just days after CAAT heard that it had won a Right Livelihood Award, known as the 'alternative Nobel Prize', given by a Stockholm-based foundation.

The National Gallery ended its long-standing…

16 October 2012News

Conscientious objectors to the 2011 Census in the UK continue their courtroom struggles.

Two census resisters had their trials continued in early October, with Andy Manifold due to return to court on 19 October and Sarah Ledsom hoping to finish her trial on 23 November. Both are at Dale St magistrates' court in Liverpool.

400 people in Britain have been or are being prosecuted for failing to fill out the 2011 census. 

Among them are a number of peace activists who objected to the involvement in the census of military firms Lockheed Martin (processing the data for…

25 September 2012News

Mining company's operations spark protests.

On 28 August, protests marked the AGM of mining corporation Vedanta Resources, including in central London, where the AGM was held. Thousands took part in a parallel demonstration in Goa, India, (pictured) demanding an end to operations at Sesa Goa’s Amona pig iron plant. Dongria Kond tribals whose sacred mountain is threatened by Vedanta’s mining ambitions (see PN 2520, 2528) joined protests in Odisha, India. In Zambia, activists marked the AGM by publishing a report on the contamination of…

28 August 2012News in Brief

On 2 June, two campaigners from Stop G4S climbed onto the roof of security company G4S near Crawley, West Sussex, displaying two banners. One read: ‘G4S – Profiting from: Israeli Apartheid, Prison Slavery, Deadly Deportations’.

The duo secured themselves with superglue and bike-locks, while another dozen protesters surrounded the building, shouting slogan and holding anti-G4S placards.

The occupiers were charged with ‘aggravated trespass’ under the 1994 Criminal Justice and…

2 July 2012Review

Marshgate Press; 302pp; £14.99

A rich record of creative intervening, interfering and interpreting the physical and psychic destruction of East London by the Olympic monster. The contributions to this book speak in a language verbal and visual that poignantly describes the true, felt experience of state-sport-sponsored obliteration of communities and personal worlds.

The book is also an important reminder of 1000 people evicted from homes and businesses in 2005 to make way for bigger business.

A powerful and…

2 July 2012Review

OR Books 2012; 140pp;£8

Today’s corporate Olympics is a far cry from the movement’s original vision of ‘a potent… factor in securing universal peace’. Perryman believes a better Games is possible, proposing a combination of decentralisation, ditching “rich men’s” sports, and banning commercial use of the Olympics symbol. Worth reading even if you hate sport.