Violence & nonviolence

Violence & nonviolence
1 April 2022Feature

Unarmed demonstrators drive Russian troops from city

On 26 March, the people of Slavutych caught the imagination of the world with their nonviolent defiance, apparently driving Russian soldiers out of their city.

Slavutych, in the very north of Ukraine, was built in 1986 to house workers evacuated from the nearby Chernobyl nuclear power plant after the disaster.

Russian forces captured the power plant on the first day of the war, as it is right on the border with Belarus, a launching pad for the invasion. The Russian military had…

24 March 2022Resource

On 20 March, US author and activist George Lakey delivered a talk based on his 25 February article on Waging Nonviolence: 'Ukraine Doesn't Need to Match Russia's Military Might to Defend Against Invasion'

George's argument is that, throughout history, people facing occupation have tapped into the power of nonviolent struggle to thwart their invaders.…

15 February 2022Blog

While NATO and Russia rattle sabres over Ukraine, the neutral Irish government and a group of local fishermen secured an important agreement to relocate a Russian naval exercise out of their fishing grounds. The message, says Clem McCartney, is that a conciliatory approach can and does work. 

Many are probably giving much attention and concern to what is happening on the Russian/Ukrainian border and the megaphone posturing going on around it, so may not have noticed what has been happening out in the Atlantic on the southwest part of Ireland’s Exclusive Economic Zone.

Russia announced that its navy would be carrying out live-firing exercises there and other ships and aeroplanes were advised to avoid the area. Under international maritime law, Russia can do this as it is…

1 February 2022Feature

A new book explores the potential of constructive nonviolent action 

Peace News carries some of the responsibility for me spending much of the last two years writing a book about constructive nonviolent action.

I was quite young when I became convinced that killing people was wrong, and I began to take on the identity of a pacifist. Peace News was one of my main sources of insight into what pacifism entailed, leading me to an interest in anarchism as part of a search for nonviolent and non-coercive modes of action for change.

1 February 2022Comment

Writer and thinker on nonviolence who influenced Solidarity

It is not an exaggeration to say that there is a ‘before Jean-Marie Muller’ and an ‘after Jean-Marie Muller’ in the study and practice of nonviolence in France. Jean-Marie was also a committed internationalist who worked with thinkers on and practitioners of nonviolence in a wide range of countries, from Lebanon to the United States.

Jean-Marie Muller was working as a philosophy teacher when he staged his first major (and much-publicised) protest in 1967. Defying the authorities, he…

8 December 2020Comment

Magellans roll back gas price rise 

GOALS: To create dialogue with government and stop the increase of natural gas prices in the region.

SUCCESS IN ACHIEVING SPECIFIC GOALS: 5 points / 6
SURVIVAL: 1 / 1
GROWTH: 2 / 3
TOTAL: 8 / 10

For Chileans living in the southern Patagonia region, natural gas is crucial for heating their homes, most importantly during the frigid winter months.

The Chilean government had been subsidising natural gas up to 85 percent for all people in this region because…

1 December 2019Review

Common Sense for the 21st Century, 2019; 80pp; £6

According to a recent poll, nearly two-thirds of the British public now believe that climate change is ‘the biggest issue facing mankind’ and over half say that the issue will either ‘greatly’ or ‘somewhat’ influence who they are likely to vote for in a general election – a major shift in public opinion.

Much of the credit for this must go to Extinction Rebellion (XR). And much of the credit for XR’s creation must, in turn, go to its co-founder Roger Hallam.

Indeed, much of…

1 December 2019Comment

Rubber tappers defend the rainforest

GOALS: Establish extractive reserves. Better marketing and price guarantees for rubber. Better living conditions for rubber tappers. Better marketing policies and working conditions for those who harvest nuts. Industrialisation and marketing of other ignored forest products. Research on plants and resources of the Amazon.

SUCCESS IN ACHIEVING SPECIFIC GOALS: 3 points / 6
SURVIVAL: 1 / 1
GROWTH: 3 / 3

In the 1970s, ranchers from southern Brazil began to…

1 October 2019Comment

Students force Student Pride to drop BP

Photo: John Hill [CC BY-SA 3.0] via Wikimedia Commons

GOALS: ‘No Pride in BP’ demanded that National Student Pride l immediately drop BP as a sponsor of National Student Pride 2015 events, l commit to not enter into future sponsorship or partnership agreements with fossil fuel companies, and l develop a set of ethical sponsorship guidelines that take into account the environmental and human rights record of companies.

SUCCESS IN ACHIEVING SPECIFIC GOALS: 5 points / 6

1 August 2019Comment

Seattle teachers end standardised testing 

Examination, 1940, Australia via Wikimedia commons

GOALS:

1) To end mandatory administration of the Measures of Academic Progress (MAP) test at Garfield High School.
2) To prevent Seattle public school district administrators from disciplining teachers who refused to administer the MAP test.

SUCCESS IN ACHIEVING SPECIFIC DEMANDS / GOALS: 6 points out of 6
SURVIVAL: 1 point out of 1
GROWTH: 3 points out of 3
TOTAL: 10 / 10

In the 1970s, public (…

1 June 2019Review

Yale University Press, 2016; 432pp; £30

Think of Adolf Hitler and invariably an image is conjured up of an all-powerful leader, the most evil individual in modern history, using extreme barbarity to crush his opponents at home and abroad.

The latest study from Nathan Stoltzfus, professor of Holocaust Studies at Florida State University in the US, challenges this simplistic representation, raising profound questions for historians, citizens and activists alike.

Citing a huge range of German- and English-language…

1 April 2019Comment

'Weapons are supposed to bring security”

I still have a scar on my left hand. It is a reminder of a school fight that took place many long years ago. The street knife violence of today comes out of the same stable.

In my area of north London, criminal violence is far from unknown.

There was a row on a bus some years ago between older boys from two different schools. One boy got off the bus not far from his home. But another boy followed him up the street and stabbed him to death. His companion escaped…

1 April 2019Comment

Workers’ general strike wins eight-hour day

Photo: Auckland Museum [CC BY 4.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0)]

GOAL: To have a legally enforced eight-hour workday for all workers, and, in the case of the textile workers, a 30–50 percent wage increase.
SUCCESS IN ACHIEVING SPECIFIC DEMANDS: 2 out of 6 points
SURVIVAL: 1 / 1
GROWTH: 3 / 3

Male textile factory workers at El Inca factory in Lima, Peru, walked off the job in December…

1 February 2019Comment

We need to break the huge visions that we have into smaller, winnable struggles, argues PN editor Milan Rai

There is a farmworkers union in Oregon in the US called Pineros y Campesinos Unidos del Noroeste (PCUN). The union campaigned for a year to get Kraemer Farms to be the first growers in the area to accept collective bargaining.

After that failed, PCUN got student groups to put pressure on NORPAC, which purchased vegetables from Kraemer Farms.

After seven years of failure, PCUN changed focus again. They chose to pressure the veggie burger firm, Gardenburger,…

1 February 2019Comment

Coffee farmers win a living wage

GOAL: To increase government subsidies on coffee in order to receive a minimum of $360 per 125kg sack of coffee beans.
SUCCESS IN ACHIEVING SPECIFIC GOALS: 6 points / 6
SURVIVAL: 1 / 1
GROWTH: 2 / 3

In 2012, Colombian coffee prices fell 35 percent on the international market while the Colombian peso appreciated 10 percent. A combination of crop disease, bad weather, and unfavourable currency rates forced growers in Colombia to sell their coffee at a loss. Many…