Violence & nonviolence

Violence & nonviolence

Violence & nonviolence

1 April 2024Comment

Anarchism is not just 'spontaneity and structurelessness', argues Milan Rai

Back in the 1970s, Peace News used to advertise itself in the pages of Freedom, the anarchist paper with these words: ‘“Peace News” – the other anarchist weekly.... “Peace News” for the theory and practice of nonviolent anarchism.’

Freedom no longer exists as a printed paper, sadly – that disappeared 10 years ago – but its online version continues to carry reports of anarchist action around the world.

Peace News has long been committed to…

1 October 2023News

Over 60,000 take part in days of action 

According to organisers Pace e Bene, the US Campaign Nonviolence Action Days 2023 involve 4,915 activities between 21 September – 2 October, ‘our BIGGEST year yet.... and a reflection of 10 years of relentless outreach, collaboration, and persistence’.

This year’s Campaign Nonviolence events include: a nonviolent vigil at an arms fair in Washington, DC; the 11 Days of Global Unity Summit; a nationwide Fast For Peace; a DIY solar installation action; a primary school peace walk; a Sing…

1 August 2023Comment

Extracts from two of her most famous essays

The most effective action both resorts to power and engages conscience. Nonviolence does not have to beg others to ‘be nice’. It can in effect force them to consult their consciences - or to pretend to have them.

Nor does it petition those in power to do something about a situation. It can face the authorities with a new fact and say: Accept this new situation which we have created.

If greater gains have not been won by nonviolent action it is because most of those trying it…

1 August 2023Comment

Andreas Malm's book 'How to blow up a pipeline' - and the film it inspired - are both asking the wrong question, argues Milan Rai

Reluctantly, I finally read How to Blow Up a Pipeline (author: Andreas Malm, Verso, 2020) and went to see the feature film of the same name (director: Daniel Goldhaber, 2022).

When I finished the book, and when I walked out of the cinema, I had the same feeling. I was sad.

I felt sad that hundreds, maybe thousands, of committed young activists are going to come away from these experiences feeling that they ought to be taking on the climate criminals with high…

1 June 2023Feature

The foremost task of someone committed to nonviolence is ‘to denounce the violence on which the present system is based'

‘In a world built on violence, one must be a revolutionary before one can be a pacifist: in such a world a non-revolutionary pacifism is a contradiction in terms, a monstrosity.’ – AJ Muste, 1928

This insight is a foundation stone for the tradition of revolutionary nonviolence that Peace News comes out of and, in decades past, has contributed to.

In his classic 1928 essay, ‘Pacifism and class war’, US Christian pacifist AJ Muste warned against the assumption that ‘…

1 June 2023Feature

Described by some as ‘the American Gandhi’, this lifelong activist was called ‘the Number One US Pacifist’ by Time magazine in 1939

Abraham Johannes Muste, known to the public as ‘AJ Muste’, was a remarkable and in some ways enigmatic figure bridging the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.

Born in Holland on 8 January 1885, Muste was brought to the US as a child of six and raised in Grand Rapids, Michigan, by a Republican family in the strict Calvinist traditions of the Dutch Reformed Church. In 1909, he was ordained a minister in that church, and married Anna Huizenga, with whom he was to share the next 40 years…

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.

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.

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.