The US and Britain are, at the time of writing, at war with the Ansar Allah movement that controls over two-thirds of the population of Yemen and a third of its territory. This war is not an act of ‘self-defence’, it is doomed to failure, it is wrecking the fragile and desperately-needed Yemeni peace process, and it is actually strengthening Ansar Allah, known as ‘the Houthis’ after their first leader.
Success in climate activism can take a lot of forms, and relatively few of them are glamorous. The change we work for might be too abstract to measure, or our role in it might be unclear. Perhaps, in difficult conditions, success might mean no more than keeping your head above the water.
Still, there are times when success can actually be joyful, epic and infectious, as in the case of the recent blockades on the Dutch capital’s A12 highway.
’Twaz broad daylight,
Kool breeze waz
East, north, south
Me mind waz fine
Me body waz
An Natty Dread me deputy waz
It happened quick,
We knew exactly wot hit us.
De sheriff shot I an me
An den he shot me deputy.
Ukraine continues to push its phony ‘10-Point Peace Plan’, which demands the prosecution and conviction of Russian leaders for war crimes, the seizure of Russian assets to compensate Ukraine for war damage and total Russian withdrawal from Ukraine, among other points, as the precondition for negotiations (PN 2668).
At the Davos summit for the rich and powerful in January, Ukraine persuaded Switzerland to host the next ‘Peace Formula’ conference later this year.
One worrying trend even more prevalent in France than elsewhere is the stifling of open public discourse about the situation of the Palestinians, and restrictions placed on the freedom of expression of pro-Palestinian voices and movements.
Even before 7 October, public meetings on Israel-Palestine have been prohibited by the relevant authorities (local boroughs, or departmental Préfets) on dubious public-order grounds.
Campaigning group Defend Our Juries (DOJ) is planning a mass sit-down in the high court in London on 21 February to challenge the government’s attempt to remove the defence of ‘consent’, used by Palestine Action activists recently to win acquittals (see previous page).
This follows actions outside more than 50 crown courts across England and Wales on 4 December: 500 activists held signs defending the right of juries to reach their own verdicts, independently of the instructions they receive from judges.
Emmanuel Macron was elected president of France in 2017 promising to break the mould of French politics with its see-saw left-right swings. He claimed this was the best strategy for countering the rise of Marine Le Pen’s far-right party, the Rassemblement National (‘National Rally’), formerly known as the Front National (‘National Front’).
There don’t seem to have been any Just Stop Oil (JSO), Extinction Rebellion or Insulate Britain arrests since PN last came out, in late November.
On 8 January, JSO began negotiations with the Metropolitan police over its ‘slow walking’ campaign of disrupting traffic in London.
JSO presented the Met with evidence that the government was guilty of the crime of ‘genocide by oblique intent’, by developing new oil and gas projects.
JSO offered to pause disruptive actions if the Met was to investigate this criminal behaviour by the government.
On 7 December, a new Palestine solidarity group, Workers for a Free Palestine, organised 1,000 trade unionists and other protesters to blockade four sites connected to the Israeli war machine: Eaton Mission Systems in Bournemouth, Dorset; the L3Harris factory in Brighton, East Sussex; BAE Systems’s Samlesbury Aerodrome just outside Blackburn in Lancashire; and the BAE Systems Govan site in Glasgow.
All four arms company sites are linked to the manufacture of the F-35 warplane currently being used in the Israeli war of destruction in Gaza.
I got political after I suffered my first racist attack at the age of seven. I didn’t understand any political theory, I just knew that I had been wronged, and I knew there was another way.
A few years later, when I was 15, a marked police car pulled up to me as I walked in Birmingham in the early hours of the morning, three cops got out of the car, they pushed me into a shop doorway, then they beat me up. They got back into their car, and drove off as if nothing had happened.
The direct action group Palestine Action (PA) has again been generating more news than we can cover. They bumped up their acquittals total, won victories targeting suppliers of the Israeli-owned arms company Elbit Systems UK, and carried out a string of property damage actions.
Also, PA had their first known infiltrator, a journalist named Max Parry from the Daily Express, who gave information to the police that led to five arrests for ‘conspiracy to commit public nuisance’ at the London stock exchange.
PN has raised over £3,800 for Medical Aid for Palestinians, selling ‘Ceasefire Now’ badges for a donation at the national Gaza marches on 25 November, 9 December and 13 January. All proceeds went to MAP.
The black-and-white design was modelled on T-shirts worn by US Jewish peace activists who occupied Grand Central Station in New York City in October.
At the end of December, four radical Christians were arrested protesting against the Gaza War, around Holy Innocents Day (28 December), which marks the massacre of male infants by Herod, according to biblical tradition.
On 28 December itself, two US Catholic Workers were arrested at the Pentagon in Washington DC, the Nuclear Resister reports.
The arrestees were Bill Frankel-Streit (67, from Little Flower Catholic Worker Farm in Virginia) and Kim Williams (from Norfolk Catholic Worker, also in Virginia).