Recent articles

Editorial: End the war. Ban nuclear threats

01 Apr 2022

Comment by Milan Rai

It's past time to ban the use of nuclear threats, argues Milan Rai

29 March: Over the last month, the brutal Russian invasion of Ukraine has cost tens of thousands of lives, forced millions of Ukrainians to become refugees – and created a world crisis. As we go to press, there are reports that there may be a ceasefire soon.

That seems unlikely until after Russia has captured Mariupol. The besieged and much-battered coastal city is the key to the land corridor linking Crimea, annexed by Russia in 2014, and parts of eastern Ukraine held by pro-Russian separatists. Securing this land corridor may be the one remaining Russian war aim.

Water Tower in Vladimir

01 Apr 2022

Feature by A. Savin

Celebrating Russian culture as we oppose the criminality of the Russian state.

Let’s celebrate Russian culture as we oppose the criminality of the Russian state. This is the stairwell of the Water Tower in Vladimir, Russia, 21 January 2019. The Water Tower, completely rebuilt in 1912, became a museum (‘Old Vladimir’) in 1975. It is dedicated to the history of the city and has a viewing platform on its top floor. PHOTO: A SAVIN / WIKICOMMONS

What is the invisible man hiding?

01 Apr 2022

Comment by Andrea Needham

How to hold a destructive quango to account – part two in a series

In 2015, I went with Peace News’ Emily Johns to the Hastings home of John Shaw, director of SeaChange, the ‘not for profit economic development company’ for East Sussex.

SeaChange – a private company – has been given millions of pounds of public money to ‘regenerate’ Hastings.

This ‘regeneration’ has included building the Bexhill-Hastings Link Road in the teeth of fierce local opposition (see PN 2658).

Pankaj Mishra, Bland Fanatics: Liberals, Race and Empire

01 Apr 2022

Review by Gabriel Carlyle

In 1895, Mohammed Abduh – later the grand mufti of Egypt – claimed: ‘We Egyptians believed once in English liberalism and English sympathy; but we believe no longer, for facts are stronger than words. Your liberalness we see plainly is only for yourselves, and your sympathy with us is that of the wolf for the lamb which it deigns to eat.’

Chris Coates et al, Diggers & Dreamers: Intentional Community in Britain (12th edition) and Chris Coates, A Life in Common: A Diggers & Dreamers History

01 Apr 2022

Review by Cath

The Diggers & Dreamers (D&D) editorial collective has changed membership over the years, but the format of its definitive guide to intentional community in Britain hasn’t. The 12th edition (2021) does not disappoint as the go-to source of information for those seeking a more fulfilling alternative to the nuclear family, to precarious renting or to dedicating one’s waking hours to wage slavery for a mortgage.

Having migrated online, the print version is now only issued every few years – the last one was the 25th anniversary edition in 2015.

Sue Clayton, The New Internationalists: Activist Volunteers in the European Refugee Crisis

01 Apr 2022

Review by Henrietta Cullinan

Having volunteered with a small religious group supporting homeless refugees in Calais and London, I resonated strongly with this book. In particular, it helped me to see, in hindsight, our contribution as part of an extraordinary international mobilisation of volunteers endeavouring to provide refugees and migrants with on-the-ground help.

The book is divided geographically into ‘flashpoints’; places where refugees and migrants gathered to cross borders or found their journey across Europe blocked by governments’ policies.

Phil Miller (dir), Warton’s War on Yemen

01 Apr 2022

Review by Gabriel Carlyle

In their classic 1988 book Manufacturing Consent, Edward Herman and Noam Chomsky write that: ‘A propaganda system will consistently portray people abused by enemy states as worthy victims, whereas those treated with equal or greater severity by its own government or clients will be unworthy. The evidence of worth may be read from the extent and character of attention and indignation....

Peter B Kaufman, The New Enlightenment and the Fight to Free Knowledge

01 Apr 2022

Review by Callum Alexander Scott

Kaufman, a documentary producer who works at the Office of Open Learning at MIT (the top science and technology university in the US), begins by establishing what he calls the ‘Monsterverse’. This is a somewhat vague but playful concept that covers all of the interests (both state and private) engaged in a ‘relentless effort to crush freedom of thought, independent thinking, expertise’ and the general spread of ‘free access to knowledge’.

Chris Saltmarsh, Burnt: Fighting for Climate Justice

01 Apr 2022

Review by Ian Sinclair

Though he doesn’t mention it in this book, I imagine activist Chris Saltmarsh is a big fan of the Chico Mendes quote that often appears on Twitter: ‘Environmentalism Without Class Struggle is Just Gardening.’

For Saltmarsh, ‘the root cause of climate change is our system of organising the economy and our relationship to nature: capitalism.’ With the ruling class profiting most from the crisis, he notes the resistance of capital is ‘perhaps the biggest barrier to climate justice.’

Radical music: 'Poost Vsegda Boodyet Solnste'

01 Apr 2022

Comment by Penny Stone

'It is banned in Russia, and you can be fined for singing it. Such is the danger of song.'

I have a postcard above my desk of a photo Lee Miller captured of the opera singer Irmgard Seefried. She is singing an aria from Puccini’s Madame Butterfly in the bombed-out remains of the Vienna opera house in 1945. The image embodies the words of the cellist of Sarajevo, Vedran Smailović, when asked how he could continue to play music when bombs are being dropped all around: ‘No, the question is how can people drop bombs when there is such beautiful music?’

Beyond the barricades

01 Apr 2022

Comment by Ambrose Musiyiwa

Ambrose Musiyiwa exposes the racism directed at Africans and other people of colour trying to flee Ukraine

‘There’s a segregation that’s happening at the borders,’ Tokunbo Koiki* told ITV News on 27 February. The Nigerian Londoner added: ‘White Ukrainians have been allowed in[to neighbouring countries] with open arms, and blankets. This is the anti-blackness that is global. So even within a war, even within being under siege, we still have racism.’

Among the millions who have been fleeing Ukraine since the Russian invasion began on 24 February have been international students from Africa, the Middle East and South Asia.

Diary: 'Co-operation makes it happen!'

01 Apr 2022

Comment by Cath

Our Leeds cooperator puts her trust in the joyful anti-authoritarians!

I seem to have fallen into a never-ending recruitment drive – not satisfied with the ongoing search for commune members, or the renewed need to fill vacancies in my housing co-op, nor even the unusual situation of shortlisting and interviewing for a Radical Routes contract, I’ve found myself accepting a job recruiting people into a new housing co-op. For many hours a week.

Just in case the craziness of that sentence didn’t sink in – I am being paid (paid!) to help set up a housing co-op, and I (a non-member) am recruiting the new members who will set it up.

What else

01 Apr 2022

Comment by Rebecca Elson-Watkins

Rebecca Elson-Watkins celebrates the London LGBTQ+ Community Centre

I am a sixth-generation Londoner, on my father’s side. It is home, in every sense of the word. Yet London can be a lonely place; try and strike up a conversation on the bus or in most cafes and chances are, you’ll be rewarded with a funny look or a raised eyebrow 

(I personally favour the latter, for the record).

There are few places where this rule doesn’t hold true, and they are beyond precious.

Poynted remarks

01 Apr 2022

Comment by Claire Poyner

Our columnist takes aim at 'whataboutery'

Yeah, so: ‘whataboutery’; where people argue that we shouldn’t campaign on a certain issue by asking ‘What about the men?’ or ‘What about poor white people?’ and so on.

‘When’s it International Men’s Day?’ used to be a common complaint on 8 March. I hope by now most people know that’s on 19 November. And every other day of the year, of course.

It’s only certain issues of course. Nobody whines ‘What about those with heart disease?’ when people are fundraising for charities campaigning, and researching into, other diseases like cancer.