News in brief

DSEI 2023 needs you!

Preparations have started for the days of action against the Defence and Security Equipment International arms fair (DSEI), to be held in East London in September 2023.

The Stop the Arms Fair (STAF) coalition had a day-long planning meeting on 24 September at Friends House by Euston, London, with about 40 people.

It was decided to set up a number of working groups which will meet on Zoom, in order to be able to include people from around the UK.

If you’d like to join the work, please choose a working group. To receive a list of groups, including local in-person groups, email STAF, telling them where you live:

Co-ops need your pen!

Co-operatives, mutuals and friendly societies need legal safeguards to protect their assets, and remove incentives for demutualisers who would like to profit from putting them on the stock market and making them shareholder-owned rather than member-owned.

That’s one of the aims of the Co-operatives, Mutuals and Friendly Societies Bill 2022, which will be presented to the house of commons on 28 October.

The sponsors are asking both individuals and businesses to lobby their MPs to support the bill. More info: PO Box 71312, London SE17 9DL

Rosebank needs you!

British prime minister Liz Truss and her new government are planning to approve a massive new oilfield in the North Sea: Rosebank.

If it went ahead, Rosebank’s annual CO2 emissions would be more than those of the 28 lowest-income countries in the world combined.

#StopRosebank, the new campaign from the people who brought you the successful #StopCambo movement, has launched a petition aimed at Truss and her business secretary, Jacob Rees-Mogg:

Jerusalem needs you!

On 21 September, British prime minister Liz Truss let it be known she is considering moving the UK embassy in Israel to Jerusalem.

Israel illegally annexed Palestinian East Jerusalem in 1980 (which it followed by illegally annexing Syria’s Golan Heights in 1981), just as Russia is now annexing Ukrainian territory.

To register your opposition to this official encouragement of Israel’s illegal occupation of Palestinian territory, please sign the petition from War on Want (020 7324 5040) and send your MP the letter from Palestine Solidarity Campaign (020 7700 6192):

Recruit researchers!

In April, there’s going to be a (free) online conference for peace researchers held by the new Journal of Pacifism and Nonviolence (edited by Christian anarchist Alexandre Christoyannopoulos):

Every paper is needed two weeks in advance; all participants will read all the papers and take part in the whole workshop.

The deadline for 150-word ‘abstracts’ (proposals for papers) is 16 November; you’ll hear back by 30 November. Send your abstract (with your name and affiliation) to:

Rights censored

This summer, the UK hosted a conference of more than 20 countries on ‘freedom of religion and belief’. The conference statement included a commitment to repeal laws that ‘restrict women’s and girls’... sexual and reproductive health and rights [and] bodily autonomy’.

However, when the UK published the official text, these words were missing, and Malta, which was not at the conference, had been added to the list of signatories. Abortion is illegal in Malta.

More than 20 human rights, pro-choice and international aid groups, including Amnesty International, have protested.

Vigil victory!

In early August, the crown prosecution service (CPS) notified lawyers that it had dropped charges of breaching COVID lockdown rules against six people arrested during the Sarah Everard vigil on Clapham Common, London, on 13 March 2021.

The CPS said it was not in the public interest to proceed.

One of the six women, Dania Al-Obeid, is launching a legal action against the Metropolitan police over its policing of the vigil (she was handcuffed after arrest).

Dania signed a police caution in custody without realising – she was not told by police – that she was admitting guilt and would receive a criminal record as a result. This was overturned, and the case was passed to the CPS, who have now dropped it.

Recruit the youth!

Yorkshire CND is exploring new ways to recruit young people. Their intern, Dylan, led events in late September, during Freshers’ Weeks at some Yorkshire-based universities: Bradford, Huddersfield, Leeds, Leeds Beckett and York.

This ran alongside a national offer of free membership of Youth & Student CND for a limited period in late September.

Events in Yorkshire included a screening of The Dawn of Kaiju Eiga, a documentary on the nuclear background to the making of Godzilla, alongside the original Godzilla film.

More info:

No worries!

Animal Rebellion, the animal rights arm of Extinction Rebellion, has been busy organising in-person nonviolent direct action (NVDA) trainings, which they describe as ‘one of the most important and valuable parts of taking action with Animal Rebellion’.

Over 1 – 2 October, Animal Rebellion held 15 NVDA sessions across the UK, from Plymouth to Glasgow, and from Aberystwyth to York.

Yes, minister?

On 7 August, 150 protesters entered – and opened up to the public – the 12,000-acre Englefield estate, the largest private estate in West Berkshire.

Englefield belongs to Richard Benyon, the minister for rural affairs and biosecurity since May 2021, who is in charge of our ‘access to nature’.

The campaigners sent an open letter to lord Benyon asking him to open up his estate to the public. (Less than 10 percent of England’s land allows free access to the public.)

According to the Ramblers Association, there are ‘lost footpaths’ on Benyon’s estate.

How and why to trespass:

Happy 40th!

This December, Aldermaston Women’s Peace Camp are celebrating the 40th anniversary of ‘the most powerful women-only event ever’. On 12 December 1982, 30,000 women held hands along the nine-mile fence around the Greenham Common cruise missile base: ‘Embrace the Base’.

From 9–11 December, Aldermaston Women’s Peace Camp will be marking the anniversary, weaving webs (bring wool), at their legal campsite outside the Aldermaston nuclear bomb factory.

For more details, look up ‘Aldermaston Women’s Peace Camp’ on Facebook or phone 07852 293 386.

Happy 4,600!

Campaign Nonviolence have a list of over 4,600 marches, rallies and other public events that have been planned for their annual Days of Action this autumn. (The Days go from 21 September, International Day of Peace, to 2 October, International Day of Nonviolence.)

The events mostly take place in the US, but there are two entries for the UK. Don’t Bank on the Bomb Scotland leafleted students on 26 September and the Positively Empowered Kids Festival took place at Nottingham Racecourse the day before (they claimed 100 peace actions took place at the festival).

Pax Christi International’s Catholic Nonviolence Initiative held 100 actions around the world during their ‘Catholic Nonviolence Days of Action’.

More info: