From the archives

24 January 2012Comment

A look-back at PN's (in)famous national gatherings.

National gatherings of PN readers have taken place in many guises over the years - for much of the 1970s the regular events (sometimes every few months) were called “potlatches”. (“A potlatch is a gift-giving festival and primary economic system practiced by indigenous peoples of the Pacific Northwest Coast of Canada and United States” – Wikipedia.) Here, Dave Cunliffe, a poet and long-time friend of Peace News from Blackburn, reports on a winter meeting:

Friday night 9pm, tomatoes…

1 December 2011Comment

Churches, schools and peace

Fasting not feasting

[Activists over a range of issues can find themselves less than welcome at famous churches.]

RI Jeffrey reports: "Pacifism is a political attitude and it is not our job to support it." Thus said the Dean of York in refusing his permission for the York Pacifist Group to hold a fasting vigil inside York Minster, from 7pm on Christmas Eve until midnight on Christmas Day, as a protest against war and the use of violence.

Not to worry - and…

1 November 2011Comment

Peace News 55 years ago

[While conscription continued in the years after the Second World War, PN had regular coverage of the treatment of those refusing to join the military.]

The London local tribunal for conscientious objectors has frequently stated that it cannot exempt a man who does not object to all war, at all times, in all circumstances. But it did so last Friday.

Max Neufeld, an architect, who came to England in his childhood as a refugee, argued that the military defence strategy…

1 October 2011Comment

The inability of the Labour Party to come together round a genuinely progressive vision of the world, especially over issues of peace and war, has a long pedigree.  

In listening to ... the Chairman of the Labour Party, one gets the impression that there is no more important goal in politics today than achieving unity in the Labour Party. The answers to the questions that are dividing members of the party are really of secondary importance so long as they can agree to give the same answer...

There is a great deal more discussion around the kind of policies that must be adopted to ensure electoral victory than there is about the most suitable way…

1 September 2011Comment

In an article looking back at the riots of 1985, Steve Platt considers not just the thoughts and feelings of the participants on all sides, but those of PN readers too.

Riots bring out a confusion of responses and a whole parade of paradoxes on the left and from the proponents of radical, but peaceful, political change. Much of what is said is thought but not felt, while much of what is felt remains unsaid...

The first undiscussed difficulty is the fact that the gut reaction of much of the left to news of a riot is one of support for the rioters. This is more than the “I understand but cannot condone their actions” stance of the after-riot opinion…

1 July 2011Comment

Reagan's 1986 attack on Libya and the UK peace movement's response.

On the night of Monday/Tuesday 14/15 April 1986, US aircraft bombed Libya as a response to alleged Libyan support for terrorism. The 18 April issue of (the then fortnightly) PN was already on its way to the printers when news came through; but a Stop Press supplement written on the Tuesday carried news as it came in – of the attack, and of some reactions in just the first few hours.

Peace groups respond to attack on Libya

At Upper Heyford airbase, one of the bases where the F1-…