Editorial

1 June 2022Comment

Recent events confirm that peace activism is the real counter-terrorism, argues Milan Rai

This may be a little difficult to believe. In the latest terror trial in the UK, the defendant put forward the kind of legal argument that we often see in peace movement nonviolent direct action cases: he was trying to prevent a greater crime... with his crime.

Since the 7/7 atrocities in London on 7 July 2005, there has been a string of terror attacks in the UK inspired by al-Qa’eda and/or Islamic State.

These attacks tend to have three features in common that aren’t often…

1 April 2022Comment

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…

1 February 2022Comment

International sanctions are starving ordinary Afghans

Some 23 million people in extreme hunger. A million children under five in immediate danger of starvation.

This is not a natural disaster. It is a horrifying case of the United States taking an entire nation hostage and torturing an entire people.

Dominik Stillhart, director of operations for the International Committee of the Red Cross, told Agence France-Presse last November that the economic sanctions ‘meant to punish those in power in Kabul are instead freezing millions of…

1 December 2021Comment

You may not know this, but there was a whole 14-paragraph section of the Glasgow agreement dealing with climate-related ‘loss and damage’.

The Guardian reported that this was ‘perhaps the most bitterly fought section of all’.

The phrase ‘loss and damage’ first appeared when the original UN Framework Convention on Climate Change was being drawn up in 1991.

The Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS) asked for an international insurance pool to be created to ‘…

1 October 2021Comment

Milan Rai pieces together the story of a crucial moment in the Cuban Missile Crisis

Nine years ago, we wrote about a Russian naval officer named Vasili Arkhipov who saved the world.

We’ve learned since then that the story of Arkhipov’s role in the Cuban Missile Crisis was a little more complicated than we thought. Even so, it is clear that Arkhipov played a key role in preventing a confrontation at sea turning into global nuclear war.

On 27 October 1962, 12 US warships surrounded a submerged Soviet submarine, the B-59, a began dropping hand grenades…

1 August 2021Comment

Stop the spread of speedy, more lethal, vaccine-resistant variants

England is entering a dangerous period. British prime minister Boris Johnson is knowingly creating the perfect conditions to breed stronger variants of COVID-19 that can overcome the vaccine.

A group of experts warned in a letter to the medical journal, the Lancet on 7 July that the complete lifting of almost all COVID restrictions in England on 19 July was ‘dangerous and premature’.

One of the concerns of the expert group was the long-term health of the millions of…

20 July 2021Comment

'If you have come here to help me, you are wasting your time.'

I’m writing this as we’re approaching the first anniversary of the killing of George Floyd, and I’m thinking about racism and anti-racism and solidarity.

There’s a thing that a lot of activists call ‘being an ally’ or ‘allyship’. What this means is that you’re not the target of a particular oppression, but you want to challenge that oppression and be actively on the side of people who are the direct targets of that oppression.

So, for example, there was a wave of solidarity…

4 July 2021Comment

How can white anti-racists stay motivated for the long struggle ahead?

I hope that you found the Whiteness issue useful. I have one more thing to say to white readers, to folk who want to prioritise anti-racism.

If you are a white person who aims to be in this for the long haul, then you may need to dig deep and find some ways that you personally can benefit from the rooting out of racism.

White US philosopher Shannon Sullivan ends her thought-provoking book on White Privilege by pointing out that there are problems with white people…

11 December 2020Comment

It’s only by rooting out racism and establishing genuine equality and racial justice that we'll be able to bring about deep changes in our society, argues Milan Rai

‘I have quit a large organisation I’ve belonged to for many years, for various reasons, but their unthinking public support for the BLM slogan finally made up my mind.... If I was a member of the ruling class, I’d be very happy with the BLM movement from a “divide and conquer” perspective.’

‘I, personally, have not [taken part in any activities related to Black Lives Matter] because I think that George Soros has a sinister hand in B>L>M.’

‘True grassroots activists know…

11 December 2020Comment

Racism and colonialism are at the heart of the peace movement's main issues, argues Milan Rai

Imagine that you’ve just packed a whole lot of people into a crowded hall for a public meeting you’ve organised.... And then you get the feeling that behind you is yet another person who wants to get in, who you’re somehow going to have to squeeze into standing at the back of the room.

Imagine a situation when you realise that, actually, this extra person who you sensed was there – an indigenous woman from Indonesia maybe, perhaps an Iraqi man from the southern marshes, someone of…

9 December 2020Comment

We need to remember the real history of Britain's nuclear 'deterrent' argues Milan Rai

There is a powerful taboo in British culture around the connection between nuclear weapons and intervention in the Global South.

There is no official ban on discussing this link, but historians and journalists censor themselves, as predicted by the Chomsky–Herman Propaganda Model of the mass media and Western culture more generally.

Unfortunately, this taboo also affects the British peace movement.

I don’t think that the peace movement here has even begun to digest the…

18 September 2020Comment

Doing the right thing isn't always the same as doing the thing that makes you feel right, argues Milan Rai

The other day, a friend told me she was sick of being bombarded with evangelical veganism on Facebook.

Posts that feel like they’re saying: ‘If you don’t become vegan, you personally are destroying the climate!’ ‘You must become vegan! Or you are a bad person!’

‘I got a message like that,’ she said, ‘and I suddenly had a very strong urge to eat a bacon sandwich. I don’t even eat bacon! I’ve maybe eaten one bacon sandwich in my life!’

Having done a lot of urgent-…

1 June 2020Comment

Gabriel Carlyle examines the possibilities - for good and bad - opened up by the mother of all 'trigger events' 

For all its horrors, the coronavirus pandemic has created a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for a shift to a more equitable, socially just, climate-resilient and zero-carbon world – if we can grasp it. The current wave of protests in support of #BlackLivesMatter – and the groundwork that campaigners have laid for them over the past six years – provide crucial pointers as to how we might do this.

In …

1 December 2019Comment

A democratic and unifying way of sorting out the Brexit crisis

Tim Reckmann from Hamm, Deutschland [CC BY 2.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)]

Here is a proposal for dealing with Brexit that does something for Leavers and for Remainers – and does it democratically. It can be put into action either after we leave the EU or while we’re still stuck in this half-way-divorced phase.

This is a two-part plan. It would take time. It’s not simple, but it’s thorough.

1 October 2019Comment

We need to work across the Leave-Remain divide, argues Milan Rai

ChiralJon [CC BY 2.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)]

The Brexit process has passed from the farcical into the surreal. Things are happening which would have seemed unbelievable only weeks ago.

British parliamentary democracy seems to be discrediting itself. Is that a good thing or a bad thing, from a nonviolent anarchist point of view?

A lot of the chaos is the result of the government…