Interview

13 August 2011Feature

PN: OK, so tell us a bit about your background -- how and why you got into the military and about your personal journey.

AW: Well I joined the military right after I graduated from college, mainly because I wanted

13 August 2011Feature

In February Peace News caught up with Steve Staples Chair of the International Network on Disarmament and Globalisation and talked with him about the value of a network aimed at bridging movements.

How and when did the INDG come into being?

The International Network on Disarmament and Globalisation formed at the Hague Appeal for Peace conference in May 1999. It arose out of a panel discussion on the Militarisation of the Global Economy, which was standing-room only.

Following the forum, a small meeting was held to continue the discussion and better educate the peace movement about the effects of globalisation on our peace work. (My speech at that Hague…

13 August 2011Feature

PN In the book you don’t embrace or push any single ideology. Why?

NK For this book, I did not want to be arguing for a particular ideology except democracy. This book is really about democracy, about how democracy has systematically been sabotaged through the harnessing of shocks and crises to bypass democracy.
So the extent to which I’m drumming away at any ideology, it really is deep democracy, participatory democracy.
The closest I ever came to focussing squarely on…

13 August 2011Feature

Noam Chomsky, one of the world’s leading radical commentators, was interviewed about the financial crisis, Obama and Palin by Simone Bruno for ZNet on 13 October.

Simone Bruno I would like to talk about the current crisis. How is it that so many people could see it coming, but the people in charge of governments and economies didn’t, or didn’t prepare?

Noam Chomsky Since financial liberalisation was instituted about thirty-five years ago, there has been a trend of increasing regularity of crises and deeper crises, and the reasons are intrinsic and understood.

So, for example, if you and I make a transaction, say you sell me a…

13 August 2011Feature

A member of Plane Stupid, Tamsin Omond, 23, is the media’s favourite eco-activist. She co-founded the women-led climate action group Climate Rush, which uses visual references from the suffragette campaigns. PN columnist Maya Evans, 29, an anti-war activist and first person to be prosecuted under SOCPA, met Tamsin to share thoughts across movements.

Routes into the movement
ME. My route into the movement started with anti-war campaigning back around 2003, with the run-up to the Iraq war. In late 2003, I decided to move down to Hastings and work for Justice Not Vengeance for a little while and then I ended up staying there.

TO. I was a bit young, I went on the big march but maybe I was something like 15. I definitely feel that the whole thing of creative protest, like your protest and the way we protest, is kinda like a…

13 August 2011Feature

The British campaign against climate chaos moved into a new phase on 4 August when Paul Morozzo became the first climate activist to be imprisoned. PN interviewed him after his release.

On 4 August, the first day of Climate Camp, Paul Morozzo, 41, was one of five environmental activists to publicly defy bail conditions banning him from attending the camp, knowing this could lead to days, perhaps weeks of imprisonment. Paul was arrested at an entrance to the Camp (the others were able to enter, apparently because of police incompetence) and served a week in prison. He was released by Selby magistrates on 11 August. He is believed to be the first person in Britain to be…

13 August 2011Feature

PN interviews critic of pacifism, Derrick Jensen.

Over the last few years there has been a growing critique in the West of committed nonviolence (see the G8 article on the Wales page). There are now at least three English-language books whose main purpose is to criticise nonviolence.

The key text is Ward Churchill's Pacifism as Pathology (1986) which has had a number of responses, including by George Lakey (available online).

The latest addition is Peter Gelderloos's How Nonviolence Protects the State (…

13 August 2011Feature

In 1998, Denis Halliday, the then Chief UN relief co-ordinator for Iraq, resigned his post in protest at the impact of continued economic sanctions on the civilian population. Kathy Kelly is a veteran US peace campaigner, currently best known for her role as joint co-ordinator of the sanctions-busting group Voices in the Wilderness (US). In July both visited Britain to speak at the "Re-energise" anti-sanctions conference held in London. Peace News caught up with them for a chat.

PN: Denis, in your 1998 resignation speech at Harvard you made some very unequivocal statements about the impact of sanctions on children in Iraq. Do you feel that these widely reported statements, with their emphasis on children, have constructed the agenda for anti-sanctions campaigners and activists worldwide?

Denis: I think my resignation and departure—endorsed 18 months later by Hans von Sponeck—has certainly opened up the dialogue, and has made it easier for other…

13 August 2011Feature

On the 15th anniversary of the tragic death of Petra Kelly in October 1992, Jill Evans (Chair of CND Cymru, and deputy leader of and an MEP for the Welsh national party, Plaid Cymru) explains how she was inspired by this founding member of the German Greens.

KM: How do themes of peace, justice and environment come to be at the centre of your political life?

JE: I went to Aberystwyth University where I joined Plaid Cymru and became involved in anti-nuclear meetings and the movement against the dumping of waste in Wales.

I went back to the Rhonda in 1980 and we set up Rhonda CND. It was huge - we had more members than the Labour party! It was the same across the country; CND branches set up everywhere. I've been…

13 August 2011Feature

The struggle for democratic grassroots control of the economy has a long history, even in Britain. During the 1960s and 1970s, Ken Coates was at the heart of the movement for workers' self-management at one of its most vibrant periods.

PN: Looking over the postwar period in Britain, is there one experience that stands out as an inspiring advance towards workers' control and industrial democracy?
KC: The obvious thing is the UCS [in June 1971]. The government decided to rationalise the shipyards and close down the Upper Clyde Shipbuilders [with the likely loss of over 6,000 jobs]. The workers announced a work-in, that they wouldn't accept dismissal, and they'd work on and appeal for money from the labour…

13 August 2011Feature

This is one interview from Marina Sitrin's new book Horizontalism: Voices of Popular Power in Argentina, based on two years talking to the people who have taken over factories and neighbourhoods in response to the Argentinian crisis.

We are all older women here [at Brukman, an occupied textile factory], almost all of us are over 40, and our only source of employment is this factory. What we know how to do is work with the machines that are inside.

Because of this whole experience I have now begun to wonder why the worker always has to keep quiet? The boss doesn't pay you, the boss owes you money, and you're the one that has to leave, to hang your head and go.

Well, we made the decision that we weren't going…

13 August 2011Feature

Author and campaigner Mark Lynas has spent years travelling the world investigating climate change. With a new book out, in which he explains his discoveries and proposes ideas for action, PN caught up with Mark and asked him about the wide-ranging impact climate change is beginning to have on our planet and, in particular, in relation to the rising seas.

PN: Tell us a bit about yourself: your background and how you got interested in climate change issues?

 

ML: I've been fascinated by the natural world since I can remember - especially untouched places like mountains. I think the realisation of so much wild beauty being destroyed was my first impetus.

When I was at university I edited an environment page in the student newspaper, and I remember being furious about the M3 [motorway] cutting at Twyford Down at the time -…

13 August 2011Feature

PN: In February 2000, after more than 30 years of working for the UN you resigned to protest the sanctions on Iraq. Why?

H: If we reported on the humanitarian situation it was ignored. If we tried to suggest measures that would improve the flow of humanitarian supplies either it wasn't acted upon or only with much delay.

When we reported on the conditions in Iraq, the US State Department and the British Foreign Office would give a totally different interpretation even though…

13 August 2011Feature

Established in 1977, the Revolutionary Association of the Women of Afghanistan (RAWA) is an independent women’s organisation fighting for human rights and social justice in Afghanistan. RAWA opposed the Soviet invasion and occupation of Afghanistan from 1979-89, as well as the subsequent mujahideen and Taliban governments, running underground schools for Afghan girls, publishing a journal and setting up humanitarian projects. Mariam Rawi, a member of RAWA’s foreign relations committee,…

13 August 2011Feature

PN interviews the legendary co-founder of Food Not Bombs

Born in 1957, American activist Keith McHenry is one of the founding members of Food Not Bombs, a revolutionary movement that works for nonviolent social change by serving surplus food to the public that would otherwise be thrown away or go to waste. Established in 1980 by eight anti-nuclear activists in Boston, Food Not Bombs has served food to rescue workers responding to the attacks on 9/11, to survivors of hurricane Katrina and the Asian tsunami and to the tent city protestors during the…