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2 August 2022 Milan Rai

Johnson was an international criminal, not just a liar, argues Milan Rai

All year, it has been infuriating to watch the debate about Boris Johnson as pressure built up against the British prime minister until he was finally forced from office on 7 July by his own party – which believed he would damage its chances of winning the next election.

Johnson was sacked by the Conservatives for his personal weaknesses, such as dishonesty and irresponsibility. This was what the media also focused on. Near the liberal extreme, the Guardian editorial on his…

2 August 2022 Milan Rai

Milan Rai remembers a campaigner who was 'human decency turned into a human being'

There are activists who are respected or admired, and there are activists who are loved. Bruce was loved, he was beloved.

Bruce Kent was human decency turned into a human being.

For people of my generation, who came of age in the 1980s, Bruce was a beacon of sanity in a terrifying world. He was the voice of the peace movement: direct, honest and completely fearless.

He has continued to be that beacon of sanity and common sense.

Pat Gaffney, one of Bruce’s close…

1 August 2022 Andrea Needham

No 4 in our series about tackling SeaChange, a destructive quango in East Sussex  

Despite the huge sums of money that had been thrown at SeaChange Sussex, most people in Hastings were unaware of its existence.

SeaChange, the private company which had received millions of pounds of public money to ‘regenerate’ Hastings in East Sussex, including building the much-hated Bexhill-Hastings Link Road (see PN 2658), preferred to keep it that way.

I once went to a ‘consultation’ about yet another new road that SeaChange was building across yet another piece…

1 August 2022 Penny Stone

'The clocks are turning back now, and everyone must add their voice to the chorus'

Just as the election of Trump caused ripples of increased racism and misogyny the whole world over, so the overturning of Roe v Wade by the US supreme court on 24 June has empowered those who seek to restrict women’s access to reproductive healthcare far beyond the borders of the USA.

In Scotland, there has been a sharp and necessary increase in campaigning to introduce buffer zones around reproductive health centres so that women do not have to face harassment when accessing…

1 August 2022 Ambrose Musiyiwa

Ambrose Musiyiwa speaks to Korrine Sky about the plight of African students who were studying in Ukraine

‘There was a hierarchy of “Ukrainians first, Indians next and Africans last” in who was allowed to leave the war zone’, says Korrine Sky, a Zimbabwean British citizen who was a second-year medical student in Dnipro, in eastern Ukraine, when the war broke out.

Getting out of Ukraine was extremely difficult for African students, but, according to Sky, it was the easy part compared to the challenge that followed: ensuring they can continue with and finish their studies.

Sky, who…

1 August 2022 Mines and Communities

Researcher and activist who spent 40 years holding international mining companies accountable

Vegan before it became fashionable, Roger Moody was a Peace News co-editor in the late 1960s and early 1970s. He went on to become a mining researcher and activist. For over 40 years, he was crucial to the process of building global alliances in the struggle to hold multinational mining companies accountable for the social and ecological consequences of their activities.

One of Roger’s endearing, if frustrating, characteristics, was his unwillingness to reveal his age: he was…

1 August 2022 Claire Poyner

Greenham veteran who became the first out trans man to stand for Parliament

My friend Charlie died aged 56 of an incurable hereditary lung condition, idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis. Charlie was kind, thoughtful, loved a laugh and could always be relied upon to go out for a curry and a beer or two, health permitting.

Charlie was born in London in 1965 to a Colombian mother and a father with Hungarian heritage. He later embraced the Colombian heritage of his mother, Marta Lombard, an artist. He visited relatives in Bogotá, learned Spanish and became the proud…

1 August 2022 Cath

Our Leeds co-operator senses a window of opportunity closing

So I tried to leave my co-op bubble.

I’ve been living and working in my lovely co-op community for nearly 30 years – a very comfy setup where my cost of living is super-low, so I don’t have to worry about working very much for money, I’ve never had a credit card and never taken out a loan, I’ve never been personally liable for utility bills or worried about whether there’s enough money for food or whether we can afford to heat or fix the house.

For over 20 years I’ve been my…

1 August 2022 Rebecca Elson-Watkins

We need to listen to autistic people, says Rebecca Elson-Watkins

In mid-May, after a three-year wait (made a year longer by COVID-19) I was diagnosed with autism.

What a relief! After 36 years of feeling like ‘an odd duck’, answers!

A friend of mine once wrote in his blog: ‘self-reflection doesn’t have to be the bastard child of tragedy’. It’s a good way to explain why I started the journey of an ‘official’ autism diagnosis; it is part of my own self-reflection. It is for me.

Medical diagnosis is a privilege only afforded to me…

1 August 2022 Claire Poyner

Our columnist reflects on US gun culture

‘Guns don’t kill people – people do.’ ‘The only thing that will stop a Bad Guy with a gun is a Good Guy with a gun.’ ‘If only all those teachers had been armed, no children would have died.’

No doubt you’ve recently heard these and similar statements. Oh, and not forgetting ‘Thoughts and Prayers’.

I think some people, well, let’s be honest, we’re talking about Americans here, have unrealistic expectations of what their guns can do.

I do wonder if some people believe that…

1 August 2022 Emma Sangster

Hard-line communist who vigiled against apartheid and travelled to Iraq as a 'human shield'

Eric was a passionate campaigner for peace, justice and human rights who was active until the last weeks of his life.

Born in Syria and partly educated in Canada, Eric was a teacher by profession. He often got into trouble for his encouragement of political thinking in the classroom and was fired on more than one occasion.

PN news editor David Polden first met Eric in the 1970s when they were both supply teachers in a primary school in Hackney. Eric was always a hard-…

1 June 2022 Milan Rai

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 June 2022 David Polden

Life-long socialist and campaigner

I got to know Bunny during Kick Nuclear’s ‘Remember Fukushima: No to Nuclear Power in the UK’ weekly Friday vigils outside the Japanese embassy which began in August 2012. (They are now twice-monthly.)

Bunny was a regular participant in this vigil from 2013 to 2021. He sat on a chair by the embassy entrance in all weathers giving leaflets to embassy visitors and passers-by. Towards the end of 2021, he decided the winter weather was getting too much for him, but said he would return in…

1 June 2022 Andrea Needham

No 3 in our series about tackling SeaChange, a destructive quango in East Sussex

‘You idiot. You naive, foolish, irresponsible nincompoop. There is really no description of stupidity, no matter how vivid, that is adequate. I quake at the imbecility of it.’

These are the words Tony Blair – not known for self-flagellation – uses in his memoir, A Journey, to describe his decision in 2005 to finally allow the Freedom of Information (FoI) Act to come into force.

When Blair was leader of the opposition, he pledged that if Labour came to power, he would…

1 June 2022 Penny Stone

'What filled my heart so much this May Day was being able to see the solidarity.'

Many of us met in person this year for our first May Day together since 2019. And let me tell you, it was pretty darn exciting!

There were singers, CND marchers, Extinction Rebellion campaigners, pipe bands, young socialists, abortion rights campaigners, Living Rent campaigners, Ukraine Solidarity, young communists, samba drummers, the Radical Independence Campaign, anarchists, and even a gaggle of mummers.

And, of course, there were folk from lots of different unions, with a…

1 June 2022 Ambrose Musiyiwa

Ambrose Musiyiwa talks poetry and children's books with storyteller Sandra A Agard

When I was growing up,’ says poet and storyteller, Sandra A Agard, ‘there was hardly any Black Literature. I mean, one of the first diverse books I ever read was Little Black Sambo. It was a horrible book. But it was the only book available in my school and public library with a Black main character. I hated the story. I hated the images. I even hated the paper it was written on, it had this awful smell; but it was the only book around at that time’

Agard herself started…

1 June 2022 Ria Patel

Ria Patel becomes the first non-binary councillor ever elected in Croydon

The long wait to see if Croydon would elect its first Green councillors was nerve-wracking. After all the leaflets had been delivered and hundreds of residents had been spoken to, all the campaigning that we could do was done.

At the count, the mayoral ballots were counted first, so I was expecting to have to wait a while before ballot papers for the council elections were counted.

As the delays continued, I thought it might be daylight before the results were announced on…

1 June 2022 Rebecca Elson-Watkins

The Government needs to stop gaslighting those suffering from 'invisible illnesses' like Gulf War Syndrome, argues Rebecca Elson Watkins

On 11 May, thousands of veterans of the First Gulf War of 1991, those affected with Gulf War Syndrome, were vindicated.

After over 30 years of official denial and gaslighting, the cause of the veterans’ suffering has finally been identified: sarin gas.

Odourless, tasteless and wildly fatal (a few drops on bare skin can kill), sarin is one of the most toxic chemical weapons known to humankind. Unknown amounts of sarin (and other chemical weapons) were released into Iraqi air…

1 June 2022 Claire Poyner

Why conscientious objection still matters in 2022

I’ve been a member of the International Conscientious Objectors’ Day organising group for a few years now.

The idea of having a stone dedicated to conscientious objectors to war (COs) began in 1976. After considerable efforts by Edna Mathieson, eventually the stone was unveiled at 2pm on 15 May 1994 in Tavistock Square, Central London. It was unveiled by the composer sir Michael Tippett, the president of the Peace Pledge Union (PPU), who had been imprisoned during the Second World War…

1 April 2022 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…