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8 December 2022 Milan Rai

Conscientious objector, chair of Scott Bader and winner of International Peace Award

In October 2014, Second World War conscientious objector Godric Bader was awarded the Gandhi Foundation’s International Peace Award, in recognition of the alternative business model he and his family created for their industrial manufacturing company, the Scott Bader Commonwealth.

Scott Bader has been and continues to be a successful industrial manufacturing company. Being owned by its workers did not stop it reaching sales of £270mn in 2021 (with gross profits of £76mn).

1 December 2022 Penny Stone

'They always think they can silence the singer, but they can never silence the song.'

In Iran since the 1979 revolution, women have been banned from singing solo in front of men who are unrelated to them. This is just one of many restrictions forced upon Iranian women during this time.

In September, Mahsa Amini, a 22-year-old Iranian woman, died in custody after being arrested by the ‘morality police’ because her clothes were judged to be ‘revealing’. Just a few threads of her hair were visible outside the edge of her hijab.

At Mahsa’s funeral, thousands…

1 December 2022 Ambrose Musiyiwa

Ambrose Musiyiwa talks to social psychologist Jo Biglin about visualising the UK's invisible borders

‘In everyday life it’s very easy to see the borders at the edge of a nation. It literally says: “UK Border Force”. But when somebody is not going into Piccadilly Gardens [in central Manchester] because they’ve been told: “You shouldn’t go in there because you have an Afro [Afro-textured hair] and people will assume you are a drug dealer,” that’s something difficult to visualise. Photography allows us to see that. It allows us to visualise often invisible borders.’

That’s Jo Biglin, a…

1 December 2022 Cath

Our Bentley-based cooperator tries to strike a balance between idealism and dogma

I was just at my last annual Cornerstone party as a tenant member of the co-op. After my dark comic (and very middle-aged) contribution of Victoria Wood and ‘Poisoning Pigeons in the Park’ by Tom Lehrer, other younger people came on who spoke very seriously indeed.

One Colombian talked about the pain and damage of the cocaine industry on their people and how they felt about people around them disregarding that for their own pleasure.

I felt so weird – I felt like it was the…

1 December 2022 Rebecca Elson-Watkins

PTSD sucks. So, what can we do about it?

There are a lot of things I could say, write, and otherwise communicate, about Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).

But let me start with the most obvious, or at least the most obvious to me, an almost life-long sufferer.

Having PTSD fucking sucks.

There. I said it. I think a lot of my fellow sufferers would agree. It sucks all day long and twice on Sundays. It sucks long, hard, wide and sideways. It sucks upside down and inside out. It even sucks at night.

It…

1 December 2022 Claire Poyner

Our columnist takes aim at unnecessary noise

One of the ‘pleasures’ of the Peace News office location is Caledonian Road. Right at the junction with Pentonville Road at Kings Cross. So, busy. We’re right by the lights. Among the regularly-heard sounds is ‘this vehicle is turning left’ (to warn cyclists who might think it a good idea to undertake – overttake on the left at the lights).

On 10 November there was a Tube strike, so everybody who has a car decided to get in it and drive into central London. And, just to make…

1 December 2022 Richard Keeble

Quaker, diver and WW2 conscientious objector

Don Sutherland, Quaker, pacifist, conscientious objector from 1939 and a campaigner on human rights issues, died peacefully at his home in Lincoln aged 103.

Born in Coventry, Don was a member, along with Roy Broadbent (father of the actor Jim Broadbent), of the farming community at Holton-cum-Bickering and later at Bleasby, in Lincolnshire, during the Second World War.

When Ian Sharp’s play Conchies, about these pacifist communities, opened in 2017 at the Broadbent…

1 December 2022 Milan Rai

The West applies different standards to Russia than to itself

‘The deepest power is that of determining what people consider normal,’ British historian Timothy Garton Ash wrote in the Financial Times on 13 November.

The next day, British prime minister Rishi Sunak condemned Russia’s invasion of Ukraine with these words: ‘There can be no normalisation of [Russian president Vladimir] Putin’s behaviour, which has no place in the international community.’

Perhaps Sunak was referring to the massive waves of Russian missile attacks on…

1 December 2022 Gabriel Carlyle

Thirteen things I've learned visiting picket lines

For the last few months, I’ve been getting up early to join striking postal, rail and BT workers on their picket lines in Hastings. Here are some of the things I’ve learned:

1) Claps don’t pay the bills

Like the nurses, who will be striking this December, all these groups are essential workers. And now is the moment that they really need our support.

They are all being asked to take real-term pay cuts, at the same time as corporations are paying out vast sums to…

1 October 2022 Andrea Needham

The final instalment in our series about tackling a destructive quango in East Sussex

SeaChange Sussex is a private not-for-profit company which has received tens of millions of pounds of public money to ‘regenerate’ Hastings in East Sussex. Andrea Needham has been monitoring it through Seachangewatch.

I’ve been plugging away trying to expose SeaChange for many years now. And, finally, it feels as if I’m not on my own.

For years, I read minutes of meetings, put in Freedom of Information requests, wrote blogposts, and posted them on my website. I sent out press…

1 October 2022 Penny Stone

'Sometimes, making radical music is about using our creativity to help to bring people together in community to support each other to feel'

In 1923, my granny went to study at the Royal College of Music to be a piano teacher. She loved to play the piano more than almost anything, and when she married my grandfather she had to give up working. She carried on playing, but there was always a thread of sadness that she wasn’t allowed to teach. My mum was also a beautiful pianist, though for pleasure rather than profession, and she trained first as a librarian and later as a person-centred counsellor.

Before she died, I…

1 October 2022 Ambrose Musiyiwa

It's time to legalise cannabis argues Ambrose Musiyiwa

‘We should have really serious discussions about how we legalise drugs in a way that is safer and more consumer-friendly, on the one hand, but also provide safeguards for people that want to use drugs and to minimize the harm,’ says Dr Jamie Banks, a Wellcome Trust early career fellow at the University of Leicester.

Such a move would be in line with the trend currently taking place around the world that is seeing a growing number of countries move towards the legalisation, regulation…

1 October 2022 Milan Rai

A failing Prime Minister may be tempted to rally support around a military crusade

‘I did not come into politics to be a member of the Kamikaze Pilots’ Association.’

Yes, that is a Tory MP responding to the disastrous political impact of an unpopular and destabilising budget announcement from a Conservative government.

No, it’s not from September 2022.

It’s from March 1981.

Those are the words of liberal Conservative MP Cyril Townsend, making clear his opposition to chancellor Geoffrey Howe’s economy-shrinking, austerity budget. Inflation was…

1 October 2022 Milan Rai

The war in Ukraine is deepening the grave threat to future generations, argues Milan Rai

Every time the US has increased its military support for Ukraine, Russia has responded by escalating in some way.

We’re approaching a very dangerous point now, where a Russian nuclear attack starts to become a real possibility (see p7), with catastrophic consequences not just for Ukraine, but almost certainly for the world.

However, as Noam Chomsky recently pointed out to Truthout: ‘The impact of the war goes far beyond: to the millions facing starvation with the…

1 October 2022 Cath

Our Leeds-based cooperator has an inspiring six months

As the hecticness of summer recedes, the autumnal ‘new projects’ feeling has taken a real hold, despite the monarchical brake being applied. Festival stalls and workshops have generated relationships and ideas to follow up and enquiries to answer, while projects that were on a summer go-slow have risen to the top of the urgent list.

The world seems to be speeding up, and society finding it a little harder each day to hold the panic at bay. Or maybe it’s just adjusting back to life…

1 October 2022 Rebecca Elson-Watkins

It’s time to have a real conversation about abolishing the monarchy, says Rebecca Elson-Watkins

As I write this column, I am watching the state funeral of queen Elizabeth II, and my mind is boggling. The first thought is: ‘Well, this is the one thing we are “world-leading” at these days – pomp and circumstance and pageantry – at the expense of the taxpayer.’ I mean, yikes.

We are in the middle of a cost of living crisis. Thousands, if not millions, of people are genuinely afraid of either starving or freezing this winter, or both. Electricity, food, fuel – the price of…

1 October 2022 Claire Poyner

Our columnist takes aim at the monarchy

I am not and never have been, a supporter of the monarchy. I don’t come from a republican-inclined family – my mother, a firm socialist, nevertheless believed the queen to be a stabilising force, and a figurehead that the military are loyal to, making a military coup much less likely.

Oh, she would have preferred a Scandinavian or Dutch model of monarchy, with far less pomp and ceremony. She also would say two words against having a president: ‘President Thatcher’.

This is more…

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…