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1 December 2019 Penny Stone

Penny Stone surveys some of the songs being sung at the mass protests in Chile, Hong Kong and Lebanon

As we watch (and hopefully join with!) the world rising in protest to topple unjust and unequal political systems, of course there are songs being sung.

In Chile and in the Chilean diaspora community in recent weeks there have been literally thousands of renditions of Victor Jara’s beautiful ‘El Derecho De Vivir En Paz’ (‘The Right to Live in Peace’).

Originally written in solidarity with the North Vietnamese in 1971 and dedicated to Ho Chi Minh, the final verse sings…

1 December 2019 Claire Poyner

'Making some statements out loud causes them to be true, did you know?'

Facts are facts! Or are they?

Maybe it’s just more noticeable in these days of the internet and social media.

Back in the day, I remember people (well, men mainly, but women did believe them) saying ‘feminists are all man-haters’ and the like.

Here’s another: ‘The socialists (meaning the Labour Party, more social democrats than socialist, but still) want to ban private property:…

1 December 2019 Catherine Bann

Cath Bann is caught up in the maelstrom

I never made an actual decision to join XR Peace; I was caught up in the maelstrom that is Angie Zelter. One minute I was in a meeting about blockading DSEi, the next we were discussing the finer details of using Yorkshire CND’s mock Trident missile to block the MoD on the Embankment on 7 October.

I hadn’t previously been involved in Extinction Rebellion as I had little time and some misgivings. These stemmed from the fact that I broadly share Peace News’ critique of XR,…

1 December 2019 Bruce Kent

A different kind of life is possible

Greetings to everyone. This, at least for a time, is my last ‘As I Please’. Don’t burst into tears. I’ve just passed 90. There must be a young 80- or 70-year-old with significant things to say about peace and our way forward. Better still, a 20- or 30-year-old with fresh eyes and ideas.

Before signing off, I would like to say how valuable Peace News is. It’s readable, international and interesting. Thanks to all on the team, especially our very modest editor.

Anyway, I’…

1 December 2019 Lotte Reimer

Feminist and peace activist who wrote books on

Photo: Lotte Reimer

Cynthia was born in rural Leicestershire. At the age of 19, she moved to London where she worked as a typist for the home office and became personal assistant to Anthony Eden (foreign secretary and later prime minister).

Cynthia’s interest in politics began when, aged 21 and working in the foreign office in Bangkok, Thailand, she learned about the Chinese revolution and decided to visit the country.

Informed by the UK chargé d’affaires that…

1 December 2019 Milan Rai

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 December 2019 PN staff

Cartoonist and life-long anarchist who exposed a corrupt London police officer

Life-long anarchist cartoonist Donald Rooum will perhaps be remembered best for his Wildcat cartoons about anarchism and the anarchist movement – and for the quick-witted actions that led to the exposure of the corrupt London police officer, Harold Challenor, in 1963 (see our last issue for details).

Born and raised in a working-class family in Bradford, Donald came across anarchism during a day trip to London, at Speakers’ Corner in Hyde Park, in the summer of 1944.

He bought…

1 December 2019

Rubber tappers defend the rainforest

GOALS: Establish extractive reserves. Better marketing and price guarantees for rubber. Better living conditions for rubber tappers. Better marketing policies and working conditions for those who harvest nuts. Industrialisation and marketing of other ignored forest products. Research on plants and resources of the Amazon.

SUCCESS IN ACHIEVING SPECIFIC GOALS: 3 points / 6
SURVIVAL: 1 / 1
GROWTH: 3 / 3

In the 1970s, ranchers from southern Brazil began to…

1 October 2019 Milan Rai

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…

1 October 2019 Claire Poyner

Our columnist turns her attention to hell, handcarts and young people's behaviour

We’re all going to hell in a handcart!

Well, no, we’re not really, at least not in the way most people who say this mean it. Other similar sayings: ‘standards are slipping’; ‘young people nowadays have no manners’ and ‘don’t know how to talk proper (like what I do)’.

But still, who here is concerned with runaway climate change when young people nowadays persist in saying ‘LOL’ and ‘bruv’ and ‘sick’ meaning ‘great’? Or worse, when the older folks are copying them. Yes, I have…

1 October 2019 Cath

Our Leeds-based cooperator steps outside her comfort zone

Last year, I travelled around Spain and North America, wanting to learn everything I could about the possibilities of creating an alternative economy outside capitalism.

I hung out in Love & Solidarity Housing Co-op and Riot Bayit Housing Co-op and Red Emma’s worker co-op anarchist bookshop.

I felt at home in Twin Oaks worker-owned egalitarian commune and now harbour plans for setting up a commune here.

I wondered what I would be doing when I got back – I…

1 October 2019 PN staff

PN surveys the winners and shortlists of two British radical book prizes

These are the winners and the shortlisted books for two British radical book prizes given by the Alliance of Radical Booksellers.

The Little Rebels’ Children’s Book Award is a radical fiction award for readers aged 0–12. This year the award has been administered by Letterbox Library and Housmans Bookshop.

The winner for 2019, announced on 10 July, is Freedom by Catherine Johnson (Scholastic): ‘There’s no escape – even when you escape. Where can a slave like Nat…

1 October 2019 Penny Stone

Penny Stone takes to the street to defend UK parliamentary democracy

This weekend, we found ourselves in the unexpected position of having to demonstrate in the streets to try and preserve parliamentary democracy in our own country.

As a system, it’s far from perfect, but I’m sure most of us agree it’s a lot better than a potential Brexit dictatorship with Johnson at the helm.

Thousands of people gathered in the streets all over the UK to witness their opposition to the closing down of the Westminster parliament.

In Edinburgh, I met a…

1 October 2019 Bruce Kent

Bruce Kent reflects on prisons, peace and justice for all

I must have passed through Reading station dozens of times in recent years on my way to Wales or the West Country. It always gives me a twinge when the train comes into the station from London.

Once one could see clearly the large red brick lump of Reading Gaol. Why a twinge? Because I always remember that it was the place of Oscar Wilde’s incarceration. The Ballad of Reading Gaol goes on for many verses but the first is quite enough to move me:

I know not…

1 October 2019 Ploy Promrat

Students force Student Pride to drop BP

Photo: John Hill [CC BY-SA 3.0] via Wikimedia Commons

GOALS: ‘No Pride in BP’ demanded that National Student Pride l immediately drop BP as a sponsor of National Student Pride 2015 events, l commit to not enter into future sponsorship or partnership agreements with fossil fuel companies, and l develop a set of ethical sponsorship guidelines that take into account the environmental and human rights record of companies.

SUCCESS IN ACHIEVING SPECIFIC GOALS: 5 points / 6

1 October 2019 Sheila MacKay

A powerhouse of a woman whose activism spanned many decades

Ellen Moxley was a powerhouse of a woman whose profound belief in the sacredness of all life and all creatures was the driving force of her life. She was the beloved mother of Marian Beeby and deeply loved civil partner of Helen Steven, who died in 2016. She received both the Right Livelihood Award in 2001 and the Gandhi International Peace Prize (with Helen) in 2004.

Ellen's mother Marian left New York to go to China with her Mandarin teacher, Sun, to teach English. She married Sun…

1 August 2019 Rebecca Elson-Watkins

Rebecca Elson-Watkins takes at look at Mic Dixon's new film War School

 

Militarism. The word means nothing to much of the population, but it's everywhere; almost every place in the UK has a war memorial,

During Remembrance, you can't avoid it: red poppies, cenotaphs, the 'Last Post', and cadets everywhere. These scenes open War School, a film by Mic Dixon about the battle for the hearts and minds of Britain's children, a battle that is fought with militarism.

'There is no remembrance. Opposite of remembrance. Concealment.…

1 August 2019 Penny Stone

Using song to resist the dehumanisation of marginalised communities

This year has seen some of the most widespread actions against the demonisation and mistreatment of migrants in the USA. As institutional treatment of human beings gets worse, more and more people are singing out their opposition.

At the end of June, 36 people were arrested in New Jersey for blocking the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) detention centre, crying out at the unacceptable conditions children are being held in.

The beginning of July saw another mass…

1 August 2019 Bruce Kent

The role of persistence and reliability in our movements is often underrated.

I hope all readers had as good a time as I did on Saturday afternoon, 6 July. A trip to the Faringdon Peace Fête is not to be missed.

So, as soon as you get next year’s diary, make sure you put in ‘Faringdon, 4 July 2020’.

Why this enthusiasm? Faringdon can’t take the credit for the sunshine but it can for almost everything else that makes the day a success.

The peace group are old hands at this. It was the 38th such summer fête they have organised, which takes us back,…

1 August 2019 Meghan Kelly

Seattle teachers end standardised testing 

Examination, 1940, Australia via Wikimedia commons

GOALS:

1) To end mandatory administration of the Measures of Academic Progress (MAP) test at Garfield High School.
2) To prevent Seattle public school district administrators from disciplining teachers who refused to administer the MAP test.

SUCCESS IN ACHIEVING SPECIFIC DEMANDS / GOALS: 6 points out of 6
SURVIVAL: 1 point out of 1
GROWTH: 3 points out of 3
TOTAL: 10 / 10

In the 1970s, public (…