Comment

1 April 2019 Andrew Papworth

Jane Buxton, a founder member of the Committee of 100, was deeply affected by the decision to manufacture atomic and nuclear weapons in the 1950s and 1960s. She shared the alarm of many at the race between the United States, the Soviet Union and Britain to acquire the most threatening weapons. At that time, all three countries were testing their weapons in the atmosphere and the level of strontium-90 in the air caused much concern. She joined the growing body of people determined to stop…

1 April 2019 Nuclear Free Local Authorities

'Thinking man's Dennis Skinner' was indefatigable peace campaigner

Campaigning Labour MP Paul Flynn died in February after a long illness. A sufferer from rheumatoid arthritis, Flynn campaigned for the medical use of cannabis. In July 2017, he called on users to come to London and ‘break the law’ by using cannabis at the houses of parliament.

The Nuclear Free Local Authorities (NFLA) paid this tribute:

The MP for Newport West since 1987, after 15 years as a councillor, Paul Flynn was a strong advocate and supporter of the NFLA…

1 April 2019 Penny Stone

'So comrades come rally, for this is the time and place'

If I asked you to think of a radical European song, there are any number of songs that might spring to mind. One of the top three would almost certainly be ‘The Internationale’. It is perhaps the most obvious place to start – translated into most European languages (with varying degrees of poetic success!) the song is an anthem for change and socialist possibility.

‘Arise ye workers from your slumbers, Arise ye prisoners of want… So comrades, come rally, And the last fight let us…

1 April 2019 Claire Poyner

Our columnist takes on the lack of abortion rights in Northern Ireland

Years ago, I would on occasion have this conversation with my mother. ‘I think British troops should not be in Northern Ireland, clearly the north of Ireland is part of the island of Ireland and it should be one country’.

She would answer: ‘Ah, but you see the UK are in Northern Ireland to protect the rights of the women there to obtain divorce and contraception.’ She honestly believed that, and I didn’t know enough about it to contradict her.

I remember thinking it wasn’t…

1 February 2019

Squirrel catching, marmalade tea and more!

Giuseppe Conlon House in North London is home to the London Catholic Worker, a young Christian ecumenical community. Giuseppe Conlon House is a house of hospitality for asylum-seekers and migrants, as well as a base for nonviolent action against militarism and injustice. Community members and volunteers live and work full-time in the house, sometimes sharing rooms. The house, opened in 2010, is named after Patrick ‘Giuseppe’ Conlon, a Belfast man who was framed for two IRA bombings. Giuseppe…

1 February 2019 Claire Poyner

Our columnist takes on the anti-vaxxers

Experts – who needs ‘em? One of my favourite pastimes is reading Facebook posts on vaccinations. It’s always entertaining. For the record, these are posts that are pro-science not anti. Quite why ‘anti-vaxxers’ would want to be following a science FB page such as ‘Neuroscience News and Research’, I can’t imagine.

Now don’t get me wrong, a healthy scepticism is essential.

Part of the difficulty is the healthcare system in the US. It’s a real profit-making industry, healthcare in…

1 February 2019 Bruce Kent

'I was a stranger and you welcomed me'

Just before the prime minister’s plans for leaving, or not leaving, the European Union were voted on in the Westminster parliament, there was a very large gathering, rather noisy but not violent, in London’s Parliament Square. Union Jacks and European Star flags were there in about equal numbers.

Only a few hundred yards away, outside the home office, there was a very much smaller and quieter gathering – only 10 of us. A vigil rather than a demonstration. We were there to call for…

1 February 2019 Milan Rai

Milan Rai recaps the history of US nuclear threats against North Korea

President Truman signs a proclamation initiating US involvement in the Korean War. Photo: US National Archives

As we head towards another inconclusive summit between North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and US president Donald Trump, here is some inconvenient background that is unlikely to feature in mainstream coverage of the meeting. We recommend you take the time to forget each of these facts. The media already has.

Why is Korea divided?

Korea was a united nation-state…

1 February 2019 Milan Rai

There should be no time limit on the open border in Ireland

Graphic: emily johns incorporating a public domain image of Fermanagh, Northern Ireland, from The Library of Congress, USA.

As PN goes to press, the British government is putting enormous pressure on the Republic of Ireland and on the European Union to weaken the Northern Ireland ‘backstop’. Peace News believes this pressure should be resisted, and the British peace movement should lend its weight to supporting the backstop.

Whether you are for leaving the EU or…

1 February 2019 Milan Rai

We need to break the huge visions that we have into smaller, winnable struggles, argues PN editor Milan Rai

There is a farmworkers union in Oregon in the US called Pineros y Campesinos Unidos del Noroeste (PCUN). The union campaigned for a year to get Kraemer Farms to be the first growers in the area to accept collective bargaining.

After that failed, PCUN got student groups to put pressure on NORPAC, which purchased vegetables from Kraemer Farms.

After seven years of failure, PCUN changed focus again. They chose to pressure the veggie burger firm, Gardenburger,…

1 February 2019 Cath

'I've been to utopia and seen it in action'

50th anniversary group photo, 16 June 2017, Twin Oaks community in Virginia, USA. Photo: Aaron Cohen

I used to love the slogan ‘Be realistic: demand the impossible’. It speaks to the necessity (at least for the last few decades) of fundamental change in order to survive the consequences of capitalism’s onslaught on the earth and its children.

But somewhere along the line, disillusion and burnout taught me that ‘the impossible’ was, well… impossible and I switched to working on…

1 February 2019 Nick Palazzolo

Coffee farmers win a living wage

GOAL: To increase government subsidies on coffee in order to receive a minimum of $360 per 125kg sack of coffee beans.
SUCCESS IN ACHIEVING SPECIFIC GOALS: 6 points / 6
SURVIVAL: 1 / 1
GROWTH: 2 / 3

In 2012, Colombian coffee prices fell 35 percent on the international market while the Colombian peso appreciated 10 percent. A combination of crop disease, bad weather, and unfavourable currency rates forced growers in Colombia to sell their coffee at a loss. Many…

1 February 2019 Penny Stone

‘But I dare, I want, can I? Yes, I dare, go and want!’

On 24 October 1975, 90 percent of Iceland’s female population participated in a full day strike. Paid and unpaid work was not done.

At the time, women who worked outside of the home earned less than 60 percent of what men earned.

Many industries shut down for the day as a result. There was no telephone service and newspapers were not printed since the typesetters were all women. Theatres shut down for the day as actresses refused to work.

The majority of teachers were…

1 December 2018 Claire Poyner

Our columnist points the finger!

This morning I was prompted by a post on Facebook to listen to LBC talk radio. My friend Caroline was advising friends that she was invited on to talk about cycle lanes.

I never listen to talk radio and I’ve even given Radio 4’s Today programme a wide berth after finding myself shouting at the radio so many times. I mean, I do have hypertension and this is not doing the blood pressure any good. I’ve long since stopped watching Question Time for the same reason.

Anyway…

1 December 2018 Penny Stone

There's something really interesting about behaving in an unexpected and creative way in an unusual public space ...

The first time I sang as part of a flashmob in Barclays bank was a couple of years ago in Edinburgh with Protest in Harmony choir.

Barclays had just opened a new branch on Princes Street with a great big high ceiling and hard walls, a church-like acoustic. Churches are great to sing in so, of course, we couldn’t resist!

There is currently a targeted campaign trying to get Barclays to divest from Israeli companies as part of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement to end…

1 December 2018 Milan Rai

In the years ahead, British activists are going to have to become better at building cross-class, multi-racial movements for change.

GarciaLopezLuisGaspar [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC BY-SA 4.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)], from Wikimedia Commons

As I write, Britain is in the middle of the most extraordinary political uncertainty as it tries to leave the European Union (EU). As we pointed out before the referendum, Brexit…

1 December 2018 Lawrence Cheuk

Lawrence Cheuk reflects on a recent weeklong activist training workshop in Brussels

European Trainers’ Exchange Cleaners’ Collective, 12–17 November, Brussels, Belgium. Back row from left: Edith Wustefeld, Lawrence Cheuk, Mathias Balcaen, Annalies Schorpion. Front row from left: Sarah Reader, Milan Rai, Herman van Veelen. Photo: PN

This diary describes one person’s experience of an international trainers’ exchange in Brussels from 12–17 November. The workshop was organised by three training collectives: Tractie (Belgium), Stroomversnellers (Netherlands) and…

1 December 2018 Bruce Kent

'We've got to have the bloody Union Jack on top of it!'

We all have to thank, if that is the right word, the late Ernest Bevin for getting us into our nuclear weapons mess. He was late for a meeting called by the then British prime minister, Labour’s Clement Attlee, in October 1946. Attlee wanted to discuss whether to plan for a British nuclear weapon or not.

Bevin, the foreign secretary, went to Downing Street to discover that Attlee’s meeting had started and the general consensus was not to go for a British atomic bomb. Too expensive…

1 December 2018 Max Rennebohm and Aly Passanante

Malians defeat dictator, gain free election

GOALS: The resignation of Malian dictator general Moussa Traoré; free, multiparty elections
SUCCESS IN ACHIEVING SPECIFIC GOALS: 6 points / 6
SURVIVAL: 1 / 1
GROWTH: 3 / 3

General Moussa Traoré obtained power in Mali in 1968 when he led a military coup d’état that overthrew the left-leaning nationalist government that had ruled since 1960. Opposition towards Traoré grew during the 1980s, but didn’t fully emerge until the 1990s. During this time, Traoré imposed…

1 December 2018 Jeff Cloves

'I've never worn a red poppy in my life'

Maybe there are other PN readers who, like me, are throughly glad the inescapable 100th anniversary of the end of the First World War is finally over. I’ve had it up to the oxters with all that hand-wringing about The Sorrow and The Pity on TV programme after radio programme without, as far as I’m aware, anybody being allowed/invited to put the case for pacifism.

However, all this hoopla did make me consider my own family’s involvement in The Great War and also the part music…