1 June 2024 PN staff

An invitation to submit your ideas

Peace News is in a period of change. We’re dreaming big ambitious dreams as to how PN can make a bigger contribution to the peace movement and to other nonviolent grassroots movements for social change. That might still be as a radical media project; it might conceivably be something even better.

If you have a wild idea, a sensible idea, a cheap-to-put-into-practice idea, or a would-need-a-billionaire-to-fund-it idea, please do add your thoughts to the mix – for…

1 June 2024 Sam Bannon

Creating an ambitious new peace network

In mid 2023, Cymdeithas y Cymod (CyC, the Fellowship of Reconciliation in Cymru) and CND Cymru (CND C, the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament in Cymru), worked in partnership with other leading peace organisations to create Heddwch ar Waith (HarW), Peace Action Wales, a campaign network. The project received funding from the Joseph Rowntree Charitable Trust last summer.

HarW was established as a forum for the peace movement in Cymru, enabling groups to collaborate with…

1 June 2024 Marc Morgan and Alain Refalo

An interview with a leading figure in the French peace movement

MM: ‘Alain, in your book Démilitariser la France (Demilitarising France), you indicate that France is the fifth most militarised country in the world. Can you outline some particularly significant elements of this militarisation?

AR: ‘France has the particularity of having a long tradition of militarist symbols. To begin with, there is our national anthem: La Marseillaise, which is a war song. Then there is the 14 July military parade in Paris. There is also…

1 June 2024 Rob Fairmichael

A view from the island of Ireland

‘Bellicosity’ is perhaps an old-fashioned word, and comes from the Latin word for war or warlike, ‘bellum’, and perhaps ‘warlike’ is more prosaic English. But, whatever word you prefer, the European Union (EU) is gearing up for a fight with Russia, and unspecified others, along with supporting Ukraine in its war with Russia.

The mind boggles.

The EU, along with its NATO allies, the US and UK, and Russia are all nuclear-armed. It is crazy to continue to push forward…

1 June 2024 PN staff

Responses from different parts of the activist movements

Someone pointed out that the last British general election held in July was in 1945, which sent us scrambling for the archives. On 15 June 1945, the PN editorial responded to the calling of the election by noticing that there were two strands within British pacifism: those ‘who seek to work in the political sphere’ of party politics and those who ‘believe that their proper activity as pacifists lies outside the political sphere altogether’. (PN 470)

You can either…

1 June 2024 Milan Rai

More threats to squash protest – from a former Labour MP

The day before the UK general election was called, the government advisor on political violence and disruption published a 294-page report on Protecting our Democracy from Coercion.

The main theme of the report by lord Walney (John Woodcock) was the need for the government, the courts, the crown prosecution service and the police to crack down harder on ‘extreme protest movements’ such as Palestine Action, Just Stop Oil (JSO) and the organisers of the recent Gaza ‘Ceasefire…

1 June 2024 PN and Anonymous

Pro-Palestine activists in Scotland have taken a stand outside Holyrood

Over 15 Gaza solidarity camps (or ‘encampments’) have sprung up around the UK, following the example of those at more than 140 universities in the US which have often been met with police violence and mass arrests. Here in the UK, after occupations of two Bristol university buildings were forced to end in late March and early April (because of the threat of legal action), students began an encampment on 1 May. The focus, as elsewhere, is on getting institutions to break ties with companies…

1 June 2024 Netpol

The government is trying to intimidate anti-militarists into ending their campaigns

The sudden appearance of a ‘National Security Act 2023’ warning sign outside the Bristol offices of Israeli-owned arms manufacturer Elbit was a reminder to campaigners that as well as expanding public order laws, the government has also introduced sweeping changes to espionage laws that cover places where protests regularly take place.

Although this legislation was presented as necessary to counter hostile threats from foreign intelligence services, Netpol warned in 2022 that new…

1 June 2024 SEG

A tribute to PN's late cartoonist, Sarah Guthrie


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1 April 2024 Zoe Broughton

A guide to filming protests on your smartphone – for maximum impact – by one of the most experienced activist filmmakers around.

If you film your campaign group in action, the footage can be used on social media or even broadcast news to get the message out to a wider audience.

By filming it yourself, you are being part of DIY (Do It Yourself) culture and not relying on the mainstream media to turn up.

Here are a few hints to get you going, using a smartphone.


Before you go out
Try and make sure your phone is fully charged.

Pack your…

1 April 2024 PN

Placards, Gaza march, London, 9 March 2024


1 April 2024 Marc Morgan

Revisiting the insights of German Jewish thinker Erich Fromm (1900 – 1980)

The psychoanalyst, sociologist, social commentator and activist Erich Fromm attained fame and something of a cult status in the ’60s and ’70s for his books and campaigns criticising both capitalist and communist societies, and calling for radical social transformation based on rationality, humanism, genuine freedom, and love of life.

An admirer of Marx, a humanist and a member of the Socialist Party of America, Fromm campaigned vigorously against US nuclear policy and made a point of…

1 April 2024 Joseph Gerson

Part of a recent online talk for PN by a longtime US peace activist 

“This is a really demanding and frightening subject that we’re dealing with.

Let me begin by saying that [Russian president Vladimir] Putin and [Dmitry] Medvedev [deputy chair of Russia’s security council] have been drawing from the US playbook from the beginning of the Ukraine War with their nuclear threats. 

They’re basically, as Noam Chomsky put it, moving to ensure that those who might come to protect those that Russia is determined to attack are at least limited in what…

1 April 2024 CAGE

A response to the prime minister’s 1 March ‘extremism’ speech

6 March: Rishi Sunak’s ‘speech’ on the alleged increase in ‘extremism’ is part of a wider and coordinated propaganda campaign aimed at manufacturing a crisis that deflects growing public criticisms away from the government’s support of the genocide unfolding in Gaza. 

The prime minister’s address was made in reference to the peaceful pro-Palestine demonstrations that have been held weekly for the past five months against Israel’s ongoing genocide in Gaza. 

This coordinated…

1 April 2024 CAGE & others

A group statement by BLM UK, CAGE, Netpol, Palestine Action, Sisters Uncut & others  

PN: On 1 March, prime minister Rishi Sunak spoke out on ‘extremism’. He condemned Gaza ceasefire marchers for allowing ‘extremists [to] hijack your marches’ and called for harsher police action against Gaza demonstrations. 

On 14 March, communities secretary Michael Gove launched a new definition of ‘extremism’. 

This now means promoting ideas aiming to end the rights of others or to ‘undermine, overturn or replace’ parliamentary democracy in the UK. …

1 April 2024 Milan Rai

'We've go to get back to diplomacy' says former chief of defence staff

Ukraine should negotiate an end to its war with Russia, and be prepared to trade ‘peace for land’. 

That’s the view of one of Britain’s most senior retired military leaders, a former chief of the defence staff, general David Julian Richards (lord Richards), expressed in a surprising interview with the BBC on 20 February. 

Richards follows in the footsteps of US general Mark Milley, who publicly and repeatedly argued along similar lines while still the head of the US armed…

1 April 2024 Yurii Sheliazhenko

Update from a Ukrainian pacifist

President Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s peace formula declares a commitment to democracy. And real democracy, as dialogue-driven nonviolent governance, could indeed put an end to all wars in the world, if pursued seriously. But Ukrainian people in many ways, formally and informally, are left with no choice other than subordination to military command, despite public opinion polls that reveal disgust with military dictatorship.

Ukraine could not defeat Russian aggression by suffocating civil…

1 April 2024 Mererid Hopwood

The hidden history of the Welsh Women's Peace Petition

Imagine setting out today, in 2024, to launch a petition, inviting all women over the age of 18 living in Wales to sign. Then, imagine succeeding in gathering 390,296 signatures. Then, imagine a war-less world and a world free from the trafficking of women and children, drugs and weapons. 

All wonders difficult to imagine. But without the imagining, such ideals can never be realised. This is the kind of imagining that comes from hope – if we understand hope, not as sitting back,…

1 February 2024 Douglas Rogers

From Waging Nonviolence: how European climate movements are copying a major Dutch civil disobedience victory

Success in climate activism can take a lot of forms, and relatively few of them are glamorous. The change we work for might be too abstract to measure, or our role in it might be unclear. Perhaps, in difficult conditions, success might mean no more than keeping your head above the water.

Still, there are times when success can actually be joyful, epic and infectious, as in the case of the recent blockades on the Dutch capital’s A12 highway.

The shortest version of this story is…

1 February 2024 Benjamin Zephaniah

A poem by Benjamin Zephaniah

’Twaz broad daylight,
Kool breeze waz
East, north, south
Me mind waz fine
Relatively speaking,
Me body waz
An Natty Dread me deputy waz
As always

It happened quick,
Professionally done
We knew exactly wot hit us.

De sheriff shot I an me
An den he shot me deputy.

For a moment we forgot dat we
Sum criminal statistics