Features

1 October 2021 Thalia Campbell and Ian Campbell and Erica Smith

Erica Smith reviews a new book from Four Corners

The eighth of Four Corners’ picture-rich ‘Irregulars’ publications celebrates the powerful heritage of banners produced for and at Greenham Common Peace Camp between late summer 1981 and when the camps were finally disbanded in 2000.

Banners made by one of the Peace Camp founders, Thalia Campbell, often with the help of her husband, Ian, her children, friends and others, are well-represented in this book. Thalia was one of the women on the inaugural march from Cardiff to Greenham…

1 October 2021 Robin Percival

The British government is trying to shield British soldiers and intelligence officials who killed civilians in Northern Ireland

Since the war began in 1970, only four British soldiers have been convicted of the offence of murder. All four were subsequently re-admitted to the army.

In Derry alone, the British army was responsible for the deaths of 35 civilians. Not one soldier was made answerable before a court of law. Not one was subject to any proper criminal investigation until after the Good Friday Agreement was signed and pressure began to mount for truth and justice

Joe McCann, a leading member of…

1 October 2021 Vanessa Ludwig

An extract from a speech at the recent event 'Greenham 40th: Feminist Peace - opposing violence, militarism and war'

‘Greenham 40th: Feminist Peace – opposing violence, militarism and war’ was one of the many events organised by Greenham Women Everywhere this autumn to mark the 40th anniversary of the beginning of the Greenham Common Women’s Peace Camp in 1981. These events included an online series of ‘Weaving the Web/inar’ meetings organised by Greenham campaigners.

The ‘feminist peace’ webinar included local and international speakers involved in Women in Black (WiB) in conversation about the…

1 October 2021 Noam Chomsky and Sarvy Geranpayah

Sarvy Geranpayeh interviewed Noam Chomsky for Gulf News on 8 September

Gulf News: It was only several months ago that you predicted that the US withdrawal from Afghanistan would cause the collapse of the Afghan army and the government and that’s exactly what’s happened.

That’s what’s [been] unfolding in the last few weeks, as we’ve seen, and yet we see the Biden administration and others express surprise at what’s happened or at least at the speed at which it’s all happened. Where are your thoughts on that?

Chomsky: The basic problem is one that…

1 October 2021 FoE Scotland and Platform and Greenpeace

Unfair training costs make a Just Transition harder for oil and gas workers

Workers across the oil, gas, wind and decommissioning industries strongly support the idea of an ‘offshore passport’ that would allow them to easily transfer their skills and experience between sectors, a survey shows.

Respondents to a poll reported they are currently forced to pay out thousands of pounds of their own money for training courses before being hired, with no guarantee of work, and are routinely having to repeat training they have already done.

These barriers…

1 October 2021 Milan Rai

Milan Rai reviews a flawed, fascinating, worm’s eye view of history

Why exactly was there a Cuban Missile Crisis 60 years ago?

When the US signed an agreement in 1959 to put Jupiter nuclear missiles into a non-nuclear weapon state neighbouring the Soviet Union, there wasn’t a ‘Turkish Missile Crisis’.

From their Turkish base, the Jupiters could easily reach Moscow – and deliver warheads 100 times more powerful than the bomb that destroyed Hiroshima.

Despite this provocation, the USSR didn’t start a military confrontation with US forces…

1 October 2021 Ian Sinclair

What the media and political establishment are not telling you

‘There is a general policy by the MoD [ministry of defence] to keep the horror of what’s going on in Afghanistan out of the public domain,’ a senior officer told the Telegraph in September 2008. ‘If the real truth were known it would have a huge impact on Army recruiting and the Government would come under severe pressure to withdraw the troops.’

Unsurprisingly then, while there has been a huge amount of media coverage of the US-UK-NATO withdrawal from Afghanistan, lots of…

1 August 2021 Emily Johns

A free window poster

Click on the link below to download a printable version of the poster.

File peoples_vaccine_poster copy.pdf685.56 KB Downloadable poster

1 August 2021 Peter Tatchell and Rebecca Elson-Watkins

To mark the premiere of a new Netflix documentary, Hating Peter Tatchell, we interviewed the legendary human rights activist

Peace News: How did your early life shape your worldview, and your activism?

Peter Tatchell: I grew up in a conservative, working-class family in Melbourne, Australia, in the 1950s, ’60s. My parents were devout evangelical Christians, with no interest in social issues.

My mother remarried when I was six. I suffered a lot of violence at the hands of my stepfather; even forcing me to work long hours in his backyard farm. My mother could not leave him; there were no refuges or…

1 August 2021 Leah Levane

Jewish opinions are changing...

Opinion is changing within and beyond the Jewish community. Defence of the Israeli state’s actions is becoming more and more difficult even while there continues to be understanding for the desire for a safe haven for Jews.

For more and more Jewish people, the risk of rejection by friends and families is nothing compared to the risk of not speaking out, of not saying loudly and clearly: ‘Not in my name!’

There is a mistaken impression – spread by the mainstream media and Jewish…

1 August 2021 Ken Worpole

When pacifism and ‘the new life’ headed to the countryside

Following the horrors of the First World War, many people – especially those with strong religious beliefs – turned to pacifism. This included those who had fought and suffered in the trenches and resolved: ‘Never again’.

Vera Brittain’s memoir of the loss of her fiancé, her brother and her two best male friends in the carnage, first published in 1933, went on to sell 120,000 copies. Testament of Youth made her a formidable public figure.

As a leading campaigner…

1 August 2021 Reece Evans

Young volunteer interviewers have compiled an oral history of 5 Caledonian Road

When I joined the project as a volunteer in June 2020, I had just finished university for the summer and was stuck in my student accommodation, furloughed, isolated from social contact, a rebel without a cause.

The 5 Cally Road project gave those days in lockdown a sense of purpose. We learnt about the significance of oral history, stretched our legs in the realm of archival research, and were introduced to theatre production.

From the get-go, it was exciting and mind-opening…

1 August 2021 David Gee

Cracks are being torn in the elite narrarive that has long framed its violence as a public service, writes David Gee

Some two decades after the atrocities in New York and Washington on 11 September 2001, it is hard, emotionally and intellectually, for me to contemplate hope.

Intellectually, because, over the last 20 years, things have grown so destructively worse at a global level that the possibility of hope is not at all obvious – it has to be dug for.

Emotionally, because those atrocities more or less marked the beginning of my journey with the peace movement and its hopes, and it has been…

1 August 2021 Milan Rai

How Britain’s wartime prime minister urged alternatives to using the atom bomb

In a month-long phone-and-email BBC poll of the UK in 2002, Winston Churchill was named the greatest Briton of all time.

In 2018, in a YouGov poll, Churchill was …

1 August 2021 Thomas Kearney

Mental health and the military

On 12 June, the body of a young man was found on the railway tracks near Lympstone in Devon.

Connor Clark was a recruit in the royal marines, just three weeks into his 32-week commando training course.

Tracy Clark, thought to be his mother, wrote on Facebook: ‘Yesterday this beautiful son, brother and…

1 August 2021 Paul Rogers

Looking back on 20 years since the al-Qa’eda attacks

After George W Bush won the closely fought race for the White House in November 2000, his new administration was loaded with neoconservatives and assertive realists determined to make America great again and usher in the New American Century.

It took only a few months to change foreign and security postures and set the country on the right path as leader of the free world, a neoliberal free market and a civilised world order based on its own values. This included the US withdrawing…

1 August 2021 Gabriel Carlyle

A more just, zero-carbon world is now within reach

Renewable energy is ‘already more than capable of scaling up at the speed necessary to protect the climate, meet energy demands, ensure energy access for the poor, and support sustainable development’, according to Fossil Fuel Exit Strategy, a June 2021 report from the University of Technology, Sydney (UTS).

The problem is that, even if we stop fossil fuel expansion immediately, ‘with just the fossil fuels…

20 July 2021

Join us to celebrate PN's 85th anniversary

Peace News was first published on 6 June 1936. To celebrate our 85th anniversary, PN is holding an online Readers’ Tea Party! 

Expect: a quiz, a song, some snippets of PN history and more! 4pm – 5pm. If you’d like to join us – and we’d love to see you – then please register now: tinyurl.com/pnreadersteaparty

20 July 2021 Charlie Hamilton James and PN

PN reviews the 56th Wildlife Photographer of the Year exhibition

A fire burns out of control in Maranhão state, northeastern Brazil, in this striking image from the 2020 Wildlife Photographer of the Year exhibition – one with a salutary message for all of us in this crucial year for the earth’s climate, writes Gabriel Carlyle.

The fire would have been started deliberately to clear a logged area of secondary forest for agriculture or cattle farming, leading Charlie Hamilton James – who has been covering deforestation in the Amazon for the past…

20 July 2021 Milan Rai

Being ‘colourblind’ on race is a problem

Last autumn, PN ran a survey asking peace activists how they had responded to the Black Lives Matter (BLM) uprising of the summer. I was deeply impressed by the wealth of constructive actions that people had taken in the previous few months. (PN 2646 – 2647)

It was clear that, for many people, the death of George Floyd and the massive protests that followed, had been huge events.

I remember the white person who wrote: ‘I thought there were virtually no black…

20 July 2021 PN staff

New, more powerful warheads – and more of them

The maximum number of nuclear bombs held by Britain is to rise from 180 to 260 warheads, the British government announced on 16 March.

According to analysis by Nukewatch, Britain’s nuclear arsenal had already risen to around 250 warheads by the end of last year (see 'Warhead movements' below).

The chair of the Scottish Campaign for Nuclear…

20 July 2021 Milan Rai

What’s the worst that can happen on a street stall?

Maddie is on a street stall in her town centre on Hiroshima Day, 6 August, wearing a placard and handing out leaflets about the atomic bombings. Every so often, someone stops to argue. Sometimes Maddie can’t get a word in edgeways ...

Passerby: You should be ashamed of yourself.

Maddie: Excuse me?

Passerby: My granddad would have died if we’d listened to people like you.

Maddie: Was he a …

20 July 2021 CORE

Excerpts from a recent anti-racism briefing

PN: Below are some passages from an important paper on racism in the UK, drawn up last November by the Runnymede Trust on behalf of the Coalition of Race Equality organisations. CORE brings together many of the UK’s leading Black and minority ethnic voluntary and community organisations, including the Runnymede Trust, the Migrants’ Rights Network, Operation Black Vote and the Traveller Movement.

The CORE paper was a submission to the British government’s newly-formed…

20 July 2021 PN

Five women involved in PN share their reactions to the murder of Sarah Everard

The disappearance of Sarah Everard from Clapham Common in South London on 3 March. The arrest of a Metropolitan police officer, Wayne Couzens, on suspicion of involvement on 9 March. The discovery of Sarah’s body in Kent the next day. These events led to a national upheaval over the issue of male violence against women. We asked women involved in PN to share their reactions.

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Claire Poyner

Sara Everard’s murder was indeed shocking. Not surprising,…

20 July 2021 Robin Percival

What fate for loyalism in Northern Ireland?

Recently, a friend from England asked me to explain ‘what the hell is going on in Belfast?”

This was a few weeks ago, just as prince Philip was drawing his last breath, and the answer was simple: rioting.

The actual level of violence was, by Northern Ireland standards, quite low. And indeed the rioting came to an end as a ‘mark of respect’ to the dead prince.

What was significant was the degree to which the English and international media decided to report it. Their…

20 July 2021 David MacKenzie

Opposition to nuclear weapons is even greater than support for independence, writes David Mackenzie

Twenty years ago, during a crowded first minister’s question time in the very young Scottish parliament, a group of Trident Ploughshares members dramatically interrupted normal business by dropping a banner and demanding that the parliament face up to the question of the UK’s nuclear weapons and debate it.

They held up business for about 15 minutes before they were removed by police.

The deputy first minister, Jim Wallace, was apoplectic.

The presiding officer, David…

6 July 2021 Paul Rogers

The latest military review decoded

The UK government’s security review, published back in mid-March, was touted as the first wide-ranging analysis of defence challenges facing the country which, unlike earlier straightforward defence reviews, would bring in many other issues from climate change to pandemics.

As it turned out, most of these issues received little more than lip-service, with the core of the review being focused on a traditional assessment, mainly from a military perspective.

In many ways, it is…

6 July 2021 Rebecca Elson-Watkins

Climate action around the UK

The United Nations will host the 26th UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP26) in Glasgow from 1–12 November, COVID-19 permitting. Climate emergency activists and campaigners up and down the UK are planning actions to take advantage of the fact that the biggest climate summit since the 2015 Paris Agreement is happening on their doorsteps.

Greenpeace UK told us that they were going to be …

6 July 2021 Kathy Kelly

Kathy Kelly reflects on the 1991 Gulf War and its legacy

March 1:

When the US Desert Storm air war against Iraq began, 30 years ago, I was a member of the Gulf Peace Team. We were 73 people from 15 different countries, aged 22 to 76, living in a tent camp close to Iraq’s border with Saudi Arabia, along the road to Mecca.

We aimed to nonviolently interpose ourselves between the warring parties.

Soldiers are called upon to risk their lives for a cause they may…

6 July 2021 Penny Stone and Lotte Reimer and Kelvin Mason

How have activist choirs risen to the challenge of COVID-19?

In the dark times
Will there also be singing?
Yes, there will be singing.
About the dark times.
– Bertolt Brecht

Dark times

When COVID-19 hit the world, one of the first cultural casualties was choral singing. As expert opinion about the main risk has shifted from ‘fomites’ (contaminated surfaces) to focus on airborne droplets and aerosol transmission, the case against choirs gathering has hardened.

For street or…

6 July 2021 Sharon Rudahl and Gabriel Carlyle

Pages from Sharon Rudahl’s Ballad of an American: A Graphic Biography of Paul Robeson (Rutgers University Press, 2020; 124pp; £15.95)

Image

 

Image

 

Gabriel Carlyle writes:

Feminist underground comix veteran Sharon Rudahl’s latest work takes on the life of Paul Robeson: actor, world-class athlete and electrifying singer.

The most famous African-American of his time, Robeson fell victim to the Red Scare after the Second World War. This saw him shunned by stage and studio and denied his passport.…

5 July 2021 Cameron Boyle

Has the pandemic changed the media’s approach to immigration?

The British press is notoriously hostile in its coverage of immigration. It is a deeply-ingrained campaign, one that rears its head in inflammatory language, unjust and unfounded associations, and a startling lack of empathy for the harrowing situations that immigrants often face.

But at the height of the first lockdown, a notable softening in attitudes occurred.

Immigrants were universally lauded for their immense contributions on the pandemic’s frontline, with even the…

5 July 2021

The US has accelerated funding of its warhead plans

It is just over a year since the UK government notified parliament of its plan to develop a new nuclear warhead. The surprise renationalisation of the Atomic Weapons Establishment (AWE) last summer was obviously made in the context of the plan, but probably had more to do with AWE’s repeated failures on safety matters.

Beyond this we’ve learned very few specifics about the warhead plan, but various events provide some clues.

The Bomb we have

There is no officially-…

5 July 2021 PN staff

It’s being processed by an arms company... again!

The contract for processing UK census forms has been put in the hands of Leidos, one of the world’s biggest military companies. We invite you to take action through the census form itself, to suggest to others that they do the same – and, crucially, (a) tell your local paper about what you’re doing and (b) tell us what you’re doing!

In 2011, the contract for processing the census in the UK was awarded to the US arms company Lockheed Martin, leading to quite a lot of protest, including…

5 July 2021 Adam Eliott-Cooper and Milan Rai

An interview with Adam Elliott-Cooper, a co-founder of one of Britain’s leading anti-racist groups

Coming to the end of a long and fascinating conversation about Black Lives Matter UK, I asked Adam Elliott-Cooper what parts of the history of UKBLM he was most proud of, as a co-founder.

Adam answered: ‘One of the things I’m really proud of is that one of the things that the movement has done is the mainstreaming of questions of abolition and defunding the police.

‘Whilst previous generations demanded enquiries and inquests, or democratic control over the police, or community…

5 July 2021 Andrew Simms and Peter Newell

Creating a new level of climate activism

On 22 January, the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW) entered into force. This marks an incredible achievement for activists and movements committed to ridding the world of these abhorrent and destructive weapons.

What this shows is the power of a moral ideal to ignite public imagination and mobilise action.

There are lessons here for climate activists.

The TPNW came after decades of trying to get the nuclear powers to fulfil their commitments under the…

5 July 2021 Milan Rai

Let’s stop more lethal, vaccine-resistant COVID-19 variants developing anywhere

There is a powerful case, both on moral grounds and out of pure self-interest, for the rich nations of the Global North to ensure that everyone on the planet receives publicly-funded tests, treatments, and effective vaccines, free at the point of delivery: the People’s Vaccine.

Otherwise, the global population will continue to breed dangerous variants of the virus that might threaten even people who’ve been vaccinated, for reasons explained below.

On 17 February, the UN…

4 July 2021 Nick Dearden

Corporations want trade deals that deregulate and marketise society

A part of Britain’s Establishment has always looked to the United States for leadership. They view the US as a model economy in which the market rules, big business can behave as it sees fit, and rich individuals are free from irritating ‘burdens’ – such as taxes which are ‘redistributive’ (they take more from the rich and less from the poor, as a percentage of their income).

We have more than a few such figures in our government, including the trade secretary, Liz Truss. That is…

4 July 2021 Ann Kramer

Ann Kramer reflects on International Women's Days past, present and future

International Women’s Day (IWD) falls on 8 March and has done so for well over 100 years. Women worldwide still experience discrimination and exploitation. The gender inequalities that prompted the first International Women’s Day are still very much alive and kicking. 

International Women’s Day exists to celebrate women and women’s achievements and there have been fantastic achievements: the vote, access to education, employment and health, the arrival of successful women in all…

4 July 2021 Richard Barnard and Huda Ammori and Henrietta Cullinan

An interview with two founder members of Palestine Action

Recently, Henrietta Cullinan sat down with Richard Barnard (RB), 47, and Huda Ammori (HA), 26, who helped start a new direct action campaign last year. Palestine Action focuses on Elbit Systems, an Israeli military drone manufacturer with UK factories.

PN: Tell us about the founding of Palestine Action. 

HA: Last summer, a few of us who had already done one-off direct actions against Elbit Systems – maybe once a year we would have a blockade – realised that, to be…

4 July 2021 Lisa Fithian

Veteran activist Lisa Fithian reflects on what really threatens the powers that be

From the Central America peace movement of the 1980s to the movements resisting Trump, US activist Lisa Fithian has been on the frontlines of social change for decades. This is an extract from her recent book Shut It Down: Stories from a Fierce, Loving Resistance (Chelsea Green, 2019) – reviewed next issue – in which Lisa reflects on the power of nonviolence.

When people ask about my approach to nonviolence, I like to say that I’m committed to strategic nonviolence,…

4 July 2021 Emily Johns

A PN staffer struggles with an anti-racist book

I am white.

My earliest memories of being conscious of race and racism are from when I was 10 years old. 

I remember standing in the school hall and some boys taunting Stephen, calling him a ‘black and white minstrel’. I didn’t know Stephen well and I had never heard of a minstrel show but from the words I worked out that one his parents was black and the other was white and because of this he was being teased. [The Black and White Minstrel Show was a musical variety…

4 July 2021 Betsy Leondar-Wright

Middle-class activists often don’t see that their version of anti-racism can be classist

The recent surge of anti-racist activism and consciousness-raising in the US has been thrilling to see and to participate in. I feel hope that racism will diminish in the near future.

But I found in my research that the way most social justice organisations have done diversity work and advocated for anti-racism is infused with professional middle-class culture. And that’s alienating a lot of potential working-class and poor supporters of all races. 

At the 2016 White Privilege…

4 July 2021 Shelley Tochluk

If you don’t want white nationalists to recruit clueless young white people, you need to create a movement that welcomes clueless young white people

Speaking to a public meeting on white nationalism in Los Angeles in August 2019, white anti-racist educator Shelly Tochluk said: ‘I have to be honest and tell you that I don’t think white anti-racist people have been paying enough attention to how savvy and effective white nationalists are at taking advantage of the shame that continues to be a foundation for many white anti-racists’ approach to conversations about our racial identity.’

Shelly pointed out that white…

4 July 2021 Shelley Tochluk and Christine Saxman

Two white anti-racist educators argue for a different approach to working with white folk 

On 18 November, Shelly Tochluk and Christine Saxman appeared on Eyes on Whiteness, a US anti-racism, anti-patriarchy podcast hosted by Maureen Benson (also a white woman). Here are some edited excerpts from their conversation.  

Christine Saxman: As you both know, I have always struggled with being kind of righteous in my anti-racism work as a white person. I name that as whiteness! The competitiveness that comes up in me.... 

I think about how intentional I have to be, myself…

4 July 2021 Milan Rai

The Roman empire - Britain included - was culturally and ethnically diverse

Many people seem very attached to the idea that ‘the Romans were white’ – and that ‘Britain before the Second World War was an entirely white country’.

This is a still from a video, Roman Britain, which is part of a BBC educational series called The Story of Britain. In 2017, this BBC animation led to national controversy when a right-wing commentator objected to the picturing of a Roman commander as black. …

4 July 2021 Milan Rai

This issue aims to provide information that may help lead to further exploration and learning and action, writes Milan Rai

This issue of Peace News is a ‘no blame, no shame’ zone. 

African-American psychologist Beverly Daniel Tatum has written: ‘Prejudice is one of the inescapable consequences of living in a racist society. 

‘Cultural racism – the cultural images and messages that affirm the assumed superiority of Whites and the assumed inferiority of people of color – is like smog in the air. Sometimes it is so thick it is visible, other times it is less apparent, but always, day in and…

4 July 2021 Milan Rai

This issue isn't just for white people, says Milan Rai

There’s no way of getting away from it. This is a special issue about white people, about how white people came to be white.

That doesn’t mean this issue is just for white people. 

My goal in this issue is actually to help ‘de-centre’ white people, to help all of us have a better framework for seeing whiteness by seeing white people more at their proper size and status in the human story. Well, in a few thousand words, it’s more about pointing towards how that…

11 December 2020 Norman Finkelstein

A response to the decision by Facebook and Twitter to ban Holocaust denial

It would make a mockery of truth and academic freedom (it is said) if a university granted Holocaust deniers a platform. But, to begin with, it’s not obvious what exactly is being denied.

Does the Nazi holocaust denote the extermination of European Jewry or all categories of people systematically put to and slated for death? If only Jews, then why? If the criterion is quantitative – fully five-to-six million Jews perished – why then does the Nazi holocaust enjoy a privileged status,…

11 December 2020 CAGE

A new report from CAGE looks at 20 years of the Terrorism Act 2000

Over the last 20 years since the introduction of the Terrorism Act 2000 (TACT), the British counter-terrorism (CT) regime has expanded to historically-unprecedented levels.

Successive, almost annual reviews of legislation within a racist, fear-based environment have resulted in a near-limitless policing apparatus, and a two-tier justice system that undermines democratic governance.

Only 11.6 percent of ‘terror arrests’ have resulted in terrorist convictions since the TACT…

11 December 2020 Dr Emily Grossman

A new scientific overview of the climate crisis ends with suggestions for action

‘Until you start focusing on what needs to be done rather than what is politically possible there is no hope. We cannot solve a crisis without treating it as a crisis. We need to keep the fossil fuels in the ground and we need to focus on equity. And if solutions within this system are so impossible to find then maybe we should change the system itself.’ — Greta Thunberg.

How long do we have and is it already too late? According to the best scientific understanding, it is…

11 December 2020 Pat Gaffney

Study sessions, days of action and a new book - an update from Pat Gaffney

I am a cup-half-full sort of person – not, I hope, naïve – but encouraged by the hope-filled actions around me.

In the last year, this includes the strengthening of the Black Lives Matter movement, the persistence of the Campaign Against Arms Trade in continuing their legal challenge to UK weapons sales to Saudi Arabia, the long-awaited coming into force of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons.

Also in October, we had another hope-filled action. Pope Francis…

11 December 2020 Leslie Barson

New 'consultation' is driven by the state's fear of loss of control says Leslie Barson

It’s been a crazy time as this disease and the government’s response to it has created so much misery: job loses, debt, isolation, rise of domestic violence, mental health breakdown and the stress of living in fear for your own life and your loved ones’ lives.

But there have been some unintended benefits... the silence in the city except for birdsong, meeting your neighbours and sometimes helping them, the change from ‘because I’m worth it!’ to ‘let’s help others’ and ‘aren’t we lucky…

11 December 2020 Brandalism

Subvertising exposes HSBC’s climate colonialism and other crimes

In November, activists in 15 cities across the UK covered billboards and bus stops with spoof HSBC adverts which accused HSBC of ‘climate colonialism’ and demanded that the bank end its financing of fossil fuels, detention centres and climate destruction.

Over 250 billboards, bus stops and Tube posters featuring HSBC advertisements were hijacked in a national grassroots campaign by Brandalism activists. Locations included Birmingham, Bristol, Carmarthen, Glasgow, Leeds, London, Oxford…

11 December 2020 Ian Sinclair

The government’s shameful response to the second COVID surge

The UK government’s response to the coronavirus pandemic has been a ‘national scandal’, as I wrote in PN six months ago. (See PN 2642 – 2643) Reaching its peak in terms of infections and deaths in March and April, the virus killed an estimated 65,400 people in the UK by mid-June, according to the Financial Times. At the time, this huge death toll was the highest in Europe, and the second-highest in the world after the United States.

Following the…

11 December 2020 David Rosenberg and Jewish Voice for Labour and Truth Defence

Some responses to the recent EHRC report and the suspension of Jeremy Corbyn

On 29 October, just six months after he stepped down as leader of the party, Jeremy Corbyn was suspended from the Labour party for his reaction to a report on antisemitism in the Labour party issued earlier in the day.

The Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) claimed that Labour was responsible for ‘unlawful acts of harassment and discrimination’ and three breaches of the Equality Act (2010) including ‘political interference in antisemitism complaints’.

11 December 2020 Setsuko Thurlow

Setsuko Thurlow at the 2020 ICAN Paris Forum. PHOTO: OREL KICHIGAI/ICAN

The Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons has entered into force! This truly marks the beginning of the end of nuclear weapons!

When I learned that we reached our 50th ratification, I was not able to stand. I remained in my chair and put my head in my hands and I cried tears of joy.

I have committed my life to the abolition of nuclear weapons. I have nothing but gratitude for all who have worked for the success of our treaty. I have a powerful feeling of solidarity with…

11 December 2020 Gabriel Carlyle

A climate action group experiments with Zoom campaigning

On 9 March, with some regret, Divest East Sussex postponed the sex strike.

Three days later, in a blog post entitled ‘#flattenthecurve’, we noted that cancelling the sex strike appeared to be the right decision ‘from a public health perspective’. (It was still 11 days before the UK went into lockdown.)

However, we also said that our campaign to divest East Sussex county council’s pension fund from fossil fuels would not be silent.
Five months later, we had a good go at…

11 December 2020 Jeanne Rewa and Daniel Hunter

A brilliant new resource for the world we’re moving into

Here are some nuggets from an excellent, very practical 48-page guide to running online events. Leading Groups Online has just been written (for activists and others) by two people with deep experience and a lot of wisdom.

Amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, teachers, educators, trainers, organisers, consultants, and event planners are being asked to do the same things but online. You may find this a delightful challenge or entirely overwhelming. Maybe you have been in online…

10 December 2020 Dave Cullen

Dave Cullen talks to about the Nuclear Information Service's recent report on the UK's nuclear weapons upgrades

Our report, Trouble Ahead: Risks and Rising Costs in the UK Nuclear Weapons Programme (2019), grew out of the day-to-day work we’ve done.

It was an attempt to give an overview of where the UK is at with its nuclear weapons upgrades.

It’s not regularly admitted but in the early 2000s the UK took a decision to upgrade every single element of its nuclear weapons capability.

The new Dreadnought submarines are the part people know most intimately.

The Trident…

10 December 2020 PN staff

We celebrate the 20th birthday of a little-known but vital part of the peace movement

Shouldn’t there be someone keeping a close eye on the Atomic Weapons Establishment (AWE) which designs, manufactures and maintains Britain’s nuclear warheads?

Especially now the British government is building ‘Dreadnought’ nuclear missile submarines to replace the Trident submarines which carry Britain’s only nuclear weapons?

Well there is someone keeping a very close eye on AWE and on Britain’s military nuclear programme as a whole.

It’s a…

10 December 2020 Poppy Hosford and Devika Shenoy

Poppy Hosford and Devika Shenoy report from a campaign fighting for affordable access to the COVID vaccine for everyone across the globe

Imagine this.

Giant neon pink COVID-shaped heads parading themselves through the streets of London. A huge globe. A giant syringe.

On 27 July, activists in giant COVID-19 costumes as well as students wielding giant inflatable syringes joined neon pink dancing protesters to persuade target universities to sign the Open COVID Pledge.

This is a commitment to making COVID-19 research and development available free of charge for use in ending the pandemic and minimising the…

10 December 2020 Mahoney Goodman

Mahoney Goodman tells the story (so far) of XR Cambridge's direct action campaign for divestment

Autonomy and decentralisation are baked into Extinction Rebellion’s organisational structure. In Cambridge we’ve taken initiative to target our city’s centres of power, independently of any directives from XR UK. It probably isn’t hard to guess our first priority.

The university of Cambridge and its colleges are many things, but high on that list are wealthy and prestigious.

In other words, they’re in a perfect position to deal a significant blow to the fossil fuel industry’s…

10 December 2020 Gabriel Carlyle

Gabriel Carlyle summarises the new Climate & Ecological Emergency Bill

One of the main aims of XR’s September ‘Rebellion’ was ‘to create the political appetite for the Climate and Ecological Emergency Bill’ which has, so far, received the support of over 50 MPs, including DUP, Green, Labour, Lib Dem, Plaid Cymru and SNP representatives.

Introduced into the house of commons by Green MP Caroline Lucas on 2 September, this landmark legislation has been drafted by an alliance of scientists, academics, lawyers and environmentalists.

The aim is to…

10 December 2020 Marnie Johnson

One part of the mass of XR actions

There were protests all over the UK marking Extinction Rebellion’s fortnight of climate action in the first half of September. This included blockades of News Corps printworks that produce Rupert Murdoch’s Sun, Times and other newspapers. Kevin Blowe, co-ordinator of Netpol (the Network for Police Monitoring), commented on the heavy-handed policing of XR in London: ‘The suspicion remains that the Metropolitan police see all XR supporters as “criminals” and are judging them not on their…

10 December 2020 David Edwards and David Cromwell

The Media Lens team survey recent reporting on claims that UK special forces executed unarmed Afghan civilians

On 1 August, a rare in-depth investigative piece appeared on the BBC News website based on credible and serious allegations that UK special forces had executed unarmed civilians in Afghanistan.

The BBC article was produced in tandem with a report, ‘“Rogue SAS Afghanistan execution squad” exposed by email trail’,…

10 December 2020 Milan Rai

PN surveyed over 100 peace activists on the impact of Black Lives Matter

Since George Floyd, an unarmed African-American man, was killed by a white police officer in Minnesota in the US on 25 May, there has been a vast, intense wave of anti-racist protests that has shaken the world.

In the first half of September, we held an anonymous online survey to see what impact, if any, the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement has had on the British peace movement. 117 people completed it in the fortnight it was open. We were surprised and grateful for how honest people…

9 December 2020 George Lakey

The power of activist training in times of rapid change

One of the gifts of the Black Lives Matter movement is that it doesn’t pretend that a quick fix will solve the problem. The many signs of change – from NASCAR [the US car racing organisation] giving up the Confederate flag to the majority of Minneapolis city council members resolving to dismantle their police department – are welcome, but not nearly enough.

Decades of failed reforms plus research into racism have come to the same conclusion: only radical change will deliver what we…

9 December 2020 Milan Rai

The Bomb was not ‘a last resort’ argues Milan Rai

Right-wing historian Max Hastings justified the atomic bombing of the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 2005, writing: ‘Truman’s Hiroshima judgment may seem wrong in the eyes of posterity, but it is easy to understand why it seemed right to most of his contemporaries.’

That’s a lie.

In the eyes of Truman’s best-informed contemporaries, there were at least two options that could and should have been tried before the Bomb – and they each had a good chance of ending the…

9 December 2020 Chris Savory

A 1980s direct actionist gives us a blast from the past

In the summer of 1981, the young Chris Savory left his place studying economics at Oxford University to join the peace movement and the UK’s counterculture. His recently-published memoir of this time, Confessions of a Non-Violent Revolutionary, is by turns moving and humorous. This extract takes up the story in 1982:

In the late 1950s and early 1960s, most disarmament-related civil disobedience was in the form of sit-down protests in central London.

The focus had now…

9 December 2020 Indra Donfrancesco

Four months of anti-HS2 eco-activism during the pandemic

High Speed 2 (HS2) is a carbon-intensive, environmentally-destructive high-speed rail line planned to run from London to Birmingham (then, eventually, to Manchester and Leeds in ‘Phase 2’). Communities all along the Phase 1 line have been protesting against HS2, and environmental campaigners have set up ‘protection camps’ with local support. Emily Johns of PN caught up with experienced activist Indra Donfrancesco in mid-July:

HS2 is very simple, because it’s all wrong. It’s a…

9 December 2020 PN and Noam Chomsky

A powerful Democracy Now! interview on the risk of a coup in the US, the climate crisis and the nuclear arms race

We’re glad to be able to present the transcript of an interview of respected US social critic Noam Chomsky on the radical US TV/radio programme, Democracy Now! The interview was carried out on 23 July by hosts Amy Goodman and Nermeen Shaikh.

AMY GOODMAN: This is Democracy Now! democracynow.org The Quarantine Report. I’m Amy Goodman.

Barely 100 days before the presidential election in November, this week president Trump announced he is sending a surge…

9 December 2020

An extract from the new edition of George Lakey's book Facilitating Group Learning

The United Mine Workers called all their field staff east of the Mississippi to West Virginia to help lead the part of the Pittston Coal Company campaign that took place in the coalfields in 1989–90. Although this was one battlefront among several, West Virginia would be the site of the mass participation by workers, their families and their communities.

I was learning their history as rapidly as I could and discovered that just after the First World War there had been an open war…

9 December 2020 PN staff

Let’s support people who’re trying to change the United States for the better!

For those of us outside the US, it’s hard to know what we can do to be useful to folk in the US who’re being attacked by state forces, who’re trying to bring down an appalling president, and who’re trying to build a more just society.

We have decided to try to raise £1,948 to send to the Poor People’s Campaign, an enormously impressive multi-racial, multi-issue coalition whose civil disobedience led to 2,500 arrests in mid-2018. (…

9 December 2020

It’s time to celebrate how the peace movement has managed to limit British inverventions from Afghanistan to Syria

After interviewing more than 36 senior officials in the Johnson and Nixon administrations for The War Within, his 1994 book about the movement against the Vietnam War, US historian Tom Wells concluded that ‘the movement played a major role in constraining, de-escalating, and ending the war.’

Admiral Thomas Moorer, the chair of the joint chiefs of staff during Nixon’s presidency, told Wells the movement ‘had a major impact… both in the executive and legislative branches of…

8 December 2020 Rakesh Prashara and PN and David MacKenzie

PN and friends reflect on the UK's December 2019 general election

On 12 December, the Conservative party won a landslide victory in the general election in Britain, turning Boris Johnson’s minority government into one enjoying an 80-seat majority. It is widely believed that two of the biggest factors were the public’s desire to ‘Get Brexit done’ (the Conservative slogan) and its distrust of Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn (after years of lies and smears directed at him).

The parties most in favour of nuclear disarmament did quite well.

The…

8 December 2020 Milan Rai

Another 3 January victim: Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis

In the past few weeks, there has been much outrage in the British media at Iranian ‘meddling’ in Iraq over the past 17 years. Iran’s interference in Iraq was directed for most of that time by Iranian general Qassem Suleimani, probably the most powerful non-Iraqi in Iraq until he was assassinated in Baghdad by the US on 3 January.

There has not been much attention paid to the fact that Iran could only intervene because of the disintegration of Iraq because of the US-UK invasion of 2003…

8 December 2020 Milan Rai

Censoring the destruction of Iran Air Flight 655

Even after an Iranian air defence unit mistakenly shot down Ukraine International Airlines Flight PS752 on 8 January, killing 176 passengers and crew, the British press failed to remind readers of a relevant incident involving Iran.

On 5 January, Ali Larijani, speaker of the Iranian parliament, compared the US assassination of Iranian general Qassem Suleimani to the CIA-organised coup of 1953 that overthrew parliamentary democracy in Iran, and to the shooting down of an Iranian…

19 November 2020 PN

Pre-war art by Emily Johns

On 3 July 1988, Iran Air Flight 655, a commercial flight inside a commercial air corridor, was shot down by one of the US navy’s most technologically-advanced cruisers, the USS Vincennes. All 290 passengers and crew aboard were killed, including 66 children. Few of the bodies recovered were complete. The US government never admitted wrongdoing and never apologised for the destruction of Flight 655.

This image is from Drawing Paradise on the ‘Axis of Evil’ an exhibition by…

28 September 2020 Milan Rai

Before the US murdered him, it formed an alliance with the Iranian general – twice

Noam Chomsky and Edward Herman, who developed the Propaganda Model for understanding the western mass media, once explained: ‘That a careful reader looking for a fact can sometimes find it, with diligence and a skeptical eye, tells us nothing about whether that fact received the attention and context it deserved, whether it was intelligible to most readers, or whether it was effectively distorted or suppressed.’

In the case of Iranian general Qassem Suleimani, there were a lot of…

28 September 2020 PN and misc activists

In January, we asked activists and groups around the country what they thought campaigners should be doing – this year and over the next 10 years. These are the responses we received.

Ali Tamlit (pictured right)

I’m interested in questions of: What does care look like? How can we support one another as whole people and communities – rather than seeing each other’s value in ‘productive’ activist times and then disappearing in times of burnout. And also how to balance accountability within this care?

Beyond this, as we go into the 2020s, although many positives will also happen, I think it’s important to acknowledge some trends which are likely to get worse: the…

1 August 2020 Kelvin Mason

The pandemic has broken down barriers for some activists

Doing politics outside of our ideological bubbles was never going to be easy. Between excluding people and/or leaving in an over-dramatic way, on the one hand, and staying silent in the face of irrational, immoral or even malicious views, on the other, lies the thorny territory of discussing, questioning and challenging.

Radical academic Paul Chatterton has a name for interactions between dedicated activists and non-activist communities: encounters on ‘uncommon ground’, recognising…

1 August 2020 Catherine Barter

How our much-loved sister project downstairs has been handling the pandemic

Activists, radical authors, publishers, zine-makers, book-lovers and all friends of Housmans Bookshop: we are still here, and as long as we are able we will continue to do everything we can to support you.

We’re conscious that, whatever happens in the next few months, the way that people shop and buy books, especially in central London, might not go back to ‘normal’ for a very long time. So we are working to re-imagine the ways the shop can operate, find new ways to engage with people…

1 August 2020 Veruschka Selbach

How one independent radical publisher is coping

It’s now four months since we closed the Pluto office. We’re all still working at home and we’re not sure when we’ll be able to return. We’ve come through the worst of the crisis, but there is a long road to full recovery ahead.

It all happened so fast. Everything changed in the course of just a few weeks. Things that we never expected were possible – happened.

When I look back on those weeks, one word fills my memory. Unprecedented. It dominated the media and our conversations…

1 August 2020 Helena Silvestre and and others

Extracts from Pluto's new book surveying mutual aid across the globe

While much of the media has focused on selfish individualism (empty supermarket shelves and con artists) in the time of COVID-19, a new book from Pluto Press, Pandemic Solidarity, has collected stories of community and self-sacrifice from 18 countries and regions around the world, including India, Rojava and Iraq. Here are a few extracts, chosen by PN.

Brazil

Pandemic Solidarity carries several stories from Brazil, including that of the Abya Yala…

1 June 2020 Folabi Olagbaju and Nadine Bloch

A look inside the creativity fuelling the US struggle to defund the police

It’s hard to keep up when the world lurches from pandemic to racial justice uprising seemingly overnight. After months of living in a quarantine pressure cooker, amidst a global pandemic that’s thrown millions out of work, exposed the vicious inequities of our current capitalist system and killed hundreds of thousands, masses of people hit a breaking point.

Fuelled by their righteous rage about the videotaped killing of George Floyd, people have flooded the streets and taken the fight…

1 June 2020 Gabriel Carlyle

From French farmers who resisted the Nazis to ‘just banking’ and the idea of utopia: PN's reviews editor provides a quirky selection of on- and off-line activism-related resources for anyone who’s feeling the hours drag.

It goes without saying that everyone is dealing with the pandemic – and the UK’s 'lockdown' – in their own way and as their own specific circumstances dictate. Some of us have been left with little or no spare time and headspace, while others now have surpluses of both.

And there is, of course, no single ‘correct’ way for these latter folk to be employing their time. If a combination of jigsaws, long walks and Gogglebox is what’s getting you through it all then more power to your…

1 June 2020 Ismael Clark Juarros

A view of the pandemic from Madrid

It is becoming increasingly clear that those who have the most to lose from COVID-19 have been placed at the bottom of the list of priorities in most countries.

“It’s shocking how many people are suddenly out of a job and are (therefore) embarrassed to ask for a little help,” says one of the volunteers helping register people on the Association’s database.

Spain holds a special position for epidemiologists: one of the first European countries to deal with the coronavirus on a…

1 June 2020 Ian Sinclair

Ian Sinclair lays out the case for the prosecution

Due to the extraordinary nature of the crisis, the UK government has had an unprecedented opportunity to control the narrative about their response to the coronavirus pandemic. In addition to the daily Number 10 press briefings there has been a months-long, multi-faceted public information campaign using television and radio spots, social media posts, billboards, wrap around messaging on the front of all major newspapers and a letter to every household in the UK.

Despite this…

1 December 2019 Kellen Wren

Top tips from a DIY video-making workshop for activists in Manchester

Liam Acton shows activists how to edit their footage. Photo: Kellen Wren

We ventured out into the city of Manchester with our cameras to get some footage which we would then edit into short films.

On 9 November, the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND) and Pugwash collaborated to bring a DIY video-making workshop to a group of social justice activists in Manchester.

The intention was to offer the tools to make short, dynamic videos on camera and smartphones that will…

1 December 2019 Sergely Sandler

A view from New Profile, the movement for the demilitarisation of Israeli society

One of New Profile’s central projects is our Counselling Network – a network of volunteers accompanying young Israelis through the process of avoiding or discontinuing their compulsory military service.

One foundation that bills itself as politically radical has informed us that they’d fund other work we’re doing in education, but never the Counselling Network, because, you see, it is not radical enough.

As context, consider that, while we have always supported, and…

1 December 2019 Claire Poyner and Ameen Nemer and David MacKenzie and Kate Hudson and Nik Gorecki and Pat Gaffney and Rakesh Prashara and Muzammal Hussain

Eight campaigners share their views

Peace News contacted folk around Britain to ask their opinions on the 12 December general election – people who’ve contributed to PN or helped organise Peace News Summer Camp. These are the eight campaigners who managed to meet our very tight deadline, giving their varied views on tactical voting, the Trident nuclear weapon system, climate, the arms trade and much else. (Unusually, we don’t have someone urging people not to vote, which has been a theme in past election…

1 December 2019 Joe Glenton

Getting the word out through online audio

This year, ForcesWatch produced the first season of a podcast titled ‘Warrior Nation.’ (A podcast is a radio programme turned into a computer file that people can download from the internet and listen to on their smartphone or computer – ed.)

Our aim was to create a platform for anti-militarist thinkers who might otherwise not be heard. We interviewed academics, activists and artists.

For our season finale, on 4 December, we will interview the political hip-hop artist…

1 December 2019 Kevin Blowe

An XR act of gratitude to Brixton police officers was painful and racist

My work as coordinator of the Network for Police Monitoring (Netpol) has kept me busy for some months now supporting the rights of Extinction Rebellion (XR) campaigners to exercise their freedom of assembly.

XR activists have been out on the streets since 7 October and over 1,400 have been arrested so far. Now the police have abandoned any pretence at facilitating their rights and have imposed a blanket ban on XR protests covering the whole of London.

As well as…

1 December 2019 PN staff

PN scrutinises the parties' election manifestos

Here are the Peace News peace scores for the manifestos of the major political parties in the UK for the 12 December election. We’ve listed them in descending order of peacefulness, according to the peace issues that we thought were most important.

The top scorer was the Green party with 5.5 points out of 10 (largely because of their commitment to getting rid of Trident), with Plaid Cymru close behind with 5 points (again, mainly because of their anti-Trident position), and…

1 December 2019 Felice Cohen-Joppa

The trial of the Kings Bay Plowshares 7

Sketch of Mark Colville during the Kingsbay Plowshares 7 trial. Drawing: Dan Burgevin

‘You are the hope you have arrived to find.’

So ended a brief message that father Steve Kelly wrote from jail last month to be read to more than 100 friends and supporters on the eve of the trial of the Kings Bay Plowshares 7 in coastal Brunswick, Georgia, USA.

The 70-year-old Jesuit knows something about sustaining hope in hard places. This time, he’s already been in jail for…

1 December 2019 Co-operation in Mesopotamia

New British arms exports to Turkey suspended after tens of thousands march in London

Dancing on 28 September at a women’s food festival in Tirbespiye organised by the Women’s Economy Committee shortly before the Turkish invasion of Rojava. Photo: Co-operation in Mesopotamia

People in North East Syria– the region commonly known as Rojava – are collectively building a society based on principles of direct democracy, ecology, and women’s liberation, with co-operation playing a crucial role in rebuilding their economy.

On the morning of 9 October, Turkish state…

1 October 2019 Gabriel Carlyle

Where XR and the climate movement need to go now

School strikers and supporters march in Manila, the Philippines, on a global day of action, 24 May. Photo: Leo Sabangan II / 350.org

The climate movement needs an acceleration of forward steps and more of the urgency of commitment that XR and the climate strikers have been demonstrating.

But urgency and commitment by themselves aren’t enough.

Daniel Hunter tells a powerful story in…

1 October 2019 Jewish Voice for Labour

Jewish Voice for Labour examines 'a farrago of half-truths, distortions and outright invention'

With the transmission on 10 July of the Panorama programme 'Is Labour Antisemitic?' the BBC has reached a new low point in its retreat from its once-praised tradition of impartiality.

The BBC has entrusted a programme of great sensitivity to a muck-raking journalist whose prejudices are well known. The result quite predictably is a farrago of half-truths, distortions and outright invention.

The principal ‘witnesses’ offered by the programme were Labour Party ex-…

1 October 2019 Emily Johns

Emily Johns celebrates Joan Littlewood's 'university of the streets'

Penny Dimond reading Joan Littlewood’s description of a Fun Palace from a ladder, October 2018, Torriano Meeting House. Photo: NEW FACTORY OF THE ECCENTRIC ACTOR

Imagine a place where the latent genius in all of us becomes ripe, expresses itself and communicates with others.

A place where the human mind and human creativity explore the arts and the sciences for the delight of being alive.

No certificates are awarded at this university, no prospectuses have to…

1 October 2019 PN staff

A tribute to Donald Rooum

This page is a tribute to our very wonderful cartoonist, the life-long anarchist Donald Rooum, who sadly died as this issue was being prepared.

We will publish an obituary in the next issue.

Donald has been drawing cartoons for PN since 1962. We asked him to produce this graphic retelling for the 50th anniversary of the Challenor case in 2013 (PN2558).…

1 October 2019 Pat Gaffney and Milan Rai

The final part of our interview with long-time Catholic peace activist Pat Gaffney

Pope Francis meets Pat Gaffney. Photo: The Vatican

Pat Gaffney is a much-loved figure within the British peace movement and has served the movement in a variety of ways since the 1980s. One of the key organisers of the Ash Wednesday actions at the ministry of defence in London (calling for nuclear disarmament), Pat has been arrested 11 times for nonviolent civil disobedience, and has been imprisoned three times. This second part of our interview with Pat covers her three decades…

1 October 2019 Mya-Rose Craig

A teenage climate striker argues that the fate of the Global South should be central to the work of Western climate movements

The eye of a Red and Green macaw, in danger of extinction, Brazil.Photo: LeonardoRamos [CC BY-SA 4.0] via Wikimedia Commons

My generation is more aware of climate breakdown and its impact than any before.

It is outrageous that people like Trump and Bolsonaro will not be alive to face the consequences of their ecocide, that will define our lives. We are protesting and taking part in Youth Strikes for Climate because our government and others around the world have not taken…

1 October 2019 Emily Johns

A poster for Black history month

Remember Saro-Wiwa by Emily Johns. Linocut, 2005.

On 10 November 2019, it will be 24 years since the Nigerian writer and activist Ken Saro-Wiwa and eight Ogoni colleagues were hanged by the military government for campaigning nonviolently against the oil company Shell. It is over 60 years since Shell started drilling oil in the Niger Delta. Home to 20 million people and 40 different…

1 October 2019 Daniel Hunter

Another extract from the Climate Resistance Handbook

Demonstrations for democracy in Mongolia’s capital city, Ulaanbaatar, in 1990. Photo: Mongolian Democratic Union

This is an extract from The Climate Resistance Handbook – or, I was part of a climate action. Now what? written by Daniel Hunter with a foreword by Greta Thunberg. Published by 350.org, this 68-page book is being mass distributed in the UK at cost…

1 October 2019 Jewish Dissident

Why did the BBC hide the role of an anti-Corbyn, pro-Israel group in its recent programme on allegations of anti-semitism in the Labour Party?

Some eagle-eyed comrades out there happened to notice that many of the anonymous ‘witnesses’ [in the 10 July Panorama programme] appear to be members or supporters of the JLM, the Jewish Labour Movement – an organisation notoriously hostile to Corbyn and the Labour leadership.

Asa Winstanley, on the excellent Electronic Intifada website, was the first to break the news, and…

1 August 2019 Florian Zollman and Alan Macleod and Jeffery Klaehn and Daniel Broudy and Matthew Alford

Five academics examine our media's coverage of foreign affairs, in a piece censored (and then rejected) by a leading liberal publication.

Egyptian security forces killed 817 protesters as they cleared the sit-in of Rab'a al-Adawiya Square in Cairo on 14 August 2013. Photo: Amsg07 via Wikimedia Commons (CC BY-SA 3.0)

When Noam Chomsky first observed that the United States had attacked…

1 August 2019 Milan Rai

In June, the Pentagon published, then hid an eye-opening military manual

Four B61 nuclear bombs on a bomb cart, USAF Barksdale, Louisiana, 1 December 1986. The B61 is a variable-yield free-fall bomb, whose explosive power can be dialled down as low as 0.3 kilotons. Photo: SSgt Phil Schmitten / US department of defense

On 11 June, the US military posted an unclassified document, updating doctrine on the use of nuclear weapons, on a public Pentagon website. The most quoted part of Nuclear Operations is this: ‘Using nuclear weapons could create…

1 August 2019 Daniel Hunter

An extract from Daniel Hunter's Climate Resistance Handbook

This is an edited extract from The Climate Resistance Handbook – or, I was part of a climate action. Now what? written by Daniel Hunter with a foreword by Greta Thunberg. Published by 350.org, this 68-page book is being mass distributed in the UK at cost…

1 August 2019 Milan Rai and Pat Gaffney

The first part of our interview with long-time Christian peace activist Pat Gaffney

Pat Gaffney (second from left) on a march against the 1991 Iraq War. Photo: Giovanni Scudiero

After 29 years of being the general secretary of the Catholic peace organisation, Pax Christi UK, Pat Gaffney stepped down in April. This first part of our interview with Pat covers the years before Pax Christi – liberation theology, death squads, direct action and new models of education.

The first time I took part in direct action was amazingly powerful, at every level…

1 August 2019 Marc Hudson

Some thoughts on how to improve meetings from a fed-up campaigner

Franz Sedlacek, Ghosts on a Tree (1933) via WikiArt

I think there are two major reasons why people come to public meetings (and, to a lesser extent, organising meetings). First, they come to learn facts and perspectives about ‘an issue’ – to get beyond the headlines. If you’re not particularly confident around the skills of tracking down different sources and perspectives and comparing and contrasting them, then this can be a relatively efficient way of getting information.

17 July 2019 Emily Johns

Download, print out and display in your window!

This poster published by Peace News, 5 Caledonian Road, London N1 9DY. Tel. 0207 278 3344

1 June 2019 Gabriel Carlyle

Extinction Rebellion's impact has been positive, but its current strategy is doomed to fail

Extinction Rebellion occupation, Waterloo Bridge, London, 15 April 2019. Photo: Mark Hart / XR

Over the past nine months, Extinction Rebellion (XR) has played a significant role in helping to push climate change way up the UK’s political agenda. For its boldness of vision, its commitment to nonviolence, its desire (and ability) to get large numbers of new people involved, its chutzpah and creativity, and for the sheer hard work that many of its activists have put into the cause, it…

1 June 2019 Rhianna Louise,

A ForcesWatch report on selling the military

Many of us have seen recruitment adverts for the armed forces popping up on our social media feeds, on TV and on the radio.

Others will have come across recruitment stalls in their local town centres, perhaps with weapons on display for passersby – especially young children – to admire and handle.

If you are 16–24 years old, and from a low-income background, you are especially likely to be targeted with various kinds of military recruitment advertising in your daily…

1 June 2019 Ruth Saunders

The pacifists who volunteered for medical trials during the Second World War

Scabies mite. Photo: Kalumet via wikimedia commons [CC BY-SA 3.0]


Some years after the Second World War, articles appeared in national newspapers in the UK headed ‘Volunteers Sought to Risk Death’ and ‘Human Guinea Pigs Plea’. They were advocating the setting up of a national centre where scientists could ‘infect people with diseases and try out drugs – even if the risk is death’, and were based on a research project during the war.

In 1940, professor Kenneth…

1 June 2019 Gabriel Carlyle

Crying wolf about a near-term global apocalypse makes for bad strategy, argues Gabriel Carlyle

It would be difficult to exaggerate the scale of our current ecological crisis. But not impossible.

In XR’s April 2019 video, ‘Act as if the Truth is Real’, actor and XR spokesperson Sam Knights says: ‘we're not alarmist and we don't exaggerate’. [1] Yet, from the beginning, some of XR’s most prominent spokespeople have done just that.

In his 61-page booklet, Common Sense for the 21st Century: Only Nonviolent Rebellion Can Now Stop Climate Breakdown and Social Collapse…

1 June 2019 Gabriel Carlyle

What's the basis for XR's 'magic number'?

XR is fond of citing political scientist Erica Chenoweth’s ‘3.5 percent rule’ (see eg. 'XR: The Plan') – an empirical observation that it ‘only’ takes ‘3.5% of a population engaged in sustained nonviolent resistance to topple dictatorships’ [1], based on the analysis of a dataset of over 100 major nonviolent campaigns that took place between 1900 and 2006. [2]

It should be noted that:

(A) the dataset only considered ‘…

1 June 2019 Noam Chomsky

Iran guilty of "crime" of successful defiance

The threat of a US attack on Iran is all too real. Led by US national security advisor John Bolton, the Trump administration is spinning tales of Iranian misdeeds. It is easy to concoct pretexts for aggression. History provides many examples.

The assault against Iran is one element of the international programme of flaunting overwhelming US power to put an end to ‘successful defiance’ of the master of the globe: the primary reason for the US torture of Cuba for 60 years.

1 June 2019 PN staff and Robert Kalman

A round-up of exhibitions and books marking the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Riots

‘Gay and Lesbian Couples’, Robert Kalman, 2018 from Photography After Stonewall (Soho Photo Gallery, 2019). Kalman writes: ‘The narrative of LGBTQ civil rights, simply told, draws a straight line from the Stonewall Riots of 1969 to a person’s liberty to love whomever they wish today.... These are portraits of mixed-race, loving couples, rendered as ambrotypes…

1 June 2019 Rebecca Trowler

A lawyer traces her roots back to 15 months in a peace camp

I was a pupil at Manchester High School for Girls which, when I started at 11, was a selective, girls’ ‘direct grant’ school. About half the pupils were funded either by central government or by their local education authority (LEA).

In my family, it was considered a great achievement to have passed the exam and to have been awarded a means-tested grant from the LEA to cover fees.

There were great expectations of me, but I was not a model pupil. I did not engage with my…

1 June 2019 Emily Johns

The shadow collector

The Shadow Collector. On 7 August 1945, the day after the atomic bombing of Hiroshima, Shogō Nagaoka, a geologist from Hiroshima University, began walking through the city collecting rubble. The A-bomb’s heat burned shadows of vapourised people and objects onto streets and buildings and it changed the formation of rocks. Nagaoka filled his rucksack and then his house with specimens. He believed they were vital to telling the story of Hiroshima: ‘These articles that cannot talk will one day…

1 June 2019 Gabriel Carlyle

What is XR's plan to save the day and does it make any sense?

XR ‘swarm’ in the City of London, 25 April 2019. Photo: Adam Wiseman / XR

If one core part of XR’s approach has been to try and scare the bejesus out of people (see ‘XR: The dangers of apocalyptic organising’), a second has been its claim that it has a plan – indeed, one grounded in ‘social scientific research’ – that could save the day.

This has two parts: (a) a set of three demands; and (b) a…

1 April 2019 Linda Pearson and Michael Orgel and Guy Johnson

A Scottish peace initiative focused on the power of money

The ‘Don’t Bank on the Bomb’ campaign for Scotland was launched at a public meeting in Edinburgh on 16 November 2015. Photo: Edinburgh Peace and Justice Centre

In September 2018, the ‘Don’t Bank on the Bomb Scotland’ campaign group (DBOTB Scotland) published a guide for divestment from nuclear weapons entitled Stop Funding the End of the World – Working to Eliminate Nuclear Weapons Through Divestment: A Guide for Scotland.

The guide was launched as part of the Nae…

1 April 2019 Kathy Kelly

Chelsea Manning reimprisoned

Photo: Manolo Luna [CC BY-SA 4.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)]

Chelsea Manning, who bravely exposed atrocities committed by the US military, is again imprisoned in a US jail. On International Women’s Day, 8 March, she was incarcerated in the Alexandria, Virginia, federal detention centre for refusing to testify in front of a secretive grand jury. [In the US system of law, grand juries decide (in secret)…

1 April 2019 Greta Thunberg

Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg (16) who has been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize, delivered this speech to the European Commission on 21 February

Greta Thunberg, outside the Swedish parliament, 31 August 2018. Photo: Anders Hellberg via Wikimedia Commons [CC BY-SA 4.0]

Tens of thousands of children are school striking for the climate on the streets of Brussels. Hundreds of thousands are doing the same all over the world. And some are here today.

We are school striking because we have done our homework. People always tell us that they are so hopeful. They are hopeful that the young people are going to save the world…

1 April 2019 PN staff

How to have difficult conversations (about Brexit)

Pro- and anti-Brexit demonstrators in Old Palace Yard, opposite parliament, London, 29 January. Photo: ChiralJon via Wikimedia Commons

Let’s face it. We’re divided.

People who share progressive or radical values in lots of ways – who oppose the same wars, who are equally passionate about stopping climate change, who would all unilaterally ditch British nuclear weapons, and so on – are divided on the hottest topic in British politics: our relationship with the European…

1 April 2019 Nick Engelfried

How young activists in the Sunrise movement turned the old idea of a Green New Deal into a powerful movement

Hundreds of young people from the Sunrise Movement flood congress in Washington DC to push for a Green New Deal, 10 December. Photo: Rachael Warriner / Sunrise Movement

At the end of February, over 250 young people converged on US senate majority leader Mitch McConnell’s office in Washington DC for a sit-in marking one of the latest escalations in the youth-led campaign for a Green New Deal.

The action, led by youth from McConnell’s state of Kentucky, was planned in direct…

1 April 2019 Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Ed Markey

This is the full text of the ground-breaking climate justice proposal put forward in both houses of the US congress in February

On 7 February, a radical new congressmember from New York, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (known as ‘AOC’), introduced legislation into the US house of representatives calling for a ‘Green New Deal’. Fellow Democrat Ed Markey introduced the same resolution into the senate on the same day.

The importance of AOC’s resolution is not that it will lead to laws being passed and budgets being set. (It’s a ‘simple resolution’, a nonbinding congressional opinion, not a ‘bill’ or a ‘…

1 April 2019 Sarah Gittins

Artwork by Sarah Gittins

Sea Tangle by Sarah Gittins

Sarah Gittins: Seaweed could be cast as a heroine in a story about the ecosystem of Ullapool in relation to climate change. It has been found to be very effective in absorbing carbon, and if it is allowed to grow in abundance it could play an important role in mitigating the effects of climate change and ocean acidification. Seaweed is also a highly…

1 April 2019 UN Human Rights Council

UN Commission finds Israeli forces 'killed and gravely injured civilians who were neither participating directly in hostilities nor posing an imminent threat to life'

Great March of Return protest by the Gaza-Israel border, El Bureij, 6 July 2018. Photo: MinoZig via Wikimedia Commons [CC BY-SA 4.0]

Below is the official summary of the UN human rights council’s independent international commission of inquiry into the weekly demonstrations in Gaza, named ‘the Great March of Return’, that began on 30 March, 2018. It is followed by an extract on the events of 14 May 2018.

Summary

The Commission found reasonable grounds…

1 April 2019 Gabriel Carlyle

Students, parents, teachers and staff can all help break the hold that fossil fuel companies have on our governments and economies

Students march against climate change on Rue de Treves next to the European Parliament in Brussels on 24 January 2019. Bence Damokos [CC BY-SA 4.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)]

Burning fossil fuels (oil, coal and gas) is the main driver of global warming. Just 100 fossil fuel producers – including Exxon, Shell, BP and Total – account for 71 percent of all global industrial greenhouse gas emissions since…

1 February 2019 Raphael Mimoun and Sarah Freeman-Woolpert

Participatory movement is forcing France to reckon with the impact of austerity on the working class

Mouvement des gilets jaunes demonstration in Belfort, 19 January.Photo: Thomas Bresson via Wikimedia Commons (CC BY 4.0)

At the beginning of January, 50,000 people flooded the streets of France for the first protest of 2019 organised by the yellow vests, or gilets jaunes.

This protest was a continuation of a national movement for economic justice that has shaken the country since November. While mainstream French and international media have largely characterised…

1 February 2019 Rob Fairmichael

Brexit (and demographics) is creating plenty of future work for peace activists in Northern Ireland

An October 2015 Sinn Féin protest at Stormont, outside Belfast, against a hard border in Ireland. Photo: Sinn Féin (CC BY 2.0)

‘Norn Iron’ is a colloquial, phonetic term for ‘Northern Ireland’ and there are certainly some ‘Norn Ironies’ about.

One is that the Democratic Unionist party (DUP) have done more for a united Ireland in the last couple of years than republicans have done in decades.

Another irony is just when more Catholics and even some Protestants…

1 February 2019 Kathy Kelly

Connecting war in West Asia with war preparation in East Asia

Kathy Kelly and 10 other Voices for Creative Nonviolence (VCNV) activists were arrested on 2 January for blocking the entrance to the US mission to the United Nations in New York city. This was part of a two-week ‘Fast for Yemen’ in New York and Washington DC organised by VCNV. A British participant in the liquids-only fast in New York was VCNV UK co-ordinator Maya Evans, a Labour councillor from Hastings, England.Photo: Felton Davis

4 December: Several days ago, I joined an unusual…

1 February 2019 Rebecca Elson-Watkins

A round-up of what Extinction Rebellion groups are doing round the UK

Although in its infancy, the new climate direct action group Extinction Rebellion (XR) seems to be finding those rare people who are willing to form ongoing campaigns from a one-off protest. [See PN 2624–2625 for reports and a critique of XR. – ed] People who recognise that the type of social change needed to stop climate change simply cannot come from the top down.

Roads have been blocked in London, Middlesbrough and Oxford. Banners have been hung over main roads bearing the XR…

1 February 2019 Bruce Kent

Responses from peace activists to the BBC’s 2018 Reith Lectures on war

Noted historian Margaret MacMillan took war as her theme in five Reith Lectures she delivered for the BBC in mid-2018.

The overall title of the lecture series was ‘The Mark of Cain’, referring to the story in the Hebrew Bible of the first murderer. Cain, the oldest child of Adam and Eve, murdered his brother Abel, then denied his crime. According to scripture, God cursed Cain and put a mark on him – the Hebrew is not clear whether this was a physical mark on his body or some kind…

1 February 2019 Stephen Metcalfe

Responses from peace activists to the BBC’s 2018 Reith Lectures on war

Noted historian Margaret MacMillan took war as her theme in five Reith Lectures she delivered for the BBC in mid-2018.

The overall title of the lecture series was ‘The Mark of Cain’, referring to the story in the Hebrew Bible of the first murderer. Cain, the oldest child of Adam and Eve, murdered his brother Abel, then denied his crime. According to scripture, God cursed Cain and put a mark on him – the Hebrew is not clear whether this was a physical mark on his body or some kind…

1 February 2019 Virginia Moffatt

Responses from peace activists to the BBC's 2018 Reith Lectures on war

Noted historian Margaret MacMillan took war as her theme in five Reith Lectures she delivered for the BBC in mid-2018.

The overall title of the lecture series was ‘The Mark of Cain’, referring to the story in the Hebrew Bible of the first murderer. Cain, the oldest child of Adam and Eve, murdered his brother Abel, then denied his crime. According to scripture, God cursed Cain and put a mark on him – the Hebrew is not clear whether this was a physical mark on his body or some kind…

1 February 2019 Joe Guinan and Christine Berry

In a new book, two Labour left-wingers draw on post-1945 European history to prepare radical movements to make a Corbyn government a radical success

The biggest danger facing the left today is no longer a shortage of ideas or a lack of positive vision.

The biggest danger is lack of preparedness – that we are not yet ready for the hard work of turning that vision into reality. If the left has been unused to being propositional, it has been even less used to holding and wielding power.

If we are serious about fundamentally transforming our economy, we must rapidly build our understanding of the scale of the challenge…

1 February 2019 Dennis Gould

Peace News celebrates Lawrence Ferlinghetti’s 100th birthday on 24 March

Poster by Dennis Gould

1 December 2018 Rebecca Elson-Watkins

Responses to PN's peace group Brexit questionnaire.

Marchers at an anti-Brexit demonstration in London, October 2018. © User:Colin / Wikimedia Commons

In November, PN reporter Rebecca Elson-Watkins wrote to 53 British peace groups with a Brexit questionnaire. She received four responses. Peace groups may be unsure or divided on Brexit or perhaps unaffected by it. Here are the responses we received, in the order they came.

Welsh Anti-Nuclear Alliance

1) Your name and group: Richard Bramhall, Welsh Anti-…

1 December 2018 PN staff

11-day exhibition marks end of PN touring show

The World is My Country exhibition at Hastings Arts Forum. On the left is Wild Man, Wild Woman, Iron Water. Wild Men or Green Men slipped into the woods after the Norman Conquest and resisted.

After four years of touring, PN’s The World is My Country exhibition had its final show in Hastings from 30 October to 11 November.

Emily Johns displayed her powerful posters celebrating anti-war resistance during the First World War – and some other political and war-…

1 December 2018 Gabriel Carlyle

A PN staffer comments on the new climate direct action campaign

Photo: Lucy Cartwright

This essay was written on 1 November, before the bridges actions on 17 November that we report on p5.

If Extinction Rebellion plans to gradually build capacity for its big demands by winning smaller-scale victories then why has it launched itself with (apparently) no indication as to what these smaller-scale wins are going to be?

Lots of people seem to be very excited about Extinction Rebellion (XR)’s ‘declaration of rebellion’…

1 December 2018 Extinction Rebellion

XR responds to criticisms around goals

Mass sit-down by Extinction Rebellion on Blackfriars Bridge, central London, 17 November 2018. Photo: Lucy Cartwright via Extinction Rebellion

These are questions and answers taken from the XR FAQs (frequently asked questions) section. Some of them are responses to Gabriel’s
1 November criticisms.

Q: ‘Some…

1 December 2018 Gabriel Carlyle

Extinction Rebellion's 'strategy' can't work but there are alternatives, argues Gabriel Carlyle

Brylie Oxley [CC BY-SA 3.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], from Wikimedia Commons

Several people responded to my original piece, in which I raised doubts about Extinction Rebellion (XR), suggesting that I was proposing ‘inaction’ as the alternative to joining XR.…

1 December 2018 Antje Mattheus

Seeing the humanity in her enemies enabled one German activist to derail an attack by a motorcycle gang. In this piece, originally published on the Waging Nonviolence website, Antje Mattheus teases out some of the lessons for activists.

Connecticut Ave Biker Gang, 23 May 2008. Photo: Peachy Weasel (CC BY 2.0)

I grew up in a small West German village, Hamm an der Sieg. Without television or computers, my friends and I played outside and acted out adventure and survival stories. This daily practice taught me not to be afraid of physical encounters, and I developed a capacity for quick thinking and action. I didn’t know how useful that would turn out to be.

At 16, my mother and I moved to the large city of…

1 December 2018 George Lakey

Activists need to go on the offensive argues veteran campaigner George Lakey

Women’s March, 21 January 2017, San Diego, USA. Photo: Bonzo McGrue (CC BY 2.0)

Protests are well known, and popular. The trouble is, when I look back on the one-off protests I’ve joined over the years, I don’t remember a single one that changed the policy we were protesting against.

In February 2003, I joined millions of others around the world on the eve of US/British war on Iraq. The BBC estimated that a million protested on 15 February in London alone. In the US,…

1 December 2018 Emily Johns

New artwork by Emily Johns

Lino etching: Emily Johns Displayed during Peace News’ The World is My Country exhibition in November at Hastings Arts Forum, St Leonards-on-Sea, East Sussex. It is one of the occasional pictures that I have made of my family history and how my personal stories intersect with the century of war. My grandmother survived the fascism and famine of the Second World War in Budapest,…

1 December 2018 Robin Percival

Robin Percial reflects on the strengths of Northern Ireland's civil rights movement

Part of a Sinn Féin march along the planned route of the 1968 civil rights demonstration, at the bottom of Shipquay Street, Derry, on 6 October. The banner refers to a UVF bombing of a pub in Belfast on 4 December 1971 which killed 15 Catholics including two children. The McGurk’s Bar Campaign for Truth is a family campaign to expose British state collusion with the loyalist attack. Photo: Robin Percival

1968 saw the beginning of what so many people euphemistically call the…

1 December 2018 Gabriel Carlyle

Eric Stoner, co-founder of the US radical nonviolence website Waging Nonviolence, spoke recently to PN staffer Gabriel Carlyle

Eric Stoner

Waging Nonviolence (WNV) has been publishing must-read reporting and analysis on nonviolent action around the world since 2009.

It started out as a blog, the brainchild of three young people: Eric Stoner, Bryan Farrell and Nathan Schneider, who all shared an interest in nonviolence and civil resistance, though each approached the topic from a slightly…

1 October 2018 HRWWPF

A walk exploring the history of Haringey’s First World War conscientious objectors

First World War postcard ridiculing conscientious objectors. Courtesy of Cyril Pearce.

The text below is from Conscientious Objection Remembered, a booklet produced by Haringey First World War Peace Forum. The booklet tells the story of the 350 men in Haringey, a borough in North London, who refused to fight in the First World War. The booklet also contains background information about Haringey 100 years ago and a two-mile walk through Haringey (which goes past houses where…

1 October 2018 Gabriel Carlyle

The unknown history of the German Revolution, 1918 - 1919

‘Enemy Activities – Manufacturing War Material – Noon hour in a German munitions factory, 1917 – 1918’.
Photo: US National Archives and Records Administration [Public domain] via Wikimedia Commons

'How did the workers' councils emerge in Germany? They emerged from the big strike movements of the last years, in which we – who have always been strong opponents of the war and who have lived with tortured souls for four years given the pressure and the lies the German people…

1 October 2018 Gabriel Carlyle

Suffragists and soldiers joined the resistance to the continued starving of Germany following WW1

It must have been a strange sight: the ex-suffragette leading a procession of soldiers marching four abreast down Whitehall, under the banner ‘Lift the Hunger Blockade!’

The Women’s International League (WIL) had been demonstrating in Trafalgar Square on 6 April 1919 against the continuing blockade of Germany and Austria-Hungary. WIL was the British section of an international peace group, the International Committee of Women for Permament Peace (ICWPP), which had been established at…

1 October 2018 Emily Johns and Gabriel Carlyle

A special PN poster to celebrate Germany's WW1 anti-war movement

Richard Muller and the Revolutionary Shop Stewards Image: Emily Johns

On 28 June 1916, Karl Liebknecht – Germany’s most famous anti-war campaigner – was put on trial for treason for his opposition to the war. That same day, some 55,000 munitions workers left their workplaces to march in perfect discipline through the streets of Berlin, shouting ‘Long live Liebknecht!’ and ‘Long live peace!’. About…

1 October 2018 Pat Gaffney

Faith-based campaigners from around the world share stories of effective action

Orlando Ospino, member of the community of Las Pavas, sings in front of the remains of a ranch burned by orders of the palm company Aportes San Isidro, 10 April 2014. Photo: Return to Las Pavas www.retornoalaspavas.wordpress.com

Building on the 2016 gathering in Rome (see previous page), Pax Christi International created the Catholic Nonviolence Initiative, invited by the pope to ‘revitalise the tools of nonviolence, and active…

1 October 2018 Pat Gaffney

In 2016, 80 Catholics from 35 countries gathered in Rome to discuss peace & nonviolence. Pat Gaffney explains what happened next.

Peace News readers will be familiar with the names of Gene Sharp, Jean Paul Ledarch, George Lakey, Martin Luther King and Gandhi, as among those who have lived, taught and supported nonviolent peacemaking through the decades. For some of those named, the Christian Gospels and the life and witness of Jesus will have been a source of motivation and inspired their thinking and practice of nonviolence.

In 2016, Catholic peace practitioners, academics, theologians and members…

1 August 2018 Ali Tamlit

Reflections on a recent 12-day ‘Sustaining Resistance’ training for trainers in Catalunya

Based in the large building to the right, the Ulex Project is a residential activist training centre in the Catalonian town of Eroles. Photo: Ulex

Burnout is a topic that is close to my heart. Having experienced a couple of intense periods of burnout and having recently realised that I continue to hold chronic low-level stress, tiredness and anxiety in my body, the question ‘How can we do sustainable activism?’ is one that I am constantly seeking answers to.

Doing activism…

1 August 2018 Ruth Kinna

Ruth Kinna explains the background to this year's Anarchist Studies Network conference

Itō Noe (1895 – 1923) was a Japanese anarchist, author, editor and feminist. She was beaten to death by military police and thrown into an abandoned well along with her companion, anarchist Ōsugi Sakae, and his six-year-old nephew, Munekazu Tachibana. Photo: via Wikimedia Commons

There have been four Anarchist Studies Network conferences, one every two years since 2010. The theme for this year's fifth conference, 'decolonise', was chosen for two reasons: to confront and tackle the…

1 August 2018 Jane Tallents

New report scrutinises Scottish readiness for nuke convoy accident

Nuclear warhead convoy stopped by Nukewatch activists near Albemarle barracks, Northumberland, 1980s. Photo: Nukewatch

When people discover that the huge trucks they’ve just seen on the road have nuclear bombs in them, they are often shocked and outraged. Not just because the convoys are a potential danger but often people are politically opposed to nuclear weapons, which are suddenly made very real when a convoy overtakes on the motorway or passes by their front door. In Scotland,…

1 August 2018 Tim Street

What if the next British cabinet contains a minister for peace?

By Fibonacci - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=837817

Have you heard about the minister for peace and disarmament?

Did you know that the Labour party has promised to establish a minister for peace and disarmament (MPD) if they win the next general election? If so, do you know what policy areas this minister might focus on and how they could work with other…

1 August 2018 Lyndsay Burtonshaw

Lyndsay Burtonshaw reflects on PN's recent three-day workshop

Grenfell Tower Photo: city students union

This summer, after two years of preparation (and a postponement in 2017 partly because of family ill-health), Peace News finally brought the wonderful Betsy Leondar-Wright to the UK to lead what we think is the very first anti-classism training of activist trainers that’s ever taken place in the UK. The other facilitators were Kathryn Tulip of the Navigate training collective and Milan Rai, PN editor. This is an account from…

1 August 2018 Jane Tallents

Jane Tallents surveys 30 years of Scottish action monitoring - and taking nonviolent action against - the UK's nuclear convoys

Nuclear warheads pass Faslane Peace Camp in Mammoth Majors, 1980s. Photo: Faslane Peace Camp

In the mid-1980s, Faslane Peace Campers in Scotland began noticing big military convoys which passed by them on a regular basis. They worked out that these unique vehicles, the strangely-shaped eight-wheeler ‘Mammoth Majors’, were delivering nuclear warheads to the armaments depot at Coulport on Loch Long just over the hill from Faslane.

At the time, there was very little public…

1 August 2018 Jill Sutcliffe

Jill Sutcliffe reports on two events about low-level radiation and human health

Dr Timothy Mousseau of the University of South Carolina holding a great tit in Chernobyl’s Red Forest. Mousseau has been studying the zone around Chernobyl since 1999, finding that birds have smaller brains, trees grow more slowly, and decomposers (microbes, fungi and insects that break down dead organic matter) are barely working. Photo: Timothy Mousseau

The University of Stirling hosted two events on low level radiation and health in June 2018. The first was an International Union…

1 August 2018 Kate Jones

Bruce Kent addresses a public meeting held by Wallasey CND and Wallasey Constituency Labour Party

Bruce Kent speaks and Kathy Runswick of Wallasey Constituency Labour Party chairs on 9 June. Photo: John Usher

It was a warm and sunny afternoon on 9 June but the church was packed.

The speakers were Paul Davies, standing in to explain current Labour Party policy in the absence of a Labour MP or union official prepared to defend it, and Bruce Kent presenting the opposing view.

It turned out to be an ‘unbalanced’ meeting because there did not seem to be anyone in…

1 August 2018 Milan Rai

Milan Rai reviews the evidence

At the

In July 1945, US president Harry S Truman had two powerful options his advisors believed could end the Pacific war – apart from a bloody US land invasion of Japan, or the use of nuclear weapons.

One was a Russian declaration of war. The other was to allow the Japanese emperor to keep his throne, despite his war crimes.

Truman refused to try either of these options before using the atom bomb.

Russia

On 8 July, the top-level US-UK…

1 August 2018 Corita Kent

A print by the legendary activist-artist

Image courtesy of the Corita Art Center, Immaculate Heart Community, Los Angeles, CA.


The title of this print is a reference to this saying of Jesus as reported in John’s gospel in the Christian bible: ‘The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have…

1 August 2018 Esther Leighton

Esther Leighton explains why she's been forced to take to the courts to enforce the 2010 Equality Act

Esther Leighton

Currently, I’m suing a whole street. Or, at least, that’s what people say; the actual reality is more complicated than that.

I’m a disabled person; I’ve got several linked invisible conditions and also a genetic condition as a result of which I’m a powered wheelchair user. While the world has changed positively for disabled people, the pace of that change has slowed enormously in the last 10 years, and in some areas it’s gone backwards. The Equality Act…

1 June 2018 Ambrose Musiyiwa and Forces Watch

A ForcesWatch interview with poet and campaigner Ambrose Musiyiwa

A soldier gives a machine gun demonstration to a child in Leicester city centre. PHOTO: Ambrose Musiyiwa/Civic Leicester


ForcesWatch: Hi Ambrose! Thank you for putting on such a fantastic event in Leicester at the end of last year as part of the Leicester Human Rights Arts and Film Festival, ‘This is Belonging: Challenging militarism at home and abroad’. We had a lively and informed discussion, and it was great to be able to take part. Could you tell us a bit about how…

1 June 2018 PN staff

Activists face 10 years imprisonment for disarmament action

Kings Bay Ploughshares 7 (left–right): Clare Grady, Patrick O’Neill, Liz McAlister, Steve Kelly SJ, Martha Hennessy, Mark Colville and Carmen Trotta. Photo: Kings Bay Ploughshares

Seven Catholic peace activists are facing up to 10 years in prison each, after breaking into a Trident submarine base at Kings Bay in Georgia, on the east coast of the USA. On 4 April, the 50th anniversary of the assassination of civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr, the seven entered Kings Bay in…

1 June 2018 Jim Peck and Ken Knudson and Robert Calese

Did Martin Luther King really do 'more harm to the progress of non-violence than any single person connected with it'?

Martin Luther King, Jr, 8 June 1964. Photo: Walter Albertin [Public domain] via Wikimedia Commons.

In the aftermath of the assassination of US civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr on 4 April 1968, Peace News published moving tributes from Devi Prasad (‘His name will be remembered with Gandhi’s’) and PN co-editor Nigel Young (‘Notes on an Assassination’) among others. Then PN decided to also publish a fierce attack on King by US anarcho-pacifist Robert…

1 June 2018 Christopher Draper

Christopher Drape draws lessons for today's activists from the tragic history of the Russian Revolution

The Peace News commemoration of the Russian Revolution (PN 2612–2613) accurately identified the role of nonviolent direct action in creating that inspiring event but offered no explanation of why it all ended in tears. Most historians accept that the revolution degenerated into authoritarian terror but activists disagree on the causes.

Leninists blame the ensuing civil war, Trotskyists blame Stalin, anarchists blame Lenin while an old Communist Party friend of mine…

1 June 2018 Michael Albert

A chapter in the story of the next American Revolution

This is an excerpt from a new book by US activist and thinker Michael Albert. RPS/2044 is an oral history of a revolution in the US, about 25 years from now. The book is made up of interviews (conducted in the future) by ‘Miguel Guevara’ (MG) with the people who helped to make the revolution. They describe how their organisation, ‘Revolutionary Participatory Society’ (RPS), began in 2020, developed over the years, and won its victory in 2044. RPS 2044 connects the movements that…

1 June 2018 Gabriel Carlyle

Gabriel Carlyle reports from the second UK Fossil Free UK national gathering

At the end of March, I travelled to Stafford to attend the second Fossil Free UK national gathering as a representative of Divest East Sussex – one of scores of local groups campaigning to get universities and local councils to ditch their investments in the fossil fuel industries (coal, oil and gas).

I’d arrived insanely early. Rapidly exhausting the delights of the town centre, I retreated to a bench in Victoria Park, beside the river Sow, where a young man with a guitar…

1 June 2018 Benjamin Kaplan and Matt Fawcett

An interview with one of the anti-nuclear campaign's regional branches

We decided to celebrate the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament’s 60th anniversary with a profile of one of its regional branches. The Yorkshire CND office is in Bradford, opposite the university. One of the branch’s contributions to the peace movement is its fundraising ‘Day of Dance’, which in Saltaire this April had 30 workshops at the event’s 46th outing. Benjamin Kaplan (BK) interviewed Matt Fawcett (MF) of Yorkshire CND more generally, on behalf of PN.

BK: How did Yorkshire CND…

1 June 2018 Poster workshop

A teaser for our upcoming review of Poster Workshop 1968 - 1971

Silkscreen image taken from Poster Workshop 1968–1971 published by Four Corners Books, review in next issue.

1 June 2018 PN and Elizabeth McAlister and Father Steven Kelly SJ and Martha Hennessy

Reflections from inside Camden County detention centre by three of the Kings Bay Ploughshares prisoners

Kings Bay Ploughshares activist Clare Grady at the admin building on 5 April, with blood and banner. Photo: Kings Bay Ploughshares


Elizabeth McAlister:

Absurd Convictions, Modest Hopes is the title of one of the more than 50 books by my late brother-in-law Daniel Berrigan (RIP and Presente!). It might be fair to say that we came to Kings Bay submarine base animated by the absurd conviction that we could make some impact on slowing, if not ending, the mad…

1 April 2018 Gabriel Carlyle

A Corbyn premiership could open up exciting possibilities for a just transition to a zero-carbon economy

There can be few more dogged campaigners than David Polden.

When I arrived at the Jobs and Climate conference on 10 March at 10am, the start of the 45-minute registration period, the seasoned 77-year-old peace campaigner was already there, distributing flyers to the general public. Believing that the event would start at 10am, David had been there since 9.15am. Given that no one else had arrived during the intervening period, it was a miracle that he hadn’t given up.…

1 April 2018 Audrey Versteegen

Housing co-ops are being hit by new taxes

Kindling housing co-op members outside the front door of their house, Oxford. Photo: Kindling Housing Co-op

A new housing co-op for low-income activists in Oxford (one of the least affordable cities in the UK) is facing huge difficulties after being asked for an additional £50,000 in stamp duty by the tax authorities, under rules brought in in 2012 and 2014. Kindling, a member of the Radical Routes network of co-operatives, is believed to be the first housing co-op to be affected by…

1 April 2018 Kate Hudson

An extract from a new book marking CND’s 60th birthday

One of the key debates in CND from its inception was the role of ‘direct action’ and whether breaking the law was a permissible way of campaigning against nuclear weapons.

The first Aldermaston march in April 1958, which was organised by the Direct Action Committee (DAC) and supported by CND, really launched the new movement into the public eye and onto the political agenda. CND went on after the march to pursue a range of campaigning and lobbying activities, building local groups…

1 April 2018 PN

Thursday 14 – Sunday 17 June 2018

Do you want to strengthen your workshop facilitation skills? Do you want to help social change groups and mission-driven NGOs deal more skilfully with social class and classism in their own organisations, in their members’ lives and in the wider society? If so, Exploring Class may be for you.

This intensive, three-day Training of Trainers draws on several decades of work in the US and will adapt US tools to the UK class system. This residential draws in particular from the…

1 April 2018 Milan Rai

An internal manual for infiltrating activist groups, written by disgraced undercover police officer Andy Coles, has been made public by the Undercover Policing Inquiry

Andy Coles

On 19 March, the Undercover Policing Inquiry (led until July 2017 by Christopher Pitchford) posted the previously-secret Special Demonstration Squad Tradecraft Manual on its website (see accompanying article for extracts). The Special Demonstration Squad (SDS) was a section of Special Branch, the British political police, devoted to undercover operations, which existed between 1968 and 2008.…

1 April 2018 PN

Extracts from spycop Andy Coles’ Special Demonstrations Squad (SDA) Tradecraft Manual.

Extracts from Andy Coles’ SDS Tradecraft Manual. See accompanying article for background.

3.8.4. Once you have been armed with an easy to remember personal history you may never use it. It is highly unlikely that within a very short time as a field officer you will face hostile questioning in such depth. Nevertheless, an intensely secretive individual who never gives…

1 April 2018 Milan Rai

Milan Rai reviews Daniel Ellsberg's new book The Doomsday Machine: Confessions of a Nuclear War Planner

Daniel Ellsberg points to uncanny truths in Stanley Kubrick’s Dr Strangelove (1964), including the fact that Russia does have an automated ‘Doomsday Machine’ system (called ‘Perimeter’) that will trigger nuclear war if a single nuclear bomb goes off in Moscow. The US nuclear force will launch in the event of a nuclear detonation in Washington DC. Photo: public domain via Wikimedia Commons

Daniel Ellsberg is famous as the Pentagon analyst who leaked thousands of pages of top secret…

1 April 2018 Oska Lappin

Oska Lappin, America’s tortured brow, from Oska Lappin, Scary Amerika (Seditionaries Free Press, 2018)

Oska Lappin: The first weekend after the inauguration of the current occupant of the White House, I was with friends and inevitably the discussion turned to politics and our fears of what could occur for the world at large. Someone said: ‘This discussion is probably akin to the talk in Germany around 1935.’ There was a group shudder and an unusual silence.

As a narrative-based self-expressionist, I begin…

1 April 2018

‘Without you ... there would have been no symbol.’

‘Without you (Hugh Brock), Michael Randel (sic) and Pat (Arrowsmith) there would have been no symbol.’

So wrote the artist and designer of the nuclear disarmament symbol, Gerald Holtom, in a letter dated 29 September 1973 to Hugh Brock, PN editor 1955–1964, and the chair of the Direct Action Committee Against Nuclear War (DAC) which organised the first Aldermaston March at Easter 1958.

Gerald was referring to a meeting at the committee’s office in…

1 April 2018 Nick Megoran

The Christian church is well-placed to be a movement for nonviolence

Bronze statue of Roman emperor Constantine I, York Minster. Constantine’s version of Christianity was a violent, imperial religion. Photo: York Minster CC-BY-SA-2.0

In February 2003, 15 years ago, millions of people marched in the UK and across the world opposing US president George Bush and British prime minister Tony Blair over their planned invasion of Iraq. Any pride at the strength and vitality of that anti-war mobilisation is overshadowed by the obvious truth that we failed to…

1 February 2018 Devin Allen

Photographer Devin Allen aims to inspire love, respect & community action

PHOTO: Devin Allen

In April 2015, the US city of Baltimore erupted in mass protests after the brutal murder by police of Freddie Gray, a 25-year-old Black man. African-American photographer Devin Allen, born and raised in Baltimore, documented the uprising without judgement. In the book of his photographs, A Beautiful Ghetto (Haymarket Books, 2017),…

1 February 2018 George Lakey

The lonely scholar who became a nonviolent warrior

Gene Sharp. Photo: Conor Doherty

Once again, I rang the bell at the brick row house in East Boston where Gene Sharp lived. When he opened the door I said proudly: ‘Today I drove here instead of taking the T [public transport].’

‘You drove?’ he said in mock horror. ‘Man, are you trying to get yourself killed? Haven’t you heard about Boston drivers? They show no mercy, especially toward Philadelphians!’ That was the Gene Sharp I knew, always loving to find a joke in the…

1 February 2018 PN staff

Canada and Germany halt arms sales to Saudi as Yemen humanitarian crisis grows

Collage images by Mazen AlDarrab [CC BY-SA 3.0] and courtesy of Graham Berry, Chief Secretary’s Office (State Library of New South Wales) both via Wikimedia Commons

Protests are being prepared for a visit to the UK by Saudi crown prince Mohammed bin Salman between 7 – 9 March. Human rights campaigners are pressing for him to be arrested for war crimes.

‘The crown prince is a figurehead for a regime with one of the worst human rights records in the world. He has overseen…

1 February 2018 Jane Harries

Jane Harries surveys Wales' 'hidden histories'

Welsh women with peace petition in 1924. Photo: GWYNedd Archives

At the National Eisteddfod main literature awards, two Druids partly unsheathe a sword above the winning author’s head and ask the audience: ‘A oes Heddwch?’ (‘Is there peace?’) ‘Heddwch!’ (‘Peace!’) the audience shouts in return. Only when this ritual has been performed three times can the author sit in the bardic chair. So is Wales a peace-loving nation? What does our history and heritage tell us, and how are people…

1 February 2018 Benjamin

Benjamin reports on PN's digital tools dayschool

Even the lunch break at Weaving Our Own Web spawned an additional workshop discussing ‘feminism and technology’, based on an ongoing project from The Feminist Library. Workshops were crowded with enthusiastic campaigners for Peace News’s successful digital campaigning dayschool in London on 13 January. Activists had come to build their skills in using online tools to strengthen their groups and campaign more effectively.

A range of workshops catered for a broad spectrum of…

1 February 2018 PN

Upcoming PN workshop: Thursday 14 – Sunday 17 June 2018

Do you want to strengthen your workshop facilitation skills? Do you want to help social change groups and mission-driven NGOs deal more skilfully with social class and classism in their own organisations, in their members’ lives and in the wider society? If so, Exploring Class may be for you.

This intensive, three-day Training of Trainers draws on several decades of work in the US and will adapt US tools to the UK class system. This residential draws in particular from the…

1 February 2018 Charlie Kiss

A trans man responds to our coverage of the 2017 London Anarchist Bookfair

Pride march, Dublin, Ireland, 2013. Photo: Infomatique via WikimediaCommons

While the events at the London Anarchist Bookfair were deplorable (see PN 2612–2613), I was disappointed to see that Peace News decided to become by default the distributor of the anti-trans leaflets handed out at the Bookfair, and surprised that there was not any space provided to look at the actual issues at hand by trans people – as presented by the leaflets.

The issue of…

1 February 2018 Robin Percival

Robin Percival finds Northern Ireland's non-Unionist parties united by a new civil rights agenda

Giant poster by Joe Caslin, part of ‘Yes Equality’ in favor of marriage equality, Dame St, Dublin, Ireland, 2015. Photo: Rob Hurson [CC BY-SA 2.0] via Wikimedia Commons

1 February 2018 Ann van Staveren and Tim Gee

Quakers commit to welcoming migrants

Plaque in Linnet Lane, Liverpool Photo: Rodhullandemu via Wikimedia Commons

Over a series of meetings last year, Britain’s Quaker community discussed its experience of welcoming newcomers to these shores. Over 51 Quaker Meetings have pledged to become ‘Sanctuary Meetings’, based on a threefold commitment to build a culture of welcome, to challenge racism in all its forms and to change the law.

Quakers are taking action both locally and nationally. They are working in…

1 February 2018 Holly-Rae Smith and Milan Rai

Peace News interviews a working-class woman about the difference CAAT’s paid internship made to her life

This is the second in our series of interviews with working-class activists. These are Holly’s words:

“Growing up working-class erodes your confidence, almost by design. I just didn’t feel confident in any life stage, that I’d be able to excel or do well, or that anyone would actually want me as part of what they’re doing. People talk about ‘impostor syndrome’* all the time now. I do believe everyone has it, but if you’re from a disadvantaged background, it’s... it’s…

1 December 2017 Andrea Needham

‘Not guilty’ verdicts for Ploughshares activists Sam Walton and Dan Woodhouse

Dan Woodhouse and Sam Walton (centre) with supporters outside Burnley magistrates court after the verdict on 26 October. Photo: Andrea Needham
 

On 26 October, Burnley magistrates court acquitted Ploughshares activists Sam Walton and Dan Woodhouse of criminal damage after they admitted breaking into a BAE Systems plant to use household hammers on military jets.

Poor old British Aerospace. Not only were the first group of people to break in to their Warton site in…

1 December 2017 Helen Steel

Helen Steel on the free speech conflict at the 2017 Anarchist Bookfair

[Editorial note: In five articles ([1], [2], [3], [4],…

1 December 2017

Part 2 of PN's documenting of the free speech conflict at the 2017 Anarchist Bookfair

[Editorial note: In five articles ([1], [2], [3], [4],…

1 December 2017 Hanik Blackman

Hanik Blackman recounts the origins and history of the London Anarchist Bookfair

The first London Anarchist Bookfair was held on 12 December 1981 in the (anarchist) Autonomy Centre in Wapping, East London. It skipped a year and has been held every year since 1983. In 1985, there were two.

The bookfair is currently the biggest and longest-running anarchist bookfair in the UK and has inspired many other bookfairs around the world.

The bookfair website states: ‘anarchy is pretty simple when you get down to it: human beings are at their very best when…

1 December 2017 Adam Ma'anit & others

This statement criticising the organisers was published three days after the bookfair

[Editorial note: In five articles ([1], [2], [3], [4],…

1 December 2017 Bookfair collective

This is the view of the London Anarchist Bookfair Collective on the leaflet incident

Detail from Clifford Harper’s 1991 poster

[Editorial note: In five articles ([1], [2], [3],…

1 December 2017 Bookfair collective

This is the response of the organisers of the London Anarchist Bookfair to the critical statement reproduced here.

Detail from 1987 Anarchist Bookfair poster

[Editorial note: In five articles ([1], [2], [3],…

1 December 2017 Gabriel Carlyle

Gabriel Carlyle reviews Lucas Foglia's stunning book of photographs, Human Nature


Evan Sleeping at Camp 18, Juneau Icefield Research Program, Alaska. Photograph courtesy Michael Hoppen Gallery, London.

Lucas Foglia, Human Nature
Nazraeli Press, 2017; 92pp; £50

In one of his most famous rants, the comedian George Carlin claimed that: ‘there is nothing wrong with the planet .… The planet is fine. The people are fucked.… The…

1 December 2017 Miyume Tanji and Daniel Broudy

John Pilger’s 60th documentary examines US strategy towards its main rival

The latest film from John Pilger, the seasoned and world-famous director and journalist, weaves together stories across time and geographic spaces in East Asia, focused on the predominant superpower, from atomic bomb testing to US military base expansion.

It might initially seem puzzling that The Coming War on China focuses not so much on how likely a coming war on China might be, as on the historical advance of US militarism in the Pacific.

This history…

1 December 2017 Gabriel Carlyle

Gabriel Carlyle reports on Pax Christi's recent speaking tour

Riders in a London Bikestormz event, July 2017. Photo: Huck Magazine


2 October is the official UN International Day of Non-Violence (no, I didn’t know either). So what better way to spend it than in London with the folk from Pax Christi, the international Catholic movement for peace, at the first of their four ‘Nonviolence Works!’ seminars? (The other events took place in Leeds, Birmingham and Liverpool.)

Arriving, I bumped into PN contributor Henrietta…

1 December 2017 Bruce Kent

Bruce Kent extols the virtues of the Housmans Peace Diary

At this end of the year, the conflicts of the world can be seen in our small north London back garden.

The birds are hungry and our swinging seed feeder is getting a lot of attention. But then comes the arrival of the large and powerful – the green parakeets from Hampstead. Colourful they may be, but greedy they certainly are. The small ones – robins, wrens, finches, and the like – get driven off. Or they would get so driven if I did…

1 October 2017 David Edwards and David Cromwell

Contrasting coverage of Hurricane Harvey and the South Asian floods

Cyclone Gonu, Indian Ocean, 2007 via wikimedia commons MODIS image captured by NASA’s Aqua satellite

In JG Ballard’s classic novel, The Drowned World, people are struggling for survival on a post-apocalyptic, overheating planet. A ‘sudden instability in the sun’ has unleashed increased solar radiation, melting the polar ice caps and causing global temperatures to rise by a few degrees each year. Once-temperate areas, such as Europe and North America, have become flooded…

1 October 2017 Milan Rai

North Korea has been offering a sensible way out of the nuclear crisis

August 2017 Korean peace delegation in London. PHOTO: Peace Delegation of the PDP

This may be hard to believe, but it is North Korea that has been offering a diplomatic solution to its confrontation with the United States. Long before Donald Trump became president, it was the US that was refusing to take the olive branch.

As PN goes to press, the world is still reacting to Trump’s speech at the United Nations on 20 September. The president said that US would ‘…

1 October 2017 Nora Ziegler

Korean activists say: end war games, stop THAAD, negotiate peace treaty

Candlelit demo: 300,000 demand the resignation of South Korean president Park Geun-Hye, Seoul, 1 March 2017. PHOTO: PDP

In the past, North Korea has offered to freeze its nuclear weapons programme in exchange for a significant reduction in joint US-South Korean military exercises such as the massive Ulchi-Freedom Guardian (UFG) exercises. This proposal was repeatedly turned down by the Obama administration and has also been rejected by the Trump administration.

In August,…

1 October 2017 Milan Rai

An interview with a leading campaigner for fossil fuel divestment

Ellen Gibson. PHOTO: Fossil Free UK

Ellen Gibson: It’s been a slogan for a long time: ‘Think global, act local’. I think divestment is one of the campaigns that really tangibly offers people an opportunity to do that. It taps into the institutions and things that they have control over locally, but make a statement at a global level.

I think that’s a really, really powerful thing for people because it’s really getting to the heart of the climate change problem. It isn’t…

1 October 2017 Milan Rai

Lessons from PN's digital tools project

Someone once said to me that you know when you’ve lost on an issue when Socialist Worker has an article on ‘the lessons of...’. Okay, this is an article about some of the lessons that came out of our activists’ digital tools project, Zylum. Zylum was a really good idea that responded to real problems still facing many grassroots, very-low budget campaigning groups.

For example, you have a group website. Then the person who set the website up – and who has been maintaining…

1 October 2017 PN and Chris Cole

Conversations with working-class peace activists: Chris Cole

Chris Cole just before he disarmed, with this hammer, parts for the Eurofighter and Hawk aircraft at British Aerospace’s factory in Stevenage, on 6 January 1993.

We talked about class with Catholic peace activist Chris Cole during the DSEI week of action. He had been arrested a few days earlier (in his first lock-on) while blockading the set-up of the arms fair with other Christian peace activists. Chris has been involved in nonviolent direct action for almost 30 years. We met him at…

1 October 2017 Ian Sinclair

For many people in the peace movement (but not everyone), the central question now is how the movement can help Jeremy Corbyn become the most radical British prime minister in decades – and stay radical

An ‘epic fight’ between the broad left and the forces of the establishment has begun (see PN 2586–2587). The prize couldn’t be bigger. The British left, for the first time in decades, has a very real opportunity to implement significant progressive change on the epoch-altering scale of the 1945 and 1979 elections. As Novara Media’s Aaron Bastani tweeted: ‘If we win, and survive, and enact a major program of economic and political change, the whole world will watch. The UK really…

1 October 2017 Milan Rai

Nonviolent action was a crucial - and oft-negelected - part of the Russian Revolution, argues Milan Rai

Women begin the revolution on International Women’s Day, 1917. PHOTO: Petrograd State museum of political history of Russia

The Russian Revolution of 1917 would not have succeeded without fearless nonviolent action by hundreds of thousands of civilians and soldiers. Even the ‘storming’ of the Winter Palace on 25 October was largely nonviolent. Yes, there was plenty of revolutionary armed action in Russia in the course of 1917, but there were also many extraordinary, inspiring,…

1 October 2017 Gabriel Carlyle

Wadsworth Jarrell's portrait of Angela Davis and a review of Tate Modern's Soul of a Nation: Art in the Age of Black Power

Wadsworth Jarrell, Revolutionary, 1972. Courtesy Lusenhop Fine Art.


Soul of a Nation: Art in the Age of Black Power
12 July – 22 October 2017; Tate Modern; 10am – 6pm daily; £15, £13.10 concessions, under-12s free.

Mark Godfrey & Zoe Whitley
Soul of a Nation: Art in the Age of Black Power
Tate Gallery Publishing, 2017; 240pp; £29.99

‘The…

1 August 2017 Marc Hudson

With the ever-cumulative emissions growing, a climate activist envisions the world two years from now and the lessons that tomorrow can teach today

Montage of 2005 Hurricane Katrina damage in Bayou La Batre, Alabama, USA (showing the cargo ship M/V Caribbean Clipper and fishing boats pushed ashore near the bayou) and David Attenborough. Photos: NOAA, agency of US Federal Government; and Malcolm McCallum via wikimedia Commons

Sometimes Mother Nature gives climate change activists a boost. She tried in the summer of 1988. She tried again in August 2005, when Hurricane Katrina bullseyed New Orleans. She tried again in the long hot summer…

1 August 2017 Flavia Tudoreanu and David MacKenzie and Janet Fenton and Dagmar Medeiros and Andy Hinton and Amy Christison

A day-by-day account by a Scottish civil society team of the second part of the United Nations negotiations to ban the Bomb

Over 120 countries negotiate a treaty to prohibit nuclear weapons in Conference Room A in the UN building, New York, 3 July 2017. PHOTO: RALF SHLESENER/ICAN

15 June 2017: Day 1

Flavia Tudoreanu & team:

The concluding session of the United Nations conference to negotiate a legally-binding instrument to prohibit nuclear weapons has started today.

Queueing to get our badges proved to be a much more interesting experience than expected. We got to…

1 August 2017 UN nuclear ban conference

The opening sections of a historic agreement

On 27 March, Elayne Whyte Gómez of Costa Rica chairs the opening meeting of the United Nations nuclear ban conference in the General Assembly Hall in the UN building, New York, USA. Photo: UN photo

“The States Parties to this Treaty,

Determined to contribute to the realization of the purposes and principles of the Charter of the United Nations,

Deeply concerned about the catastrophic humanitarian consequences that would result from any use of nuclear weapons, and…

1 August 2017 Betsy Leondar-Wright

How can middle-class campaigners become better at cross-class collaboration? An excerpt from the pioneering book Class Matters

After some painful rifts along class lines in the 1990s, I began looking for resources about cross-class alliances. Fred Rose’s and Linda Stout’s wonderful books helped me – but I found no workshops to attend, no newsletters to read. Slowly I came to the conclusion that I could write something myself. In 2002, when I thought of writing for middle-class activists in particular, the ideas started to flow.... Writing this book was like making a patchwork quilt. In patchworking, you cut away…

1 August 2017 Amy Corcoran

Art the Arms Fair aims to make the DSEI arms fair this September the most-talked-about arms fair ever.

Life & Death by Amy Corcoran, 2017, watercolour and pen. Donated to Art the Arms Fair

Artists can participate by sending in digital images of their work, by donating physical art works for the auction, and by taking part in a mass outdoor art event on 9 September. All art and artists are welcome, from painters to performance artists, and from sculptors to satirists. Come with your canvases, clay and…

1 August 2017 PN

NEW DATES 14 –17 June 2018

Do you want to strengthen your workshop facilitation skills? Do you want to help social change groups and mission-driven NGOs deal more skilfully with social class and classism in their own organisations, in their members’ lives and in the wider society?

If so, Exploring Class may be for you.

This intensive, three-day Training of Trainers draws on several decades of work in the US and will adapt US tools to the UK class system. The residential draws in particular from the…

3 June 2017 Emily Johns

A PN worker remembers a narrow escape with a police infiltrator

16 March 1991: Undercover police officer Andy Coles (calling himself ‘Andy Davey’) tries to cover his face as he is photographed next to PN editor Milan Rai in a pub in Fairford, Gloucestershire, after an anti-war protest at a nearby US base. PHOTO: NOOR ADMANI

In 1991, I was living in London and involved in a nonviolent direct action affinity group called ARROW (Active Resistance to the Roots of War). The group had started with direct action against the 1991 Gulf War, and then broadened…

1 June 2017 Milan Rai

PN's editor recalls his experience of a 'police triple-decker sandwich'

(L-R) David Polden, ‘Andy Davey’, Pippa Gibbins, Andrea Needham. PHOTO: NOOR ADMANI 

My clearest memory of ‘Andy Davey’, the undercover police officer Andy Coles, is a bizarre moment that I would now describe as a ‘police triple-decker sandwich’.

On 10 February 1991, Christian peace activist Chris Cole and I had broken into the US air force base at Fairford in Gloucestershire to protest against the B-52 raids carried out from the base. (The B-52s were bombing Iraq.)

We had…

1 June 2017 PN staff

Meet Betsy Leondar-Wright at this year’s ground-breaking Peace News Summer Camp

When the organising collective gathered to think about this year’s Peace News Summer Camp, we were still reeling from the EU referendum result and the election of Donald Trump.

We tried to think about what we needed to help us keep going as activists, and what would help our movements to keep going in the middle of this bewildering turmoil and with the growing scale of the threats that we face.

That’s why we chose this theme together: ‘Surviving Politics – self…

1 June 2017

The PN guide to peace movement guides to the British general election

'Vote for nobody’. There is a strong anarchist strain in the nonviolent direct action corner of the peace movement. Part of that anarchist strand abstains from voting, some folk even campaign against voting in elections – to break down illusions about parliamentary democracy. This graffiti used to be on a wall in Guelph, Ontario in Canada – it was painted over several years ago.

On 18 April, the ruling Conservative Party called a snap general election in Britain for 8 June. This is a survey…

1 June 2017 Ian Sinclair

How a human rights lawyer was destroyed

Victory palms. GRAPHIC: EMILY JOHNS

On 2 February 2017, Phil Shiner, the award-winning human rights lawyer who brought the UK government to account for the 2003 killing of the Iraqi hotel receptionist Baha Mousa, was struck off by the solicitors disciplinary tribunal (SDT). In March 2017, Shiner, who was also ordered to pay interim costs of £250,000, was declared bankrupt, and was reported to be in poor health.

Shiner and his legal firm, by fighting for victims of the Iraq war, had…

1 June 2017 Diana Shelley

50 years after the colonels’ coup in Greece

50 demonstrators run into the Greek embassy, 21 April 1967. Still from a film shot by Nic Ralph on the night. PHOTO: NIC RALPH


On 21 April 1967, as forthcoming elections in Greece seemed likely to elect a centre-left government, a group of right-wing colonels staged a coup. Tanks rolled into Athens, thousands of leftists were imprisoned without trial and, with the collaboration of king Constantine, the colonels’ junta established military law, abolished the constitution and cancelled…

1 June 2017

Andrea Needham reviews the Imperial War Museum's latest exhibition

CEMA Canteen Concert,  Isle of Dogs (1941) by Kenneth Rowntree © IWM (Art. IWM ART LD 1879). Artists hired by CEMA (the council for the encouragement of music and the arts) were meant to boost wartime morale but sometimes undermined this mission. 

Getting to the (London) Imperial War Museum’s exhibition ‘People Power: Fighting for Peace’ involves crossing the huge atrium of the museum, hung with fighter aircraft and missiles. To say it feels incongruous is a bit of an understatement. It…

1 June 2017

PN Press book makes radical book award shortlist

The Bread and Roses Award for radical non-fiction will be announced at the London Radical Bookfair on 24 June. This is the shortlist.

The Hammer Blow

The Hammer Blow: How 10 Women Disarmed a War Plane by Andrea Needham (310pp; £10; Peace News): ‘The heroic actions of this small, but determined, group of women is told brilliantly in Andrea Needham’s fascinating account. They spent six months in jail for acting upon their consciences – but were…

1 June 2017 Karen Ridd

How striking workers resisted a seven-day work week

GOALS: To keep the owners from instituting a seven-day work week (owners were trying to add 12-hour mandatory Saturday and Sunday shifts – with no overtime pay)

On 9 June 1987, workers of the Sindicato de Trabajadores de Lunafil (Lunafil Thread Factory Workers Union, or SITRALU) were given unwelcome news by management.

The Lunafil factory was located on the main highway in Amatitlan, just 15 miles from Guatemala City (capital of Guatemala). In that factory workers spun cotton…

1 June 2017 Murad Subay

Art by the award-winning Yemeni artist

Murad Subay is an award-winning Yemeni artist, originally from Dhamar, now living in the capital Sana’a. He usually paints in the streets – along with fellow artists, friends, passersby and anyone who wants to join in – turning the walls of the streets into an open art gallery.

Murad launched ‘Colour the walls of your street’, the first of five artistic campaigns, in 2012, right…

1 April 2017 Richard Keeble

We can't rely on the mainstream media, so where should we turn?

An appalling humanitarian crisis mounts today in Yemen where a naval blockade, ruthlessly imposed by the Saudi government, has led to mass poverty and famine. Saudi forces, backed by the US and UK, are bombing schools, hospitals, homes, farms and markets. Fleet Street and the broadcasting companies refer to it from time to time as the ‘forgotten war’. And yet it remains ‘forgotten’ simply because the mainstream media has chosen not to highlight in any consistent way the horrors being…

1 April 2017 Daniel Woodhouse and Sam Walton

On 29 January, a Methodist minister and a Quaker activist entered BAE Systems’ Warton site in order to disarm warplanes bound for Saudi Arabia.

Sam Walton (left) and Daniel Woodhouse, holding a replica Seeds of Hope Ploughshares hammer, before their Ploughshares action on 29 January 2017. Photo: Warton Ploughshares

This is a statement carried by the pair when they were arrested inside BAE Warton on 29 January.

Today we intend to enter BAE Warton, to locate warplanes bound for Saudi Arabia, and disarm them. We take this action in order to prevent the export of weaponry that will almost certainly be used in…

1 April 2017 Daniel Hunter

Strengthening our spirits to resist and thrive in these times

To be in shape for the long haul, we have to get our minds and spirits ready, as well as jump into action.

When we’re in bad shape, our power is diminished – we’re less creative, more reactive, and less able to plan strategically. If we intend to stay active and effective in the world, we have a responsibility to tend to our spirits.

Here are seven behaviours we can use right away to strengthen ourselves, so we can keep taking more and more powerful and strategic…

1 April 2017 Milan Rai and Caroline Kempster and Rebecca Dale

Finding common threads in different lives, different organisations

Caroline Kempster (left, behind vegetables) and two fellow members of Trinity Wholefoods in the shop. Photo: Trinity Wholefoods

In the summer of 2005, Rebecca Dale had three young children, Nik (3), Ben (2) and Katherine (six months old). She had been working as a research fellow at Warwick University, increasing co-operation between industry and the academy, especially within the automation industry.

Now she needed a new job that could fit in with her commitment to her…

1 April 2017 George Lakey

A long-time US peace activist tours the US with his ground-breaking book

George Lakey giving a talk at Boulder Book Store, Boulder, Colorado, 13 February 2017. PHOTO: Boulder Book Store

Americans tend to be self-obsessed. That condition goes with being in the centre of a world empire, as British people with long memories may recall. How, then, can people inside an empire get enough of a broader perspective to be able to think well?

‘This guy is fucking relentlessly on point,’ one journalist tweeted in the midst of an author event I led in…

1 April 2017 Amy Goodman and Bruce Cumings

A North Korea expert talks to radical US media project, Democracy Now!

One of Kim Il Sung's many monumental birthday presents to himself, the Arch of Triumph was completed in 1982, for his 70th birthday. The structure commemorates the homecoming of Kim Il Sung after he ‘liberated Korea from Japan’. Photo: Kok Leng Yeo from Singapore (cc by 2.0) via Wikimedia Commons

Bruce Cumings: The US holds these [military] exercises every year, because South Korea, under [president] Park [Geun-hye]’s leadership, is a welcoming country for these war games…

1 April 2017 Betsy Leondar-Wright

How would anti-racism infused with working-class culture be different from the common practices of today?


Betsy Leondar-Wright. Photo: Rodgerrodger via Wikimedia

I’ve been asked a question that I can’t answer, and I wonder if you, the reader, can help answer it.

The most common forms of anti-racist consciousness-raising practised on the left today – workshops; special sessions to talk about internal race dynamics; book discussions; instantly ‘calling out’ oppressive comments; and hammering out statements of ideological commitment, all using specialised terms such as ‘white…

1 April 2017 Milan Rai

Jane McAlevey's new book is a shot in the arm ... and a challenge

Jane McElevey. Photo: Verso

Has the election of Donald Trump as president of the US got you down? Are there days you just don’t believe any more that we can win, that we can change big important things?

Jane McAlevey’s Raising Expectations (and Raising Hell) is the perfect antidote to Trump-era pessimism and despondency. I’m going to buy a bunch of copies for people I know, and I think you should too.

There are books out there filled with inspiring…

1 April 2017 Sarah Gittins

Artist Sarah Gittins gives the Scottish city a horticultural twist

Artist: Sarah Gittins

Sarah Gittins writes:

Since 2013 I have been working with Jonathan Baxter on an art and horticulture project called DUO (Dundee Urban Orchard). DUO has worked alongside community groups, schools and cultural organisations to establish a network of 25 small-scale orchards that together re-imagine Dundee as an Orchard City. During this time I have also drawn an old…

1 February 2017 Silvia Giagnoni

Winning social justice for migrant workers in the US through strategic nonviolence with the Coalition of Immokalee Workers

A farmworker from the fields of Florida celebrates victory on 8 March 2005 during the Coalition of Immokalee Workers’ ‘Taco Bell Truth Tour’, exposing how Taco Bell had profited from farmworker poverty and exploitation. Photo: JJ Tiziou www.jjtiziou.net @jjtiziou

The fulcrum of the southwest Florida town of Immokalee is a dusty parking lot called by the old residents ‘The Pantry’ after the tienda (shop) located there. This is Immokalee’s labour…

1 February 2017 Abby Nicol

Abby Nicol joins farmers, growers & economists

At the beginning of January, I joined farmers, growers, crofters, economists, policymakers, lawyers, scientists, researchers, journalists and community activists in Oxford town hall for the eighth annual Oxford ‘Real Farming’ Conference (ORFC).

First held in 2010, the ORFC was co-founded by Ruth West and Colin Tudge. It aims to explore ‘what the world really needs, and what’s possible, and to show what really can be done’ to make our food and farming system more just. These…

1 February 2017 Adam Burton

PN wrote to 32 peace groups around the UK asking what they were planning for 2017. These are the seven responses we’d received by the time of going to press.

Campaign for the Accountability of American Bases

1) Please explain your aims or purpose in about 25 words

Challenge the legitimacy of the presence and role of the US visiting forces and their agencies with the ultimate aim of the total removal of the US bases from the UK.

2) What’s your organisation’s budget for campaigns in 2017?

[No reply]

3) Do you have paid staff? If so, how many full-time and part-time? Otherwise, how many…

1 February 2017 Malcolm Pittock

The mainstream media need correction from ordinary citizens. Here are some examples of the 32 letters that one prolific peace activist wrote in 2016

Based on my own experience, the content of the letters pages of newspapers and journals is manipulated to ensure that certain views and even facts are not published.

For some months, for example, in connection with the 2001 conviction of Abdelbaset al-Megrahi for the bombing of Pan Am 103 over Lockerbie, I tried to point out the significance of the fact that Scots law had three possible verdicts (‘guilty’, ‘not guilty’, and ‘not proven’) and that the Scots court in Holland had not…

1 February 2017 Ali Cat. Leeds

Poster by Portland-based radical printmaker

Ali Cat. Leeds. is a printmaker based in Portland, Oregon, USA. She draws inspiration from social movements and ‘weeds’ growing up through cracks in the concrete. Ali works towards supporting activist, grassroots organisations through sales of her work along with the spreading of the ideas she portrays.

www.entangledroots.com

1 February 2017 Leslie Safran

It’s still legal in Britain to withdraw your children from school – for what purpose?

Learning: doing it all by themselves. Photo: Emily Johns

The great advantage of home education has been to open up different kinds of education. If we are to save what is groundbreaking, trailblazing and effective about home education then we need people to wake up to their continued conformism.

Most of us think we know what education is. The room is set up with someone who ‘doesn’t know’ sitting down with pen in hand. There is someone in front of them who ‘knows’ about a…

1 February 2017 Betsy Leondar-Wright

Paying tribute to an amazing working-class Jewish lesbian thinker and activist

Felice Yeskel Photo: Class Action

This summer, PN is planning to bring Betsy Leondar-Wright to the UK to lead sessions at Peace News Summer Camp and other events. Betsy has been leading workshops on class and classism since the 1970s, and is a senior trainer with Class Action, based in Boston, Massachussetts. In this article, written in 2011, Betsy paid tribute to Felice Yeskel, a Class Action co-founder and close friend who had died recently.

Working in…

26 January 2017 Milan Rai

Applying Chomsky’s Propaganda Model to the reporting of Yemen

Because of water shortages, a young girl collects water a long way from home in Radfan village, Lahj city, Yemen, 2016. PHOTO: UNICEF / Ala Askool

Yemen may be the world’s worst humanitarian crisis, with twice as many ‘food insecure’ people (14 million) as in Syria (seven million). A naval blockade led by Saudi Arabia has been a major factor in creating the ‘humanitarian catastrophe’ (Red Cross spokeswoman Marie Claire Feghali, April 2015) in Yemen, where over 18 million people need…

1 December 2016 PN

Six radical US women respond to the election of Donald Trump as US president

Thousands of people protested in central Chicago for over eight hours on 9 November after Donald Trump was elected US president. Five people were arrested, two for obstructing traffic, according to the Chicago Tribune. The crowd gathered first outside Trump Tower Chicago, a 98-story luxury hotel and apartment block, owned by Trump. Slogans included: ‘No Trump! No KKK! No racist USA.’ Protests continued in the city for four consecutive days. PHOTO: Albertoaldana [CC BY-SA 4.0] via…

1 December 2016 Feminist Library Management Committee

Celebrating a powerhouse of women’s archiving and activism since 1975

150 people gathered for a ‘read-in’ of feminist books outside Southwark council budget-setting meeting on 24 February to support the Feminist Library, threatened by eviction. (GHARWEG, a threatened tenant in the same building, was originally for refugees from Ghana, but in 1997 became an Advice, Training & Careers Centre for all black and minority communities.) PHOTO: FEMINIST LIBRARY

Faced with unsustainable rent increases at the end of 2015, and the threat of…

1 December 2016 Andrew Shephard

Former PN worker Andrew Shephard sets out the background to his new novel

Late in January 1975, soon after my arrival at Peace News in Elm Avenue, Nottingham, where the magazine was then produced, the more established members of the editorial collective travelled down to London’s Savoy Hotel to collect the ‘What the Papers Say’ Scoop of the Year award. The scoop in question was the exposure of a secret organisation, GB 75, being built by the retired colonel David Stirling, best known as the founder of the SAS.

The purpose of GB 75, a kind of…

1 December 2016 PN

Act, talk to the 'other' and don't lose hope

Wait and see... and act

One of the worst aspects of the election of Donald Trump is the feeling of helplessness which it engenders in the general public and also in members of peace and environmental groups. When Trump’s policies and proposed actions become clearer, I hope that there will be an opportunity for discussion, debate, and increasing membership of groups in order to take action, raise money, and argue the case against whatever happens to make the world less safe.

1 December 2016 Ian Sinclair

Ian Sinclair reviews George Lakey's new book

Though it is written for a US audience, George Lakey’s new book has much to offer progressive activists in the UK concerned about the ongoing imposition of austerity measures and the political settlement that will come out of Brexit.

According to Lakey, the economies of the descendants of the Vikings ‘have a sixty-year track record of delivering increased freedom and equality’ – a political reality he believes is within reaching distance for the US. A visiting professor for Issues…

1 December 2016 Janet Fenton

Global nuclear-weapons-free zone could hinder US military

Here’s the good news from the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN) – from a Scottish internationalist campaigner.

The decision to hold the conference was taken at the annual meeting of the first committee of the UN general assembly, which deals with disarmament and international security.

The vote on 27 October supported the holding of a conference to ban nuclear weapons by 126 countries to 38. There were 16 abstentions, including China, India and…

1 December 2016 Milan Rai

Cut War, Not Jobs: an inspiring example of constructive thinking from the 1970s

The Lucas Aerospace plan was developed in the mid-1970s by workers who wanted to move the aircraft manufacturer away from military production towards socially-useful production, in order to make their jobs more secure and more productive.

Lucas Aerospace had 18,000 workers spread out over Britain in 17 different factories, making collective action a real challenge.



The workforce was also divided into 13 different trade unions, adding to the…

1 December 2016 Ian Sinclair

An interview with the co-founder of the women-led US peace group CODEPINK.

CODEPINK’s Medea Benjamin at a protest on Wall Street, 2008. Photo: Thomas Good/Next Left Notes [GFDL] via Wikimedia Commons

Having become one of the most prominent US anti-war activists protesting against the US-led ‘war on terror’, Medea Benjamin, co-founder of the group CODEPINK, has now turned her attention to her nation’s close relationship with Saudi Arabia.

‘I’ve been doing a lot of work around the Middle East conflicts since the 9/11 attacks’, Benjamin, 64, tells…

23 November 2016 Andrea Needham

A direct action PN booktour around Britain

Andrea Needham

On 30 July, 20 years to the day after the Seeds of Hope acquittal, I found myself once again in the back of a police van with Jo, one of my co-conspirators. We’d been at Peace News Summer Camp at Crabapple community in Shropshire, and had been out for a walk with Emily and Lyn, two of the other women in the group. As we were strolling along a public footpath, three police dogs rushed round a corner and surrounded us, barking madly. One of them had bitten me – hence a…

1 October 2016 Ellie Roberts

Ellie Roberts reports from the refugee camp in Calais

Migrants and volunteers outside a cafe in the Jungle Photo: Gill Knight

Owen and I have just spent three weeks volunteering in the refugee camp in Calais, France, working with two grassroots organisations – Care4Calais and Auberge/Help Refugees – which provide most of the food, clothes, shelter and other support the camp receives.

The media often refers to the camp as the ‘Jungle’, a name which some I spoke to rejected because it makes them feel as if the world sees them…

1 October 2016 Milan Rai

The second part of our interview with Liz Fekete, director of the Institute of Race Relations

Liz Fekete speaks in the post-Brexit debate at PN Summer Camp. Photo: Roy St PIERRE

A black woman spoke up from the audience at a public meeting held earlier this year, to launch a new issue of Race and Class, the journal of the Institute of Race Relations (IRR). She was a teacher, struggling with the new legal duty on teachers to monitor and report signs of ‘nonviolent extremism’ among their students. Children were becoming frightened to express their opinions. What was she…

1 October 2016 Patrick Nicholson

Looking back at a book that sowed seedbombs

Illustration by Clifford Harper from Radical Technology

In my early teens I picked up a book from my sister´s shelves and quickly appropriated it as my own. Unknown to me then, it was to become a profound influence on diverse aspects of my life.

At that age I was already very interested in how things worked, and in dismantling and rebuilding anything that fell into my hands, from televisions to music boxes to steam engines. The book was all about alternative technology,…

1 October 2016 Milan Rai

PN's editor reflects on 5 days of reflection, re-connection and re-charging

This year there was a self-built, self-managed, self-budgeted teen space in a yurt with games, music, rugs, cushions and Magic cards. Photo: Roy St Pierre

The sun shone on our corner of Shropshire, and 120 of us at Peace News Summer Camp enjoyed five lovely days of reflecting, re-connecting, recovering, and recharging our batteries.

R.E.S.P.E.C.T.

The highlight of the camp was definitely the joyous celebration of the 20th anniversary of the Seeds of Hope…

1 October 2016 Rev Billy

Creative environmental action from the US

Reverend Billy being arrested at Disneyland Photo: www.revbilly.com

We had arranged to meet up at the Manhattan Gourmet Restaurant [in New York city], a glorified deli at 57th and 6th, right above the F Train station, with the Chase bank looming across the avenue. We carried our toad heads in a big sack.

It was a working-class place with a lunch crowd shouting their orders, lots of laughter. The folks were service workers, spiffily…

1 October 2016 Dave King

40th anniversary conference to revisit visionary Lucas Plan

On 26 November, a wide range of groups are organising a Lucas Plan 40th anniversary conference at Birmingham Voluntary Service Council. It is 40 years since the workers at the Lucas Aerospace arms company proposed making alternative socially-useful products, while retaining jobs.

The conference will both celebrate the achievements of the Lucas workers and, we hope, reinvigorate a movement for arms conversion and democratic control of the economy. The Lucas Plan showed that…

1 October 2016 Owen Everett

‘You can go back to Afghanistan, it’s safe there’

Structures in the Jungle Photo: Gill Knight

As Ellie has highlighted, our time in Calais was very challenging. I was confronted with the huge unfairness of the world in a more direct way than I had ever experienced before. What a lottery life is, depending on where you are born and who your parents are.

We went to Calais after spending two weeks walking in beautiful and remote Lapland in the Arctic north of Sweden…

17 August 2016 Milan Rai

Let’s use this upsurge of energy to root out racism and classism

One million people joined the LGBT+ Pride in London parade on 25 June. PHOTO: Katy Blackwood CC-BY-SA 4.0 via wikimedia www.katyblackwood.co.uk

Brexit hasn’t just been a shot in the arm for people on the Right, it’s kicked a lot of Greens, anarchists and socialists into positive action. The vote on 23 June to Leave the EU has energised progressive people in a lot of places around the UK to put renewed energy into tackling…

1 August 2016 Milan Rai

The goal of the Iraq war was to maintain ‘Saddamism without Saddam’

Amiriyah shelter, Baghdad. Image: Emily Johns

It has been right under the media’s nose, but they have decided not to follow up one of the most politically-explosive aspects of the 2003 invasion of Iraq, something that I exposed back in 2002 using publicly-available sources, and which has now been verified by Chilcot’s declassified documents.

The single most attention-grabbing aspect of the Chilcot report into the war and occupation was the personal note the then-prime…

1 August 2016 Robin Percival

Back to a hard border?

Murals commemorating the Northern Ireland civil rights movement at Glenfada Park, Derry, Northern Ireland.
PHOTO: yeowatzup from Katlenburg-Lindau, Germany [CC-BY-2.0] via Wikimedia Commons

It is unwise to generalise too much as why people voted the way they did.

As elsewhere in the UK, the Remain vote was highest among the middle classes and the young. Nationalists were most likely to vote Remain; middle-class unionists were more likely to vote Remain than working-class…

1 August 2016 Milan Rai

Iraq’s missing weapons – another failure of the Chilcot report

Fallujah. Image: Emily Johns

UN weapons inspectors were not sent into Iraq in 2003 in order to find out the truth about Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction (WMD). As far as US president George W Bush was concerned – and, for most of the time, British prime minister Tony Blair – the inspectors were sent in to help set the stage for war. If they could be helpful in this role, they were to be supported. If they got in the way, they were to be undermined and, eventually, destroyed.

1 August 2016 David MacKenzie

Brexit, Scottish independence and Trident – a plan of action

Nicola Sturgeon, first minister of Scotland, addresses a Stop Trident demonstration in London’s Trafalgar Square, 27 February 2016. photo: David Holt

After the Brexit vote the view is suddenly full of huge new sprouting things, like Jack’s overnight beanstalk, but I want to look back a bit to the immediate aftermath of the Scottish parliament elections in May.

In the Scottish Scrap Trident coalition, we noted that the new Holyrood had a marked increase in MSPs belonging to…

1 August 2016 Linda Stout

Resources for campaigners struggling for peace and justice in post-Brexit Britain

Women working in a maquiladora textile factory in Tehuacán, Mexico, 1 May 2007. Photo: Guldhammer via Wikimedia commons.

In this issue, we are offering some resources for campaigners struggling for peace and justice in post-Brexit Britain. Here is an excerpt from Linda Stout’s invaluable book, Bridging the Class Divide – and other lessons for grassroots organising. In this book, Linda explains how she, a white woman who grew up in poverty in rural North Carolina, founded and built up…

1 August 2016 Julia Downes

Activists need to examine the unspoken assumptions and power relations already at work in our movements, argues Julia Downes

Content note: rape, sexual assault, sexual violence



In social justice movements, we often encounter forces of the state who seek to quash radical dissent. The police, as agents of the state, are called on to contain and disperse demonstrations and protest camps, infiltrate and surveil our movements, profile activists, evict and shut down occupations.

This can take a distinctly gendered approach.

Several studies have indicated that women are at an…

1 August 2016 Milan Rai

The British media avoid parts of the Chilcot documents

Victory Palms Image: Emily Johns

What did we learn from Chilcot? Among other things, that the invasion of Iraq in 2003 was indeed a war for oil.

The day after the long-awaited Chilcot report into the Iraq war was published, the energy editor of Financial Times, Andrew Ward, explained how documents released as part of the report ‘lay bare the desire of UK companies for a share of the spoils from the opening of Iraq’s oil and gas fields once Saddam Hussein’s regime…

1 August 2016 George Lakey

The vigil at Philadelphia City Hall in solidarity with Orlando

Pride in London 2016: two Muslims hold placards on 25 June supporting the victims of the Orlando shootings. PHOTO: Katy Blackwood (CC BY-SA 4.0) via Wikimedia Commons

On 12 June, a gunman used an assault rifle and a semiautomatic pistol to shoot dead 49 people during a Latin night at a gay nightclub, the Pulse, in Orlando, Florida, USA. It was the worst attack against LGBT people – and the worst mass shooting – in US history. Longtime gay rights activist and nonviolent revolutionary…

1 August 2016 Benjamin

A passionate Remain supporter writes to his friends about the EU referendum

Pride in London 2016: a man with an anti-Brexit sign on 25 June. PHOTO: Katy Blackwood (CC BY-SA 4.0) via Wikimedia Commons

I woke in time for the 7am news and switched on the radio in nervous anticipation, knowing that – while I slept – others had been busily reckoning Britain’s choice. I heard the pips then the familiar voice of John Humphrys: ‘After 40 years of membership, the people of Britain have voted to leave the European Union.’ My heart sank, but my heart rate rose,…

1 August 2016 Rural Organising Collective

A how-to guide by the Rural Organsing Project

The Rural Organizing Project promotes a community-building culture where food, children and our friendship circles are all a part of our social justice efforts.

Relationships of trust are a priority especially at a time of wedge politics, where topics that people are less familiar and thus comfortable with are used to divide. A core part of our work is talking about the most polarised issues of the day....

Establishing a culture of trust, though, is not that easy. Where…

1 August 2016 Amy Dudley and Chris Crass

Effective anti-racist organising in white rural and working-class communities in the US

Semi-functional artwork at TriMet’s Gresham central transit centre, Gresham, Oregon. PHOTO: Steve Morgan CC-BY-SA-3.0 via Wikimedia

With hundreds of volunteer leaders and 65 member groups across Oregon, the Rural Organising Project is a powerful example of a statewide social justice organisation with a statewide strategy. At the centre of their work for peace, justice and democracy is an organising strategy to develop anti-racist politics, leadership, and action in rural white…

1 June 2016 Liz Fekete and Milan Rai

Decades of dedication, giving a voice to the voiceless

Liz Fekete (with megaphone) at a candlelit vigil for justice for Ricky Reel, New Scotland Yard, London, 21 October 2014. Photo: Peter Marshall

Liz Fekete is director of the seven-person Institute of Race Relations in central London. She is one of Europe’s leading authorities on racism, heading one of the most respected advocacy groups in the UK, a body which has published a rigorously radical journal, Race & Class, since 1974. That could sound intimidating. In person,…

1 June 2016 Kelvin Mason

Mobilising climate justice, lessons for social movements

End Coal Now! activists at Ffos-y-Frân in May 2016.Photo: reclaim the power

In early May, the Reclaim the Power (RtP) network organised ‘End Coal Now!’, a protest camp and occupation of the 11-million-tonne Ffos-y-Frân opencast coalmine near Merthyr Tydfil in south Wales. An early appraisal of this action could yield valuable lessons for social movements taking action this year and beyond.

End Coal Now! was followed by the occupation of a lignite coalmine in Welzow in…

1 June 2016 Daniel Berrigan

Words of wisdom from the late Daniel Berrigan

Radical priest Daniel Berrigan speaking at a Witness Against Torture event held on December 18th, 2008 in the Lower East Side (New York City). Source: Thomas Good / NLN

1) Don’t be afraid to be afraid or appalled to be appalled. How do you think the redwoods feel these days, or the whales, or, for that matter, most humans?

2) Generally speaking, when asked to speak, be silent; when asked to shut up, accede on the instant.

3) Keep your soul to yourself. (Soul is…

1 June 2016 PN

Should you come to this year's PN Summer Camp?

1 June 2016 Sarah Gittins and Emily Johns

Printmaker Sarah Gittens remembers the unnamed partipants who keep the peace movement going

This linocut print shows a table of people gathered to make origami cranes. They are located within a landscape derived from pictures of the area around Hiroshima after the atomic bomb was dropped on 6 August 1945. The cranes relate to the story behind the Children’s Peace Monument in Hiroshima.

The monument shows a Japanese girl called Sadako holding up a crane. Sadako died from leukaemia as a result of radiation from the bomb. While she was in hospital, she set about making…

1 June 2016 George Lakey

How the Scandinavians got it right – and how we can, too


A woman demonstrates over the ‘Icesave’ failure, part of the Icelandic financial crisis, Reykjavik, 6 March 2010.Photo: Ane Cecilie Blichfeldt CC BY-SA 2.5 via wikicommons

When the Icelanders heard that their leader socked away money in an off-shore account in the Virgin Islands, 10,000 of them packed Parliament Square in Reykjavik on 4 April to demand his resignation. That’s partly because prime minister Sigmundur Davíð Gunnlaugsson had been urging his people for years to show…

1 June 2016 Lisa Cumming

Lisa Cumming reports on three-day seminar on nonviolent resistance at Leeds Beckett University

By FEMEN Women's Movement (Flickr: FEMEN Calls for Sex-Boycott) [CC BY-SA 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Imagine a foreign army were about to invade your town, what would you do? Would you take up arms, run away, surrender – or undertake some form of civil…

1 June 2016 Jamie Stern-Weiner and Norman Finkelstein

Jewish scholar Norman Finkelstein talks about Naz Shah, Ken Livingstone, and the Nazi Holocaust

Norman Finkelstein is no stranger to controversy. He is one of the world’s leading experts on the Israel-Palestine conflict and the political legacy of the Nazi Holocaust. Apart from his parents, every member of Finkelstein’s family, on both sides, was exterminated in the Nazi Holocaust.

His 2000 book, The Holocaust Industry became an international bestseller and touched off a firestorm of debate. But Finkelstein’s most recent political intervention came about by…

1 June 2016 PN

PN surveys some of this year's offerings

Please book now for a wonderful five days of family-friendly community and discussion! This year, the camp is called ‘With My Hammer’, to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the historic ‘Seeds of Hope East Timor Ploughshares – Women Disarming for Life and Justice’ action. Entertainment is provided by the mighty Seize the Day! a world-class political folk band.

The camp costs £20–£135 for over-14s; £5-£30 for people 1-14 (by parental income); under-1s are free. Food (three…

1 April 2016 Peter Salmon

The Pitchford Inquiry into police infiltration gathers steam

The last few months have seen a constant stream of pressure applied to the police as campaigners mobilise ahead of the Pitchford Inquiry into undercover policing. In an unusual turn of affairs, those seeking answers and justice appear to have the upper hand following some high-profile resignations and debates. The response: the police have demanded that sir Christopher Pitchford holds the inquiry in secret.

An unusual demonstration in January saw socialists, animal rights…

1 April 2016 Summer Camp folk

Relax, reflect, reconnect, re-energise!

This year the theme of Peace News Summer Camp is ‘With My Hammer’, to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the historic ‘Seeds of Hope East Timor Ploughshares – Women Disarming for Life and Justice’ action. The anniversary of the four women’s acquittal falls on the Saturday of the camp, 30 July.

There will be a workshop with at least two women who hammered on the Hawk jet due to be exported to Indonesia, and also women from the Seeds of Hope support group, who played…

1 April 2016 Milan Rai

Religious belief was not the driver for Brussels, or Paris, or London

Writing messages of peace, 23 March, at the Bourse, Brussels, in honour of the
victims of the terrorist attacks the day before. Photo: Valentina Calà via Flickr CC BY-SA

There is a widespread, deeply-held, belief that there is something different about Islam as a religion, something fundamentally wrong. Islam is seen by many as distinctively oppressive towards women, somehow much more violent than Christianity or Judaism, to name just the two other monotheistic religions.…

1 April 2016 Natalie Shanklin

How will the outcome of the EU referendum affect war and peace issues?

How could the 23 June referendum on whether or not the UK will remain in the European Union impact issues regarding peace in Europe? It is not likely that peace movements and coalitions for peace would be severely undermined by the UK leaving the EU, but a Brexit decision could affect foreign policy, efforts for nuclear disarmament, the arms trade, and immigrants’ rights.

Foreign policy

The European Union sees itself as originating as a peace project, created to foster…

1 April 2016 Andrea Needham

An environmental campaigner reflects

On my computer at home, I have dozens of photos of Hollington Valley on the edge of Hastings in East Sussex. Taken through the seasons, they show a small, tucked-away site, a green lung bounded by roads and warehouses. A stream runs down the middle of the valley; tall oaks stand at the eastern edge; a copse of younger trees surround a large holm oak on the west. There are meadows and willow beds, bramble scrub much loved by dormice, a spring rising at the top of the site. One photo is taken…

1 April 2016 Europe for Peace

The EU has transformed 'the most violent continent in history', argues Europe for Peace

The European Union was founded after the Second World War on the idea that countries who trade with each other do not go to war with each other.

Now, Europe is peaceful and we need to remember how novel that is, why it is an achievement and, most importantly, what led to it being so normal that we don’t even question it any more.

Little-known fact: Europe was the most violent continent in history. It is thanks to the shared economic and political interests…

1 April 2016 Elisa Haf

The feminists fighting austerity

Sisters Uncut dye a Trafalgar Square fountain in an anti-austerity demonstration on 28 November 2015 against cuts to domestic violence services. Photo: Sisters Uncut

Sisters Uncut. It’s likely that if you follow the anti-austerity movement, you’ve heard of them. They are the feminists who dyed the fountains in London’s Trafalgar Square blood red in response to chancellor George Osborne’s announcement in his autumn statement last year, on the International Day for the Elimination of…

1 April 2016 Peter Salmon

Key highlights of the last four months

Metropolitan police apology

The end of November saw the assistant commissioner of London’s Metropolitan police, Martin Hewitt, offer an apology and settlement to seven women who had been targeted by undercovers – a victory following four years of obstructive tactics by the police. The apology acknowledged the inexcusable behaviour of the undercovers though he refused to specifically confirm that a number of the individuals were actually police or give any details as to why the…

1 April 2016 Rupert Gude

100 years on from the battle of Jutland, exposing war propaganda

Jack Cornwell first class stamp issued by the royal mail in 2006
as part of a series to mark the 150th anniversary of the Victoria Cross.

The First World War battle of Jutland, between Britain and Germany, took place 100 years ago, on 31 May 1916. Britain lost 6,000 men and six major and eight medium ships (115,000 tons). Germany lost 2,500 men and four major and seven medium ships (62,000 tons). The result was indecisive and a disaster for both navies but both sides claimed it…

1 April 2016 Virginia Moffatt

New novel poses question: 'is conflict always inevitable?'

In 2003, my husband Chris and I moved to the Eirene Centre, a retreat centre in Northamptonshire run by the Fellowship of Reconciliation. It was a huge change in lifestyle. After 15 years in paid work, I swapped a busy office for full-time motherhood. We moved from a terraced house in a large town to a detached building surrounded by fields about a mile away from the US airbase at Molesworth. As the leftie Christian pacifist incomers, living in the last but one property in the village, we…

1 April 2016 Tim Wallis

An excerpt from a new book on one of the biggest issues facing us

Trident submarine HMS Vengeance returns to HMNB Clyde where Trident nuclear warheads are stored. Photo: Ministry of Defence

So what is the truth about Trident? The truth is that we live in a world that is not as it was in 1939–40, when Britain stood alone against Nazi Germany and prevented an invasion by a combination of wits, luck, geography, will power, enormous self-sacrifice and the skill of some RAF fighter pilots. The idea that Trident would protect us in a similar situation is…

1 April 2016 Andrea Needham

An excerpt from a brilliant new direct action memoir

Andrea Needham, Jo Blackman, Angie Zelter, Lotta Kronlid during action planning, 1995. Photo: Seeds of Hope

Nobody in my early life – myself included – would have suspected that I had a future as a troublemaker ahead of me. Growing up in rural Suffolk in the 1970s, the youngest of four siblings, there didn’t seem to be much wrong with the world. I don’t recall my family discussing politics, and although my father listened to the news every day, I never paid it much attention.

1 April 2016 Chris Venables

Chris Venables details militarism's corruption of the European project

Over the last 20 years, a host of committees, agencies, and departments designed to foster cooperation on issues of defence and security between the Member States have been created. Far from being an inevitable consequence of European integration, this militarisation represents a corruption of the European project.

EU treaty law provides only a limited foundation for building military co-operation, but this has not been an impediment for member states eager to increase efficiency…

1 February 2016 Wretched of the Earth Bloc

An open letter from the Wretched of the Earth bloc about the ‘People’s March for Climate, Justice and Jobs’ on 29 November

Photo: London Latinxs

On 7 December, indigenous activists from across the world kayaked down the river Seine to protest against the removal of the protection of indigenous rights as a crucial aspect of the climate treaty being negotiated in Paris. The push back against indigenous rights was led by the US, EU, Australia – all states with a rich past and present of colonial exploitation of people and land – who feared that the protection of indigenous rights might create legal…

1 February 2016 PN staff

Top tips from Paris!

While PN staff were in Paris for the climate protests, we were taught by Reclaim the Power how to make human blockades stronger. (The blockade was to protect the Red Lines action on D12.)


1. Everyone wears a backpack. TOP TIP: Reclaim the Power advised us to wear peaked caps so that we could duck our heads down to protect our eyes if the police walked along the line pepper-spraying our faces.

2. Everyone loosens their backpack straps.


3. The…

1 February 2016

Coming soon to a planet near you ...


12 & 13 February: Global Divestment Day
Fossil Free UK say: ‘After the Paris climate deal, getting the solutions we need means building on our momentum and bringing the pressure home. It means building our power, demanding just climate solutions and breaking our ties with the fossil industry once and for all. On 12-13th February people all around the country will be showing their love for the climate, and taking action in their communities to divest from fossil fuels – join…

1 February 2016 Natalie Shanklin

Who’s doing what to stop them replacing Britain’s nuclear weapon system?

With conceptual work for replacement Trident submarines already eight years underway, it can seem as though the renewal of Britain’s Trident nuclear weapon system is inevitable. But the debate is not over, and grassroots activist and research organisations still hope to stop Trident replacement and pave the way for complete nuclear disarmament

The biggest event of the next few months will be the Stop Trident national demo, a rally and march to Trafalgar Square on 27 February,…

1 February 2016 Angie Zelter

Take action at Burghfield this June

Photo: Ministry of Defence

Trident Ploughshares have chosen June this year for a month of nonviolent civil resistance (blockades, citizens’ inspections, cutting fences – anything nonviolent and creative) at the Atomic Weapons Establishment in Burghfield.


Threatening mass destruction impacts the whole social change movement because at its heart it supports a monetarised, exploitative, inhumane and deeply unethical divisive system.

Nuclear weapons and the…

1 February 2016 Brian Larkin

Ploughshares activist Megan Rice first speaker at new Peace & Justice Centre

Megan Rice talking at the Edinburgh Peace and Justice Centre Photo: Brian Larkin

Sister Megan Rice, a US Ploughshares activist, spoke on 8 January at the newly-opened Edinburgh Peace & Justice Centre about being imprisoned for two years for a symbolic act of resistance at the facility where the US is making new nuclear weapons and where the explosive components of the Hiroshima bomb were produced as part of the Manhattan Project.

Megan was 82 years of age at the time…

1 February 2016 Nadine Bloch

Drum roll please ...

Por Vida, a work by Manuel Paul of the Los Angeles-based queer Chican@/Latin@ Maricón

It’s that time of year to embrace highlights and bury the out-of-date. As activists, this can be a critical time to evaluate our strategies and alight on alternate paths if needed.

In December, in Paris, activists with the Laboratory of Insurrectionary Imagination and others launched the Climate Games to counterbalance the UN climate talks – yet another international convention full of…

1 February 2016 Betsy Leondar-Wright

The final part of our interview with Betsy Leondar-Wright, author of Missing Class

For some decades, Betsy Leondar-Wright has been running workshops about classism, for the last dozen years as part of Class Action, a group based in Boston, Massachussetts, in the US.

In an interview with PN, Betsy notes that many of us have a picture we’ve built up from the women’s movement and other such movements: ‘We have a template: there’s a dominant group, there’s a targeted group/an oppressed group, and in Class Action we’re using this template all the time.’…

1 February 2016 Philip Webber

Flaws in the theory and practice of nuclear deterrence for the UK

Despite recently uncovered historical evidence of nuclear ‘near misses’ and growing scientific evidence of the devastating global consequences of the use of only a few nuclear weapons, there is still a widespread belief in the value of these weapons among senior policy-makers in the nuclear-armed nations.

In the UK, this manifests itself in a cross-party parliamentary majority in favour of replacing the Trident system. This is largely because of a widespread belief in nuclear…

1 February 2016 Milan Rai

A worm’s-eye view of the ‘Red Lines’ climate action in Paris, or how I ended up at the front of a 10,000-strong illegal march

Angels protecting the Red Line demonstration in Paris on 12 December. Photo: Yann Levy

Friday started in an airy industrial squat just outside central Paris, with two men arguing whether the type of tear gas used by the French police has ever been implicated in the deaths of protesters.

The people being trained to form a human barricade practiced linking our arms through backpack straps (see p20), locking our legs together when sitting down, ducking our heads to minimise…

1 February 2016 Betsy Leondar-Wright

How should a white anti-racist respond to racist remarks by another white person?

Betsy Leondar-Wright. Photo: Rodgerrodger via Wikimedia

How should a white anti-racist respond to racist remarks by another white person? How does it change things if the anti-racist is middle-class, and is reacting to the prejudice of someone who is working-class?

In her book Class Matters, long-time activist and trainer Betsy Leondar-Wright tells an arresting story that turns the conventional wisdom on its head. Betsy, who is white and middle-class, was the…

1 February 2016 Shannon Smy

I will stand and I will defend my right to fight against violence

You who see injustice all around
But have not the courage or the will to fight or stand your ground
We who see but are too scared
There are not enough of us prepared
To put our lives at risk time and again
And then comes a drop of rain
To the parched lips of a world

That needs to feel hope again
We are dying as a people and a nation
A third of our people have been killed in 21 years
Of illegal occupation
Ten UN resolutions

1 February 2016 PN staff

Last December PN's editor - and 129 others - headed for the climate negotiations in Paris ... by bike

PN’s Milan Rai (l); Emily Johns (r), Abby Nicol; and Thad Skews, set off on 6 December from Hastings Pier for the Paris climate talks.

The four reported back afterwards. Poster: THAD SKEWS.

The 130-strong Time to Cycle ride nears Newhaven ferry port. photo: cat fletcher.

After five days cycling through Dieppe, Rouen and Freneuse, we reached Paris on 10 December, forming an illegal mass ride which was ‘kettled’ by police on the Champs-Elysée – for 20…

1 December 2015 Amanda Sebestyen

Amanda Sebestyen looks back on the Women's Liberation Movement, and forward to the newly-launched Feminist Forum

 

I can recognise their faces when I see them on a bus or in a meeting or on the street or in a film: women with lines that speak of daring and courage, cackling laughter, agonised love, vision, verve, constant observation. You could call it the ‘Liberation Look’, along with a certain direct freedom of bearing and speaking.

It took a lot of bravery to be part of the Women’s Liberation Movement when it started here back in 1969. You had to feel impelled, not only to burst the…

1 December 2015 James Cracknell

Why the UN climate summit can't succeed

The hopes of the world are once again being placed on one meeting, and are once again guaranteed to be dashed before the first words are even uttered.

That’s a hard sentence for a long-time climate change activist to write. But it’s absolutely true. For 21 straight years, the United Nations has made a fatal mistake in its attempt to curb the emission of greenhouse gases around the globe.

I’m talking about a mistake of truly epic proportions, and of mesmerising idiocy,…

1 December 2015 Andrea Needham

An excerpt from Andrea Needham’s amazing new book, The Hammer Blow – how 10 women disarmed a warplane, to be published by Peace News in January

On 29 January 1996, Jo Blackman, Lotta Kronlid and Andrea Needham broke into a British Aerospace factory in Lancashire and used household hammers to disarm a Hawk warplane bound for Indonesia. They were arrested, charged with £2.4m of criminal damage, and sent to prison to await trial. A week later, Angie Zelter joined them, accused of conspiracy. After six months in prison, all four were acquitted by a Liverpool jury in a court case that effectively put Britain’s arms trade on trial.…

1 December 2015 Milan Rai

How two activists learned to code from scratch in order to build an online tool to support activist groups

Sky Christensen and Keira PatersonPhoto: eConvenor (timer photo)

About three years ago, two Australian campaigners were surprised and frustrated to discover that the next generation of student activists were making the very same mistakes in organising that they had made at university. Nothing seemed to have changed. A lot of people have had a similar realisation.

Unlike a lot of people, however, Keira Paterson and Sky Christensen decided to do something about it. ‘Sky had…

1 December 2015 Joanna Zhang

Cao Shunli (1961 – 2014) was a militant petitioner who died in police custody in March 2014. Petitioners in China, mostly women, bear the brunt of the country’s authoritarian capitalism. Deprived of jobs, houses or land, they are trapped at the bottom of the social hierarchy. When they appeal to authorities for help, they are instead subjected to torture and arbitrary detention. In the bid for legal justice and economic solutions, Cao believed petitioners should exercise their political…

1 December 2015 Sarah Reader

Action against arms fairs in South Korea and New Zealand

I had barely recovered from the marathon of activism against the DSEI arms fair in East London in September (see PN 2586–2587), when I found myself on a plane to Seoul, South Korea, to take action against the ADEX (International Aerospace & Defense Exhibition) arms fair. I joined activists from five continents for a gathering organised by the Korean anti-militarist group ‘World Without War’ and the international network War Resisters International.

The gathering aimed…

1 December 2015 Milan Rai

Behind the scenes of two outstanding books about classism – the second part of our interview with Betsy Leondar-Wright

Betsy Leondar-Wright

I first came across Betsy Leondar-Wright through her book, Class Matters: Cross-Class Alliance Building for Middle-Class Activists (New Society Publishers, 2005). An intriguing subtitle! In conversation with her, over Skype, I found out more about how that wonderful book came to be.

Betsy was then working at United for a Fair Economy (UFE) a US NGO based in Boston, Massachusetts. (‘United for a Fair Economy challenges the concentration of…

1 October 2015 Benjamin

Free Software has come of age

Part of our politics lies in the choices we make in our day-to-day lives. Each of us is prepared to make different compromises. Many of us have changed the way we eat, the way we travel or the way we shop. Yet our choices in the world of technology, the software we use or the websites we habitually return to, remain remarkably conventional.

A hallmark of my own politics is my desire to live each day a little closer to the world I would like to build. I like to make choices by…

1 October 2015

PN's suggestions for practical solidarity with refugees

If you’d like to help in the refugee crisis, you can:

1. Donate food and other goods for migrants in Calais

The situation on the ground is constantly changing, so it’s best to double-check what’s needed. Whatever you’re giving, please sort and label your donations, by type, gender and size. At the time of writing, there seemed to be an urgent need for firewood, food and shelter. Calais People to People Solidarity are an older group. Calaid and Calais Action are more…

1 October 2015 Almamy Taal and PN staff

An African human rights activist gives his thoughts

The ‘Refugees Welcome Here’ demonstration in central London, 12 September. Photo: Natasha Quarmby/Fields Of Light Photography

Previously an investigative journalist in Africa, Almamy is now a human rights activist and a caseworker with HOPE Projects in Birmingham (he manages directly nine houses for destitute asylum-seekers and refugees). As PN spoke to him, Almamy was organising a demonstration in Birmingham calling for an amnesty for asylum seekers and migrants already in the UK.…

1 October 2015

Help PN publish Andrea Needham's account of Britain's most daring anti-arms trade action

'The heroic actions of this small, but determined, group of women is told brilliantly in Andrea Needham’s fascinating account…. You can sense just how much human life matters to each and every one of these women. They spent six months in jail for acting upon their consciences – but were eventually, and rightly, found to be innocent. Anyone interested in social change, or campaigning for peace, should read this book and take inspiration from the brave actions of these amazing women.'…

1 October 2015 Stellen Vinthagen

Nonviolence isn't just the absence of violence, argues Stellen Vinthagen

My perspective rests on the assumption that humans can create their surroundings based on pre-existing materials. A social construction of nonviolence requires a practical knowledge, both to be possible and to be effective. In this regard, it demands special knowledge. But instead of practical technical knowledge, it concerns the practical social knowledge required to carry out a specific kind of action, a nonviolent action in a particular context.

1 October 2015 Love Activists

A network of direct actionists comes out of Occupy

Love activists serving Christmas lunch outside the National Portrait Gallery. Photo: Natasha Quarmby/Fields Of Light Photography

Love Activists is a direct action community.

We will never cause harm, loss or damage to society or any community, any individual as they stand in an ethical capacity or the environment.

All ‘active’ splinter groups are autonomous and are not always directly linked to the centralised organisation, however all Love Activists groups…

1 October 2015 Ian Sinclair

Peace activists should mobilise in support of Corbyn, argues Ian Sinclair

As the Guardian noted, Jeremy Corbyn’s landslide victory on 12 September in the Labour leadership contest was ‘one of the most stunning electoral upsets of postwar politics.’ Billed at 200-1 by bookmakers when he entered the race in June, the Islington North MP won 59 percent of the vote, giving him ‘the biggest party mandate for any political leader in UK political history’, according to the Guardian’s chief political correspondent.

What makes Corbyn’s victory so…

1 October 2015 PN staff

PN surveys a mixed picture

There is a lot to admire about Germany’s response to the refugee crisis. The warm welcome extended by thousands of ordinary Germans (overwhelmingly women, mostly university-educated, either young or older folk) has been inspiring. A poll at the beginning of September found 87 percent of Germans were ashamed of recent anti-refugee attacks.

The German government has also been very welcoming of refugees from the Syrian warzone.

At the same time, the government has…

1 October 2015 Jeff Cloves

On a whim, I googled ‘peace quotes’. Three things immediately struck me:

The quotes are overwhelmingly from men Many of them are from world leaders, generals, and politicians There’s a black hole where principled conscientious objectors – and even deserters – ought to be heard

So, how about this quote from that noted war criminal Henry Kissinger for example: ‘The Vietnam war required us to emphasise the national interest rather than abstract principles’. And what about this gem? ‘It…

1 October 2015 Emily Johns

Remembering Saro-Wiwa

Graphic: Emily Johns

On 10 November 2015, it will be 20 years since the Nigerian writer and activist Ken Saro-Wiwa and eight Ogoni colleagues were hanged by the military government for campaigning nonviolently against the oil company Shell.

It will be nearly 60 years since Shell started drilling in the Niger Delta. Home to 20 million people and 40 different ethnic groups, the Niger…

1 October 2015 Emily Johns

A family story of loss and arrival

Linocut: Emily Johns

This is a picture of my great-grandmother swimming across the river Drava carrying my Naganyja Ilona and my greatuncle Zoltan on her back. Behind her is my great-grandfather Shaffer. I have drawn him naked because he didn’t cross the river with his family and escape the pogrom, and all my great-grandmother had left was a photograph of him with no clothes on.

I…

1 October 2015 Milan Rai and Betsy Leondar-Wright

The first part of an interview with author, trainer and activist Betsy Leondar-Wright

Betsy Leondar-Wright, the programme director of Class Action on the south side of Boston, is a bright-eyed, sparkling, high-energy interviewee. She speaks faster than anyone I’ve ever had to transcribe before, and laughs throughout our 90 minutes on Skype, despite talking about some pretty challenging issues. She is candid about her own past shortcomings, and respectful to people she has disagreed with.

I can’t imagine anyone not liking her.

Betsy is especially excited…

1 October 2015 Majdy Al-Kassem

A refugee threatened with deportation tells his story

My name is Majdy Al-Kassem, from Syria, Idlib city. I’m 26-years-old. I am married and have one child. I have BA of English. I was planning to get a job as a teacher of English Language but because of war, and the suppression of the regime, obliging young men to go to the military service and killing Syrian people, I refused to kill anyone and decided to escape from Syria alone after six months of marriage, leaving my wife who was pregnant.

If I stayed in Syria and refused to kill…

1 October 2015 Summer Camp folk

A look back at PN Summer Camp 2015

The entertainment at this year’s Peace News Summer Camp was just brilliant. Poet of the people John Hegley had the audience both in the palm of his hand and on the ground with laughter. With him was bookseller Celia Mitchell, reading poems by her husband, Adrian Mitchell. And the Saturday evening finished with a storming set by Robb Johnson, back for the second year by public demand.

The previous evening, we had had Pilar Lopez’s moving survey of the Spanish Revolution/…

1 October 2015 Milan Rai and Gabriel Carlyle

PN offers training for Paris climate actions

Around 1,000 people nonviolently occupied and shut down Europe’s biggest source of carbon emissions, a giant opencast coalmine in Germany, on 15 August. http://350.org/ende-gelande-wrap-up/

Do you want to be part of a rising movement for climate justice and a Just Transition to a decarbonised economy? The UN summit on climate change (COP21) is coming to Paris in December and mobilisations are gaining momentum.

PN

1 August 2015 PN staff

Community building, 30 July - 3 August

A set-up meeting at the start of camp discussing what jobs needed doing. Photo: Roy St Pierre.

In this world of Facebook activism and online petitions, we think that there is a vital place for face-to-face meetings, for conversations around campfires, for chatting while doing humdrum but essential chores together, for games and songs as well as analysis and facts. Face-to-face community, we believe, is an essential part of the glue that holds strong movements together.

1 August 2015 Milan Rai

PN considers broadsheet editorial reactions to July’s nuclear deal

Iran Airbus (detail) by Emily Johns

The British broadsheets varied in their scepticism about July’s US-led nuclear agreement with Iran – from the Financial Times and the Guardian (who respectively welcomed ‘a breakthrough’ and ‘a triumph’ for diplomacy’) through to the Times, which warned of ‘A Reckless Gamble’.

In another demonstration of the accuracy of Noam Chomsky and Edward Herman’s Propaganda Model of the mainstream media, the ‘quality…

1 August 2015 Sarah Lasenby

Sarah Lasenby hits out at corporal punishment

Don't try this at home! Campionati mondiali kendo 2012 Novara 00-17-03. Author: Luca Mascaro

The Global Initiative to End All Corporal Punishment of Children reports there are now 46 countries which have prohibited all corporal punishment of children. This list does not include Britain, the USA, Canada, France or Italy. Interestingly, 19 of 28 EU states protect their children in all settings. It would seem to be time to tackle this in the UK but there are problems.

1 August 2015 Andrew Rigby and Marwan Darweish

Extracts from the new book, Popular Protest in Palestine, an important study of popular unarmed resistance to the Israeli occupation since the second intifada

As one member of a popular committee in Silwan [on the outskirts of Jerusalem] observed: ‘A major challenge is the coordination of nonviolent activities. Some focus on the [Israeli Separation] Wall, others on checkpoints and others on settlements. There is no coordination like there was in the first intifada.’

Underpinning the different challenges organisers identified as obstacles was what many observed to be a pervasive lack of trust in leadership at any level, including…

1 August 2015 PN staff

Events to mark the 70th anniversary of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

In the Ota River, Hiroshima. Image: Emily Johns

31 July – 1 August

WALLASEY CH45 5DX. EXHIB
Hiroshima/Nagasaki exhibition in Earlston Library, Earlston Rd.

3 – 31 August

LIVERPOOL L3 8EW. EXHIB
‘Hiroshima and Nagasaki 70 years on’. Exhibition in Central Liverpool Library, William Brown St. More info: www.mcnd.org.uk

Saturday 1 August

BROMLEY BR1 1HA. VIGIL
Hiroshima Day Vigil with…

1 August 2015 Ian Sinclair

The case against airstrikes on Syria

US F-15E Strike Eagles returning from the first US airstrikes on Islamic State targets in Syria, on 23 September 2014. Photo: US air force

On 26 June, Seifeddine Rezgui, a 23-year-old student, murdered 38 people at a beach resort in Sousse, Tunisia. 30 of the dead were British nationals. Subsequent news reports have noted Rezgui received training at an Islamic State (IS – also known as ISIS) base in western Libya.

Speaking to the BBC a few days later, David Cameron argued…

1 August 2015 Andrea Needham

How a combination of legal and direct action stopped the tree-fellers

Preventing fellers from working on the legally protected oak. Photo: Andrea Needham

On 7 July, the Hastings anti-roads group Combe Haven Defenders received an urgent message on our Facebook page: a big tree was being chopped down in Hollington Valley. I immediately jumped in a taxi, headed to the site, and sat under the tree.

The tree-fellers had to stop work, the police were called, and thus began a five-hour standoff.

The planned fate of this particular tree…

1 August 2015 Campaign Against Climate Change Trade Union Group

Trade unionists and climate activists call for massive investment to create a million climate jobs

Oxford students take part in the worldwide campaign calling on institutions to divest from fossil fuels. Photo: Fossil Free UK

To halt climate change we need drastic cuts in the amount of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases we put into the air. That means leaving most of the existing reserves of high carbon fuels – coal, oil and gas – in the ground. There are thousands of things we need to do to make that a reality. But three of them will make most of the difference.

1 August 2015 Milan Rai

How Truman delayed the end of the war in order to use the atomic bomb

US president Harry S Truman (left) and secretary of state James Byrnes talk together on 28 July 1945. Photo: US National Archives

Many people justify the destruction of the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki 70 years ago. Though brutal and indiscriminate, many people believe the atomic bombings shortened the Pacific war, and reduced the total number of lives lost.

In fact, there is a strong case that the US determination to use the bomb lengthened the war.

1 August 2015 Milan Rai

Iranian offers which have been erased from history

Reprocessing facility at Natanz, Iran. Sketch: Emily Johns

The real story of the Iran nuclear deal is that, after over a decade of denial, the United States finally gave up on its attempt to stop Iran enriching uranium. This isn’t how the mainstream media in the Global North portrayed the agreement, but it’s the heart of the matter.

We can see this clearly if we look back at the history of Iranian offers and US rejections over the last 13 years. The US could have had a…

1 August 2015 Liam Barrington-Bush

Four years of grassroots campaigning defeated Cuadrilla’s plans to drill for shale gas in Lancashire

Petition against fracking handed into Lancashire county council, August 2014. Photo: Frack Free Lancashire.

After Lancashire county council unexpectedly rejected Cuadrilla’s application to frack at Preston New Road, near Blackpool, on 29 June, I wanted to hear a bit more of the story from someone at the frontline of this monumental decision. Bob Dennett is a co-founder of Frack Free Lancashire. On 1 July, he told me a bit about the story that led to Monday’s campaign win, and the…

1 August 2015 David MacKenzie

David Mackenzie resists the siren calls of PR and the comfort zone

The Reverend Billy preaching on the streets. Source: Brave New Films via Wikimedia Commons

Two recent interactions are behind this. One was finding (in the preparation papers for a meeting) an opinion to the effect that time and effort spent on attempting to educate the general public about nuclear disarmament is pissing in the wind, with the corollary that only the decision-makers are worth our attention.

“Open up little learning rooms with genuine give-and-take”

Two…

1 June 2015 Sareena Rai

An earthquake diary by a Nepali anarchist


30 April: ‘Came across these 4 young punks in charge of clearing out debris in their
own neighborhood today. This is an all ages show everyone.’ photo: Yuva Ekta

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Nepal was hit by a long-predicted earthquake (7.8 on the Richter scale) on 25 April. Over 8,000 people were killed. There were over 100 aftershocks, including a 7.3 quake on 12 May.…

1 June 2015 Sarah Redd

Fears for civil liberties as Tories launch new drive against 'extremism'

Within days of being elected, the new Conservative government made it clear that a new drive against ‘extremism’ will be a major part of its legislative programme. Universities were already legally obliged to monitor their students and report any suspicions of ‘people being drawn into terrorism’, under the Counter-Terrorism and Security Act passed in January.

Conservative home secretary Theresa May introduced the act by declaring that, due to the rise of the terror group ISIS, the…

1 June 2015 Sarah Redd

Climate activists prepare for a crucial meeting


Abandoned power station in Charleroi, Belgium. Photo: Tom Redd

In December, the centre of Paris will be taken over by campaigners demanding that their governments make a legally-binding pledge to tackle climate change. ‘Coalition Climat 21’ will be organising actions in the run-up to, and during, the 21st United Nations climate change ‘conference of the parties’ (COP21) from 30 November – 11 December.

Hopes are high that the Paris negotiations will end with a universal,…

1 June 2015 Andrea Mbarushimana

A WW1 Tommy looks at nuclear warfare

Originally published by Leicester CND as a booklet. More copies of this poster are available from Peace News on 0207 278 3344.

1 June 2015 PN

Peace News Summer Camp, Shropshire, 30 July—3 August


Robb Johnson, singer, song writer

The big news is that our entertainment at this year’s Peace News Summer Camp features not one but two amazing performers. Robb Johnson, the brilliant radical folk singer-songwriter whose gig was a highlight, if not the highlight, of last year’s camp; and the sensational John Hegley, one of Britain’s most innovative and popular comic poets and songwriters.

Peace News Summer Camp gives grassroots activists a chance to come…

1 June 2015 Emily Johns and Gabriel Carlyle

How Britain's greatest living philosopher lost his sense of humour, but got the last laugh.


'The Banning of Bertie' by Emily Johns On 6 July 1916, Bertrand Russell – Britain's* greatest living philosopher – spoke out against the First World War at a public meeting in Cardiff, declaring that there was not ‘now any good and valid reason why this war should continue to be prosecuted’.

As a result of his talk, Russell was prohibited from residing in or entering any area…

1 June 2015 Claire Poyner

Network for Peace co-ordinator Claire Poyner reflects on the likely impact of the election on anti-nuclear campaigning

The overall majority gained by the Conservatives took a lot of us by surprise. Many were expecting a minority Labour win, with some support from the Scottish National Party. Meanwhile the Liberal Democrats had the worst election night since their formation.

There’ve been many attempts to analyse Labour’s failure to win the election – were they too left or too right? Is he ‘Red Ed’ and a ‘class war zealot’ or middle-of-the-road ‘austerity-lite’? Was it the media that ‘won it’? It…

1 June 2015 Bristol Anarchist Federation

Post-election, we must make ourselves ungovernable, argues Bristol Anarchist Federation

Cameron remains in Downing Street, now with a majority (having successfully cannibalised his former LibDem partners). A lot of people are understandably depressed by this, and now to top it all off Nigel Farage hasn’t even resigned as leader of UKIP.

FFS politics, give us a break.

We don’t have much say in what policies they try to force upon us – after all we had ‘Vote Tory for capitalism and austerity’ and ‘Vote Labour for the same, only a bit less and our heart isn’t…

1 June 2015 Stephanie Jones

An excerpt from a ground-breaking book on class oppression in the US


Pregnant woman at a public Women
Infants and Children clinic, Virginia, USA.
photo: Ken Hammond (USDA)

I know what they say about poor girls.

Tryin’ to get pregnant to keep a boy around.

Havin’ babies to get a welfare cheque.

Trappin’ men by tellin’ ’em they’re on the pill when they’re not.

I don’t even recognize what people say about poor girls though.

Trying to get pregnant?

All my life I’ve been with girls…

26 May 2015 Kelvin Mason

Social movements should take heed of social psychology, argues Kelvin Mason


Borras and Holt community protection camp. Photo: Kelvin Mason

The newly-elected Conservative government is set to follow through on David Cameron’s infamous 2014 pledge to go ‘all out for fracking’. They will also cancel subsidies for new onshore wind turbines. Allowing free-market dogma to dictate ecocide rather than plan a sustainable energy future, this government is contemptuous of the greatest moral challenge of our age, climate change.

So dire is the impact of human…

26 May 2015 Ben Cowles

The classist laws that block foreign partners from joining their British spouses


15 May: die-in outside the home office to protest against migrant deaths in the Mediterranean sea. Photo: CPT

Did you think that, as a British citizen, you would be allowed to live in Britain with whoever you chose to marry, however rich or poor you were?

Since 2012, the home office has required British passport holders married to, or in a civil partnership with, someone born outside the European Economic Area (EEA) to earn at least £18,600 a year before their foreign…

26 May 2015 COIN

We must bridge the political divide if we're to tackle climate change, argues George Marshall


2008 photo of re-elected Conservative MP, and former Ecologist editor,
Zac Goldsmith, who was at the launch of COIN’s report on the centre-right in 2013. Photo: Annie Mole

The UK election results on 7 May have left many climate activists dejected as they had pinned their hopes on the Labour party championing climate action over the next five years. But what should they do now?

Climate activists have traditionally been radically-minded, focused on the transformations…

1 May 2015 Milan Rai

Ed Miliband didn’t lose because he was 'too left-wing’


Effect of the first-past-the-post voting system in the UK general election, 2015. Inner circle: public vote; Outer circle: parliamentary representation of political parties. Image: Furfur

The debate about why the Labour party lost the Westminster election matters to everyone struggling for social change in Britain. How this fiasco is understood affects our confidence and our strategies (more on this below) – whatever our attitudes to the…

1 April 2015 PN

It’s that time of year again for making summer plans.

New folk make up half the organising team for this year’s Peace News Summer Camp, bringing new energy and new ideas. We put on the camp, which has been going since 2009, to give grassroots activists a chance to come together and recharge batteries while sharing experiences, ideas and strategies – in a family-friendly, off-grid, low-impact way.

Summer Camp is designed to encourage the things that make for a better society: friendliness, connection and community;…

31 March 2015 Jeremy Brecher

Activists are pursuing a three-pronged strategy ahead of December’s Paris climate summit


Climate Warriors blockade of Newcastle coal port in Australia, on 17 October 2014.
Photo: 350.org

Since international climate negotiations began a quarter of a century ago, annual greenhouse gas emissions have increased by 60 per cent.

As we approach yet another climate summit this November in Paris, the question for the climate protection movement is not just can some kind of agreement be reached, but how can we reverse the continuing climate catastrophe over the…

31 March 2015 Milan Rai

PN's editor reflects on the choices facing activists before and after the May 2015 election.


Time to Act on Climate Change marchers sit down in The Strand, London,
21 March 2015. Photo: Milan Rai.

Two of the most important things the next British government will do are: take part in the Paris climate negotiations in December, and decide on the replacement (or not) of the Trident nuclear weapon system next year.

On both issues, smaller, more progressive parties like the Scottish National Party, the Green Party and Plaid Cymru are likely to have a bigger impact…

31 March 2015 Charles Cobb and Gabriel Carlyle

An African-American activist-turned-academic looks back on the history of armed self-defence in the US civil rights movement

In his recent book on the US civil rights movement, This Nonviolence Stuff’ll Get You Killed, Charles Cobb argues that ‘although nonviolence was crucial to the gains made by the freedom struggle of the 1950s and ’60s, those gains could not have been achieved without the complementary – and underappreciated – practice of armed self-defence’. Indeed, the willingness to use deadly force, Cobb asserts, ‘ensured the survival not only of countless brave men and women but also of the…

31 March 2015 Juan Cole

Juan Cole explains what's really behind current events in Yemen

The massive twin bombings at mosques in the capital that shook Yemen on 20 March, killing over 100 and wounding many more, were immediately claimed by Daesh (the Arab acronym for ISIS/ISIL). Since the mosques were largely attended by members of the Houthi movement who subscribe to Zaidi, Shi’ite Islam, and Daesh is ultra-Sunni, the bombings also suggest Sunni-Shi’ite conflict of the sort that has characterised Iraq’s recent sectarian violence.

But Daesh doesn’t in fact have a…

31 March 2015 Emily Johns and Gabriel Carlyle

PN recounts some of the achievements of a neglected figure (and movement) from the German resistance to WW1


Richard Müller & the Revolutionary Shop Stewards
by Emily Johns

“How did the workers’ councils emerge in Germany? They emerged from the big strike movements of the last years, in which we — who have always been strong opponents of the war and who have lived with tortured souls for four years given the pressure and the lies the German people were exposed to — were the driving…

31 March 2015 Andrew Smith and Anne-Marie O'Reilly

A report from this year’s Campaign Against Arms Trade national gathering


CAAT national gathering at Conway Hall,
London, 21 March 2015 Photo: CAAT

One of the most powerful speeches at the CAAT national gathering this year came from Sayed Alwadaei, a Bahraini activist who was imprisoned for taking part in pro-democracy demonstrations and then had his citizenship revoked in Bahrain.

Sayed reminded us of the terrible human cost of the arms trade, and the impact that those of us campaigning over here can have. ‘Your action gives Bahrainis a…

31 March 2015 Gabriel Carlyle

Gabriel Carlyle outlines some of the downsides to armed self-defence

NB This piece accompanies this article.

Charles Sims, one of the best-known proponents of armed self-defence within the US civil rights movement, was asked in 1965 how activists could best advance the movement without nonviolence.

He responded: ‘I believe nonviolence is the only way.’


Robert F Williams - smeared here on an FBI
'wanted' flier…

31 March 2015 Kathy Kelly

A letter from a US prison

‘That is also us, the possibility of us, if the wonderful accident of our birth had taken place elsewhere: you could be the refugee, I could be the torturer. To face that truth is also our burden. After all, each of us has been the bystander, the reasonable person who just happens not to hear, not to speak, not to see those people, the invisible ones, those who live on the other side of the border.’
Karen Connelly, The Lizard Cage

It was a little…

31 March 2015 Jon Lockwood

Top tips for improving meetings for those with a hearing loss

There is a recurring theme, common to many if not all public meetings I attend: everyone is assumed to have good hearing.

In reality, there are more than 10 million people in the UK with some form of hearing loss – one-in-six of the population – including more than 70 per cent of over-70-year-olds and 40 per cent of over-50-year-olds.

More than 800,000 people in the UK are severely or profoundly deaf. So, many people aren’t going to clearly hear what is said, and,…

31 March 2015 George Lakey

How Earth Quaker Action Team managed to win a climate victory

On 2 March, after five years of action by Earth Quaker Action Team, PNC bank announced a shift in its policy that will effectively cease its financing of mountaintop-removal coal mining in the Appalachia mountain region in the eastern United States.

This marks a major turnaround for the seventh-largest bank in the US, which for years refused to budge on this issue. After more than 125 actions, their desire to continue business as usual proved no match for Earth Quaker…

31 March 2015 Michael Randle

Michael Randle explores an important Bradford-based cultural resource

Commonweal is a free library which specialises in works on peace and radical politics. Its aim since inception has been to provide a service for activists and academics alike. It has been housed since 1976 within the main JB Priestley Library at Bradford University, West Yorkshire. It has had strong links from its early days with Peace News.

The library had its origins in the private collection of books, journals and pamphlets of David Hoggett, whose life in many ways…

1 February 2015 Erica Smith

Erica Smith reviews Tate Modern's latest exhibition


Moments Later: ‘Shell Shocked US Marine,
Vietnam, Hue 1968’, printed 2013 © Don McCullin.
Don McCullin speaks eloquently about this image
on the Tate website. He clearly recalls taking the
photograph – in fact, he took multiple pictures

‘Did you enjoy the show?’ asked the woman in the Tate Modern bookshop, whilst I purchased a copy of the Conflict, Time, Photography catalogue.

‘Enjoy’ wasn’t the verb on the tip of my tongue as I stood at the…

1 February 2015 PN

Shout out for PN's First World War speaking tour ...

Emily Johns (Peace News co-editor) and Gabriel Carlyle (PN promotions worker) are ready to tour the UK, speaking about PN’s mammoth project ‘The World is My Country: A Visual Celebration of the People and Movements that Opposed the First World War’.

A year in the making, the 10 posters feature stories from a history of police raids and buried documents, feminist peace initiatives and clandestine printing presses, Maori princesses and striking German munitions workers.

1 February 2015 Emily Johns and Gabriel Carlyle

Another story-poster from PN's 'The World is My Country' project


Skeffy by Emily Johns.

A passionate feminist, the Irish pacifist Francis Sheehy-Skeffington viewed war and anti-feminism as ‘branches of the same tree – disregard of true life-values’. It is therefore unsurprising that, less than a fortnight after Britain’s declaration of war in 1914, the paper he edited, the Irish Citizen, produced a poster bearing the immortal slogan: ‘Votes for…

1 February 2015 Noam Chomsky

The renowned US dissident reflects on the hypocrisy of the elite response to the Charlie Hebdo killings

The world reacted with horror to the murderous attack on the French satirical journal Charlie Hebdo. In the New York Times, veteran Europe correspondent Steven Erlanger graphically described the immediate aftermath, what many call France’s 9/11, as ‘a day of sirens, helicopters in the air, frantic news bulletins; of police cordons and anxious crowds; of young children led away from schools to safety. It was a day, like the previous two, of blood and horror in and around…

1 February 2015 Kathy Kelly

Kathy Kelly looks forward to a future world that is less like a prison


US peace activists Frances Crowe (left) and Kathy Kelly, Northampton, Massachusetts, 19 June 2014. photo: Milan Rai

22 January: The US bureau of prisons contacted me today, assigning me a prison number and a new address: for the next 90 days, beginning tomorrow, I’ll live at FMC Lexington, in the satellite prison camp for women, adjacent to Lexington’s federal medical center for men. Very early tomorrow morning, Buddy Bell, Cassandra Dixon, and Paco and Silver, two house guests whom…

1 February 2015 Finn Mackay

An excerpt from new book Radical Feminism explores divisions around trans inclusion

[This is a short extract from a powerful new book by a former Menwith Hill peace camper, grounded in dozens of interviews with feminist activists around the UK. Radical Feminism provides a guide to the development of the women’s liberation movement since the 1970s, deals with the challenges of queer theory, and centres itself in the history and politics of the Reclaim The Night marches against male violence against women.

We’ve chosen to print this section on trans…

1 February 2015 Juan Cole

Why al-Qa’eda attacked satirists in Paris

The horrific murder of the editor, cartoonists and other staff of the irreverent satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo, along with two policemen, by terrorists in Paris was in my view a strategic strike, aiming at polarizing the French and European public.

The problem for a terrorist group like al-Qa’eda is that its recruitment pool is Muslims, but most Muslims are not interested in terrorism. Most Muslims are not even interested in politics, much less political Islam. France is…

1 February 2015 Fuel Poverty Action

Fuel Poverty Action look back at 2014, and forward to 2015!

 


Fuel Poverty Action join over 20 protest groups outside the British Gas/Centrica AGM on 12 May 2014. Photo: Fuel Poverty Action

 

1 February 2015 Milan Rai

A report on the Peace News online campaigning conference in January which introduced the PN digital toolset Zylum to the movement

Over 80 people crowded into Peace News’s successful ‘Weaving Our Own Web’ dayschool in Islington, London, on 10 January, to learn how we can use the internet more effectively in our campaigning for peace and justice. We had really great feedback from people (see box).

We achieved our main goal of drawing in people across the spectrum – people at the early stages of learning about digital tools, as well as folk with moderate abilities and the technically-advanced. We had quite an…

1 February 2015 Erica Smith

A Hastings artist and designer takes action when UKIP decides to hold a fundraiser in her local pub

My favourite local pub is the Horse & Groom – up at the top of Norman Road. It proudly boasts its history as the oldest pub in St Leonards-on-Sea, in East Sussex, and is a fine example of what I have always called ‘OMPs’ – Old Man’s Pubs. That’s not an insult, it’s just a special kind of pub.

You enter and there’s usually a warm, quiet atmosphere – a bit of chat at the bar, a few small groups of people sat around tables, a solitary chap reading a paper with a well-behaved dog…

1 February 2015 Jenny Pickerill

A response to Leslie Barson’s critique in the last issue


Rhubarb-chopping at Findhorn ecovillage. Photo: Jenny Pickerill

All too often eco-villages are romanticised and celebrated, rather than analysed and critiqued. Their limitations, failings and contradictions are well known to their members, but even academics like Karen Litfin [1] present a rosy picture of alternative harmony. It was refreshing, then, to read Leslie Barson’s experiences at Sieben Linden (PN 2576–2577) and her conclusion that there are three problems with eco-…

1 February 2015 Jan Oberg

A Swedish peace researcher reflects on the terror in Paris and the reactions to it

1. What was this an attack on?

Was that attack an attack on freedom of speech as such, on democracy, even on the whole Western culture and lifestyle, as was maintained throughout? Or was it, more limited, a revenge directed at one weekly magazine for what some perceive as blasphemy?

2. Is freedom of expression practised or curtailed for various reasons?

How real is that freedom in the West? Just a couple of days before the Paris massacre, PEN [the literary…

1 February 2015 PN

A partial list of upcoming events in the UK

More events will be listed as they are announced at www.internationalwomensday.com

Wheelchair symbol indicates wheelchair accessible venue.

Saturday 28 February

EASTBOURNE BN21 3UG, EXHIBITION. [NOT FULLY ACCESSIBLE]
‘Women & Domesticity – What’s your perspective?’ An exhibition of dusters exploring the relationship between women and domesticity, hand-embroidered by women from all walks of life. 2pm…

25 November 2014 Annette Bygott

Celebrating the memory of a forgotten German pacifist


Bertha von Suttner 1906. Photo: Carl Pietzner

She is hardly known in this country. Faces go blank when I mention her name. Even amongst friends in the peace movement. At the same time numerous schools, streets and public squares in Austria and Germany are named after her: Bertha von Suttner, who lived from 1843 to 1914. The commemoration of the outbreak of the First World War would give a distorted picture if we did not simultaneously remember the courageous stories of those who…

25 November 2014 Gabriel Carlyle

The hidden history of the Global South and the First World War


Late 20th century nyau face mask. PHOTO © Hans Hillewaert

They must have been very pleased when they finally caught him. Desperate to find him, the British had placed his friends and family under surveilliance and – after six weeks of unsuccessful hunting – had even offered a substantial reward for his capture.

Like many other Muslims in the north of Nigeria, he was opposed to fighting in the First World War for fear that he might be deployed against his fellow Muslims in…

25 November 2014 Catalyst Project

The US anti-racist collective, Catalyst Project, recently circulated this text with the subject heading ‘What do you mean by anti-racism?’

Catalyst Project works to consciously create a culture that helps white people take strategic and effective anti-racist action as a part of multiracial movements.

We think that white anti-racist organising requires that we move away from competitive, individualist thinking, and instead support as many people as we can to be effective change agents, working in accountable relationships with people of colour-led organisations. These shifts in organising culture help create more…

25 November 2014 Kimberly Golden

PN interviews a British radical educator from the London CommunityHousing Co-op who visited an idyll in Northern Germany


Sieben Linden ecovillage in winter. Photo: Herbst77regen

‘I was a bit worried about the project of self- sufficiency, and how few differences there were between them and mainstream society’, said Leslie Barson, describing her recent stay at a prominent eco-village in Germany.

Barson spent a month taking a course at Sieben Linden, an eco-village formed in the late ’90s that is aiming to find a more sustainable and self-sufficient way of life. During her stay there, Barson…

25 November 2014 Milan Rai and Emily Johns

The long story behind current debates about principles in a radical co-op network


The pink house, Walden Pond Housing Co-op in St Leonards-on-Sea. photo: Milan Rai

Radical Routes has been an amazing radical success story, proving that democratic radical institutions can survive and thrive, operating by a modified form of consensus decision-making, and turning private property into collectively-owned, activist-controlled spaces. For some, the success of Radical Routes (RR) has proven that ‘anarchists can deal with money’.

Today, Radical Routes is changing…

25 November 2014 Kimberly Golden

PN examines the fate of Dutch co-operative network

Stuart Field is in a unique position to comment on the discussions within Radical Routes, as not only has he been involved in the network since it incorporated in 1992 (first as a volunteer and later as the paid finance worker), he also worked for five years for a similar co-operative network in Holland called Solidair.

Solidair is over 10 years older than Radical Routes (RR), having its origins in the mid-1970s. Recently, Solidair has dissolved most of its network, and is winding…

25 November 2014 Gabriel Carlyle

Opposition to WW1 in the West Indies

Evidence of opposition to the war in the West Indies can be traced in the various countries’ newspapers (which were invariably hostile to such activity).

In British Honduras, calls for men to enlist resulted in an unprecedented exodus of young men from the district of San Estevan in early 1916. Some fled across the border to Mexico, while others, who had heard that the governor was coming to their area on a recruiting drive, disappeared into the bush claiming that they had…

25 November 2014 Gabriel Carlyle

The 'great soul''s role in WW1

Given his canonisation by mainstream culture as the icon of peace and nonviolence, one might have imagined that Gandhi would have led a strong campaign of resistance to the war. Unfortunately, nothing could be further from the case.

In April 1918, Gandhi gave his unconditional assent to British plans to raise half a million more Indian troops. Attempting to recruit 12,000 men from the Kheda district of Gujarat, Gandhi did not shy away from employing moral coercion, telling them…

25 November 2014 Leila Al-Shami

International attention has focused recently on Kobani/Kobane, a Syrian Kurdish town on the border with Turkey, besieged by the al-Qa’eda splinter group ISIS (known to opponents by its Arabic acronym ‘Daesh’). Here a well-informed non-pacifist anarchist explains some of the background to the conflict.


Kurdish protests against siege of Kobane by ISIS in Bologna, Italy on Global day for Kobane. November 1st 2014. Photo: Petar Miloševic

The heroic resistance of the people of Kobane in fighting the onslaught of the Daesh (ISIS) fascists since mid-September, has led to a surge of international solidarity. A multitude of articles and statements have been written and protests have been held in cities across the world. Kurds have flooded across the Turkish border to help their compatriots…

25 November 2014 Emily Johns and Gabriel Carlyle

Maori resistance to WW1

Te Puea Herangi, the Maori princess who led the Waikaito tribal confederation’s successful campaign of nonviolent resistance to conscription during the First World War, articulated one of their reasons for not fighting as follows: ‘They tell us to fight for king and country. Well, that’s all right. We’ve got a king. But we haven’t got a country. That’s been taken off us.’

From the war’s outset…

25 November 2014 Milan Rai and Emily Johns

Can we stop the replacement of the Trident nuclear weapon system?


Trident submarine. Photo: Paul O’Shau/MOD

Different groups are using different strategies to try to make an election issue out of Trident replacement. The British decision on whether/how to replace the Trident nuclear weapon system is scheduled to be made in 2016, which means the 7 May 2015 election will elect the government that takes this £100bn decision. This has been described as ‘a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to scrap Trident and ban all nuclear weapons’.

Lobbying…

25 November 2014 Emily Johns

Emily Johns is inspired by the life and art of William Morris


William Morris by Frederick Hollyer, 1884. Photo: National Portriat Gallery, London

William Morris is woven into our lives, sung upon our soul, written into our minds.

When I was a very small child, maybe four years old, I remember laughing at the slapstick of Albert Meltzer being stuck in our armchair. It was low, black wood with green upholstery. Albert, the enormous anarchist, had his plump hands on the velvet arms and was straining to extricate his bulk from between the…

25 November 2014 Milan Rai and Emily Johns

What happens when the founders of a radical organisation move on, new people come in, and the strict entry standards that were put in place originally are set aside? How does it affect who joins the organisation, and how does it affect the politics of the organisation?


'Flickr - Laenulfean - crossroads' by Carsten Tolkmit from Kiel, Germany. Photo: Carsten Tolkmit CC-by-SA 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons

After 26 years supporting its activist membership in taking over £4m-worth of housing out of the private property market, the Radical Routes network of radical housing and worker co-ops deleted a fundamental membership condition in the summer of 2014 and may well abolish another before the end of 2015.

Shortly after being formed in 1988,…

25 November 2014 Zylum folk

Peace News launches a new set of internet tools to support grassroots campaigning groups

On 10 January, Peace News are launching Zylum, our new online resource for grassroots campaigning groups, at a dayschool we’re calling ‘Weaving Our Own Web: using the internet to strengthen our groups and campaign more effectively’.

At the dayschool in London, there will be workshops for people who want to learn about basic digital tools (like email lists); for people who want to learn more about tools they’ve already taught themselves how to use (like WordPress) or who want more…

28 September 2014 David Gee

In this extract from his forthcoming book, 'Spectacle, Reality, Resistance: Confronting a culture of militarism', David Gee explores how contemporary militarism attempts to control public opinion, passing over its horrific reality.


‘The View from the Drone; Northern Pakistan (23 January 2009)’
by Steve Pratt, former SAS soldier turned art psychotherapist.

 

If peace is the ecology of mutual relationships, violence is the deliberate or negligent destruction of that ecology – the violation of persons, cultures, communities, peoples, the Earth.

Control, as the will to force a situation into a specific outcome, or to prevent one, is one way of…

28 September 2014 David MacKenzie

David Mackenzie reflects on the peace movement after the Scottish referendum


On 22 September, Trident Ploughshares and Faslane Peace Camp blockaded
Faslane, homeport of the UK Trident nuclear weapons system. Photo: Trident Ploughshares

I got a lesson once in how to handle serious disappointment – one that I have never forgotten. It was 2001, and the Scottish high court had just pulled the rug from under a growing hope that Trident might be outlawed in the British courts. This was almost three years after sheriff Margaret Gimblett had famously acquitted…

28 September 2014 Lindis Percy and Chris Cole

PN takes a look at a secretive, unaccountable and out-of-control US spy base

What is Croughton?

Seemingly not many people know about ‘RAF’ Croughton near Brackley and bordering Northamptonshire and Oxfordshire. Misleadingly referred to as an RAF base, this important US facility is occupied and controlled by the US under the umbrella of the United States Air Force. It supports presidential, NATO, US European command, US central command, US air force special operations command, and US department of state operations. The US national security agency (NSA), the…

28 September 2014 Milan Rai

The sixth glorious year of PN Summer Camp


End of camp photo in front of the main marquee, 4 August 2014. Photo: Roy St Pierre


This year’s Peace News Summer Camp yet again enjoyed magnificently-sunny weather, marvellously-enriching workshops, and a spirit of warmth and inclusiveness that is hard to find.

Human rights campaigner Peter Tatchell brought decades of activist experience to bear in his workshop on ‘The ABC of Campaigning — How we won same-sex marriage’; Kofi Klu scrutinised the concept of…

28 September 2014 Hannah Brock

Hannah Brock reports on War Resisters International's conference in South Africa

Speaking on the first day of a conference of grassroots antimilitarist campaigners, poet and indigenous Khoisan activist Zenzile Khoisan told us: ‘I was one of those people dodging bullets outside this building as a 13-year-old in 1976’. The building was the City Hall, an imposing colonial-era edifice on Cape Town’s grand parade.

Speaking 20 years after South Africa’s first democratic election, Khoisan told the War Resisters’ International (WRI) gathering stories of his…

28 September 2014 Virginia Moffatt

Peace News considers peace paintings by Anne Gregson

For the last few years we have been holidaying at Little Wedlock, owned by Quakers Anne and Malcolm Gregson. Anne is a fine artist who runs a gallery with her daughter. In August, we were treated to her latest collection ‘The Dance of Life and the Dance of Death’, created especially for an exhibition about peace.

‘The Dance of Life’ is a set of four paintings on silk hangings. ‘Forest Green’ has been sold, but the remaining hangings are still part of the exhibition. ‘Life Giving…

28 September 2014 Milan Rai

Green jobs, anyone?

On 20 September, the British Campaign against Climate Change Trade Union Group launched a revised, expanded and updated edition of its excellent One Million Climate Jobs booklet at an ‘International Fight for Climate Jobs’ conference.

Speakers at the launch event included Kjersti Bartos, vice-president of the Norwegian Confederation of Trade Unions, Fernando Losado from the US Nursing Union, and Philip Pearson, the TUC’s senior officer for energy and climate change. There…

28 September 2014 Emily Johns and Gabriel Carlyle

Another story-poster from PN's 'The World is My Country' project

The Women's Peace Crusade, 1916-1918
by Emily Johns

The Women’s Peace Crusade was '[t]he first truly popular campaign [in Britain], linking feminism and anti-militarism’ (Jill Liddington).

Denounced by the right-wing Morning Post as ‘one of the most active and pernicious propaganda organisations in the country’, its central…

28 September 2014 Ian Sinclair

Ian Sinclair looks beyond the "babbling brook of [mainstream media] bullshit" about the Iraq crisis.


CRUDIFICATION, an Iraqi Fine Artists Association in
Britain Group show in London, features the work
of Jalal Alwan (pictured), and others. www.p21.org.uk

Just over ten years since it failed the public so completely over the 2003 Iraq War, the mainstream media’s coverage of the current Iraq crisis has been predictably awful.

“Stop droning on Mr Cameron… SEND IN THE DRONES” was The Sun’s considered…

28 September 2014 Marc Hudson

A transcript of an oddly-traumatic nonviolent training session


images: Marc Roberts www.marcrobertsink.com

Thanks so much for asking me to facilitate your strategy and skills-share day. I really admire the work that ‘Peace Activists Resisting Plutocracy’ (PARP) has done over the years. So much so that I’ve knocked 10% off my very reasonable fee.*

This is going to be a session about how we find out who in the room has what skills, and how we can find out what skills we don’t have, but would…

28 September 2014 PN staff

Write to a peace prisoner!

Please send a card for 1 December Peace Prisoners Day. More names and addresses can be found on the War Resisters’ International website:
www.wri-irg.org/node/4718. Please send your card in an envelope and include a return name and address on the envelope. If a prisoner’s number is given, include this with the address. Please avoid writing anything that might get the prisoner into trouble.

China: Liu Yuandong (detained 23…

28 September 2014 Sarah Waldron

Sarah Waldron makes the argument for conversion

What sort of future do we want to invest in? Last month’s NATO summit offered a dystopian vision. Here, ‘building stability’ involved turning Cardiff and Newport into militarised zones, overtaken by security fences and armed police, while warplanes roared overhead. It also involved promoting the commercial interests of the weapons manufacturers that have been the main beneficiaries of NATO’s militarism and force projection.

Defence ministers dined aboard the BAE Systems’ Destroyer…

28 September 2014 Gabriel Carlyle

Gabriel Carlyle casts a sceptical eye over James Lovelock's much-vaunted ideas and independence at the Science Museum


James-Lovelock and his daughter Christine collecting air samples in
Adrigole, South West Ireland, 1970. Photo: Irish Examiner.

 

To say that James Lovelock is a divisive figure in the environmental movement would be a considerable understatement.

Describing himself as an 'old-fashioned green', he is fêted by some…

21 July 2014 Rachel Julian

Exploring the relationship between peace studies and the peace movement: some thoughts to be discussed at PN Summer Camp


The Academics and Scholars blockade at Faslane Naval Base during Faslane 365 campaign 2006-2007. Photo: Faslane 365

Working towards a more peaceful and just world, be it through a process of gradual change or through nonviolent revolution, requires a strategic, long-term view. We struggle for peace against seemingly overwhelming levels of violence, corruption and inequality. Within this context, I see a web of interconnected actions and approaches that directly challenge the status…

21 July 2014 Milan Rai

Training for Change’s powerful three-week ‘Super-T’ training for trainers

Why travel thousands of miles (chucking over a tonne of carbon into the atmosphere) to a strange city on a different continent to spend three weeks with people you’ve mostly never met in order to learn about facilitation and training?

There are plenty of facilitators and trainers in Britain to learn from – plenty of activist trainers. There are a lot of books available about different approaches to facilitation and training.

Training for Change have loads of material on…

21 July 2014 Sue Smith and Denise Drake

An ongoing Quaker initiative to trace the roots of activist nonviolence training in the UK

Where does nonviolence training for activists come from?

Turning the Tide (TTT), a 20-year-old Quaker programme dedicated to spreading the skills for and understanding of nonviolence for positive social change, draws on the long Quaker history of working for peace and justice as the basis for our approach.

Our approach is experiential. Nonviolence training is a learning experience of the mind and body, both an individual and a collective experience. It’s radically…

21 July 2014 Emily Johns and Gabriel Carlyle

Another story-poster from PN's 'The World is My Country' project

On 10 March 1917, Alice Wheeldon – a 52-year-old seller of second-hand clothes, living in Derby – was sentenced to 10 years’ hard labour for conspiring to murder the prime minister. Accused of scheming to have a blowdart dipped in the exotic poison curare fired at Lloyd George while he played golf on Walton Heath, she would be freed within the year.

A feminist…

21 July 2014 Paul Ingram

Exploring the reasoning behind the Trident Commission, and the benefits of the commission’s report

I lead BASIC, an organisation that has been working for nuclear disarmament for almost 30 years, and that on 1 July published the report of the Trident Commission that BASIC convened in February 2011. The commission has recommended that Britain retain its nuclear deterrent (along with other recommendations the government might find a little more challenging).

Some people have been asking whether BASIC has gone over to the ‘dark side’.

Pluralistic thinking

I…

21 July 2014 PN staff

Causes and codicils

When it comes to making a will, we all quite rightly think of family first. But it’s also possible to leave a gift to a cause close to our hearts. If you are thinking of making a will, or amending one, we’d be really grateful if you would consider including a gift to Peace News.

Legacies have been enormously important for PN, including the £5,000 that Tom Willis inherited in 1958, which he decided to give to the paper, enabling it to buy the building at 5…

21 July 2014 PN staff

First World War centenary key theme at this year's Camp

This year, the main theme of Peace News Summer Camp (31 July – 4 August) is countering the militarism and jingoism around the centenary of the First World War, which is why the camp is called ‘The World is My Country’.

We’re bringing peace and justice activists from Belgium, France, Spain and other countries across Europe to help us mark the…

21 July 2014 Milan Rai

Milan Rai recovers the hidden background to the current crisis

The crisis in Iraq has reached truly frightening proportions, with the brutal ‘Islamic State in Iraq and Syria’ (ISIS) controlling a large swathe of territory in both countries – something that may trigger the partition of Iraq.

It is easy to get the impression from the mainstream media that violent conflict between Sunni and Shia Muslims in Iraq is something that goes back millennia, and has merely re-surfaced in the recent conflict between Sunni ISIS and the Shia-dominated…

21 July 2014 Gabriel Carlyle

Weapons, but no war, at the Natural History Museum's pre-history exhibition


Star of the show: Neanderthal man. Photo: © Trustees of the Natural History Museum, London

There’s plenty of weaponry in the Natural History Museum’s current exhibition, ‘Britain: One Million Years of the Human Story’, but no sign of any warfare.
For those, such as anthropologist Douglas Fry, who claim that ‘whereas homicide has occurred periodically over the enduring stretches of Pleistocene millenia [2.6m to 12,000 years ago], warfare is young... arising within the timeframe of…

21 July 2014 Douglas P Fry

Powerful findings from several decades of Peace Anthropology


Wauja chief from Upper Xingu, Amazonia. Photo: Ian Star via Wikimedia CC-BY-SA-3.0

Anthropology holds some treasures for peace activists and scholars including documentation that non-warring peace systems exist, descriptions of how peaceful societies successfully keep the peace, and solid evidence – despite recurring claims to the contrary – that war is not part-and-parcel of human nature.

At the same time, there have been some recent attempts to hijack anthropological data…

9 June 2014 Douglas Newton

A historian uncovers the truth behind Britain’s rush to war in 1914

A hundred years later, British historians of the ‘dire necessity’ school still assert that Britain’s Great War should be remembered simply as a harsh reality that had to be faced. They insist that nothing other than a righteous war against German militarism was conceivable in 1914. They plead for the old sugary verities to be reasserted – that Britain was in the right, that Germany was in the wrong, that the cause was just, and that it was a stand-tall moment –…

9 June 2014 Emily Johns

No 2 in Peace News’ ‘The World is my Country’ poster project.

By 1918, Britain’s No-Conscription Fellowship was led by women, as the male leadership was in prison. Catherine Marshall was a key organiser of the NCF. Joan Beauchamp was the official publisher of the NCF’s newspaper, The Tribunal, and Lydia Smith her secret co-editor, using a woman with a pram as a courier to transport proof sheets. The Tribunal had to be printed secretly, by hand, after its first…

9 June 2014 PN

This year, the main theme of Peace News Summer Camp (31 July – 4 August) is countering the militarism and jingoism around the centenary of the First World War, which is why the camp is called ‘The World is My Country’.

We’re bringing peace and justice activists from across Europe to help us mark the centenary – and to ‘Declare Peace’ on the 100th anniversary of the day that Britain declared war on Germany. We will also have workshops and discussions, practical skills sessions, delicious vegan food cooked by Veggies, films, fun and DIY entertainment, a bar, a campfire, and activities and facilities for children and families.

We are delighted to be welcoming well-known and well-loved peace activists…

9 June 2014 PN staff

Your responses to our social audit questionnaire

Thank you to the 220 people who so generously responded to the questionnaire sent out with the last issue. We really appreciate your taking the time to give us feedback on what we’re doing. The questionnaire is part of a social audit that Peace News is carrying out, to evaluate what we’re doing, how far we’re achieving the goals we’ve set ourselves, and how we could better serve the community of people seeking positive social change in Britain and around the world.

There will be more…

9 June 2014 Emily Masters

Peace News brings together environmental activists for a transatlantic round table

‘We have little mini-successes and we celebrate them because we need to; otherwise we’ll go stark raving mad,’ New York activist Maura Stephens said during a Peace News round-table discussion via video chat on 17 April.

During the conversation, two US and two British anti-fracking activists compared how their movements have organised, and brainstormed tactics for fighting ‘hydraulic fracturing’ for oil and gas in the future.

Stephens thinks organisers need to reflect on what is…

9 June 2014 Pete Ramand and James Foley

Scottish independence could reinvigorate radical movements north and south of the border, and deal a blow to British imperialism


Weekly vigil, 14 May, North Gate of the Trident submarine base at Faslane, Scotland. A message from Faslane Peace Camp: ‘It’s now well into spring and the pace is picking up as we get closer to September’s crucial vote on Scottish independence. Leaving to one side our plans for clandestine activities, we can announce that over the weekend of 13-15 June, the camp will be celebrating its 32nd birthday. Come stay the whole weekend for direct action workshops, vegan food and entertainment.…

27 May 2014 David Edwards and David Cromwell

The mainstream media and climate change

report by the UN intergovernmental panel on climate change (IPCC) at the end of March was clear that the impacts of climate change are likely to be ‘severe, pervasive and irreversible…

30 April 2014 Emily Masters

A Q&A on fracking with Laura Bannister, Green Party candidate for the European parliament 

‘I think fracking is entirely the wrong direction for UK energy policy, and I feel that if we act now we can prevent the establishment of a fracking industry in this country,’ Laura Bannister said.

 

Bannister is a European election candidate from Manchester and Salford, an area currently being exploratory drilled for natural gas. She has been a member of the…

3 April 2014 PN

At the moment, PN staff are the only listed UK promoters of Campaign Nonviolence, the nonviolence study/action group initiative started by Pace e Bene in the US last year. Milan Rai, Emily Johns and Gabriel Carlyle are in a Campaign Nonviolence study/action group in Hastings (it’s called Burning Gold, after a line in a William Blake poem).

This March and April, Campaign Nonviolence has been running workshops across the US to ‘help build the campaign to mainstream active nonviolence…

3 April 2014 Ludovica Rogers

The world’s first ethically-minded smartphone




Miner in a Conflict-Free Tin Initiative-monitored mine,
Democratic Republic of Congo, February 2013.
Photo: Bas van Abel/Fairphone

First of all, I need to say that moving to the Fairphone has been a major technical upgrade for me as before it I had a very basic smartphone (Samsung Galaxy Y), so my judgement will be influenced by this. Though I would like to add that I have never felt inclined to buy a high-priced smartphone before the Fairphone, as I never…

3 April 2014 Emily Masters

Anti-oppression work becomes a renewed focus for UK grassroots trainers

It all started with a room full of grassroots activist trainers, a US anti-oppression worker and a discussion about power and privilege.

‘I think there was discomfort, unhappiness, shock, disbelief, anger, that: “Oh, I am a part of this problem. This feels uncomfortable.” Because as social justice activists we try not to replicate the very same oppression we are trying to change,’ Denise Drake told Peace News recently.

Drake is a trainer with Turning the Tide, a London-based…

3 April 2014 PN staff

Come to the Peace News Summer Camp, 31 July – 4 August 2014. Robb Johnson will be performing songs from his highly-acclaimed Gentle Men album about his grandfathers and the First World War.


Robb Johnson will be performing songs from
his highly-acclaimed Gentle Men album about
his grandfathers and the First World War.
Photo: Eric the Fish

This year we are delighted to be welcoming to Peace News Summer Camp Britain’s top peace researcher, professor Paul Rogers of Bradford School of Peace Studies; Emma Sangster, co-founder of ForcesWatch, one of the most exciting anti-militarist projects of recent years; Bruce Kent, Britain’s best-known and best-loved…

3 April 2014 Emily Masters

Manchesters’ new front line in the struggle against extreme energy

An industrial truck creeps down the road towards the gate, held up by 35 slowly-walking individuals. It could take up to two hours for the driver to arrive with equipment necessary to keep operations moving at IGas Energy’s Barton Moss fracking site just to the west of Manchester.

‘That happens every day. That’s happening right now, as we speak,’ Robbie Gillet of Frack Free Greater Manchester said in an interview, with sounds of a…

3 April 2014 Barbara Deming

This classic text from 1971 pushes nonviolent activists to respect and value rage and untangles our political and personal relationships to this emotion.  


Pieter Bruegel the Elder: The Seven Deadly Sins
or the Seven Vices - Anger. Photo: via wikicommons

I have been asked to talk about the relation between war resistance and resistance to injustice.

There are many points to be made that I need hardly belabour. I don’t have to argue with any of you at this conference that if we resist war we must look to the causes of war; try to end them. And that one finds the causes of war in any society that encourages not fellowship but…

1 April 2014 Emily Masters

Working towards a viable future for Syria when fighting ends

‘Right now, people who are involved in nonviolent activism in Syria are mainly having to do two things: relief work, to deal with the catastrophic levels of humanitarian disaster and then underground civil resistance, like newspapers, news agencies, schools, hospitals and clinics,’ Mohja Kahf told Peace News in March.

Kahf, a member of the Syrian Nonviolence Movement (SNVM), was born in Syria but grew up in the United States, where she is now an associate professor of Comparative…

1 April 2014 Jack Duvall and Maciej Bartkowski and Peter Ackerman

Civil resistance shredded the legitimacy of a repressive and corrupt government


Thousands protest in London on 16 March against the
Russian invasion of Crimea. Photo: Clare Dimyon

This comment was written on 3 March, before the Russian invasion of Crimea changed the dynamics of the Ukrainian crisis.

Dramatic words or violent acts were not how the Ukrainian people ousted an authoritarian leader and his cronies. Civil resistance shredded the legitimacy of a repressive and corrupt government. The nonviolent movement dissolved…

20 March 2014 Emily Johns

by Emily Johns. The first in the Peace News poster series celebrating the anti-war movements of the First World War. For the whole story see www.theworldismycountry.info

19 March 2014 PN staff

The fracking revolution in the US has had a number of unintended consequences. As well as polluting groundwater and causing other environmental damage, the use of ‘hydraulic fracturing’ to exploit shale gas has lowered US gas prices massively. This has put huge pressure on the US coal industry, which has had to lower its prices in consequence, and also find new markets. These cheap US coal exports have damaged the European gas industry (which has closed or mothballed about 50,000MW of gas-…

19 March 2014 Sophie Bastable

How the UK’s hunger for biomass costs communities and forests around the world

Demand for biomass is sky-rocketing in the UK. Burning wood for large-scale electricity generation is a key element of the UK government’s renewable energy policy and 42 new biomass power stations have already been proposed. Energy companies have announced that they intend to burn 68.9 million tonnes of wood a year in these power stations. This works out to eight times the UK’s total annual…

18 March 2014 Milan Rai

During the First World War, the great powers mobilised economic, human and military resources all over the world. They drew fighting men from all over the world into the conflict. They fought battles all over the world. The empires of the day threw their colonies and their colonial subjects into a war for supremacy.

In terms of economic mobilisation, Dr Glenford D Howe notes that, in the West Indies alone: ‘Gifts [in kind] to the value of several thousand pounds were contributed by the colonies to the war effort; these included sugar, rum, oil, lime, cotton, rice, clothing, logwood, and nine aeroplanes. A total of 11 ambulances and adequate funds for their maintenance were donated, and approximately two million pounds sterling was given to the British government and charities.’…

18 March 2014 Bruce Kent

A missed opportunity for disarmament

Who would have guessed that there was a peaceful connection between Russian czar Nicholas II, who was later assassinated, and the London borough of Islington?

Well, there was. In 1898, Czar Nicholas sent a message to all the major heads of state urging them to come together to discuss ending an arms race ‘which will lead to the very disaster which it is desired to avoid… we must put some limits on these increasing armaments and find means of averting the calamity that threatens the…

18 March 2014 Milan Rai

The European war against the world began long before 1914

There are a lot of issues that are debatable about the First World War. There is one fact, though, that ought to be beyond debate, and which ought to be acknowledged on all sides in the national conversation during this centenary year.

Reasonable people can differ, for example, on how important imperial rivalry was in causing the war. What all reasonable people should agree on, however, is that if, by some miracle, the major European powers had managed to stabilise their relationships…

18 March 2014 Milan Rai and Emily Johns

An occupied Spanish social centre brings people together to struggle for their rights


The social centre before it was occupied.
Photo © Enredadera Tetuán

On 3 February, the PN co-editors interviewed a key figure in the Centro Social Okupado la Enredadera (the Vine occupied social centre) in northern Madrid. The social centre is one small part of the huge, nonviolent, anti-austerity, non-hierarchical ‘15M’ movement which began in May 2011, and has shaken up Spanish politics and empowered millions of people.

Peace News What was the beginning of the social…

17 March 2014 Jamie Stern-Weiner and Norman Finkelstein

US analyst Norman Finkelstein argues that the US-led peace process is about to impose Israel’s demands on the Palestinians


The village of Ein Hiljeh in the Jordan Valley was
reoccupied by Palestinian activists on 31 January.
Photo: Ryan Rodrick Beiler/Active Stills

The Middle East ‘peace’ negotiations being led by US secretary of state John Kerry will (unless there is significant resistance in Palestine itself) shortly demolish the international consensus on resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and impose a devastating ‘framework agreement’ that will turn the…

21 February 2014 PN staff

Peace News' First World War poster project

This year’s centenary of the start of the First World War is accompanied by a tidal wave of events and commemorations. But one key aspect of the war’s history is likely to receive little or no attention: the history and stories of the people and organisations that opposed the conflict.

Moreover, this history – of police raids and buried documents, feminist peace initiatives and clandestine printing presses, striking German munitions workers and communities of…

21 February 2014 Howard Clark

We revisit Howard Clark’s ideas on nonviolent strategy from 1978

Writing in the afterglow of a beautiful day of guerrilla nonviolence at Torness, I’m no longer daunted by the question with which I’ve been shadow-boxing these past few weeks: ‘exactly how do we intend to reverse the nuclear power programme?’

“The anti-nuclear movement already has its equivalents of the charka”

On that site, I saw for myself the achievement of the people who occupied Half Moon Cottage in creating a symbol for us to rally around, and also in…

18 February 2014 Emily Masters

Prosecution suffers numerous defeats in Combe Haven trials




Grannies Are In Action (GAIA) set up a ‘car wash’ in the
floodwaters of Combe Haven, East Sussex, on 12 January.
Photo: Marta Lefler

Over half the charges against Combe Haven Defenders (CHD) anti-roads protesters have been dropped or abandoned, or have resulted in not guilty verdicts, in the four trials so far concluded. At the time of going to press two trials were still underway, continuing into early February.

CHD, an East Sussex anti…

1 January 2014 PN

Pledge a donation to support PN's visual celebration of the people and movements that opposed the First World War, featuring the distinctive graphic art of Emily Johns.

Kickstarter site: http://tinyurl.com/theworldismycountry.

In 2014, to coincide with the 100th anniversary of the start of the First World War, Peace News is launching a major new project: "The World is My Country": A Visual Celebration of the People and Movements that Opposed the First World War.

At the centre of this project will be ten new full-colour posters designed and made by PN's co-editor…

31 December 2013 Will Simpson

Revolution is still unfolding

New Year’s Day 2014 marks the 20th anniversary of one of the last significant uprisings of the 20th century. The Zapatista rebellion of 1994 was the first revolt of the post-Soviet era, the first uprising to be announced via the then-novel medium of the internet and the first indication that Western-style neoliberalism wasn’t going to have it all its own way in the recently announced ‘New World Order’.

The Zapatista army, the EZLN, quickly…

31 December 2013 Lia Plume

Learning from 20 years of an armed but not-violent Mexican insurgency

August 2013. The Zapatistas in Chiapas open their doors to their ‘solidary brothers and sisters’ from Mexico and from across the globe. August 2013 is the 10th anniversary of their autonomous government structure: their local, municipal, and regional government bodies; their education, health, and justice provision; their own security system.

They want to share with us what they have built up and what they have learnt, so that we take this learning back to our…

31 December 2013 Ann Kramer

The History Column

The received image of the British public’s reaction to the outbreak of the First World War is usually that of jubilant, flag-waving crowds, assembling in front of Buckingham palace to cheer the royals and sing the national anthem. On 5 August 1914, an editorial in The Times described the previous evening, saying that: ‘the streets were packed with cheering masses.… Flags were waved from cabs, omnibuses and private cars.’

Less-well-recorded is the fact that just two days earlier, an…

31 December 2013 PN

Three ex-drinkers share their experience, strength and hope

The three people who have agreed to share their experiences in PN have all been heavily involved in the peace movement and are also recovering alcoholics (their drinking was out of control, but they’re now many years sober).

One of them is religious, two aren’t. One was drinking at her most intense period of activism; the other two were several years sober before they took part in high-risk activities. All three have been to prison for their…

31 December 2013 Gill Knight

Since September 2000, Israeli security forces have killed a Palestinian child every three days, on average. Estimates of the death toll among Palestinian children range from 1,398 (children’s charity, Defence for Children International) to 1,518 (the Palestinian ministry of information in Ramallah). Richard Falk, the UN Special Rapporteur for Human Rights in the occupied Palestinian territories, stated in May 2011 that Israeli forces had killed 1,335 children in the…

31 December 2013 Pat Gaffney

Eyewitness account of peace and justice projects inside Israel

Women in Black vigil in Jerusalem. Photo:Pat Gaffney

As a Christian, I had often thought of going to Israel-Palestine but had never quite been able to overcome the uneasy feeling of visiting a place regarded as ‘holy’ which is also a place of such injustice and violence.

That changed in 1999 when Pax Christi held its international council in Jordan and Jerusalem to offer support and encouragement to its partners in the whole region. To be invited by…

5 December 2013 Howard Clark

by Howard Clark. An updated edition of the classic 70s pamphlet. Published by Peace News, July 2012

“My vision of nonviolent revolution isn’t of a united mass movement sweeping away the institutions of the status quo, but of people acting in their own situations to take control of their own lives and asserting different values, values which have been systematically suppressed.” Howard Clark, from the introduction.

For this 2012 edition of Making Nonviolent Revolution, Howard Clark has added an afterword referring to the experience of the Spanish indignad@s (an inspiration…

5 December 2013 PN staff

Howard Clark and Penny Stone at the opening of the international seminar War starts in Luleå, Sweden, 2011.

5 December 2013 PN staff

For a photo archive of Howard see here. An online book of condolences is available at War Resisters International

1 November 2013 George Lakey

Re-writing an attacker’s script — George Lakey suggests ways of getting in practice to defuse violent situations

Have you heard the story about the woman who realised she was being followed on a dark, deserted city street? It was the night before trash collection. She went to the nearest trash can, lifted the lid, and had a brief, animated conversation with the contents. Cheerfully replacing the lid, she continued to the next trash can, lifted the lid, and chattered away as if with a long-lost friend.

She also noticed that her stalker turned around and left.

This is one of the…

1 November 2013 Caitlin Hayward-Tapp

Feminst poetry by Caitlin Hayward-Tapp

When I see a man approach and I cast down my eyes
I’m not laying down a hand, I’m not looking for a prize
It’s just a force of habit, this avoiding the male glance
’Cos it isn’t worth the trouble and it isn’t worth the chance
Of them thinking that you’re actively ‘giving them the eye’
And not simply acknowledging a fellow passerby...
And no, I don’t know what they’re thinking but I know what men have thought
And I live by my experiences and the lessons I’…

1 November 2013 Mika Lorensa

Militarism, trans* liberation and our movements

Chelsea Manning was already a hero of mine after releasing hundreds of thousands of classified documents revealing US war crimes in Iraq and Afghanistan. Her whistleblowing was digital direct action akin to the 1960s Spies for Peace revelations of UK preparations for nuclear war and exposure of the US COINTELPRO programme in the 1970s.

And then, as the world watched a military judge give her a 35-year sentence, she opened herself up with a beautiful and articulate statement: ‘I…

1 November 2013 Lucca Rossi and Jessica Corbett

Heavy-hearted judge imposes minimum sentence on anti-drone activists

On 7 October, six peace activists were found guilty of criminal damage during a protest at a British drones base, RAF Waddington in Lincolnshire. They were given a conditional discharge for six months, were fined £10 and ordered to pay £75 in court costs.

Defendant Keith Hebden told PN: ‘The judge recognised the validity of our arguments, saying Waddington was a “legitimate target for protest”. The token order to pay £10 in compensation reads to me like an invitation to press…

1 November 2013 Ian Pritchard

How the government could create more and better jobs

‘We respect the protesters... [but] they may not understand the benefits of defence exports... If you said to CAAT how would you feel if 400,000 people lost their jobs, they may have a different answer’. So said one of the government’s chief arms sellers in response to the campaign against the Defence Security and Equipment International (DSEi) arms fair in September. (Telegraph, 8 September)

With one inaccurate and misleading statistic, concerns over the indiscriminate…

1 November 2013

How the military affects young people's lives

29 October 2013 PN

Where will they strike next?

Yarn bombing, Lidköping, Sweden Photo: Shyguy24x7 [CC-BY-SA-3.0/Wikimedia Commons]
Yarn bombing, Ohio, USA Photo: Otuiccip [CC-BY-SA-3.0 via Wikimedia Commons]
Yarn bombing, Madrid, SpainPhoto: Alvaro Léon [CC-BY-SA-3.0 via Wikimedia Commons]
Yarn bombing, Madrid, Spain Photo: Alvaro Léon […

1 October 2013 Milan Rai

Milan Rai explains how nuclear weapons work in the real world

Nuclear weapons have been used since 9 August 1945. They have been used ‘in the precise way that a gun is used when you point it at someone’s head in a direct confrontation, whether or not the trigger is pulled.’

These are the words, over 30 years ago, of analyst Daniel Ellsberg, the Pentagon insider who leaked the US government’s top secret internal…

1 October 2013 Jessica Corbett

PN talks to Syrian activists inside the outside the country


A demonstration in the city of Banyas, Syria on the 'day of rage' on 29 April 2011. Photo: Syria Frames of Freedom

Despite the civil war and the threat of US military intervention, the nonviolent movements that began the Syrian uprising continue to struggle for social change – and for a ceasefire.

‘Nonviolent civil resistance started this’, Mohja Kahf of the…

1 October 2013 PN

Book your tickets now for PN's benefit 'Celebration of People Power' on Sunday 13 October.

1 October 2013 Milan Rai and Emily Johns

Obama and Cameron have been forced to bow to their populations' anti-war sentiments

On 14 September, instead of launching air strikes on Damascus, US president Barack Obama was forced to agree to a Russian plan for disarming Syria’s chemical weapons under the supervision of a UN agency, the organisation for the prohibition of chemical weapons (OPCW). The resolution of the Syrian chemical weapons crisis by diplomacy was a triumph for what the New York Times in…

1 October 2013 Tim Gee

A glimpse at a grassroots nonviolent revolutionary movement in South Africa, as the country approaches the 20th anniversary of the end of political apartheid


Press, supporters and passers-by stop to hear South African president Jacob Zuma at the Hector Pieterson Memorial in Soweto.photo: Marcela Teran

With Nelson Mandela’s illness earlier this year, the eyes of the world’s media looked to South Africa. More specifically they looked to a single building in South Africa – Pretoria’s Mediclinic Heart Hospital, host to a man who more than…

1 October 2013 Emily Johns

Emily Johns commemorates tje life of Nigerian activist Ken Saro-Wiwa

On 10 November 1995, Ken Saro-Wiwa and eight of his colleagues were hanged by the Nigerian military government for campaigning against the devastation of their homeland in the Niger Delta by oil companies, Shell in particular. Ken was an activist, writer, political journalist and businessman and became the iconic leader of the minority Ogoni people’s struggle for environmental and…

1 September 2013 David McKenzie

David Mackenzie explores the 'fiendishly complex' connections between Trident and next year's Scottish independence referendum

The connections between the UK’s Trident nuclear weapon system and the Scottish independence referendum in September 2014 are both fiendishly complex and absurdly simple

Here are a few of the complications. It is partly a tale of two governments that have their own referendum agendas but that are also highly sensitive to the potential effect on the referendum vote of positions they adopt publicly. The Scottish Nationalist Party (SNP), conscious of the power of the old principle — ‘…

1 September 2013 Peter Nias

Peter Nias explores some forgotten peace initiatives from a century ago

While the world was aggressively preparing for the First World War between 1900 and 1914, many people and organisations in Britain and Europe were boldly campaigning for peace. This is not generally remembered because that war destroyed so much, even the memory that many people had tried to stop it happening.

So amongst the military and political pressures of preparing for war, with its Boer War inadequacies, Dreadnought battleship-building, Baden Powell boy-scouting and much more,…

1 September 2013 Osman Ahmed

Halabja survivor Osman Ahmed's work are a 'rendezvous between life and death'


Halabja Chemical Bombing, 1988, oil (120 x 100cm), Saqqez. IMAGE: Osman Ahmed.

 

There were many chemical attacks on Kurdish villages in northern Iraq by Saddam Hussein’s army in 1987 and 1988. Osman himself was a witness and victim of the chemical attack and once went blind for a few days, hiding in a cave.

This image was made in 1988 after the attacks and…

1 September 2013 Milan Rai

Black leadership at Peace News Summer Camp

This year’s fifth Peace News Summer Camp was a satisfying, at times electrifying, five-day experience, bathed yet again in good weather and good humour.
The camp broke new ground in a number of ways. We moved to a new venue (in Diss, Norfolk); we invited international speakers for the first time (flying them in from Colombia and Egypt); we had an almost entirely new organising group, composed entirely of people of colour; and our presenters were mostly people of colour for the first…

1 September 2013

Book your tickets now for PN's benefit 'Celebration of People Power' on Sunday 13 October.

1 September 2013 PN

Comments from the Campers' evaluation forms ...


Mohamed Moghazy and Dora Estella Munoz Atillo. PHOTO: Roy St Pierre Everything! Being welcomed by people, and being with like-minded people. The very interesting workshops – the more participation the better – the laughter, games & singing. Compost toilets, etc. Good food and generosity. Peaceful environment that reaches out to all. A kind and loving community. Good…

1 September 2013 Maria Gomez

An international course in freedom and autonomy draws 1700 participants from around the world.

From 12-16 August, the Zapatistas hosted a course in freedom and autonomy for 1,700 supporters from Mexico and abroad. Originally they had planned on 500 students, but such was the response that they expanded the school to hold 1,200 more people, and announced two more little schools will be held, in December this year and in January 2014.

The main requirement for any applicant is ‘an indisposition to speaking and judging, a disposition to listening and seeing, and a well-placed heart…

1 September 2013 George Farebrother

Frustrated by the answers you get from your MP?

Suppose you get a reply from a government ministry to your carefully-crafted letter – about Trident maybe. The minister or official should think about this one. Off-the shelf answers will not do.

But that’s just what you usually get – the creaky story about living in uncertain times, and how we must maintain a ‘credible’ nuclear capability.

We’re not asking much. We don’t expect a sudden conversion to sanity. We just want considered replies to considered questions or…

1 September 2013 Milan Rai and Emily Johns

New CIA files show US supported Iraqi chemical warfare against Iran


Chemical bombing of Halabja, 1988, pencil (30 x 42cm). Osman Ahmed

As the US and Britain threaten to attack Syria on the basis of an alleged chemical weapons attack on the Ghouta suburb of Damascus, confirmation has emerged of US government complicity in Iraqi chemical weapons attacks during the eight-year Iran-Iraq war.

As PN went to press, UN…

5 July 2013 Preeti Kaur

The International Organisation for Participatory Society is a new  revolutionary network connecting independent radicals worldwide

As I write, individuals and families are taking to the streets in Brazil, Turkey and Indonesia. Governments globally pursue policies that lead to further inequalities and push more and more families into poverty, experiencing hunger, unemployment and illness without hope that things will get better. 

In the UK, the government’s own lawyers warn of a new ‘underclass’ unable to defend themselves and insist on their rights. Black, Pakistani and Bangladeshi youth in England face…

5 July 2013 PN

Buhrez - 2004. Ink on paper 33cm x 24cm.

Satta Hashem grew up in Buhrez, Diyala province, and left Iraq in 1978 aged 18, having been involved in opposition to Saddam Hussein’s regime. He trained in Algeria and the Soviet Union, later moving to Sweden and then the UK. He has kept a daily diary of drawings throughout the wars of 1990-1 and 2003-. A departure from his practice in painting, in which Hashem draws on scientific theories of…

5 July 2013 Jordana Jarrett

An interview with the director of England’s Fellowship of Reconciliation

Millius Palayiwa, director of Fellowship of Reconciliation
Photo: Jordana Jarrett

The current director of England’s Fellowship of Reconciliation (FoR) was born in what was then Southern Rhodesia, now Zimbabwe, the middle child of parents who sacrificed for their children’s prosperity. For 40 years, his father worked as a ‘kitchen-boy’ for a white man, making only £8.10 a month. His father agreed to work without pay if the man would pay for all seven children to attend primary…

5 July 2013 Jordana Jarrett

Since the Woolwich attack in London on 22 May, at least 13 mosques have been attacked, according to Islamophobia monitoring group Tell MAMA, which has recorded 212 incidents targeting Muslims – including harassment, violence and damaged property.

A school trip in Isfahan, Iran Photo: Milan Rai

On 23 June, a home-made bomb was discovered outside the Aisha mosque in Walsall in the West Midlands. 150 people were evacuated. No one was injured as the device was made safe.

Arson or attempted arson attacks have taken place at the Grimsby Mosque & Islamic Community Centre; the Zainabia Islamic Centre in Milton Keynes (30 people were inside at the time); the Al Falah Braintree Islamic Centre in Essex; the Masjid E Noor…

1 July 2013 PN

Peace News played an important role in exposing British colonial torture in Kenya, publishing an expose by whistle-blower Eileen Fletcher on 4 May 1956.

Fletcher went to Kenya in December 1954 as a colonial social worker ‘rehabilitating’ women and girls in British detention camps and prisons for Mau Mau militants and sympathisers. She resigned in protest after trying to improve conditions for seven months.

Labour MP Fenner Brockway waved a copy of Peace News in a house of commons debate on Kenya on 6 June 1956, quoting Fletcher.

Fletcher had witnessed children of 11 and 12 being held in prisons in Kenya, and gave details,…

1 July 2013 Milan Rai

Milan Rai surveys the history of Western nuclear threats against the Global South

The most serious threat of nuclear terrorism comes not from some fragmented, vengeful jihadist network, but from the western states who form the nuclear core of the NATO alliance, who have issued repeated threats against non-nuclear weapon states in the Global South.

It is in fact official policy that Britain will use or threaten to use its nuclear weapons to preserve its economic and financial advantages throughout the world. You just have to join the dots.

This is one of the…

1 July 2013 Milan Rai

The theme for this year's Camp is "Taking a lead from the Global South", and the Camp will feature Egyptian, Nigerian and Colombian activists

The theme for this year's Camp is "Taking a lead from the Global South", and the Camp will be featuring Mohamed Moghazy from the Egyptian Committees to Defend the Revolution, award-winning Nigerian performer Tayo Aluko and Dora Estella Munoz Atillo, a community organiser from the remarkable Nasa community in Colombia.

Welcome Dora!

This year, Peace News Summer Camp is honoured to be hosting Dora Estella Muñoz Atillo, a community…

1 July 2013 Daniel Hunter

One of the world’s leading activist trainers draws on decades of experience

I want to give a warning shot to anti-oppression trainers and activists. My bottom line is this: we need to stop applying theory onto people’s experiences, wielding it like a weapon to describe what we believe whether we actually see it in a room or not. It’s not smart organising, creates intense backlash, and shrinks – not grows – our movements.

An organiser recently shared with me an example of what I’m talking about.

He was working in a union that represents workers at a…

1 July 2013 Jordana Jarrett

Behind the scenes of a historic victory for Kenyan torture victims


Wambunga Wa Nyingi and Jane Muthoni Mara outside the High Court, London. Photo: Leigh Day

More than 60 years after Britain declared the Kenyan ‘Emergency’, the British government has been forced to provide compensation to over 5,000 Kenyans for atrocities committed during its counter-insurgency campaign.

During the Emergency, an anti-colonial coalition, Mau Mau, responded to British imperialist control in Kenya. As a result, thousands of Kenyans in Kikuyu, Embu and Meru areas…

8 June 2013 Jessica Davies

Assassination of indigenous activist Juan Vázquez Guzmán in Mexico

Waterfalls in Agua Azul, Chiapas, Mexico.
photo: Deisy560 [CC-BY-SA-3.0] via Wikimedia Commons

On 24 April, Juan Vázquez Guzmán, indigenous Tzeltal, aged only 32, the father of two small children aged four and seven, a human rights defender and much-loved community leader, was gunned down in the doorway of his home.

The territory and community for which Juan gave his life was the communal landholding (ejido) of San Sebastián Bachajón, in the jungle…

8 June 2013 Member of Haringey CND and of the Mouvement pour une Alternative non-violente.

British participants invited to join a fast for Hiroshima – in Paris

Each year a fast is held in Paris (or in the Paris area) between Hiroshima and Nagasaki days (6-9 August) calling for the abolition of nuclear weapons in general, and the abolition of French nuclear weapons in particular.

The fast is organised by the Maison de Vigilance, which has been demonstrating against French nuclear weapons since 1984.

A movement, a campaign, and a spiritual home for opponents of nuclear weapons which organises monthly protests in…

8 June 2013 Milan Rai

Peace News Summer Camp is ‘taking a lead from the Global South’

Mohamed dresses for the UK summer

Peace News Summer Camp is proud to announce that Mohamed Moghazy, an organiser from the Egyptian Committees to Defend the Revolution, has accepted our invitation to speak at our camp at the end of July.

So, as well as the usual delights of PN Summer Camp – a warm and welcoming atmosphere, fascinating fellow campers, beautiful countryside, wonderful childcare and friendly campfire evenings – we are going to hear…

8 June 2013 TNP Support Group

Breach of security focuses attention on Y-12 military uranium enrichment plant


Mike Walli (63), Megan Rice (82), and Greg Bortje-Obed (57), from left to right,
carry symbols of life and truth (see box). Photo: Transform Now Ploughshares

On 7 May, the first day of the Ploughshares trial, giant blindfolded puppets walked towards the crowd, carrying a huge cardboard nuclear weapon.

Sue, dressed as a jester, announced: ‘Our first citizen believes that what she is carrying is… a bicycle! (Cool!) Our second believes that what he is…

8 June 2013 George Lakey

Morning-after reflections on a Quaker action against mountaintop removal

We had decided to break the rules. Not a big thing for people whose temperament or life experience leads them to a defiant attitude toward authority. But we happened to be mostly middle-class people, heavily-conditioned to fit in, to obey the rules. Our socialisation had led to professional and, for the students, academic success.

And here we were, with a priority that required breaking the rules. For us, a big thing.

Twice before, Earth Quaker Action Team…

8 June 2013 Emily Johns and Milan Rai

Action against human-caused climate change became more urgent on 9 May when the world passed through a symbolic barrier.


The biggest-ever US demonstration against climate change
brought 35,000 activists from 30 states to Washington DC
in February. Photo: 350.org / project survival media

The world’s most important CO2 monitoring station recorded short-term CO2 concentrations in the atmosphere above 400 parts per million (ppm), a level not seen for three million years.

Measurements at the Mauna Loa observatory in Hawaii (and elsewhere) show CO2 concentrations…

22 May 2013 Annette Bygott

30,000 German soldiers deserted during the Second World War: 20,000 were executed

Memorial for deserters by Nikolaus Kernbach in Stuttgart.
Photo: Ohne Rüstung Leben, Stuttgart

Most friends in the peace movement are familiar with the name of Franz Jägerstätter. There were other conscientious objectors who, like him, refused to fight Hitler’s war of aggression and paid the ultimate price. A few of these are pictured in Lars G Petersson’s book Deserters (2005), which mainly focuses on the 30,000 German soldiers who deserted while on…

11 May 2013 Timothy Bidon

An interview with Seeds for Change

Consensus decision-making has been growing more widespread in a variety of movements, from environmental activists, to co-operatives, to the recent explosion of Occupy camps. Rebecca Smith of Seeds for Change told PN: ‘We have seen a change in meeting culture in Britain, towards a greater awareness of the value of participation and the methods that make it possible.’

“The first step is learning to be honest with yourself."

Seeds for Change, a training and support network, has…

11 May 2013 Milan Rai

Peace News Summer Camp breaks new ground

Peace News Summer Camp:
Jameela singing in the evening

This year’s Peace News Summer Camp (25-29 July) is something unusual in British peace movement terms; it’s a major event that has been put into the hands of activists of colour – people whose heritage is from the Global South (Africa, Asia, the Caribbean, Latin America, the Middle East). Beyond the peace movement, it’s hard to think of any major, regular activist event in the UK that has been mainly…

11 May 2013 Judith Cole

Disabled people tell Atos Stories

Ian Dury, writer of the song ‘Spasticus Autisticus’, playing in
Hamburg. Photo: MALTE CC-BY-3.0 VIA Wikicommons

Our day-long protest on 9 April ended with us tweeting the story of Karen Sherlock. Karen was a disability rights campaigner who, despite suffering from a multitude of health conditions, was assessed by private company Atos Healthcare as potentially capable of working, and she was put in the ‘work-related activity group’ (WRAG). Thanks to rules put in place with the…

11 May 2013 Gabriel Carlyle

The anti-roads campaigners take on the department for transport over Combe Haven

PN co-editor tummy-to-tummy with the forces of the State Photo: Marta Lefler

In the unlikely event that anyone were to ask where I was when I heard that Margaret Thatcher had died, I’ll be able to say that I was attempting to get into the department for transport (DfT) to search for secret documents.

Specifically, I was at their London HQ for ‘Operation Disclosure’: a two-day attempt by the anti-road group Combe Haven Defenders to find and distribute the DfT’s secret…