Features

1 February 2024 Douglas Rogers

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

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

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

The shortest version of this story is…

1 February 2024 Benjamin Zephaniah

A poem by Benjamin Zephaniah

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

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

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

For a moment we forgot dat we
Represented
Sum criminal statistics

1 February 2024 Milan Rai

Russia 'ready to make a deal', reports New York Times

As we head towards the second anniversary of the full-scale Russian invasion of Ukraine, the question of peace negotiations is becoming more pressing, especially with the possibility that Donald Trump may be re-elected president in November. Trump opposes US aid to Ukraine.

If it looks likely that Trump is going to win, Ukraine may be tempted to go for a high-risk, high-speed military push while it still has US backing – or it may finally open the door for a negotiated solution before…

1 February 2024 Benjamin Zephaniah

A 2019 article by Benjamin Zephaniah

I got political after I suffered my first racist attack at the age of seven. I didn’t understand any political theory, I just knew that I had been wronged, and I knew there was another way.

A few years later, when I was 15, a marked police car pulled up to me as I walked in Birmingham in the early hours of the morning, three cops got out of the car, they pushed me into a shop doorway, then they beat me up. They got back into their car, and drove off as if nothing had happened.

1 February 2024 Chris Cole

Is the UK providing the Israels military with drone-gathered intelligence?

Late on 2 December, the UK ministry of defence (MoD) issued a short online statement saying that the UK ‘will conduct surveillance flights over the eastern Mediterranean, including operating in air space over Israel and Gaza.’

The following day, health secretary Victoria Atkins, appearing as a government spokesperson on Sky News, was asked about the flights and said: ‘The ministry of defence has announced that it has sent some unmanned, and unarmed, surveillance drones into the region…

1 February 2024 PN staff

How one British business could stop Israeli jets bombing Gaza

Rishi Sunak’s government has supported Israel’s criminal war on Gaza, both diplomatically and in practical terms: weapons including spare parts, surveillance missions and intelligence gathering through US spy bases hosted by the UK on Cyprus.

A War on Want report in December called for a ‘two-way arms embargo on Israel without delay to end [the government’s] complicity in Israel’s crimes against the Palestinian people.’

Yasmine Ahmed, the UK director of Human Rights Watch,…

1 February 2024 Darren Cullen

Art by Darren Cullen

‘This was inspired by the double-standard around violence, not just in Israel’s occupation and destruction of Palestine, but also in the “monopoly of violence” that is held by states, police, militaries, and intelligence agencies, which allows politicians and commentators to claim that “violence is never the answer” when referring to a regular person defending themselves against a police attack, punching a Nazi in the street, or pushing a cream pie into a politician or CEO’s face; but which…

1 December 2023

A sneak-peak of a new exhibition at The Barbican

Erica Smith writes: In the book which accompanies Re/Sisters, Anna Feigenbaum defines three categories of eco-feminist: web weavers, tree huggers and water defenders. Feigenbaum suggests that the term ‘tree hugger’ dates back to 1730 when villagers in Bishoi, Kherjarli in northern India sacrificed their lives to save trees being cut down to build a new palace for the maharaja of Jodhpur. 250 years later, in the early 1970s, women from villages in the Garhwal Himalayas, northern…

1 December 2023 Milan Rai

Milan Rai dismantles one of the most powerful lies about the current crisis in Gaza

On 10 November, former Guardian journalist Hadley Freeman expressed her concerns about the ‘Ceasefire Now’ marchers due to demonstrate in London the following day. Freeman told BBC Radio 4’s PM programme: ‘First of all, I would ask them, you know, what they think is going to happen if there’s a ceasefire?

‘Hamas has said that they will not stop until Israel is annihilated. And the fact is there are still 200…

1 December 2023 Milan Rai

Why ‘humanitarian pauses’ are not enough  

On 31 October, Keir Starmer explained why he opposed calls for a ceasefire in Israel’s war on Gaza, in the same terms as the US and British governments. The Labour leader said: ‘that would leave Hamas with the infrastructure and the capability to carry out the sort of attack we saw on October the 7th.... Hamas would be emboldened and start preparing for future violence immediately.’

Therefore, Starmer argued, the right position was to ‘stand by the right to self-defence of any nation…

1 December 2023 PN staff

500,000+ march for peace on 11 November

In the run-up to the ‘Ceasefire Now’ demonstration in London on 11 November, prime minister Rishi Sunak condemned it as ‘provocative and disrespectful’ and warned that the march could ‘desecrate’ the Cenotaph, the national war memorial near Downing Street. The then home secretary Suella Braverman joined in, saying: ‘It is entirely unacceptable to desecrate Armistice Day with a hate march through London.’

The main organisers of the protest, the Palestine Solidarity Campaign, which had…

1 December 2023 Jewish Voice for Labour

'Killing from 20,000 feet is no less immoral than killing at close quarters'

When United Nations general secretary António Guterres said the Hamas murders of Israelis in October 2023 did not happen in a vacuum, he was immediately accused by Israel’s ambassador to the UN of a ‘blood libel’ against Jews for which he must apologise or resign.

He, like us, deplores the killings but he also challenged the Israeli assertion that history started on 7 October. According to the Israeli narrative nothing, apart from bestial hate, explains 7 October and 7 October…

1 December 2023 Felicity Laurence and The Villages Group

Report from an Israeli-Palestinian peace group

The Villages Group is a small but totally dedicated Israeli-Palestinian peace group who have worked year in and year out to show friendship and support to people under occupation in Palestine. I visited many times, to sing and do music with children in the villages, including in the very places right now being destroyed.

Things are desperate as never before. I am receiving their letters every day. Here are some things they are telling me. They want the world to know.

From their…

1 December 2023 PN staff

Activists sit-in in Sanders' office over Ukraine stance

Eleven CODEPINK anti-war activists were arrested on 4 October after a 50-strong sit-in in Bernie Sanders’ senate office in Washington DC, USA.

Sanders, a left-winger, has voted for more weapons to Ukraine and has criticised Democrats who’ve called for peace talks. ‘I am appalled that no Democrats are saying what the majority of American people are saying: We need peace talks, not more war,’ said Medea Benjamin, co-founder of CODEPINK, and author of…

1 December 2023 Yurii Sheliazhenko

Open letter from a Ukrainian facing prison for speaking for peace

Greetings from Kyiv. Yesterday [14 November] my city was disturbed again by air raid sirens, so I ran from Vernadsky scientific library to hide in the closest shelter, a subway station.

Ruthless Russian aggression against Ukraine continues, as well as the Ukrainian defensive war effort. Civilians are dying, cities are being bombarded on both sides of the frontline, and that is the essence of any war – aggressive or defensive – the pure evil of war, which is barbaric mass killing by…

1 December 2023 PN staff

The names of 261 children from Gaza and Israel killed since 7 October

This list of children 16 and younger killed in the latest Israel-Palestine conflict, has been created to be read out slowly during hour-long ‘Ceasefire Now’ vigils – to remember those who have died and to call for an immediate end to the violence.

This list of 261 names has been compiled from two sources: a spreadsheet of 2,523 names of children killed in Gaza (7 – 26 October 2023), circulated by Iraq Body Count, based on Gaza health ministry information and a 14 November report on…

1 October 2023 Alan Lodge

Nottingham exhibition remembers 2003 anti-war actions

This photo is from the exhibition, Regime Change Begins at Home – Nottingham Opposition to the 2003 Invasion of Iraq, which ran from 21 – 24 September at Broadway Cinema in Nottingham, to mark the 20th anniversary of the disastrous invasion of Iraq and the movement which opposed it. Along with images of protests in Nottingham taken by local photographer Alan Lodge, the exhibition also featured leaflets, newsletters and other materials from the period, mostly from the Sparrows’ Nest…

1 October 2023 Emily Johns and Tom Willis

Emily Johns interviews the curate who made the purchase of the Peace House possible.

Tom Willis was a curate in Hull in 1958 when he inherited £10,000 (worth over £180,000 today), the money that would buy 5 Caledonian Road for Peace News and Housmans Bookshop. PN production worker Emily Johns interviewed reverend Willis at a 50th birthday event for Number 5 in 2009, five years before he passed away.

I was 28 when I inherited the money and I thought: ‘What am I going to do with this money because Jesus…

1 October 2023 Rosa Schling

An extract from an exciting new book

A new book, Peace! Books! Freedom!, brings together generations of campaigners and activists to share memories of 5 Caledonian Road in Central London, the base for Peace News and its sister project, Housmans Bookshop. It is a little-known history of sedition, resistance, solidarity, and the ongoing struggle for justice and liberation.

When 5 Cally Road opened in 1959 as a home for Peace News and Housmans Bookshop, Peace News was already two decades…

1 October 2023 Alexandre Christoyannopoulos

Hypocrisy, boosting the military-industrial complex and narrowing solidarity

Exactly what Britons commemorate when they wear a red poppy has evolved ever since the emergence of that symbol in the aftermath of the First World War.

One of the reasons the poppy has been such an enduring symbol is that it has always had a capacity to mean slightly different things to different people. For some, it has conveyed the memory of personal and collective suffering (best illustrated perhaps with the saying: ‘lest we forget’).

For others, it is a sign of respect and…