Features

3 August 2022 Lizzie Jones

Disobedient art by Lizzie Jones

Text in the image reads: ‘Marchwood Military Port ships equipment & munitions to wars. March he won’t now. Alverhurst the penguin refuses to march to war.’

Image Alverhurst at Marchwood by Lizzie Jones (2012). Homemade milk and slaked-lime paint and acrylic paint on plywood (4ft x 3ft). Click image to view large version.

Alverhurst, so named by some college…

1 August 2022 Kathy Kelly

Kathy Kelly puts the case for a new way forward

US president Joe Biden’s foreign policy advisors applauded themselves for devising a ‘sensitive’ itinerary for his mid-July trip to the Middle East.

In a Washington Post op-ed before he left, Biden defended his controversial planned meeting with Saudi Arabia’s crown prince Mohammed bin Salman al Saud (known as ‘MBS’), saying it is meant not only to bolster US interests but also to bring peace to the region.

Biden’s trip did not include Yemen, though if this had truly…

1 August 2022 Christina Kelly

Christina Kelly reports on the first meeting of states that have ratified the Nuclear Ban Treaty

‘Just like the people of Kazakhstan reclaimed their agency [their ability to make their own decisions and to affect things], non-nuclear weapons states can reclaim their agency through the TPNW’, said Togzhan Kassenova, a Kazakh activist, speaking at ICAN's Nuclear Ban Forum in Vienna in June.

Togzhan, the author of Atomic Steppe: How Kazakhstan Gave Up the Bomb (Stanford University Press, 2022), used personal testimony and research to set the tone for the week ahead. She went on: ‘We…

1 August 2022 Bruce Kent

Campaigning wisdom from the heyday of CND, one of Bruce Kent's first pieces in PN

1982: Since I have been asked to do so, and not because I have any exclusive wisdom, experience or success in this field, I would like to share a few thoughts on the work of trying to mobilise public opinion for disarmament.

In recent years, public opinion for disarmament has been mobilised on a massive scale. That process has now to continue to the point when public opinion actually forces changes in national policies. To gather in a park is a most impressive act of witness. To…

1 August 2022 Bruce Kent

PN reprints one of Bruce Kent's classic columns

What a pleasure it was to read about what one bold cardinal has been up to in Rome.

Apparently, in May [2019], the electricity was cut off for a building occupied by 450 squatters – about 100 of them children. Many were refugees.

Cardinal Krajewski (Polish – you guessed) decided on a bit of very direct action. He lifted a lid set in the ground, climbed down to remove a seal, and switched on the electricity.

Light and hot water restored. If there’s a fine, the cardinal…

1 August 2022 Pat Gaffney

Catholic priest who became chair of CND

At the funeral mass in thanksgiving for Bruce’s life, Valerie Flessati, his widow, concluded her tribute with these words: ‘What a man! What a voice! What a friend! What a lot of love! We give profound thanks.’

Messages, memories and photographs spanning 70 years have poured in from around the world as people share their stories: ‘Bruce baptised my child.’ ‘Bruce shared a sandwich with me in Euston Station.’ ‘Bruce was only the second person to visit me in prison.’ ‘Bruce spoke at my…

1 August 2022 Kathy Kelly

It's time for a radical change of course, argues Kathy Kelly

US president Joe Biden’s foreign policy advisors applauded themselves for devising a ‘sensitive’ itinerary for his mid-July trip to the Middle East.

In a Washington Post op-ed before he left, Biden defended his controversial planned meeting with Saudi Arabia’s crown prince Mohammed bin Salman al Saud (known as ‘MBS’), saying it is meant not only to bolster US interests but also to bring peace to the region.

Biden’s trip did not include Yemen, though if this had truly been a ‘…

1 August 2022 PN staff

Humanitarian crisis set to worsen despite truce, as British arms sales to Saudi Arabia continue

After seven years of war which have plunged the country into the worst humanitarian crisis on the planet, Yemen has just enjoyed a four-month truce, likely to be extended for several more months. In another hopeful sign, there is a chance that Yemen’s ‘floating time bomb’, a huge, crumbling oil storage ship just off the coast (see pic), may be drained of oil soon.

However, the British state continues to arm Saudi Arabia, despite overwhelming evidence of Saudi war crimes since the…

1 August 2022 Nick Megoran

We need to build a Europe which is a theatre of peace not war, argues Nick Megoran

In 1876, Russian general Mikhail Skobolev defeated and subdued the khanate of Kokand based in present-day Uzbekistan, an important moment in cementing tsarist imperial control of Central Asia. Appalled at the nationalistic celebrations that greeted this in Russia, Leo Tolstoy penned his remarkable text The Kingdom of God is Within You. ‘Why do good men and even women,’ he lamented, ‘quite unconnected with military matters, go into raptures over the various exploits of Skobelev and other…

1 August 2022 Christina Kelly

A report on the first meeting of states that have ratified the Nuclear Ban Treaty

‘Just like the people of Kazakhstan reclaimed their agency [their ability to make their own decisions and to affect things], non-nuclear weapons states can reclaim their agency through the TPNW’, said Togzhan Kassenova, a Kazakh activist, speaking at ICAN's Nuclear Ban Forum in Vienna in June.

Togzhan, the author of Atomic Steppe: How Kazakhstan Gave Up the Bomb (Stanford University Press, 2022), used personal testimony and research to set the tone for the week ahead. She…

1 August 2022 Milan Rai

At least a fifth of the UK population has always been unilateralist

Of the many causes that Bruce Kent fought for, the one he is most identified with is unilateral nuclear disarmament. Bruce was general secretary of the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND) from 1980 to 1985, and CND chair from 1987 to 1990. CND’s core demand is for unilateral nuclear disarmament – for the UK government to dismantle all its nuclear weapons immediately, whether or not other countries also disarm.

Opinion polls that I’ve found suggest that, throughout the nuclear era,…

1 August 2022 Milan Rai

Our campaign to Ban Nuclear Threats continues...

If you’re a Western disarmament group, and you choose not to mention or engage with the long history of Western nuclear threats against non-nuclear weapon states, I think that’s a problem, morally, politically and in terms of strategy – but it’s kind of business as usual.

If you’re a Western disarmament group, and you choose to engage with the threatened use of nuclear weapons in international crisis situations, but you choose to talk only about nuclear threats issued by enemies of…

1 June 2022 Lorraine Schneider

PN revisits one of the most reproduced anti-war statements of the modern era

Image Lorraine Schneider, Primer (‘War is not healthy for children and other living things’), etching, 5cm X 5cm, 1965. © Another Mother for Peace

In 1965, Los Angeles printmaker Lorraine Art Schneider created a tiny etching called Primer for an exhibition of miniature (four-square-inch) etchings at the Pratt Institute of Art.

Two years later, Lorraine donated the image to a new women’s anti-war group in Los Angeles called ‘Another Mother for…

1 June 2022 Milan Rai

We hear from the activists behind the landmark legal ruling that deliberately obstructive protest can be legal

Two slogan-covered boxes are bundled out of a van. People lie down on the road next to the boxes. Within seconds, the police are there. So are other campaigners protesting against the DSEI arms fair, which is being set up in the nearby ExCeL Centre. Within minutes, the four people lying in the road – Chris Cole, Henrietta Cullinan, Jo Frew and Nora Ziegler – have been arrested.

This small action, which took place on 5 September 2017, led directly to a ground-breaking legal judgement…

1 June 2022 Noam Chomsky and CJ Polychroniou

A Truthout interview on 20 April with the world’s leading public intellectual

Noam Chomsky, the world’s leading critic of US foreign policy, has given several eye-opening interviews about the Ukraine crisis since it began in February, many of them to Truthout. Even though this Truthout interview was carried out on 20 April, many weeks ago, it is still extremely relevant to the diplomatic and military state of play in relation to Ukraine – and to the US-imposed disaster in Afghanistan. (Words inside [hard brackets] have been inserted by Peace News…

1 June 2022 Milan Rai

PN's editor responds to Janet Fenton's piece in this issue

I should start by saying that I have enormous respect for Janet Fenton as a person and as an activist. Also, I think the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW) is an astonishing and hugely valuable achievement, and the ICAN coalition completely deserved the Nobel Peace Prize for their role in bringing the treaty about.

However... after reading Janet’s arguments…

1 June 2022 Janet Fenton

An anti-nuke campaigner responds to our last issue's editorial

An article in the last issue of PN was seeking legislation to ban threatening to use nuclear weapons.

The Ukraine war has certainly had the effect of changing some of the UK public’s reactions to things many of us hold dear, for example our CND badges with the iconic symbol there for all to see in black and white. No longer are people saying to me: ‘CND, Oh, I remember that, I got one of those years ago at Glastonbury….’

Threatening to use nuclear weapons is certainly…

1 June 2022 Marc Morgan

Marc Morgan analyses the political scene across the Channel for PN  

The French peace movement is diverse, but its divisions are nowhere near as bitter or as marked as the conflicts between the three main political blocs which emerged in the presidential elections in April, and which reflect three very different broad outlooks prevalent in French society.

In French presidential elections, if no one wins an over 50 percent in the first round, the top two candidates go into a second and final vote two weeks later. The winner this spring was Emmanuel…

1 June 2022 Ukrainian Pacifist Movement against the perpetuation of war

Statement of the Ukrainian Pacifist Movement against the perpetuation of war

17 April:

Ukrainian Pacifist Movement is gravely concerned about the active burning of bridges for a peaceful resolution of conflict between Russia and Ukraine on both sides and signals of intentions to continue the bloodshed indefinitely to achieve some sovereign ambitions.

We condemn the Russian decision to invade Ukraine on 24 February 2022, which led to a fatal escalation and thousands of deaths, reiterating our condemnation of the reciprocal violations of the ceasefire…

1 June 2022 Russian pacifists

Fines for ‘holding invisible anti-war posters’

On 24 February, at 5am Russia invaded Ukraine. Waking up in the next few hours, many Russian citizens were shocked when they found out what had just happened. Among those who would not welcome such an invasion, it was a common belief that Putin was merely bluffing by threatening the West with a full-scale war. It turns out that we were wrong.

By 2022, the mass opposition movement in Russia was pretty much destroyed, so there were not many influential political forces that called on…