Features

1 October 2022 Don't Extradite Assange

Julian Assange must not be extradited from the UK

WikiLeaks editor and publisher Julian Assange is facing a 175-year sentence for publishing truthful information in the public interest.

Julian Assange is being sought by the current US administration for publishing US government documents which exposed war crimes and human rights abuses. The politically-motivated charges represent an unprecedented attack on press freedom and the public’s right to know – seeking to criminalise basic journalistic activity.

If convicted Julian…

1 October 2022 Milan Rai

A tribute to Barbara Ehrenreich (26 August 1941 – 1 September 2022)

When I came into the peace movement as a teenager, back in the time of the dinosaurs, I somehow picked up a Very Wrong Idea. I came to believe that We (peace people) were completely different from, and so much better than, Them (war-supporters). We were more intelligent, more noble, better-informed. They... well, they were different.

In my case, picking up this belief flew in the face of my own experience, if I had only had eyes to see. I grew up in a…

1 October 2022 John Cooper

'Rights of those opposed to war should not be discarded once the bombs start falling'

A European-wide petition calling to protect the rights of conscientious objectors (COs) on all sides of the Ukraine conflict was launched on 21 September, the UN International Day of Peace.

The petition calls for protection and asylum for deserters and conscientious objectors from Belarus and the Russian Federation. It urges the Ukrainian government to stop prosecuting conscientious objectors, instead granting them internationally-guaranteed rights.

It challenges all nations…

1 October 2022 PN staff

New call-up prompts mass protests

Anti-war campaigners took to Russia’s streets on 21 September after the government there announced that it would be calling up 300,000 reservists to fight in its ‘special military operation’ in Ukraine. Brutal repression had put a stop to mass protests earlier in the year (see PN 2659), but the new announcement led to a new surge in protests.

It was reported that, in the hours after president Vladimir Putin’s speech on television launching the new policy, at least 300 people…

1 October 2022 Ukrainian Pacifist Movement against the perpetuation of war

A statement of the Ukrainian Pacifist Movement

We, the Ukrainian pacifists, demand and will strive to end the war by peaceful means and to protect human right to conscientious objection to military service.

Peace, not war, is the norm of human life. War is an organised mass murder. Our sacred duty is that we shall not kill.

Today, when the moral compass is being lost everywhere and self-destructive support for war and the military is on the rise, it is especially important for us to maintain common sense, stay true to our…

1 October 2022 IPPNW

From Minsk II to the Vatican working group

The following existing proposals and possible steps for ending the war in Ukraine through diplomacy have been extracted from a paper, Ceasefire and peace in Ukraine, published by the German section of the International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War/ Physicians in Social Responsibility (IPPNW) in July.

Minsk II

In 2014, Germany and France launched the so-called ‘Normandy format’ to resolve the war in eastern Ukraine. The mediation rounds, each consisting of one…

1 October 2022 Diana Francis and Andrew Rigby

A negotiated end to the war in Ukraine is an urgent necessity, argue Diana Francis and Andrew Rigby

This article was written before the Ukrainian military began their counter-offensive in early September. The advances made have encouraged talk of ‘victory’ and the maximisation of Ukrainian war aims – even beyond the military defeat of Russia. The need for a negotiated end to the death and destruction becomes ever more urgent.

The Russian invasion of Ukraine was an illegal act of aggression and the war that has ensued is a disaster of death, destruction and displacement on a…

1 October 2022 Janet Fenton

A democratic argument for Scotland to be independent and free of nuclear weapons

In late August, Costa Rica put forward a statement at the UN in New York calling for the total elimination of all nuclear weapons. 147 of the 193 UN member states supported this statement.

Scotland should be Nation 148.

The International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN), the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW) and the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) are the key elements in gaining a world without nuclear weapons.

ICAN is a network started…

1 October 2022 Milan Rai

Did you know that First Use is government policy?

Nuclear disarmament campaigns have often focused on hardware, on warheads and missiles and submarines.

Nuclear doctrine, or how governments plan to use their nuclear weapons, have had a lot less attention.

This is a pity because there are a lot of easy wins available for the peace movement on doctrine. (Also, the strength of the movement in the 1980s was as much to do with doctrine as it was to do with hardware, I would argue.)

As I noted last issue, an…

1 October 2022 Marc Morgan

A guide to peace groups across the Channel

The largest – and historically the most significant – peace group in France is undoubtedly the Mouvement de la Paix (‘Peace Movement’), whose several thousand members are organised in 150 local committees. Founded in 1948, the Mouvement de la Paix was created by Second World War Resistance movements, free thinkers and communists driven both by the struggle against fascism and a revulsion against war.

Closely linked to the Communist Party, the Mouvement de la Paix has…

1 October 2022 Milan Rai

Is Putin copying 1990s British nuclear policy?

‘If the choice for Russia is fighting a losing war, and losing badly and Putin falling, or some kind of nuclear demonstration, I wouldn’t bet that they wouldn’t go for the nuclear demonstration.’ That was Tony Brenton, a former UK ambassador to Russia, talking to Reuters in August.

Western experts have explained some of the ‘demonstration’ options for Putin, if he does use nuclear weapons in Ukraine, detonating a single ‘low-yield’ warhead in a way that does not kill anyone: ‘It could…

1 October 2022 PN staff

'Muslims Walk, Listen, Talk'

Image Click the image to enlarge it.

Withdean Park, Brighton, 21 August.

A Wisdom In Nature in-person outing for Muslims and friends to walk, listen, talk and eat together – and to hear the reading of a text by the 13th-century Persian poet and Sufi mystic, Rumi. The event was open to Muslims and adults of any faith and belief with whom…

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…