Features

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…

1 April 2022 Democracy Now!

A Democracy Now! interview with Stephen Zunes on 21 March

AMY GOODMAN: This is Democracy Now!, democracynow.org, The War and Peace Report. I’m Amy Goodman.

As we continue to look at the Russian invasion of Ukraine, we’re joined by professor Stephen Zunes of the University of San Francisco. He recently published an article in The Progressive headlined ‘The US Hypocrisy on Ukraine.’ Zunes condemns the Russian invasion but criticises what he sees as President Biden’s hypocrisy.

He writes: ‘If Biden really believed that…

1 April 2022 Gabriel Carlyle

There are big question marks over Roger Hallam’s latest strategy – and over his climate science claims

Extinction Rebellion (XR) and Insulate Britain co-founder Roger Hallam has been touring the UK recently, recruiting for his latest nonviolent direct action project: Just Stop Oil. Among other things, he’s been telling audiences that we’re looking at experiencing a 7 ºC temperature rise by 2042 (possibly sooner) – and that solving the climate crisis ‘is not complicated’.

These claims deserve examination. Hallam expressed them, for example, in a talk in Hastings on 10 January. (I’m…

1 April 2022 A. Savin

Celebrating Russian culture as we oppose the criminality of the Russian state.

Let’s celebrate Russian culture as we oppose the criminality of the Russian state. This is the stairwell of the Water Tower in Vladimir, Russia, 21 January 2019. The Water Tower, completely rebuilt in 1912, became a museum (‘Old Vladimir’) in 1975. It is dedicated to the history of the city and has a viewing platform on its top floor. PHOTO: A SAVIN / WIKICOMMONS

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1 April 2022 Milan Rai

Western commentators who rush to condemn Putin’s nuclear madness would do well to remember Western nuclear madness of the past, argues Milan Rai

On top of the fear and horror caused by the month-long Russian onslaught in Ukraine, many people around the world have been shocked and frightened by Russian president Vladimir Putin’s recent words and actions in relation to his nuclear weapons.

Jens Stoltenberg, secretary-general of the nuclear-armed NATO alliance, called Russia’s latest nuclear moves over Ukraine ‘irresponsible’ and ‘dangerous rhetoric’. Also on 27 February, British Tory MP Tobias Ellwood, who chairs the commons…

1 April 2022 Yurii Sheliazhenko

Statements from Ukrainian pacifist Yurii Sheliazhenko  

The most visible face of Ukrainian nonviolence during this crisis has been Yurii Sheliazhenko, the executive secretary of the Ukrainian Pacifist Movement and a board member of the European Bureau for Conscientious Objection. We’ve collected together some of the statements Yurii has made over the past six weeks.

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From a video, ‘Don’t lie like Boris Johnson’, that Yurii uploaded to YouTube on 19 March: www.tinyurl.…

1 April 2022 PN staff

Over 15,000 arrested for anti-war protests

Russian citizens continue to protest against the invasion of Ukraine despite harsh repression by the Russian authorities. As of 27 March, 15,106 arrests and detentions at anti-war actions had been recorded by the human rights monitoring group OVD-Info, who provided the following information. These arrests took place in 151 Russian cities, starting from the day of the invasion, 24 February.

That protests continue is astonishing, given the level of harassment, physical brutality and…

1 April 2022 PN staff

Unarmed demonstrators drive Russian troops from city

On 26 March, the people of Slavutych caught the imagination of the world with their nonviolent defiance, apparently driving Russian soldiers out of their city.

Slavutych, in the very north of Ukraine, was built in 1986 to house workers evacuated from the nearby Chernobyl nuclear power plant after the disaster.

Russian forces captured the power plant on the first day of the war, as it is right on the border with Belarus, a launching pad for the invasion. The Russian military had…

1 April 2022 PN staff

Russians speak out against the war

Human rights activist Lev Ponomaryov’s Russian-language petition against the war with Ukraine has gathered 1.2 million signatures as of 27 March. Tens of thousands of Russians have signed petitions or open letters against the invasion of Ukraine – groups of Russian doctors and nurses, Russian teachers, academics and students, Russian architects, Russian lawyers, Russian culture workers (artists, curators, architects, art critics, art managers) and many more.

Below are a few of the…

1 April 2022 PN staff

A comparison of the wars in Ukraine and Yemen - and the west's response

Boris Johnson told the Conservative spring conference in Blackpool that the Ukraine war was ‘a moment of choice... a choice between freedom and oppression’, where victory for Russia would be ‘a green light for autocrats everywhere.’ (19 March)

He had already given that green light to the autocrats by backing the Saudi war in Yemen wholeheartedly, ever since he became foreign secretary in 2016.

Saudi Arabia’s record on democracy, freedom and human rights is even worse than that…

1 April 2022 Symon Hill

People on the streets are pointing the way out of war, says Symon Hill

Yurii Sheliazhenko has not left Kiev since the war began. The last time I heard from him, he apologised in case the background noise of explosions made it harder to hear him. His home often shakes following Russian missile attacks.

Yurii, secretary of the Ukrainian Pacifist Movement, is frustrated by the way the war is covered in international media. ‘Reporting on conflict focuses on warfare and almost ignores nonviolent resistance to war,’ he says. ‘Brave Ukrainian civilians are…

1 February 2022 Andrew Rigby

A new book explores the potential of constructive nonviolent action 

Peace News carries some of the responsibility for me spending much of the last two years writing a book about constructive nonviolent action.

I was quite young when I became convinced that killing people was wrong, and I began to take on the identity of a pacifist. Peace News was one of my main sources of insight into what pacifism entailed, leading me to an interest in anarchism as part of a search for nonviolent and non-coercive modes of action for change.

1 February 2022 Gabriel Carlyle

Can community organising force the government to insulate the UK’s leaky homes?

All of the UK’s housing stock ‘zero carbon’ by 2050. Everyone living in well-insulated homes heated by clean, green energy – whether they rent a flat or own a castle. A ‘Great Homes Upgrade’.

That’s the goal of an ambitious community-organising initiative recently launched by the New Economics Foundation (NEF).

In the near term, this means getting seven million homes – including all social housing – brought up to a good standard by 2025, and a further 12 million homes brought…

1 February 2022 Milan Rai

What happens if we apply a single standard to international behaviour?  

What if... North Korea had somehow managed to buy the Cape Verde group of islands (about 400 miles off the coast of Senegal) from Portugal in 1965 for, say, £3m?

What if... the North Korean government had then expelled the population of the biggest island in Cape Verde – in order to lease the island to China for military purposes?

What if... China had then built communications, naval and air bases in Cape Verde from 1975 onwards, constructing two 12,000-foot-long runways,…

1 February 2022 Milan Rai

Looking at China-Taiwan from a different angle

What if... after finding out that he’d lost the July 1945 election, Winston Churchill had scooped up the royal family and a handful of aristocrats, quite a bit of the British armed forces (including a fair chunk of its military equipment), some financiers from the City of London, and much of Whitehall’s civil service – and then retreated to the Isle of Mull on the west coast of Scotland?

What if... Churchill had loaded all the gold reserves of the Bank of England into a military…

1 February 2022 Chris Cole and Andrea Needham and Angie Zelter and Chris Bluemel and Henrietta Cullinan and Daniel Woodhouse

Some other acquitted activists respond to the historic Colston Four verdict

To mark the Colston Four acquittal, we asked some other campaigners who’d been found ‘not guilty’ in protest cases for their reactions. We’ve put them in chronological order of their earliest not-on-technical-grounds acquittal (some of them have multiple court victories).

Chris Cole:

I was delighted to see the acquittal of the Colston Four for a number of reasons.

Firstly, it kept an evidently lovely bunch of people out of jail.

Secondly, it led to a whole raft of MPs…