Features

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…