Features

1 August 2020 Catherine Barter

How our much-loved sister project downstairs has been handling the pandemic

Activists, radical authors, publishers, zine-makers, book-lovers and all friends of Housmans Bookshop: we are still here, and as long as we are able we will continue to do everything we can to support you.

We’re conscious that, whatever happens in the next few months, the way that people shop and buy books, especially in central London, might not go back to ‘normal’ for a very long time. So we are working to re-imagine the ways the shop can operate, find new ways to engage with people…

1 August 2020 Veruschka Selbach

How one independent radical publisher is coping

It’s now four months since we closed the Pluto office. We’re all still working at home and we’re not sure when we’ll be able to return. We’ve come through the worst of the crisis, but there is a long road to full recovery ahead.

It all happened so fast. Everything changed in the course of just a few weeks. Things that we never expected were possible – happened.

When I look back on those weeks, one word fills my memory. Unprecedented. It dominated the media and our conversations…

1 August 2020 Helena Silvestre and and others

Extracts from Pluto's new book surveying mutual aid across the globe

While much of the media has focused on selfish individualism (empty supermarket shelves and con artists) in the time of COVID-19, a new book from Pluto Press, Pandemic Solidarity, has collected stories of community and self-sacrifice from 18 countries and regions around the world, including India, Rojava and Iraq. Here are a few extracts, chosen by PN.

Brazil

Pandemic Solidarity carries several stories from Brazil, including that of the Abya Yala…

1 June 2020 Folabi Olagbaju and Nadine Bloch

A look inside the creativity fuelling the US struggle to defund the police

It’s hard to keep up when the world lurches from pandemic to racial justice uprising seemingly overnight. After months of living in a quarantine pressure cooker, amidst a global pandemic that’s thrown millions out of work, exposed the vicious inequities of our current capitalist system and killed hundreds of thousands, masses of people hit a breaking point.

Fuelled by their righteous rage about the videotaped killing of George Floyd, people have flooded the streets and taken the fight…

1 June 2020 Gabriel Carlyle

From French farmers who resisted the Nazis to ‘just banking’ and the idea of utopia: PN's reviews editor provides a quirky selection of on- and off-line activism-related resources for anyone who’s feeling the hours drag.

It goes without saying that everyone is dealing with the pandemic – and the UK’s 'lockdown' – in their own way and as their own specific circumstances dictate. Some of us have been left with little or no spare time and headspace, while others now have surpluses of both.

And there is, of course, no single ‘correct’ way for these latter folk to be employing their time. If a combination of jigsaws, long walks and Gogglebox is what’s getting you through it all then more power to your…

1 June 2020 Ismael Clark Juarros

A view of the pandemic from Madrid

It is becoming increasingly clear that those who have the most to lose from COVID-19 have been placed at the bottom of the list of priorities in most countries.

“It’s shocking how many people are suddenly out of a job and are (therefore) embarrassed to ask for a little help,” says one of the volunteers helping register people on the Association’s database.

Spain holds a special position for epidemiologists: one of the first European countries to deal with the coronavirus on a…

1 June 2020 Ian Sinclair

Ian Sinclair lays out the case for the prosecution

Due to the extraordinary nature of the crisis, the UK government has had an unprecedented opportunity to control the narrative about their response to the coronavirus pandemic. In addition to the daily Number 10 press briefings there has been a months-long, multi-faceted public information campaign using television and radio spots, social media posts, billboards, wrap around messaging on the front of all major newspapers and a letter to every household in the UK.

Despite this…

1 December 2019 Kevin Blowe

An XR act of gratitude to Brixton police officers was painful and racist

My work as coordinator of the Network for Police Monitoring (Netpol) has kept me busy for some months now supporting the rights of Extinction Rebellion (XR) campaigners to exercise their freedom of assembly.

XR activists have been out on the streets since 7 October and over 1,400 have been arrested so far. Now the police have abandoned any pretence at facilitating their rights and have imposed a blanket ban on XR protests covering the whole of London.

As well as…

1 December 2019 Claire Poyner and Ameen Nemer and David MacKenzie and Kate Hudson and Nik Gorecki and Pat Gaffney and Rakesh Prashara and Muzammal Hussain

Eight campaigners share their views

Peace News contacted folk around Britain to ask their opinions on the 12 December general election – people who’ve contributed to PN or helped organise Peace News Summer Camp. These are the eight campaigners who managed to meet our very tight deadline, giving their varied views on tactical voting, the Trident nuclear weapon system, climate, the arms trade and much else. (Unusually, we don’t have someone urging people not to vote, which has been a theme in past election…

1 December 2019 Joe Glenton

Getting the word out through online audio

This year, ForcesWatch produced the first season of a podcast titled ‘Warrior Nation.’ (A podcast is a radio programme turned into a computer file that people can download from the internet and listen to on their smartphone or computer – ed.)

Our aim was to create a platform for anti-militarist thinkers who might otherwise not be heard. We interviewed academics, activists and artists.

For our season finale, on 4 December, we will interview the political hip-hop artist Lowkey…

1 December 2019 PN staff

PN scrutinises the parties' election manifestos

Here are the Peace News peace scores for the manifestos of the major political parties in the UK for the 12 December election. We’ve listed them in descending order of peacefulness, according to the peace issues that we thought were most important.

The top scorer was the Green party with 5.5 points out of 10 (largely because of their commitment to getting rid of Trident), with Plaid Cymru close behind with 5 points (again, mainly because of their anti-Trident position), and…

1 December 2019 Felice Cohen-Joppa

The trial of the Kings Bay Plowshares 7

Sketch of Mark Colville during the Kingsbay Plowshares 7 trial. Drawing: Dan Burgevin

‘You are the hope you have arrived to find.’

So ended a brief message that father Steve Kelly wrote from jail last month to be read to more than 100 friends and supporters on the eve of the trial of the Kings Bay Plowshares 7 in coastal Brunswick, Georgia, USA.

The 70-year-old Jesuit knows something about sustaining hope in hard places. This time, he’s already been in jail for…

1 December 2019 Sergely Sandler

A view from New Profile, the movement for the demilitarisation of Israeli society

One of New Profile’s central projects is our Counselling Network – a network of volunteers accompanying young Israelis through the process of avoiding or discontinuing their compulsory military service.

One foundation that bills itself as politically radical has informed us that they’d fund other work we’re doing in education, but never the Counselling Network, because, you see, it is not radical enough.

As context, consider that, while we have always supported, and…

1 December 2019 Kellen Wren

Top tips from a DIY video-making workshop for activists in Manchester

Liam Acton shows activists how to edit their footage. Photo: Kellen Wren

We ventured out into the city of Manchester with our cameras to get some footage which we would then edit into short films.

On 9 November, the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND) and Pugwash collaborated to bring a DIY video-making workshop to a group of social justice activists in Manchester.

The intention was to offer the tools to make short, dynamic videos on camera and smartphones that will…

1 December 2019 Co-operation in Mesopotamia

New British arms exports to Turkey suspended after tens of thousands march in London

Dancing on 28 September at a women’s food festival in Tirbespiye organised by the Women’s Economy Committee shortly before the Turkish invasion of Rojava. Photo: Co-operation in Mesopotamia

People in North East Syria– the region commonly known as Rojava – are collectively building a society based on principles of direct democracy, ecology, and women’s liberation, with co-operation playing a crucial role in rebuilding their economy.

On the morning of 9 October, Turkish state…

1 October 2019 Mya-Rose Craig

A teenage climate striker argues that the fate of the Global South should be central to the work of Western climate movements

The eye of a Red and Green macaw, in danger of extinction, Brazil.Photo: LeonardoRamos [CC BY-SA 4.0] via Wikimedia Commons

My generation is more aware of climate breakdown and its impact than any before.

It is outrageous that people like Trump and Bolsonaro will not be alive to face the consequences of their ecocide, that will define our lives. We are protesting and taking part in Youth Strikes for Climate because our government and others around the world have not taken…

1 October 2019 Emily Johns

Emily Johns celebrates Joan Littlewood's 'university of the streets'

Penny Dimond reading Joan Littlewood’s description of a Fun Palace from a ladder, October 2018, Torriano Meeting House. Photo: NEW FACTORY OF THE ECCENTRIC ACTOR

Imagine a place where the latent genius in all of us becomes ripe, expresses itself and communicates with others.

A place where the human mind and human creativity explore the arts and the sciences for the delight of being alive.

No certificates are awarded at this university, no prospectuses have to be printed…

1 October 2019 Daniel Hunter

Another extract from the Climate Resistance Handbook

Demonstrations for democracy in Mongolia’s capital city, Ulaanbaatar, in 1990. Photo: Mongolian Democratic Union

This is an extract from The Climate Resistance Handbook – or, I was part of a climate action. Now what? written by Daniel Hunter with a foreword by Greta Thunberg. Published by 350.org, this 68-page book is being mass distributed in the UK at cost…

1 October 2019 Jewish Voice for Labour

Jewish Voice for Labour examines 'a farrago of half-truths, distortions and outright invention'

With the transmission on 10 July of the Panorama programme 'Is Labour Antisemitic?' the BBC has reached a new low point in its retreat from its once-praised tradition of impartiality.

The BBC has entrusted a programme of great sensitivity to a muck-raking journalist whose prejudices are well known. The result quite predictably is a farrago of half-truths, distortions and outright invention.

The principal ‘witnesses’ offered by the programme were Labour Party ex-…

1 October 2019 Pat Gaffney and Milan Rai

The final part of our interview with long-time Catholic peace activist Pat Gaffney

Pope Francis meets Pat Gaffney. Photo: The Vatican

Pat Gaffney is a much-loved figure within the British peace movement and has served the movement in a variety of ways since the 1980s. One of the key organisers of the Ash Wednesday actions at the ministry of defence in London (calling for nuclear disarmament), Pat has been arrested 11 times for nonviolent civil disobedience, and has been imprisoned three times. This second part of our interview with Pat covers her three decades…