Features

1 June 2019 Emily Johns

The shadow collector

Image

The Shadow Collector. On 7 August 1945, the day after the atomic bombing of Hiroshima, Shogō Nagaoka, a geologist from Hiroshima University, began walking through the city collecting rubble. The A-bomb’s heat burned shadows of vapourised people and objects onto streets and buildings and it changed the formation of rocks. Nagaoka filled his rucksack and then his house with specimens. He believed they were vital to telling the story of…

1 June 2019 Rhianna Louise,

A ForcesWatch report on selling the military

Many of us have seen recruitment adverts for the armed forces popping up on our social media feeds, on TV and on the radio.

Others will have come across recruitment stalls in their local town centres, perhaps with weapons on display for passersby – especially young children – to admire and handle.

If you are 16–24 years old, and from a low-income background, you are especially likely to be targeted with various kinds of military recruitment advertising in your daily life.…

1 June 2019 Gabriel Carlyle

What is XR's plan to save the day and does it make any sense?

XR ‘swarm’ in the City of London, 25 April 2019. Photo: Adam Wiseman / XR

If one core part of XR’s approach has been to try and scare the bejesus out of people (see ‘XR: The dangers of apocalyptic organising’), a second has been its claim that it has a plan – indeed, one grounded in ‘social scientific research’ – that could save the day.

This has two parts: (a) a set of three demands; and (b) a…

1 June 2019 Gabriel Carlyle

What's the basis for XR's 'magic number'?

XR is fond of citing political scientist Erica Chenoweth’s ‘3.5 percent rule’ (see eg. 'XR: The Plan') – an empirical observation that it ‘only’ takes ‘3.5% of a population engaged in sustained nonviolent resistance to topple dictatorships’ [1], based on the analysis of a dataset of over 100 major nonviolent campaigns that took place between 1900 and 2006. [2]

It should be noted that:

(A) the dataset only considered ‘…

1 June 2019 Ruth Saunders

The pacifists who volunteered for medical trials during the Second World War

Scabies mite. Photo: Kalumet via wikimedia commons [CC BY-SA 3.0]

Some years after the Second World War, articles appeared in national newspapers in the UK headed ‘Volunteers Sought to Risk Death’ and ‘Human Guinea Pigs Plea’. They were advocating the setting up of a national centre where scientists could ‘infect people with diseases and try out drugs – even if the risk is death’, and were based on a research project during the war.

In 1940, professor Kenneth Mellanby was…

1 June 2019 Noam Chomsky

Iran guilty of "crime" of successful defiance

The threat of a US attack on Iran is all too real. Led by US national security advisor John Bolton, the Trump administration is spinning tales of Iranian misdeeds. It is easy to concoct pretexts for aggression. History provides many examples.

The assault against Iran is one element of the international programme of flaunting overwhelming US power to put an end to ‘successful defiance’ of the master of the globe: the primary reason for the US torture of Cuba for 60 years.

The…

1 June 2019 Gabriel Carlyle

Crying wolf about a near-term global apocalypse makes for bad strategy, argues Gabriel Carlyle

It would be difficult to exaggerate the scale of our current ecological crisis. But not impossible.

In XR’s April 2019 video, ‘Act as if the Truth is Real’, actor and XR spokesperson Sam Knights says: ‘we're not alarmist and we don't exaggerate’. [1] Yet, from the beginning, some of XR’s most prominent spokespeople have done just that.

In his 61-page booklet, Common Sense for the 21st Century: Only Nonviolent Rebellion Can Now Stop Climate Breakdown and Social Collapse…

1 June 2019 Rebecca Trowler

A lawyer traces her roots back to 15 months in a peace camp

I was a pupil at Manchester High School for Girls which, when I started at 11, was a selective, girls’ ‘direct grant’ school. About half the pupils were funded either by central government or by their local education authority (LEA).

In my family, it was considered a great achievement to have passed the exam and to have been awarded a means-tested grant from the LEA to cover fees.

There were great expectations of me, but I was not a model pupil. I did not engage with my studies…

1 June 2019 PN staff and Robert Kalman

A round-up of exhibitions and books marking the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Riots

Photo: ‘Gay and Lesbian Couples’, Robert Kalman, 2018 from Photography After Stonewall (Soho Photo Gallery, 2019). Kalman writes: ‘The narrative of LGBTQ civil rights, simply told, draws a straight line from the Stonewall Riots of 1969 to a person’s liberty to love whomever they wish today.... These are portraits of mixed-race, loving couples, rendered as…

1 April 2019 Nick Engelfried

How young activists in the Sunrise movement turned the old idea of a Green New Deal into a powerful movement

Hundreds of young people from the Sunrise Movement flood congress in Washington DC to push for a Green New Deal, 10 December. Photo: Rachael Warriner / Sunrise Movement

At the end of February, over 250 young people converged on US senate majority leader Mitch McConnell’s office in Washington DC for a sit-in marking one of the latest escalations in the youth-led campaign for a Green New Deal.

The action, led by youth from McConnell’s state of Kentucky, was planned in direct…

1 April 2019 Sarah Gittins

Artwork by Sarah Gittins

Sea Tangle by Sarah Gittins

Sarah Gittins: Seaweed could be cast as a heroine in a story about the ecosystem of Ullapool in relation to climate change. It has been found to be very effective in absorbing carbon, and if it is allowed to grow in abundance it could play an important role in mitigating the effects of climate change and ocean acidification. Seaweed is also a highly…

1 April 2019 Gabriel Carlyle

Students, parents, teachers and staff can all help break the hold that fossil fuel companies have on our governments and economies

Students march against climate change on Rue de Treves next to the European Parliament in Brussels on 24 January 2019. Bence Damokos [CC BY-SA 4.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)]

Burning fossil fuels (oil, coal and gas) is the main driver of global warming. Just 100 fossil fuel producers – including Exxon, Shell, BP and Total – account for 71 percent of all global industrial greenhouse gas emissions since…

1 April 2019 Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Ed Markey

This is the full text of the ground-breaking climate justice proposal put forward in both houses of the US congress in February

On 7 February, a radical new congressmember from New York, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (known as ‘AOC’), introduced legislation into the US house of representatives calling for a ‘Green New Deal’. Fellow Democrat Ed Markey introduced the same resolution into the senate on the same day.

The importance of AOC’s resolution is not that it will lead to laws being passed and budgets being set. (It’s a ‘simple resolution’, a nonbinding congressional opinion, not a ‘bill’ or a ‘…

1 April 2019 Greta Thunberg

Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg (16) who has been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize, delivered this speech to the European Commission on 21 February

Greta Thunberg, outside the Swedish parliament, 31 August 2018. Photo: Anders Hellberg via Wikimedia Commons [CC BY-SA 4.0]

Tens of thousands of children are school striking for the climate on the streets of Brussels. Hundreds of thousands are doing the same all over the world. And some are here today.

We are school striking because we have done our homework. People always tell us that they are so hopeful. They are hopeful that the young people are going to save the world…

1 April 2019 UN Human Rights Council

UN Commission finds Israeli forces 'killed and gravely injured civilians who were neither participating directly in hostilities nor posing an imminent threat to life'

Great March of Return protest by the Gaza-Israel border, El Bureij, 6 July 2018. Photo: MinoZig via Wikimedia Commons [CC BY-SA 4.0]

Below is the official summary of the UN human rights council’s independent international commission of inquiry into the weekly demonstrations in Gaza, named ‘the Great March of Return’, that began on 30 March, 2018. It is followed by an extract on the events of 14 May 2018.

Summary

The Commission found reasonable grounds…

1 April 2019 Linda Pearson and Michael Orgel and Guy Johnson

A Scottish peace initiative focused on the power of money

The ‘Don’t Bank on the Bomb’ campaign for Scotland was launched at a public meeting in Edinburgh on 16 November 2015. Photo: Edinburgh Peace and Justice Centre

In September 2018, the ‘Don’t Bank on the Bomb Scotland’ campaign group (DBOTB Scotland) published a guide for divestment from nuclear weapons entitled Stop Funding the End of the World – Working to Eliminate Nuclear Weapons Through Divestment: A Guide for Scotland.

The guide was launched as part of the Nae…

1 April 2019 PN staff

How to have difficult conversations (about Brexit)

Pro- and anti-Brexit demonstrators in Old Palace Yard, opposite parliament, London, 29 January. Photo: ChiralJon via Wikimedia Commons

Let’s face it. We’re divided.

People who share progressive or radical values in lots of ways – who oppose the same wars, who are equally passionate about stopping climate change, who would all unilaterally ditch British nuclear weapons, and so on – are divided on the hottest topic in British politics: our relationship with the European…

1 April 2019 Kathy Kelly

Chelsea Manning reimprisoned

Photo: Manolo Luna [CC BY-SA 4.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)]

Chelsea Manning, who bravely exposed atrocities committed by the US military, is again imprisoned in a US jail. On International Women’s Day, 8 March, she was incarcerated in the Alexandria, Virginia, federal detention centre for refusing to testify in front of a secretive grand jury. [In the US system of law, grand juries decide (in secret)…

1 February 2019 Dennis Gould

Peace News celebrates Lawrence Ferlinghetti’s 100th birthday on 24 March

Poster by Dennis Gould

1 February 2019 Joe Guinan and Christine Berry

In a new book, two Labour left-wingers draw on post-1945 European history to prepare radical movements to make a Corbyn government a radical success

The biggest danger facing the left today is no longer a shortage of ideas or a lack of positive vision.

The biggest danger is lack of preparedness – that we are not yet ready for the hard work of turning that vision into reality. If the left has been unused to being propositional, it has been even less used to holding and wielding power.

If we are serious about fundamentally transforming our economy, we must rapidly build our understanding of the scale of the challenge…