News

1 April 2022 David Polden

Home raids as more charges dropped

Palestine Action (PA) has organised at least five more actions in the last two months. PA activists have had charges against them dropped – and they’ve also had house raids.

The first action in the latest run came on 24 January, when PA raided the UAV Engines factory in Shenstone, Staffordshire. UAV is a subsidiary of Elbit Systems, the Israeli arms company that produces 85 percent of Israel’s military drones, used in attacks on Palestinians in Gaza.

PA activists occupied the…

1 April 2022 David Polden

New group targets missile maker

On 7 March, a new direct action group, ‘Block Lockheed’, did what it said on the tin and blockaded the Lockheed Martin UK factory at Ampthill in Bedfordshire, England.

Lockheed Martin says it is ‘a global security and aerospace company’ which is ‘the leading provider for offensive and defensive weapons systems’.

Among other things, it builds the Trident II D5 submarine-launched ballistic missile for the US and UK nuclear arsenals.

Block Lockheed shut down the access road…

1 April 2022 David Polden

Climate activists have recorded two major successes in their campaign to stop oil company sponsorship of cultural institutions.

Scottish Ballet ended its partnership with BP (formerly ‘British Petroleum’) on 31 January. The ballet company said its partnership deal no longer ‘aligns with the company’s green action plan – to be carbon neutral by 2030’.

Three weeks later, on 22 February, the National Portrait Gallery in London announced that it had also ended its BP sponsorship…

1 April 2022 PN staff

Making every pixel count ...

It’s actually been around for a while now, but we should formally announce in these pages that Peace News has a new website!

After tons and tons of hard work theme-ing, template-ing, module-ing, database-ing and so on, we have a more secure, more up-to-date and more attractive website.

Thank you, Emma Sangster, our tireless web worker!

Thank you, Pastel!

Pastel (who built the site under Emma’s guidance) are a web design and development team with over 20…

1 April 2022 PN staff

Global action for climate draws 330,000

Over 330,000 young people took part in the 25 March global school strike for the climate, according to Fridays for Future (FFF), the youth-led global climate action group founded by Greta Thunberg. The main slogan was ‘people not profit’; FFF also called for climate reparations. 1,152 events were organised in 639 cities in 92 countries, higher numbers all round than the strike last November. More info: fridaysforfuture.org

Image…

1 April 2022 David Polden

Over 260 charges brought after five jailed

After five Insulate Britain (IB) activists were jailed in February, police forces in three counties brought criminal charges against IB road blockaders in March.

Kent police charged 74 people, all but one for causing a public nuisance, many also for obstruction of the highway. Two were charged with criminal damage to a police car.

The Met in London laid 63 ‘public nuisance’ charges against 56 activists.

Surrey police brought 131 charges. They charged 54 people with…

1 April 2022 David Polden

Report finds culture of racism, misogyny and homophobia among Met police 

Since the murder of Sarah Everard by a serving Metropolitan police officer in March last year, the Met has been embroiled in a series of further scandals.

On 11 March, the high court ruled that the Met had breached the rights of four women organising a vigil in London for Sarah Everard last March. The police told the Reclaim These Streets organisers that they would face fines of £10,000 each and possible prosecution if they went ahead with the vigil.

The vigil went ahead in…

1 April 2022 David Polden

MPs criticise police for 'misleading' enquiry

On 14 March, a young protester was cleared of riot but imprisoned for nine months for her part in ‘Kill the Bill’ protests outside a police station in Bristol on 21 March last year. Jasmine York (26) was convicted of arson because she had been filmed pushing a bin against a burning police car. She denied in court that she had been intending to add more fuel to the fire.

So far, 15 protesters have been sentenced to almost 60 years imprisonment for their part in the Bristol protest…

1 April 2022 David Polden

UK government presses on with plans to criminalise asylum

On 22 March, the house of commons voted down seven of the house of lord’s amendments to the Nationality and Borders Bill on its return to the commons.

In other words, MPs have reconfirmed that it will be a criminal offence to arrive in the UK without official entry clearance.

Under the bill, you can be imprisoned for up to four years if you enter the UK unofficially – for example, in a small boat across the Channel.

This will also apply to Ukrainians entering the UK…

1 April 2022 Milan Rai

Punishment sanctions actually reduce Russia’s incentive to end its war, argues Milan Rai

When Britain invaded Egypt in 1956 (in alliance with Israel and France), the US threatened to block attempts by Britain to borrow $561 million from the IMF and to get a $600m credit extension from the US Export-Import Bank. The US also threatened to sell its sterling bonds (tradeable IOUs issued in British pounds), which would have had a catastrophic effect.

These ‘financial warfare strikes’, and other pressures, forced Britain, within weeks, into a humiliating withdrawal.

If…

1 April 2022 Milan Rai

We need to work for peace in Ukraine – and  recognise our greater moral responsibility for peace in Yemen

Noam Chomsky once wrote that some things were almost painful to have to say, they were so obvious. One example is that we have more responsibility for things that we can affect than for things that we have little or no influence over.

In Britain, we can help relieve the suffering of Ukrainians, but we have little influence over the Russian state which is raining destruction on Ukraine.

Whatever influence we have, we should try to use. Bruce Kent gave us a fine example of that…

1 April 2022 PN staff

New anti-war statement omits NATO

Towards the end of March, a new British anti-war statement appeared online. Unlike the two main anti-war groups in the UK, ‘No War on Ukraine’ does not mention NATO expansion as a factor in the Ukraine crisis.

The Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND) and the Stop the War Coalition are part of the international ‘Peace in Ukraine’ coalition which organised the global day of action against the war in Ukraine on 6 March.

Members include US groups such as CODEPINK, Food Not Bombs…

1 April 2022 Muzammal Hussain

Eco-Muslims gather with the Zapatistas

It wasn’t just about the day. As we walked to the bus stop that evening, we felt a deep gratitude for the experience we had just been immersed in. As the three core members of an Islamic ecological training and change-making group – Wisdom In Nature (WiN) – our day in North London at a private gathering with the Zapatistas along with local activist groups, felt reaffirming, inspiring and growthful.

What was reaffirming about the day was the emphasis on how to hold space. The…

1 April 2022 PN staff

US peace group calls for economic recovery, not aid

Below is the text of an international open letter to US president Joe Biden.

We are writing to express our outrage over your 11 February executive order regarding the $7 billion of Afghan funds invested in the US Federal Reserve Bank.

We believe that your decision to divide the funds in two, with half going to compensate 9/11 families and the other half going to humanitarian aid, is unjust and will cause grave harm to the Afghan people.

Your decision has been denounced…

1 February 2022 PN staff

Farewell to the Wales page

After 15 years, the Wales Page is suspending service!

Thank you so much, Lotte Reimer and Kelvin Mason for all your years of dedication. We are very, very grateful to you – and to all your loyal contributors.

Lotte has been pulling the Wales Page together every issue since 2012. Before that, she shared editing duties with Kelvin, starting in 2007.

Based in Aberystwyth (is it the real heart of Wales?), Lotte and Kelvin have helped to bring all sorts of activism to the…

1 February 2022 David Polden

Government suffers 14 defeats in the Lords, though anti-Roma laws remain

A day of action was held on 15 January against the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill (due to be voted on by the house of lords two days later). Thousands protested in Bristol, Cardiff, Coventry, Edinburgh, Liverpool, London, Manchester, Newcastle, Plymouth and Sheffield.

Shami Chakrabarti, the Labour peer and former director of Liberty, told a rally in Parliament Square in London that the anti-protest provisions ‘represent the greatest attack on peaceful dissent in living…

1 February 2022 David Polden

100,000 block major Belgrade road 

After weeks of nonviolent protest, the world’s second-largest mining company has been shut out of a major project in Serbia.

The prime minister, Ana Brnabić, said on 20 January: ‘All permits were annulled.... we put an end to Rio Tinto in Serbia.’

A coalition of Serbian eco-activist groups had mobilised thousands of people for weeks of road blockades to halt plans by Rio Tinto Group (RTG) to dig a lithium mine in western Serbia.

The protests, in dozens of cities and…

1 February 2022 PN staff

Freed IB campaigner promises 'something new' in 2022

Six climate activists from Insulate Britain (IB) were freed from prison on 14 January after serving their sentences (with time off for good behaviour). The only remaining prisoner from that group was Ben Taylor (27), who had one more month to go.

Two IB prisoners had been released earlier, on New Year’s Eve: Louis McKechnie (21) and Ana Heytawin (58).

Louis McKechnie told the Big Issue after his release that the group will be employing different tactics this year: ‘I’m not sure…

1 February 2022 PN staff

Warning on climate, WMDs and misinformation

We’re still at 100 seconds to midnight – as close to ‘civilisation-ending apocalypse’ as we’ve ever been. That’s the view of the Science and Security Board of the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists which, on 20 January, set its Doomsday Clock at 100 seconds to midnight for the third year running.

The board concluded that a positive change in US leadership was not enough ‘to reverse negative international security trends that had been long in developing and continued across the threat…

1 February 2022 PN staff

Nuclear weapons states say 'nuclear war can never be won' as they upgrade their arsenals 

The Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW) has forced the great powers to hand over a present in time for its first birthday (it ‘entered into force’ on 22 January 2021).

The crappy birthday present was a joint statement of five declared nuclear-weapon states on 3 January.

Britain, China, France, Russia and the US used language first adopted by Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev and US president Ronald Reagan in November 1985: ‘We affirm that a nuclear war cannot be…