1 March 2002 Sian Jones

Luath Press 2001. ISBN 1 84282 004 4. 312pp

As states increasingly contravene or discard international treaties in the name of the war against terror, the task that Trident Ploughshares (TP) 2000 set itself in 1998 seems more challenging, but at the same time increasingly more necessary.

Through attempts at the practical disarmament of Britain's Trident nuclear submarines, and subsequent appearances in British courts, TP aims to challenge to the legality of Trident, and so ensure that the British government respects the body of international law, which they and others believe…

1 March 2002 Martyn Lowe

The Himat Group 2000. Third edition, no ISBN, pp290. US$12.00. Available from World Friendship Centre, 8-10 Higashi Kannonmachi, Nishi-Ku, Hiroshima 733, Japan; or Peace Resource Centre, Plye Centre Box 1183, Wilmington College, Wilmington, Ohio 45177, USA

This is a book of essays, written by H bomb survivors and concerned citizens.

It is a very useful book for anyone wanting to hear about the first use of the nukiller bomb, and about what nuclear weapons actually do to people.

It also contains messages of support from various foreign leaders, which include several presidents and prime ministers.

Unfortunately, this also includes a message from the still controversial ex-UN Secretary-General, Kurt Waldheim. Perhaps something could be done about that if a fourth edition…

1 March 2002 John Courtneidge

Frank Cass 2001. ISBN 0 7146 8169 5 (paper), 0 7146 5153 2 (cloth), 257pp

This useful book contains thirteen essays and an introduction by the editor, from contributors to the international conference Millennium of Utopias, held at The University of East Anglia, Britain, in 1999.

As such, it ranges from academic but accessible overviews, from people evidently long-engaged with the field, plus snap-shots of two existent utopian-living experiments (at Findhorn, Scotland, and Twin Oaks, Virginia, USA).

The persistence of the word utopia indicates the duration of human dissatisfactions with existing (…

1 March 2002 Sarah Irving

Katabasis. 0 90487 236 X. £8.95

This manages to be both an utterly charming book, and to convey a serious message. Skip the introduction its fine, but you can get the explanations of Zapatismo from a hundred other places. Maybe go back to it when you've read the stories. Which are marvellous.

Marcos is well-known for his writing, especially the eloquent communiqués which emerge periodically from the Lacandon jungle. These stories are a different breed whimsical, funny, literary. Don Durito de la Lacandon, a beetle knight errant who represents the self…

1 March 2002 Julia Guest

second edition, Pluto Press 2001. ISBN 0745317707 300pp

This book provides a very readable approach to making film. It lays out in clear terms the technical process of filming, editing, and getting your work seen.

It covers the dynamics of working with both people and film in campaign groups with honesty, raising the debate of when to film, for what purpose, and when not to film. It highlights the importance of the video activist, dedicating their activism to creating footage or a finished film and looks at how the process can affect the individual.

Anyone picking up a camcorder…

1 March 2002 Simon Dixon

Frank Cass, 2000. ISBN 0 7146 8157 1, 173pp

Gerrard Winstanley famously once wrote that “words and writings were all nothing, and must die, for action is the life of all, and if thou dost not act, thou dost nothing”.

He was that unusual individual, a utopian thinker who not only committed his vision of a better world to print, but acted to turn his vision into a reality. That he failed, and the patch of land upon which the Diggers first established their commune is now one of the most exclusive private estates in England, is one of history's sad ironies.


1 March 2002 Brian Burch

War Resisters International, 2001. ISBN 0 903517 19 1

To my mind, Brian Martin is one of the most important theorists currently linking anarchism and nonviolence. His books, from Social Defense Social Change to Challenging Bureaucratic Elites, serve as manuals, histories and encouragement for activists concerned with developing effective, nonviolent movements for positive radical social change.

With the rise of the anti-globalisation movements and the current responses to a western-based revenge war, Nonviolence versus Capitalism is a timely addition to his…

1 December 2001 Simon Dixon

William Sessions Ltd, 2001. ISBN 1 85072 261 7, 76pp

Appearing in English for the first time, this fascinating little book tells the story of Nikolai Trofimovich Iziumchenko (1867-1927), a peasant conscript to the Imperial Russian Army whose Tolstoyan beliefs led to his two-year imprisonment in a penal battalion.

Following a short, and informative, introduction from the book's editors, Iziumchenko's story is reproduced in translation with minimal annotation, making the account both accessible and readable for those with no prior knowledge of nineteenth-century Russian history or the…

1 December 2001 Melanie Jarman

Mother Tongue Ink,, US$12.95.

We'moon on the Wall is a full colour, beautifully illustrated, month at a glance lunar calendar. With “Priestessing the Earth” as its theme, the 2002 version celebrates the work that women are doing all over the world to heal and tend the Earth, to empower women, and to make the world a safer place.

This focus on women's activity draws together the calendar’s poetry and exquisite pictures – the burst of gold that heralds July's “Sun Priestess”; the dynamism of March's “Amazon Warriors of the Bronze Age”; the power in the flow of…

1 December 2001 Ippy D

Boo Boo Wax, 2001. Audio CD, 73mins

This is a kind of concept album about pirate-radio and death-row. The premise being that it’s the night before a revolutionary, activist nun (yes, nun), who advocates the medical use of marijuana, is about to be executed.

Hmmm... Michael Franti is a lovely, great guy, and this album has a lot to recommend it (it's on in the office a lot). Issues are sensitively covered, the songs are fantastic, beautifully arranged, hitting the political-soulful-funk spot perfectly. But the snippets of faux pirate-radio... aarrrgghhh! If it wasn't…

1 December 2001 Martyn Lowe

3rd Edition, July 2001. ISBN 1492 4234, 114 pp, A4 spiral bound

This is a very useful work, which includes a 76-page bibliography that might well be described as an essential reading list for radicals.

The most useful part of this publication is devoted to directory of radical periodicals, which provides not just contact details, but also descriptions of what political issues they cover. However, these are mostly Canadian, US and British periodicals.

Many of them will already be well known amongst North American activists. For example: Adbusters, Nonviolent Activist and The Nuclear…

1 December 2001 Sarah Irving

Routledge 2000. ISBN 0 415242460, £17.99

As an individual involved in nonviolent direct action, I'm often suspicious of academic books about activism. What purpose do they serve? They are too often "studies of" rather then any advancement of debates or ideas.

They seem to have little effect in informing the mainstream press or persuading them to be any more open or honest in what they write - as seen in media coverage of the Mayday "riots", which became "riots" some weeks before they actually took place. And the…

1 December 2001 Andrew Rigby

James Currey, 2001. ISBN 0 85255 859 7, 364 pp, £19.95 p/b

I had a Rwandan student who told me that during the genocide of 1994 husbands in cross-community marriages would kill their wives (and vice-versa). It is beyond imagining. This was not some bureaucratically organised, impersonal, rational process like the Holocaust of the Second World War. This was a genuinely popular genocide.

What most of us cannot understand is how it came about that hundreds of thousands of people who had never killed before took part in the mass slaughter. It is to Mamdani's credit that he does make the…

1 December 2001 Maggie Helwig

Hyperion East, 1999. ISBN 0 7868 6416 8, 375 pp

On the night of 13 October 1965, the Indonesian novelist Pramoedya Ananta Toer was working at home; his family had already moved, for their own safety, to his mother-in-law's house.

Around 10.30 pm, a crowd gathered outside and began to throw stones at the house. Police officers and soldiers arrived, telling Pram that they had come to “take him to safety”. Instead, he was taken to the Army Reserve Strategic Command Post.

He was held in a variety of prisons until 1969, when he was shipped to the prison island of Buru - an…

1 September 2001 Juliet McBride

Pluto Press 2001. ISBN 0 7453 1452.135 pages

Though a relatively short book, this is a dense and scholarly work. It attempts to contextualise human rights within a three-fold setting - the philosophical, the legal and the political - with the emphasis on the latter, and usually least acknowledged, area.

It is a book which needs careful reading since it condenses many of the current and past theories in international relations, and critiques them in the light of the new era of globalisation, whilst never losing sight of what actually happens on the ground.

The basic…