Welcome to Peace News, the newspaper for the UK grassroots peace and justice movement. We seek to oppose all forms of violence, and to create positive change based on cooperation and responsibility. See more

"Peace News has compiled an exemplary record... its tasks have never been more critically important than they are today." Noam Chomsky

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The Peace News log

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Five ways you can take action

The need for a #PeoplesVaccine is the front page story in the latest issue of Peace News<

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It’s being processed by an arms company... again!

This year, the contract for processing census forms has been put in the hands of Leidos, one of the world’s biggest military companies.

So far, there hasn’t been much debate about this. We’d like to change that. We invite you to take action through the census form itself, to suggest to your friends they do the same – and, crucially, (a) tell your local paper about what you’re doing and (b) tell us what you’re doing!

In 2011, the contract for processing the census in the UK was awarded to the US arms company Lockheed Martin (strictly speaking, to its British subsidiary), leading to quite a lot of protest, including by the ‘Count Me Out’ network.

The part of Lockheed Martin that ran the UK census in 2011 was its ‘information systems and global solutions’ section. This business arm was sold off to Leidos in 2016, and no doubt helped Leidos win the £65m contract for ‘census questionnaire management’ in the UK.

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Collecting the stories of people involved in positive social change  

Peace News has recently launched a new survey of UK activists and campaigners, with the aim of encouraging them to share their stories of success in winning concrete gains for people targeted by racism – and in making their  groups, events, spaces and projects more racially-inclusive.

By encouraging UK campaigners to share their stories of constructive anti-racist action we aim to create a peer-to-peer handbook, based on people’s lived experiences that celebrates our successes and inspires campaigners to take action.

You can complete the survey here: https://tinyurl.com/arwhatworks (deadline: Sun 14 March)

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PN launches new survey of UK campaigners

Press release
15 February 2021
Peace News [1]
More info: 07596 483 272

“HAVE YOU GOT A STORY OF SUCCESSFUL ANTI-RACIST ACTION?” NEW SURVEY ASKS

15 February: A new survey of UK activists has been launched today (Monday 15 February), with the aim of encouraging campaigners from across a broad range of social movements to share their stories of success in winning concrete gains for people targeted by racism – and in making their groups, events, spaces and projects more racially-inclusive.

Long-time radical newspaper Peace News [1], which has created the survey, hopes to turn the results into a handbook of practical actions born of experience that grassroots activists and campaigning NGOs can take to root out racism and build stronger movements for peace and justice.

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The Biden administration must act swiftly to prevent a Trump-administration 'death sentence' for thousands of Yemenis, argues Kathy Kelly

In 1565, Pieter Bruegel the Elder created The Massacre of the Innocents, a provocative masterpiece of religious art. The painting reworks a biblical narrative about King Herod’s order to slaughter all newborn boys in Bethlehem for fear that a messiah had been born there. Bruegel's painting situates the atrocity in a contemporary setting, a 16th Century Flemish village under attack by heavily armed soldiers.

Depicting multiple episodes of gruesome brutality, Bruegel conveys the terror and grief inflicted on trapped villagers who cannot protect their children. Uncomfortable with the images of child slaughter, the Holy Roman Emperor Rudolph II, after acquiring the painting, ordered another reworking. The slaughtered babies were painted over with images such as bundles of food or small animals, making the scene appear to be one of plunder rather than massacre.

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The coup mob in Congress has led to an outpouring of propaganda about the US love for democracy. Actually, the US has regularly opposed democracy, overthrowing democratically elected leaders it doesn't like.

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Trump rally at Lower Senate Park near C Street between Delaware Avenue and First Street, NE, Washington DC on Wednesday morning, 6 January 2021 by Elvert Barnes Photography (CC BY-SA 2.0).

'To those who wreaked havoc in our Capitol today: you did not win. Violence never wins. Freedom wins.' So said US vice-president Mike Pence. Incoming US president, Joe Biden, said: 'The scenes of chaos do not reflect the true America, do not represent who we are.'

These statements came after armed pro-Donald Trump protesters flooded into Congress in Washington DC on 6 January, breaking windows and doors and occupying offices for hours. One member of the mob was shot dead by a police officer, in circumstances which are not clear at the time of writing. The violence could easily have escalated. Molotov cocktails were found in the grounds of the Capitol, where Congress is, and pipe bombs were found at the headquarters of the Democratic and Republican parties.

My first reaction to hearing Mike Pence was to think of the US- and British-sponsored coup in Iran in 1953. Violence never wins?

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ImageWrite to people imprisoned because of their actions for peace

1 December is Prisoners for Peace Day. For over 60 years, War Resisters’ International have publicised the names and stories – and prison addresses – of those imprisoned because of their actions for peace. This is a chance to write to someone whose freedom has been taken away because of their work for peace. 

We can find the prison address for Julian Assange here – please do write to him as he is waiting for the verdict in his extradition trial, due on 4 January. In his written evidence to the trial, Noam Chomsky wrote: ‘In my view, Julian Assange, in courageously upholding political beliefs that most of us profess to share, has performed an enormous service to all the people in the world who treasure the values of freedom and democracy and who therefore demand the right to know what their elected representatives are doing. His actions in turn have led him to be pursued in a cruel and intolerable manner.’

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You can be part of the new world of online campaigning even if you don’t have (reliable) broadband or a webcam. 

Organisers, you should be circulating details of how people can phone into your online events (or at least your phone number).

You can go to a Zoom Meeting by phone if 
(a) the organisers allow this in the settings of the Zoom call and (b) you have a telephone with these two keys: # and *

You will need to get from the organisers the Meeting ID number and the Passcode (password).

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Ian Sinclair reports on a new feminist-driven initiative

Coined by cartoonist Alison Bechdel in 1985, what has become known as The Bechdel Test – whether a movie includes at least two women who talk to each other about something other than a man – is now widely discussed by consumers and creators of popular culture.

But just as we have got our heads around one necessary and very welcome feminist-driven test, along comes a shiny new challenging feminist-driven test: the Clit Test.

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Henri Matisse, CC BY-SA 4.0. via Wikimedia Commons

The politics of sound bites and Twitter  need to be replaced with a refreshed politics of sensibility, argues Robin Holtom

'Poets are the unacknowledged legislators of the world' - Shelley

Suppose that Shelley is right and poetic sensibility (and by extension) artistic sensibility really does create the underpinning of decisions by the legislature. If so, a country with a taste for good poetry and art will make good laws. It also follows that bad poets and bad artists lay the foundations for bad laws.

The Joy of Painting with Bob Ross is a salutary lesson in this process.

For those who are not familiar with it, this is a TV series made in the 1980s supposedly to help ordinary people learn to paint pictures. In the series, Bob Ross teaches facile tricks of how to paint very unimaginative landscapes or blandscapes.

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