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Articles from the Peace News log: Activist History

Articles from the Peace News log.
For articles in this category from the whole site, look here

The Inaugural Alternative Claudia Jones Memorial Lecture 2018

Kerry-Anne MendozaIn a tucked away corner of Rotherhithe, down a little cobbled street oozing with history, stands Sands Film Studios. Well-known amongst lefties and radicals, this unique corner of London was the perfect place to hear from a unique, leftie and often radical character, Kerry-Anne Mendoza.

Mendoza began by talking about the namesake of the lecture, Claudia Jones. Like Mendoza, Jones was a radical leftie – both women do not sit back and wait for change, they get on and make change happen. Born in Trinidad in 1915, at the height of Empire, Jones didn't keep her birth name but changed it in what she called an act of 'self-protective disinformation' - to avoid receiving judgement based purely on her race. Despite a deeply disadvantaged background, including the loss of her mother at a young age, Claudia was very able academically, and won the Theodore Roosevelt Award for Good Citizenship in high school. However, being a working-class woman of colour, she was prevented from pursuing higher education in an act of triple oppression. While she worked in a laundry, Jones wrote a column in the Harlem Journal. When the case of the Scottsboro Boys hit the news, Claudia became politically active, and joined the Young Communist League.

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A tribute to Peace News's ground-breaking drama critic 


Albert Hunt, critic, playwright and educator, and former staff member and drama critic of Peace News, was part of the wave of innovators that transformed the British theatrical scene in the 1960s and 1970s and pioneered an approach to adult education based on the active participation of students in games and creative improvisation.

Born in Burnley in 1928 to a working-class Pentecostal family, with a radical pacifist tradition, he was a conscientious objector to military service in the 1940s. When a nurse hesitatingly informed his mother at his birth that he had a deformed right hand with no fingers and only two stumps where his thumb and little finger should have been she responded: ‘Well at least he’ll never have to go to war.

Much of his theatrical and educational work reflected his enduring political concerns but also, crucially, his commitment to raising them in a way which was both entertaining and encouraging of open debate. Brecht provided the model, and, among contemporary playwrights, John Arden, a study of whose plays he published in 1974 (Arden: A Study of His Plays, Eyre Methuen).

After graduating from Oxford, he taught at a grammar school at Swaffham in Norfolk. I first met him at that time when he and others provided invaluable local support to those of us in the Direct Action Committee against Nuclear War, campaigning against the construction of a US nuclear missile base in nearby North Pickenham. In 1960, he became adult tutor to Shropshire and in 1965 took up the post of head of Complementary Studies at Bradford Regional College of Art where he formed the Bradford College Theatre Group, which staged some of his best productions.

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Nobel Peace Prize laureate Jody Williams spoke recently at Winchester University.

Jody Williams spoke at the university of Winchester's Peace Jam event on 13 March. Peace Jam is a new programme launched by Winchester centre of religions for reconciliation and peace (WCRRP) who have facilitated a new partnership with the 'Peace Jam Foundation' (PJ) this academic year.

Originating in the US, the Peace Jam organisation is a global organization to empower and inspire young people to become active citizens and agents for positive change. It has devised a 'peace curriculum' with an innovative and unique education programme for schools and youth groups. Peace Jam staff work alongside Nobel laureates and teachers to recruit young people to participate in devising and implementing small scale projects intended to bring about positive change.

Jody is joint winner, with the International Campaign to Ban Landmines, of the 1997 Nobel Peace Prize. Since then she's been keen to use the accolade to promote peace around the world including the international campaign to stop rape. She is now professor of Peace and Social Justice at the graduate college of social work at the university of Houston, and a visiting fellow at the university of Illinois in Chicago. She has also co-founded the Nobel Women's Initiative.

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Four years after the successful conclusion of the Montgomery Bus Boycott - and two-and-a-bit months before the first Freedom Ride - legendary activist and journalist William Worthy reported for Peace News on the treatment meted out to African-American interstate travellers who failed to comply with segregation.

This article first appeared in the 24 February 1961 issue of Peace News.


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New book from Peace News Press to be launched on 10th anniversary of 15 February 2003 march, followed by UK speaking tour.


Thanks to your generosity we've already reached our original goal of raising £1,250 towards the costs of publishing Ian Sinclair's new book "The march that shook Blair: An oral history of 15 February 2003" (see below). However, further backing is still very valuable, as this will enable us to do additional promotional work for the book; and pay for some of the unpaid work that has already gone into the production (eg. proofing). So please visit the Kickstarter site, check out the new video and list of rewards, and make a pledge if you can! Here's the link: http://tinyurl.com/marchthatshookblair.

We've also confirmed the details for the book's launch: 7pm, Friday 15 February 2013 in the Bloomsbury Suite at Friends House in London (173 Euston Road,NW1 2BJ). Please put this date in your diary now, and invite your Friends on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/events/193870487420468/

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