Periodical Review: Peace News Dec 2012/Jan 2013

Every-so-often we at MCFly will review magazines/journals/newspapers that climate/social justice activists may want to keep an eye on which are not, themselves, climate-related. The first of these is of Peace News, a UK-based publication that has been going over 75 years and comes out every month (with I think July-August and Dec-Jan issues).

2522-front-coverThe latest one has a few things of specific interest to climate activists
Zombie roads rise again in Hastings (page 2)
“Occupying West Burton gas power station” (page 5)

On page 8, in an article about Spanish social movements and housing justice comes this;
“In his book Protest and Opportunities, the German activist-researcher Felix Kolb lists five political mechanisms through which social movements succeed in bringing about policy change; disruption, public preference, political access, judicial mechanisms and international opinion.” [I’ve since had a look at Kolb’s work. It may well be useful, but there are thickets of jargon to be cut through…]

On page 15, in “Liverpool Diary” Jennifer Verson writes
“And at the end of week one, my biggest epiphany is that decisions don’t matter as long as the process is prefigurative. You may be wondering what prefigurative means, to quote Stuart Field of Radical Routes “It means creating working examples of the alternative society that you wish to see. It’s tied to the idea that an inch of praxis is worth a mile of theory”

A very interesting sounding book “Fanfare for the Future Volume 1: Occupy Theory” is reviewed. [I have since skimmed the volume – it’s long on banality, short on insight…]
There is, in the review, a killer quote –

‘Ideas are like rabbits. You get a couple and learn how to handle them, and pretty soon you have a dozen.’

In “Activism and… Desperation” a man compares the sense of willingness to act on the Cuban Missile Crisis with today’s stunned inaction –

…. [w]ith climate change, it is almost certainly going to kill huge numbers of people, and devastate large parts of the planet, but it is a slow-motion disaster. They say, ‘We have only so many months to reduce greenhouse gas emissions’, and it is desperate, but it doesn’t feel like imminent death in the same way.
It is weird because at the same time there is a growing fatalism in the general public, even Hollywood is putting films out that involve the end of the world, where the hero doesn’t save the world, the world dies and a tiny number of people survive. It’s as if the popular culture is gradually preparing itself for the destruction of the human race and we believe that we deserve it, that the human race has had its chance and we’ve messed it up, we’ve been stupid and greedy and immoral and we don’t deserve to survive.

Of course, quite rightly given its name and remit, most articles are not climate-related at all, and focus instead on the UK weapons industry, the aftermath of Iraq, events in Syria. All in all, Peace News (despite a general lack of critical analysis of social movement defeats and failures and intermittent avuncularitis) is well worth the time and the money. You can subscribe via this link.

Marc Hudson


About manchesterclimatemonthly

Was print format from 2012 to 13. Now web only. All things climate and resilience in (Greater) Manchester.
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