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An important meeting is taking place at The Crescent Community Venue, 8 The Crescent, York YO24 1AW on Wednesday 13th September from 7.30pm. “Justice 4 Glenfell, end austerity, scrap the 1% pay cap” will feature speakers from the Justice4Glenfell Group, a striking Durham Teaching Assistant and local speakers from York Trades Council and Unison.
The Glenfell Fire tragedy exposed the systemic racism at the heart of both local and national government from the placing of the most vulnerable in housing that was patently unsafe to the derisory one year immigration amnesty for the survivors.
It should be an excellent and important event. York Stand Up to Racism will have a stall so please come along and say hello to us while you are there.
York Stand Up to Racism
Wednesday 13th Sept 2017 at 7:30 pm
at the Crescent Community Venue,
8 The Crescent, York YO24 1AW
Judy Bolton, volunteer coordinator with Justice4Grenfell,
Striking Durham teaching assistants,
Cllr Danny Myers (Labour, Clifton
Striking Durham teaching assistants,
Cllr Danny Myers (Labour, Clifton)
along with speakers from York Trades Council and Unison
Stop the War coalition
Newsletter – 7 September 2017
Back from the Brink: How to stop nuclear war in the Pacific
Tuesday 12 September | 7-9pm
Friends Meeting House (George Fox room)
173-177 Euston Road
NW1 2BJ London
The North Korean hydrogen bomb test earlier this week was a further confirmation that the threat of nuclear war is real. Trump has underlined this in various tweets and statements about the increasing possibility of war. The US has also been carrying out major military manoeuvres involving an estimated 17,500 US and 50,000 South Korean troops near the border of North Korea.
South Korea is meanwhile seeking to develop what have been called “frankenmissiles” which could destroy North Korea’s underground bunkers, and is also planning to develop its own missile defence systems and to build nuclear-powered submarines. Japan is also strengthening its military arsenal and reverting to a militarist stance.
This week it has been announced that Britain will conduct joint exercises with Japan early next year, a further indication that the stand-off between North Korea and the Trump administration directly concerns us as well. We are calling on all groups to set up emergency meetings on this topic.
The world needs to step back from the brink of nuclear war. Join us as we discuss the options.
Tariq Ali is a noted writer and filmmaker. A veteran of the movement against the war in Vietnam, he has for decades been one of the most prominent critics of Western militarism and imperialism.
Owen Miller is a Lecturer in Korean Studies at the School of African and Oriental Studies. He was previously a research fellow at the University of Cambridge, and is a leading expert on Korea.
Lindsey German is the convenor of the Stop the War Coalition and one of its founders. She is the author of a number of books, including How a Century of War Changed the Lives of Women (2013). She regularly appears in the media.
Kate Hudson is the General Secretary of CND and an officer of the Stop the War Coalition. She was Head of Social and Policy Studies at London South Bank University and is now a Visiting Research Fellow.
Stop the Arms Fair is in York this Saturday! We’ll be running a workshop with York Stop the War at the St Lawrence Church Hall in York on Saturday 5th August from 2pm to 5pm. It’s free to attend and there’s no need to book- just join us on the day.
Expect creative action ideas, and some friendly faces to take action with- activists from York and the surrounding area are already planning to join the week of action this September, and there’s plenty to do over the summer to help build the movement to shut down DSEI.
The DSEI arms fair is one of the world’s largest arms fairs, and comes to London every two years. It’s scheduled to return in September 2017- unless we can stop it! A huge week of action is planned to stop the set-up of London’s DSEI arms fair between 4-11 September 2017, and it will take all of us to stop the arms fair. You can read more about DSEI on the Stop the Arms Fair website.
You can see more details of the workshop online, or join the facebook event. Please invite your friends and help us spread the word!
Thanks, and best wishes,
CAAT Local Outreach Coordinator
31 July 2017
Notwithstanding the populist and securitised backlash of recent years, mass migration from Africa and the Middle East to Europe is near certain to continue for the foreseeable future. This is due not so much to the continuation of violent conflict, which is difficult to predict, as to the near certainties of economic marginalisation and climate change. Effective, just responses are possible, but only if we recognise that migration and climate change are now inextricably related and that that this is an issue for the “now”, not the future.
Last October’s briefing examined European attitudes to migration, especially in relation to the substantial numbers of often desperate war refugees trying to get to Europe from Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, Somalia and elsewhere. It pointed to the deep antagonism that had developed in the destination countries, not just to refugees from violence but to migration as a whole, with this prompting the enhancement of far-right political ideas and associated parties, not least in Eastern Europe.
On an apparently unrelated topic, an earlier briefing last year took a wider look at the issue of climate change, pointing to the evidence of an increase in the rate of warming and asking whether that would be sufficient to prompt intergovernmental action. It concluded that much depended on the results of the US presidential election. In the event, Donald Trump’s success did not show much promise but last November’s briefing pointed to the increase in commitments by a number of governments as well as impressive technological improvements in the exploitation of renewable energy resources.
That somewhat optimistic conclusion in no way diminishes the problems faced, and this briefing examines one of the most fundamental of these – the impact of climate change on migration in the context of the social attitudes cited above.
One of the most substantial migratory movements in the century to 1940 was from Europe to the United States and a second was to Australia after 1945, with both countries now experiencing political moods that are particularly antagonistic to further inward migration. For Western Europe the much more recent experience after 1945 has been of immigrants from former colonies or the Middle East, which also led to periods of considerable antagonism and social unrest.
In the past decade there has been a further substantial increase in migration, primarily into Europe. The origins draw broadly from two areas – firstly, the refugee flows from war zones already mentioned and, secondly, what are often described as economic migrants, not least from sub-Saharan Africa. These latter movements have been made more possible because of the chaos in the failed state of Libya following the western-supported regime termination in 2011.
The continuing of refugee flows from war zones will depend substantially on the levels of violence that are experienced across the Middle East and North Africa. This cannot be predicted with much certainty, but the movements from sub-Saharan Africa are more clearly predictable and are likely to increase substantially due to the combination of one existing element and one that is only just becoming apparent.
The first is the awareness among some millions of relatively marginalised peoples that their life chances may both be dismal and unlikely to improve. For many hundreds of thousands of people one such response is to seek to migrate to wealthier regions where work may be available. Typically in such circumstances, extended families or even wider communities may share resources to enable a fit young man to attempt the journey, hoping to succeed, find work and then send money back home and perhaps even enable relatives to join him. The journey may be fraught with danger but the rewards are sufficient when measured against the levels of desperation.
Such migratory pressures may be difficult to explain generically, given that many countries across sub-Saharan Africa are experiencing modest degrees of economic growth, but there is abundant evidence that this economic success is not shared equitably. At the same time, improving literacy and communications make marginalised communities all too aware of their predicaments. Given that there appears to be little prospect of moving towards more equitable economies, the expectation must be that migratory pressures will be maintained.
The political and social consequences will also persist, especially the anti-immigrant attitudes that are so prevalent across much of the North Atlantic community, and this may become more intense as migration becomes conflated with fear of political violence from extreme Islamist elements. A clear current example is Australia where immigration is seen more blatantly than in most countries as a security threat. As one analyst, Waleed Ali of Monash University, has put it recently:
“Australia began this century with a Department for Immigration and Multicultural Affairs. Back then, the department’s slogan was “Enriching Australia through Migration.” Just over a decade ago it dropped the multiculturalism portfolio entirely, creating instead a Department of Immigration and Citizenship. Now it’s to be rolled into a national security department. Thus, we can chart Australia’s public conception of migration from being a celebrated aspect of its multicultural character to a civic idea whose highest ultimate expression is citizenship to a threat to be managed.”
This points to the progressive securitisation of migration, which is already problematic but likely to become more so with the onset of the impact of the second factor, climate change.
In relation to climate change, two elements concerning migration are particularly relevant. One is that in many parts of the world the process is accelerating and the second is that its effects are geographically asymmetric. The rate of change in the near Arctic is currently exceeding the prediction of the most reliable computer simulations but there is also growing evidence that this is also happening in many regions across the tropics and sub-tropics. In these regions the main effects are increases in temperature and decreases in rainfall, the latter because of a trend for rainfall to be distributed away from land masses and towards the oceans and the polar region. The primary impact of this is on the ecological carrying capacity of tropical and sub-tropical agricultural systems, with the capacity to produce food much diminished.
Perhaps most important of all, this is a phenomenon that is already apparent in many parts of the Global South – it is not something for the future but is happening now. Moreover, it is directly affecting the displacement of people. Last month the UN High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) published its Global Trends report ahead of World Refugee Day on 20 June. According to the report, a record high of 65.6 million people were forcibly displaced from their homes in 2016. The UN Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) last month predicted that:
“By 2025, 1.8 billion people will experience absolute water scarcity, and two thirds of the world will be living under water-stressed conditions.”
That means that nearly one-quarter of the world’s population could be living on less than 500m³ of total available fresh water per year. That is Currently, World Bank data lists at least 27 countries surviving under such conditions. While a few of them, like Israel, Singapore, Malta and the Gulf States, have the wealth to invest in desalination, storage, imports or draining aquifers of millennia of deposited water, this will not be the experience of most. Indeed, even most such high-tech schemes may only last for decades, as long as the aquifers or oil wealth available.
Notably, the list of countries already experiencing absolute water scarcity includes all of the Arabian peninsula, North Africa (except Morocco) and the Levant (except Lebanon) and large parts of Central and Southwest Asia and the Horn of Africa. Some of the most critically affected countries included Yemen, Sudan, Somalia and Syria. It may be no coincidence that these countries are some of the world’s most conflict-affected, nor that they have produced some of the largest volumes of refugees in recent years.
Looking from Europe, where not one mainland country is yet threatened by such water scarcity at a national level, populations are largely static and the effects of climate change relatively subdued, violent competition for such a basic resource may seem remote. Yet it is striking how closely the map of water-stress aligns with the maps of global conflict and displacement in the first decades of this century. As populations in the stressed Southern regions are growing and fresh water supplies there constant or, far more likely, decreasing, the Mediterranean is likely to look like a very narrow moat indeed between the water-rich and water-poor worlds.
Conclusion: Responding to the Impact on Migration
It is simply not possible to be precise on the figures but the trend is clear – existing migration pressures stemming mainly from economic pressures are already being exacerbated by the impact of climate change and this will intensify greatly. Moreover, securitising the problem in terms of a “close the castle gates” mentality simply cannot work in a globalised and interconnected world and is a futile response. Effective responses obviously need to address the failings of the prevailing neoliberal economic approach but the environmental element is also crucial. This element needs much greater action in four respects:
• A much more rapid transition to ultra-low carbon economies across the industrialised world in order to mitigate the causes of climate change.
• Assistance to the countries across the Global South that are most affected by climate change to mitigate the effects, not least in changes in agricultural practice.
• Assistance to the same countries to develop low-carbon economies such that they may further develop and industrialise without amplifying climate change.
• Investment in water storage and carbon-neutral desalination technologies to mitigate the impact of fresh water shortages, especially in the Global South.
Probably the greatest current challenges are to recognise much more fully that migration and climate change are now inextricably related and that that this is an issue for the “now”, not the future.
Image credit: Climate Vulnerable Forum/Flickr
About the Author
Paul Rogers is Global Security Consultant to Oxford Research Group and Professor of Peace Studies at the University of Bradford. His ‘Monthly Global Security Briefings’ are available from our website. His new book Irregular War: ISIS and the New Threats from the Margins will be published by I B Tauris in June 2016. These briefings are circulated free of charge for non-profit use, but please consider making a donation to ORG, if you are able to do so.
Copyright Oxford Research Group 2017. Some rights reserved. This briefing is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Licence. For more information please visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/3.0/.
7.30 pm Wednesday 12th July
Friend’s Meeting House, Friargate, York
A first-hand Report on the inspiring work of the
Afghan Peace Volunteers
A Kabul based group of young peace activists
Maya regularly visits Afghanistan, and will give an overview of this forgotten war. Following the decades of civil war, leading to NATO armed intervention and the continuing threat from the Taliban and ISIS, grassroots peace activists are now bringing real change and hope to Afghans suffering fron crushing poverty and government inertia.
Organised by York Against the War
Newsletter – 13 June 2017
The outcome of the General Election has brought anti-war politics nearer to victory. Theresa May’s overall parliamentary majority has been wiped out by a surge of support for Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour Party. Her government now depends on the far right Democratic Unionist party, and may be fatally wounded.
The huge support given to Stop the War’s former chair demonstrates that anti-war arguments now permeate vast segments of society. The Tory party and their supporters in the media establishment were hoping they could use the appalling terrorist attacks that took place in Manchester and in London to gain electoral advantage by playing the security card. Instead, it was Jeremy Corbyn’s intervention, which highlighted the link between Western foreign policy and the spread of terrorism, which chimed with the public mood. As Chris Nineham wrote in his recent article: “Despite the media onslaught an opinion poll showed that the overwhelming majority of the population agreed with him. The ORB survey found 75 per cent of people believe interventions in Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya have made atrocities on UK soil more likely.”
The election result shows that there is huge opposition to the British establishment’s warmongering and to its other skewed priorities. As a result of this state of affairs, any potential push for more military interventions, which is now more difficult, will be easier to challenge. A further indication that the forces of peace and progress are in the ascendancy is that Donald Trump has had to call off his planned visit in October for fear of mass demonstrations. This unprecedented blow against the special relationship and against Trump’s international reputation also proves that campaigning and protests work.
However, Britain is still fighting 7 wars, and there are people right across the political spectrum who support them. Trump is even threatening further military interventions. We therefore need to strengthen the anti-war movement and increase our reach in order to solidify and extend the gains that have been made. Only a mass campaign for peace and social justice can overturn the establishment’s agenda of permanent war and the erosion of our security and our civil liberties.
Written by Chris Nineham on 15 May 2017. Posted in News & Comment
Stop the War Coalition.
It’s a strange world when Corbyn’s courageous opposition to these string of disasters is portrayed by the media as vulnerability, says Chris Nineham.
Which war is it that the media think Jeremy Corbyn should have supported since World War Two? Was it the Korean war, a US led intervention which led to the death of around two and half million people, the carve up of the country and eventually the frightening stand-off that threatens a new war today? 100,000 mainly conscripted British troops were sent to fight in this fiasco of whom over 1,000 died. It was so horrific that many historians regard it as being one of the key reasons for Labour losing the 1951 general election.
Perhaps it was the Suez intervention in which Britain fought a colonial rearguard action against the Egyptian nationalist government of Abdel Nasser. Britain was humiliated and the Tory Prime Minister Antohny Eden had to resign after lying to parliament amongst other things.
Or maybe it was the US’s war in Vietnam war in which they massacred up to two million people, bombed two countries to pieces and eventually had to withdraw in disarray. Vietnam was so unpopular in Britain – 71% of the British population opposed it – that even the Tory Party could only give verbal support to the American government.
More likely it was the Falklands War in which even the Daily Mail called ’short sharp and very nasty’. 258 British Troops were killed, 775 wounded and hundreds of others psychologically damaged in a battle for a few square miles of barren land 8,000 miles from Britain, but still ‘ours’ apparently and well worth the toll in human life and happiness. Apart from the death and destruction – a total of the war achieved nothing but is widely believed to have played a role in Thatcher’s election victory in 1983.
Perhaps it was Clinton and Blair’s bombing in Kosovo, which despite being painted as a humanitarian success, led to the deaths of hundreds of civilians, accelerated ethnic cleansing and the deepened divisions and dependency on the West that plague the Balkans to this day.
Surely it can’t be any of the cycle of wars that we are involved in now? The centerpieces of the War on Terror, the attacks on Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya, are almost universally regarded as catastrophic, causing almost unimaginable carnage, failed states and deep bitterness against the West. Fierce fighting continues in all three countries, sixteen years later in the case of Afghanistan. Associated interventions in Syria, Yemen, Somalia and beyond have been equally disastrous.
It is a strange world in which Jeremy Corbyn’s consistent and courageous opposition to these string of disasters is portrayed by the media as a point of vulnerability. Surely the real issue is that the party of government supported every one of these adventures and that the current Prime Minister has voted or argued for every one of them since she has been in parliament.
And this is no academic question of record. Despite confusingly saying on her Trump love-in trip to Washington that “the days of Britain and America intervening in sovereign countries in an attempt to remake the world in our own image are over”, she applauded Trump’s missile attack on Assad in Syria, congratulated him on his MOAB bomb drop in Afghanistan and is keen to get British forces involved in an attack on Assad post election.
Surely the question any half way thinking journalist should be asking is, are there any wars since World War Two that Theresa May would have opposed?