Tuesday, 30 December 2008
A number of nonviolent creative anarchists vigilled and memorised the killings of military and civillians and three were arrested for alleged criminal damage. Priest Martin Newell, Susan Clarkson and Les Gibbons were arrested for the direct entry of top secret NATO base.
Questions were aimed at asking who is responsible, who approved and who authorised the killings, the many killings - ..the ability to observe objectively is universal if blame is not apportioned through questions - this creates the climate for reflection and inner questioning.
We asked those authorising others to go to war, kill and be killed to reflect on Gaza and disobey to come forward instead they stayed hidden - maybe they make themselves the gods of earth doing fine in their killing mandates.
This nonviolent calm intervention - forced by starvation, injustice and need to breach in a flint faced fashion the inner circles of empire and low quality power for the sake of preserving innocent, the real treasures are people not oil or security.
Hope will be Happening on 4th January in the first Palestine Cafe in Southampton - messages in arabic greatfully received for cards and pictures - no violent messages will be authorised for dispatch. Please ask your friends to assist with this - this is a human rights shout for assistance for palestine and particurly Gaza.
For further details please contact Les: 07766904547
Image: Les by Lizzie Jones
Monday, 29 December 2008
Two Catholic peace activists were arrested Monday 8 a.m. after cutting through a perimeter fence at Northwood Permanent Joint Headquarters in suburban
Northwood Military Headquarters is the command centre for all British forces deployed abroad in
The Catholic Worker is an international pacifist movement focused on work with the homeless and nonviolent anti-war activity. The Catholic Worker has sustained a constant peace presence and nonviolent resistance at Northwood Headquarters since the initial 2001 bombing and invasion of
The three arrested have been taken to
(Image: Les and police at Northwood)
Sunday, 28 December 2008
"Israel's slow strangulation of Gaza through blockade has caused widespread suffering to the 1.5 million people of Gaza due to lack of food, electricity, water treatment supplies and medical equipment. It is a violation of humanitarian law and has been widely condemned around the world.
In resisting this strangulation, Hamas resumed launching rockets and mortars from Gaza into southern Israel, directly targeting civilians, which is also a war crime. Over the years, these poorly made rockets have been responsible for the deaths of 15 Israelis since 2004."
Israel is not alone all states use the protection of their citizens as an excuse to ignore the real needs of the same and use innocent people as scapegoats.
Jesus was the scapegoat for the Roman and Temple authorities of first century Palestine. The temple authorities continue to crucify the innocent in Palestine today in the name of "peace and security."
but St Paul warns:
"While people are saying, "Peace and safety," destruction will come on them suddenly, as labor pains on a pregnant woman, and they will not escape." (1 Thess. 5:3).
More and more Israeli's are refusing to take part in this genocidal state fundamentalism. Christ is risen. A group is linked on the image above.
To donate please follow this link.
Saturday, 27 December 2008
Thursday, 25 December 2008
Monday, 22 December 2008
Maybe it is my wrist which took a long time to heal - I still cannot bear my watch, which miraculously survived the mud and water - which prevented me from writing more about the intentional community of Longo mai - a community of communities nowadays. By putting on this posting I commit myself to doing it in the very near future.
Radical young starting a communal life in places abandoned by Empire - now that does sound familiar, does not it? They did it in 1973, in the longlasting post-1968 days. I read an interpretation of their name which according to some means "longlasting May" - but it actually is a Provençal wish meaning "May it last long". They managed to survive as a community, still radical, still doing agricultural work and participating in all kinds of actions "in the outside world": against persecution of immigrant workers, for organic farming - traditional farming, as a matter of fact, which Empire has made "an alternative lifestyle"- and much more.
Here is a report about them in English, more on them soon.
They did not have and still do not have connections to any religious denomination, but members of the community are studying French personalism at the moment, which is one of the driving ideas behind the Catholic Worker. Swiss philosopher Denis de Rougemont studied the movement and wrote sympathetically about them, which sparked their interest in his ideas.
Two Longo Mai-communities are included in this story about concrete utopias in Europe.
Saturday, 20 December 2008
All this despite the states historic committment to arrest and regress our nuclear weapon programme (International Non-proliferation treaty).
Money and violence has been partly contracted out it seems but you and I will still be paying for the right of US companies to profit massively from our fear.
What is our fear based on? Are we scared that other nations hate us because we are so rich? Perhaps it would help if we were a bit less rich.
Jacobs Engineering group, who bought the state's third of AWE Aldermaston.
If you want to know where your nearest Jacob's office is so you can let them know you know and what you think about there latest acquisition in some creative and loving way.... then click here.
Friday, 19 December 2008
It takes some swallowing when you follow this current with attention and sympathy - they are so-called evangelicals, christians calling themselves reborn, a brand (!) of christianity which does not give the USA a good reputation at the moment. They themselves write that it is difficult to be christian in the US these days. And this they say referring to their actions against imperialist warfare, discrimination, death penalty and other things furthered by a government which likes to call itself christian. Shane Claiborne and Chris Haw reject identification with worldly politics in Jesus for president! (a title based on a song of Woody Guthrie's).
It is a catching manifesto, a kind of Christian anarchism for reborn, against which nothing can be objected viewed from the commonly held standpoint of older christian anarchist currents, quite the contrary. To quote Maurin: these ideas are so old they look new.
Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove in New Monasticismdescribes a tendency in the US – we apparently should not call it a movement – toward communal living in the spirit of the early christians. This tendency he places in the perspective of older communal strivings such as the (Anabaptist) Bruderhöfe and the Catholic Worker, a spirit which is also moving the reborn – Claiborne is a prominent example of someone living in such a community. It is called new monasticism, and to be part of it you may be married, you do not have to vow to keep silent - above all it is about the idea of living together in the spirit of the Sermon on the Mount and having property in common. Christian anarchism is well and truly alive, even if it does not call itself that way. Signs of hope from the heart of Empire.
- Shane Claiborne & Chris Haw, Jesus for president! – politics for ordinary radicals. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2008. 335 p.
- Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove, New monasticism – what it has to say to today’s church. Grand Rapids: Brazos Press, 2008. 147 p.
Back in June 2006 at the conference of the UK Jesusradicals in Leeds somewhere somehow the decison was made by a few people to revive the paper A pinch of salt, a former Christian anarchist journal from Britain. I would or should have been correspondent from the Continent.
Now is the time for me to be that correspondent. Before placing a serious entry I thought it to be appropriate to introduce myself. I should have been the Northern Soul deejay at the conference mentioned above - especially went to Chicago to buy loads of danceable gospel 45s for the occasion (the phrase "especially" is used for dramatic effect - the rest of the sentence is true) - and then there were no wheels of steel at the conference... There were two guitars, however, so we had no lack of music.
So here I am, starting a rare Indorocker record from 1963, sometime early 2006, in my capacity of RG de 50-quidman. And I am the man behind christianarchy.org and Christianarchie. It may be a pity you cannot understand most of what is on there, but never fear - AdR tries his best over here in a language that is not his. I understand English is not Keith's first language and there is a fair chance that it is not your first language either, dear Reader. Let's away with the first entry of the day...
Thursday, 18 December 2008
It charts the wider build up of Irelands various anti-war groups leading up to and after five Christian peace activists disabled a US military plane costing millions of dollars and saving lives.
The book honestly and frankly charts their four courtroom dramas (pre-trial and twice thrown out due to judges prejudicing the case) and their evetual acquital.
These five who began as near strangers but together risked up to ten years in prison give the reader a gripping read and an honest opportunity to reflect on the good and bad of direct action.
If you get the sharp end of state-violence discussing their views and values, forming into groups, thinking about their rights and the rightness of their actions. If you had a grown-up autonomous police force doing some serious introspection then how could you maintain it's present role as living out someone else's agenda? You just couldn't.
"We need to be on the beat more?"
"It's what the voters want."
"It's not what we want we get hurt and abused"
"Why do we get hurt and abused."
"Because of all the fascists."
"What's a fascist?"
"Someone who subsumes there identity into a group in order to gather enough force to impose their morality on others and .... oh,.... I see."
Monday, 15 December 2008
It now turns out there were 12 reportable injuries none of which was caused by a protestor but one was caused by a bee and another by sitting in a car!
Monday, 8 December 2008
So today the focus is not on why so many people would suffer hours in the cold, certain arrest and probable custodial sentence for blocking a runway. Oh no, the BBC website headlines with the inconvenience to passengers suggesting, without good grounds, that with one voice the passengers considered the protest pointless.
It used to be religion that lay down and mystified the sacred stories of empire. Now the new media of state is the "media": text, radio, t.v., internet. These are the High Priest's whom Jesus challenged in his own propaganda of the deed.
Wednesday, 3 December 2008
- Michael van Dyke in his essay, "Anarchist imperatives and fundamental change" in which he outlines in story-form some of the important religious and political events that shape US worldviews to this day. A fascinating read for those new to the subject and those who already know a thing or two.
Saturday, 29 November 2008
Wednesday, 26 November 2008
But New Labour may be addressing a real problem at the heart of the NHS. In hospital I have always been cared for but never by friends and family. In fact friends and family are strictly managed in their care for patients. Only professionals are allowed to care for the sick.
My friends no whether I like being called "dearie" or "shit head" nurses can only guess... or follow government guidelines.
Wednesday, 19 November 2008
"Mr Woolas' claims that there is an 'industry out there' with a vested interest in taking asylum claims and appeals forward, with the implication that people should be denied access to justice because they are from another country and seeking refuge, is false and shameful," says Ekklesia co-director Simon Barrow.
Vaughan Jones, director of the agency Praxis, which works with displaced people across London, who is also a United Reformed Church minister and an Ekklesia associate described the statement from the new Immigration Minister as "a disturbing development."
"Asylum seekers and migrants are human beings with rights and it is quite proper and legitimate for the law to defend those rights and for people of good will to advocate for and support people in need, vulnerable to exploitation and potential victims of miscarriages of justice," said Mr Jones.
He continued: "Attacking the defenders of human rights is not the most edifying of stands, although it is regrettably not without precedent.
"There are many highly respected voluntary organisations and faith based organisations operating with integrity and within the framework of the law. Their work is well acknowledged and scrutinised by funders and regulators. Their activities should not be repudiated simply because they take a different stance on migration. A mature debate does not begin with mud-slinging."
Ekklesia's Simon Barrow added: "Governments attack human rights workers when they have something to hide. The UK authorities have been rightly criticised for dawn raids, removal of children and other abuses of justice in relation to people seeking asylum - even refusing to accept the legitimacy of their own numerous legal defeats. It is this that needs public investigation."
Image: Phil Woolas, Member of Puppetry
Tuesday, 18 November 2008
During the incident, the settlers were able to steal two of the shepherds' donkeys. The settlers killed one donkey with a knife wound in the chest area. They slashed another across the throat, but the donkey survived.
You can read more and see a video of the attack here:
Sunday, 16 November 2008
This e-book traces the relationship between the theology of the privileged and the growing formation of the colonial enterprise in India.
Saturday, 15 November 2008
Tuesday, 11 November 2008
Mark Engler makes the important point that Obama's adivsors give us some indication as to his intention to bring about "Change" - real or imagined. If this is a return to the Clinton approach to global and domestic economics than we're still screwed just with less "shock and awe". The election of a new emperor does not mean the end of imperialism. Indeed, how could it.
Saturday, 8 November 2008
Friday, 7 November 2008
Four members of Fellowship of Reconciliation, England are travelling to Israel and Palestine for a two week delegation from Monday 10th to Saturday 22nd November as part of a joint delegation with Interfaith Peace Builders and American Friends Service Committee. With 20+ other British and American delegates, we will be visiting Palestinian and Israeli grassroots peacemakers. We will be experiencing and engaging in nonviolent peacemaking in a region where violence has prevailed as the solution to conflict. It is our hope to be empowered as peacemakers, to gain a first hand understanding of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, to learn new peacemaking skills, and to make lifelong friends.
We really hope you will want to hear about our experiences and the people and places we will be visiting. If so, please visit our blog, ‘Stories of Peace’ at http://storiesofpeace.
on behalf of all of the delegates (Martha Beale, Joff Williams, David Masters and Rachel Smith)
Thursday, 6 November 2008
Sophie and Keith Hebden attended the AWE event as recruiters for AWE; dressed in smart suits with fake AWE identity badges we looked the part. Our badges read “Human Resources Dept” with our names, “Amanda Hugenkis” and “Dan Teshell”. We arrived half an hour before the event began to properly check out where the presentation was to be held.
Our intention was to intercept students going to the AWE recruitment drive by pretending to work for AWE. There is a long glass-walled lobby with sofas downstairs at Staff House; the presentation was to take place two floors above. We settled ourselves on the sofas with clipboards and fliers ready to intercept any students coming to the AWE recruitment presentation. We then asked people to sit with us to chat about ‘recruitment’, which gave us the chance to tell them the bare facts of what goes on — bomb-making — in an up-beat and ironic way. We wanted unguarded conversations with people who were considering working at AWE but were wrestling with the morality of doing so.
The first jobseeker was a bit of a red herring: he wanted to meet the AWE staff to talk about his marketing company to help them recruit. We took some information from him, thanked him and sent him home. Later we discovered that he was a ‘fake’ as well!
The next to arrive, a physicist, sat and chatted with us for a while. We saw him becoming more confused and concerned as we spoke enthusiastically about the destructive potential of nuclear bombs. It was when Keith told him about the “cultural exchanges” possible if working at AWE – “Hirsohima survivors often hang around the gate and you can wave at them as you drive into work,” – that he grinned and said, “OK, I get it.” We chatted with him for another five minutes as he admitted that he had been unsure as to whether to attend this event but had justified it to himself and wanted to hear them out. He decided not to go to the presentation and to go home. We shook hands and he thanked us.
The next man told us he was studying medical nuclear physics but was wondering about going into defence instead, “because there’s more money than in the NHS”. He spoke about the moral dilemma he faced in choosing between medical and defence. We said after AWE had dropped a bomb we would certainly need medical experts.
We chatted; he looked concerned but took our flier and went upstairs to the presentation.
A couple of girls said they were interested in working in human resources. At first they were hesitant about sitting down, partly because there were late for the presentation, but when they did they looked at us suspiciously from the start. A few minutes later one girl interrupted to ask if we were “Socialists” we said not and carried on for a minute before she interrupted again: “Excuse me, but we’re from ‘People and Planet’”. We all burst out laughing and sent them on their way to the presentation.
Finally a girl set on studying the radiation hazards of the site spoke with us for five minutes. She was very serious and intent on working at AWE; nothing we said could deter her. We listed about how AWE contravenes international treaties, how the UK is considering working on ‘useable nuclear weapons’, and how nuclear weapons target civilians because of their enormous destructive power, to name a few. She hurried off the presentation clutching our leaflet.
All in all, we felt there were some wonderful moments where we really connected with people, but perhaps the most encouraging thing was that hardly anyone came, and more protesters attended than jobseekers. Among the protesters were Gary Hall and John Hull, staff at Queen’s Foundation.
G'day and kia ora to all peoples from the land of the white cloud to the deserts of the Australian wilderness and the rest of the earth,
The SPCA Christian Anarchist Gathering for 2009 will be held on the dates of
Thursday: August 6th 2009 Start around 7ish but all welcome sooner.
Sunday: August 9th 2009 finish lunchtime ish
At the CAVE (78 St Leonards Rd, Ascot Vale Melbourne)
Please feel free to invite anyone as all are welcome!
So start preparing for a great journey together as we seek to discover the christian anarchist spirit within us and what this means....
For now if you have any questions buzz me at email@example.com or call my mobile +61 414321451 (international) or 0414 321 451 (local)
Friday, 31 October 2008
Friday, 24 October 2008
Martin Luther King – Spirit Led ProphetAn activist leader and ardent advocate of peaceful nonviolent social change, Martin Luther King was described as a “Spirit led Prophet” by his biographer, Richard Deats. Forty years on from his assassination come and find out what sustained and drove King in his commitment to nonviolent social change and how his peacemaking lessons can be applied to our lives today.
Cost £15. Drinks provided. Bring lunch to share.
Helen Gilbert +44 (0)20 7496 1610www.stethelburgas.org
Tuesday, 21 October 2008
Here are some of the stories generated at Queen's this week. Ekklesia; Inspire; Church Times; Birmingham Mail; BBC Midlands;
Queen's Foundation trains people for ministry in the Church of England, the Methodist Church, and other independent Churches. As part of the Anglican and Methodist training students are expected to take part in at least one Prophetic action during each year and to reflect on this action in their own spiritual formation and in the life of the worshipping community.
"For many it has already become a radically conversion experience. As I stood at the fence at AWE and received the 'ash of repentance' I cried for the futility of state violence and it's totem - the Trident missile and won't ever be quite the same."
Friday, 10 October 2008
Banksy's new 'Village Pet Store' holds up a mirror to western civilisation and our freakish relationship to our own bodies, the rest of the animal world, and food.
There are glass cases with wriggling or humping sausages of various breeds. There's a leapord skin coat, basking in the sun and switching it's tail about. There's plenty more besides all aimed to hit home at a very emotive level of our engagement with the world we live in.
Even for those who feel they have a pretty sound grasp of their ethical sensibilities when it comes to animal welfare would do well to see some of this stuff. It is revealing in the most apocalyptic sense.
Tuesday, 7 October 2008
Saturday, 4 October 2008
Thursday, 2 October 2008
6-8 April 2009Geoffrey Manton Conference Centre
Manchester Metropolitan University , UK
What is the relationship between power and the academy? Academics are
effectively government employees, told what to do and how to do it. In
research they are told what matters and what does not, and this tells them
what they will get research funding for and what they won’t; and they
are told what methods to use – what will count as evidence and what
won’t. In teaching they are told what to teach and what not to teach,
how to teach it and how to assess it. Teachers and learners tick boxes,
performing as trainers and trainees with constant reference to the demands
of the workplace, and subject to a Byzantine apparatus of monitoring and
surveillance. If they transgress, punishment follows, normally in the form
of the withdrawal of funding.
Please submit ABSTRACTS to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Friday, 26 September 2008
The call comes after revelations that Church finance managers have been using similar tactics to the ones the Archbishops of Canterbury and York condemned City traders for, to maximise profits on the Church's £5 billion assets and investments.
"The key thing is not to apportion blame - either on traders or the Church - but to open up a realistic discussion about economic alternatives", says Ekklesia co-director Jonathan Bartley.
Jonathan has a good heart. How many of us are able to stand aside from Economics and criticise. The truth is we're all culpable and must work to undermine the system within ourselves.
Wednesday, 24 September 2008
Tuesday, 23 September 2008
Chris Howson has been under police surveilance at his home / Chaplaincy in Bradford, the Church Times reports. (Articles, Church Times 19 Sept 2008).
This is not the first time Chris' home has been under surveilance by the police. He had similar experience when living in a squat in Bradford many years ago.
It is interesting that this time it was provoked by his criticism of the relationship between the UK and US military and planned a protest which, among other things, highlighted this relationship.
There is also a suggestion, after a phone call from the MOD, that Chris' emails were being intercepted and read. A very cautionary tale!
Friday, 19 September 2008
Meanwhile the droves of workers that crunch the numbers that feed the machine are carrying boxes out of high rise buildings are wondering how they'll pay their bills now their jobless.
And yet still I've heard two commentators (including Kenneth Clarke) re-affirming their statements of faith in neo-liberal economics.
Like fundamentalist Chrisitans, Fundamentalists neo-liberals are not swayed by reality or the harm they cause to others.
Thursday, 18 September 2008
Yesterday Fr. Martin Newell of The London Catholic Worker was sentenced to prison for wilfully refusing to pay a fine at Highbury and Islington Magistrates Court. He has been given seven days. Martin is said to be "in good spirits" and not surprised by the judges decision.
On Dec. 28th 2007, on the Feast of Holy Innocents, Catholic Workers Scott Albrecht, Sr. Susan Clarkson and Fr. Martin Newell poured red paint symbolising blood on the sign at Northwood Military Headquarters. Northwood is the "Nerve Centre" for all British wars. The three knelt in prayer with banners reading "We All Have Blood On Our Hands" and "War Shall Cease All Over The Earth". They were arrested, placed in jail and each charged with £315 worth of criminal damage.
When called back to court for refusing to pay his fine, Fr. Martin stated that he had acted according to his conscience and that he had hoped that the judge would act according to his. Martin had the opportunity to decry the illegal invasion of Iraq, but the judge said Martin's stance was a moral one. The judge claimed that the "law must be upheld despite belief".
The invasion of Iraq, according to most international lawyers and Kofi Annan, was illegal. It was premeditated by those who formed the Project for the New American Century (Google it). Sadly, presidential hopeful John McCain's two top advisers formed this 'think tank'. If McCain wins the prospect of staying in Iraq "for a hundred years" is real and the possibility of invading Iran will grow stronger still.
At least 832,962 people have been killed on all sides since the invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan. Fr. Martin and the other Catholic Workers live with people from Iraq in their Houses of Hospitality. If 1% of those who marched against the war did non-violent direct action, the war might not have been executed.
If you wish to support Fr. Martin then you can email or write to:
The London Catholic Worker
14 Deal Street
For more information you can call Scott on 07983 477819
London Catholic Worker website: http://www.londoncatholicworker.org/
Sunday, 14 September 2008
After its welcome from the ASN, ASIRA has now been formed with a yahoo group and a sub-committee as part of the ASN.
Check out ASIRA here
Thanks to Alex for setting this up.
"Aims of this Group
Religious anarchism, especially Christian anarchism, has been around for at least as long as “secular” anarchism. The academic literature tells us that Leo Tolstoy is its most famous proponent, but there are many others, such as Jacques Ellul or the Catholic Workers. There are also anarchists in other religious traditions, but these are often omitted by anarchist literature.
The main aims of this group – which was born out of the Religious Anarchisms sessions at the first ASN conference in Loughborough in September 2008 – are to provide a forum for people interested in religious anarchisms to converse on the topic, to publicise their work, to advertise related events, and to plan events and joint projects themselves.
An underlying aim is to thereby help establish the religious anarchist voice within anarchist academic writings – hence this group’s affiliation to the ASN and through it to the PSA. It is therefore both about bringing religious anarchists together as about placing religious anarchisms on the broader map of anarchist thought and practice.
Although the literature tends to focus more on Christian anarchism, this predominance need not be repeated here – indeed, the more anarchists from other traditions, the richer the conversations.
Moreover, activists and “practitioners” are just as welcome as academics and theorists. Both on the internet and in the streets, a number of people and groups have been discussing and exemplifying religious anarchisms. Their voice is important in any debate on the issue.
Finally, although not the primary focus of the group, contributors, conversations and events on the often uneasy relation between religion and anarchism are also welcome."
Friday, 12 September 2008
"The threat of global warming is so great that campaigners were justified in causing more than £35,000 worth of damage to a coal-fired power station, a jury decided yesterday. In a verdict that will have shocked ministers and energy companies the jury at Maidstone Crown Court cleared six Greenpeace activists of criminal damage.
Jurors accepted defence arguments that the six had a "lawful excuse" to damage property at Kingsnorth power station in Kent to prevent even greater damage caused by climate change. The defence of "lawful excuse" under the Criminal Damage Act 1971 allows damage to be caused to property to prevent even greater damage – such as breaking down the door of a burning house to tackle a fire."
While any criminal act should "count the cost" of possible penalty its great to know that a jury of our peers is often on our side and that the law can ofen highlight its own injustices.
Thursday, 11 September 2008
Saturday 6 September 2008 14.15-16.00
Thirty-four ASN members present
Uri Gordon facilitated the meeting
Preliminaries to the meeting
Patrick Turner provided live written documentation of the discussion
It was agreed to conduct the meeting by consensus decision making and the processes were discussed.
An agenda had been circulated and copies were passed around the group. Three additional items were suggested:
The possibility of an anarchist fringe at future conferences
The development of behaviours and practices discussed at the listening panel in future conferences
It was also suggested that an attendance list be circulated.
It was agreed to consider the idea of the fringe in the discussion of the annual conference and the issues raised in the listening panel in item 6, the discussion of the ASN. The list was circulated.
1. ASN report
Alex Prichard outlined the history of the group and referred new participants to the website http://www.anarchist-studies-network.co.uk for full information. There was a discussion of the aims of the group and the need to encourage participation from individuals outside academia. The agreed formulation of aim was: to facilitate communication and the exchange of ideas between researchers – students, academics and independent scholars - and to promote scholarly research into any aspect of anarchism.
Alex reported that membership (i.e. the email list) was now 100 and presented a brief financial report. It was not possible to give an accurate statement of current funds since conference accounting was still in progress. However, it was anticipated that the ASN would be in credit once the accounting was complete.
Alex explained that the journal Anarchist Studies was run independently of the ASN but was affiliated to it.
There was a reminder that members of the ASN were not required to be members of the Political Studies Association (PSA), but that they were encouraged to join it [details at http://www.psa.ac.uk/].
Finally, Alex explained the purpose of the meeting was to consider a programme of activity for the coming year. The idea of a second conference was mooted, but no decision on this was taken. Thanks were expressed to the organisers of this year’s conference.
2. Sponsorship of an Anarchist Film Conference
Alex spoke on behalf of Mitzi Waltz to propose the funding a stand alone workshop on anarchism and film, building on the success of the Projectile Film Conference. The funding would be earmarked to enable ASN members to travel to the conference.
The proposal was to submit costings to the ASN by the end of December and for the group to consider the detailed proposal by email.
After an objection that other proposals might be compromised by a decision at this stage, it was agreed to postpone the decision until all bids had been considered.
3. Religious anarchism working group
Alex spoke on behalf of Alex Christoyannopoulos to propose the establishment of a discrete section on the ASN website for a religion and anarchism working group. There were no financial implications. After some clarification of purpose, this was agreed.
4. Anarchism and Marxism joint conference
Alex outlined a working proposal to organise a possible conference or one-day workshop examining the relationship between anarchism and Marxism, drawing together scholars working in both fields.
It was agreed that the proposal was not at a sufficiently developed point of planning to discuss further but that there were no objections in principle.
At the conclusion of this item, it was agreed that the proposal for a workshop be taken forward on the agreed terms to the ASN list.
5. PSA annual conference
Alex had circulated a call for papers and emphasised the importance of maintaining an ASN presence at the conference and that one of the core purposes of the group was to fund attendance. All members were encouraged to consider the existing call and possible alternative panel proposals.
Alex also drew attention to the specialist group guest speaker competition. There was some discussion of funding ‘celebrity’ speakers and the need to ensure that proposals for guest speakers were designed to facilitate the attendance of individuals who might not otherwise be able to travel to PSA conferences.
It was also proposed that air travel would not be funded by the ASN. It was agreed to defer discussion of this proposal.
Niall Scott drew attention to the possibility of participation at the Association of Social and Legal Philosophy. A call for papers would follow.
The proposal was to create parallel spaces alongside the formal conference presentations at any future meetings to facilitate informal contacts and exchanges. The proposal was agreed, but as key feature rather than a fringe. A fuller discussion of future conference planning is summarised under item 7.
Proposal on air travel
There was extended discussion of the issues. It was agreed:
- That a note would be put on the ASN site to emphasise the need for members to find sustainable means of transport
- That the ASN would not in principle rule out funding of air travel but that applications for support would be scrutinised on a case-by-case basis and that funding would be granted where a case on financial, geographical and legal grounds was made.
- That ASN members would be encouraged to organise activities locally to minimise the need for intercontinental air travel.
It was also agreed that any future ASN events would be organised with a view to minimising environmental impact.
7. Discussion of the ASN and debrief on the conference
There was an extended discussion of the relationships between ASN members from within and outside academia; about the inclusiveness of the group, of the conference and the publicity given to the conference. The issues all revolved around the need for inclusiveness. There was no disagreement about this and the conference organisers outlined the attempts that had been made to encourage wide participation in the conference. Members were invited to make proposals to extend and improve these developments, to encourage more open discussion and exchange at conference and to overcome the difficulties posed by academic conventions and habits.
Gwendolyn Windpassinger summarised the issues arising from the listening panel. There were two main issues: the presence and participation of women at the conference and the need for confidence building measures in the conduct of sessions.
Anthony McCann invited members to access his blog ‘re-imagining academic conferences’ http://rethinkingacademicconferences.blogspot.com/
A number of useful suggestions were made:
- Open with an introductory plenary to discuss the conduct and aims of the conference.
- To provide tips to chairs on the running of sessions (to help facilitate discussion)
- To convene in non-academic spaces and environments: eg. the climate camp, the knowledge lab.
- To provide space between presentation and question and answer sessions in order to allow time for individual reflection and/or circular discussion.
- To encourage discursive (not necessarily consensual) practices and behaviours and to reduce conflict and antagonism by developing agreed practices at the start of sessions.
- To include a collective conference debrief or space for reflection/contemplation.
- To be pro-active in encouraging women’s participation and in particular to consider what provisions might be made (in terms of participant-relationships) to help confidence building.
- To ensure that calls for participation continue to highlight the possibility of non-paper formats.
- To desist from habitual applause.
The meeting closed. Thanks were expressed (with applause) to Veggies who had provided the catering for the conference.
Wednesday, 10 September 2008
I've quoted below from a paper presented at the recent ASN. It's from the conclusion to Professor John Rapp's paper, "'Anarchism or Nihilism? The Buddhist-Influenced Thought of Wu Nengzi'". While the whole research was fascinating to me it was his conclusion that challenged me most and led to other questions: What is a 'lifestyle anarchist'? Do we hide our fear of commitment to an ideology behind post-modern irony and see irony as a greater mechanism of change than it really is? Do I live like life matters or like matter isn't life?
This dialogue between the many faith traditions and anarchism is going to blow upon all kinds of areas of our thinking as activists and disciples of Christ.
IV. Larger Problem: Is Post-Modern Anarchism Nihilism?
To this observer, the larger problem presented by the breakdown of Daoist anarchism in the thought of Wu Nengzi is the obvious lesson for post-Modernist thought, especially those post-modernists who call themselves anarchists. There is insufficient space here to spell out this lesson fully, so I will conclude only with what is intend to be a provocative suggestion. While they claim to deny any overarching “metanarrative” as valid for all other people, one must ask whether such post-Modernists reserve for themselves the right to be critical of all other narratives while preserving their own as something other than a true narrative and thus taking up a stance of “ironic detachment” that too easily smacks of intellectual superiority. Going beyond classical anarchists who viewed all religious and political doctrines as attempts to enslave people with metaphysical or real authority, one must ask whether post-Modernist anarchists go further to deny the existence of all truth, even truth that cannot be known objectively or imposed on others. If so, as many critics have asked about post-Modernism, how is one to criticize any political doctrine or state as evil, even fascist ones? This charge was most famously and perhaps for post-modernists most infuriatingly raised by Richard Wolin (2004), who tries to relate the collaborationist and even fascist background of some of the seminal post-Modernist thinkers to flaws in post-Modernist thought as a whole. While those who want to find a genuine liberatory critique in postmodernism may decry his attack as relying almost completely on guilt by association, it seems to this author that the shift among Daoist thinkers such as Wu Nengzi from anarchism to nihilism might have been based on a similar shift in emphasis. This charge against postmodernist and/or “lifestyle” anarchists who think their intellectual stance alone will serve to achieve anarchism may be the opposite side of the coin of those who find Daoist anarchism a metaphysical doctrine that relies on a supernatural authority and is thus inherently un-anarchist. Instead, a Daoist anarchist would argue, any doctrine based on the idea that some may know objective truths better than others and thus know also when to apply those truths for others, may lead to an equal and perhaps greater danger of leading would-be anarchists to acquiesce and participate in establishing authority over others. Only by embracing the whole, a Daoist anarchist would argue, that is, by accepting the underlying unity and thus equality of all things, even if by its very nature that whole cannot be objectively known and hierarchically organized, can one stay loyal to a fully anarchist vision.
The image above is of Lao Zi, the founder of Daoism.
Tuesday, 9 September 2008
Watch this space for quite a few developments on this front including a potential publication of essays.
Prayer I58 have released a pdf update of events that members have been involved with.
Find it here.
Prayer I58 is "network of Christians involved in Direct Action"
An event to watch out for is their Climate Camp Café Debrief and
i58 Network Gathering 17th - 19th October 2008, Birmingham
For more details visit their website.
Monday, 11 August 2008
Tuesday, 29 July 2008
Since 1998 Joerg Rieger’s has written prolifically in the field of liberation theology and Church history. His most recent book, ‘Christ and Empire’ has been most widely welcomed as an accessible work of thorough scholarship. Methodist elder and ministerial tutor Rieger writes lucidly for a western audience within an ear to the majority world and an eye to the encroaching principalities and powers that dominate and shape our culture and politics.
Like Colin Ward, Rieger finds “seedlings of resistance and alternative living growing in the very soil of empire” (12). Riger traces some of the small shoots of religious revolt through a selective history of how the Church has got to grips with the question ‘Who is Christ’ – Christology!
Rieger begins obviously enough with the ancient ecumenical councils and the contentious role of Emperor Constantine in guiding Christology. Then, perhaps by way of contrast he develops a critique of Anselm of Canterbury (Chapter 3) and Barolomé de las Casas (Chapter 4). The author sees both resistance and capitulation to empire in the Christology of both. Rieger develops a Las Casas as the original spokesperson for the the “softly softly” approach to neo-colonialism of some free-traders and Big NGOs.
By the time Rieger engages with the ‘Father of Modern theology’ Friedrich Schleiermacher he is getting into a greater depth of original criticism. The “softer” exclusivism of Schleiermacher reflecting a more coercive and subtle colonisation. However, as Rieger persists in looking for “Christological surplus” in his subjects the reader may be left with the feeling that the author likes to flog dead horses just to give his arm the exercise.
Throughout the author is drawn to the ever-present “ambivalence” of the Cosmic Christ of faith to resistance to the empire.
Rieger has hit on two vital factors in the development of Christology. First, if religion is a human project then the project directors are often agents of empire. Second : “The resisting Christ of the cosmos looks different than the cosmic Christ of evolution, especially evolution is understood in a social-Darwinist manner” (303). Christ is not fully human competitor fully imperious divinity. But who, then, do we say he is? Rieger introduces an understanding of Christ that goes beyond the Cosmic and tries to avoid projecting statist values onto him. But in the end, even Rieger’s Christ shows evidence of some “ambivalence.”
Other books by Joerg Rieger:
Theology from the belly of the Whale
Methodist and Radical
Liberating the Future
Monday, 28 July 2008
If you haven't read Alex's excellent paper on Christian anarchism at last years 'Anarchists Studies Network' eventI recommend it. It is available here as a .pdf.
The first conference will be at Loughborough university this September. Alex is facilitating a whole panel of faith anarchists for this conference.
Wednesday, 23 July 2008
I love these two pieces of artwork by Liz. Her work will be on display over the summer and it will be well worth the visit. The T-shirt is inspired by a picture from a cake-box at the empire cafe. A place where many a weary and smelly peace activist has stopped for tea, toast, and a sneaky shower when the proprieter isn't looking. If you're ever in Newbury it's a friendly cafe who will happily tell you all about the role their pies have played in the struggle for peace to overcome fear.
Tuesday, 15 July 2008
Dear Keith Hebden,
Thank you! I have just received a copy of 'A Pinch of Salt' (No. 17 July 2008) and I was stimulated , encouraged and delighted! I was, I have to admit, expecting a rather low-grade magazine, but it was very well put together and the writing was of a very good calibre!
Since delving into anarchy and Christianity, I have felt rather alone (My university, St Andrews, is not exactly a hotbed of leftist Christians!) and it was greatly encouraging to realise both that there were many other people of a similar frame of mind and that there was such a vibrant community in the UK. I fouind the article of the Bruderhof (P. 7-9) particularly fascinating as this is something I am deeply interested in.
I plan on attending some of the conference etc. and meeting more 'Christian-Anarchists' and putting all the stuff I've read (Adin Ballou, Jacques Ellul, Tolstoy, not to mention the Bible!) together as it were, adn forming a good idea of what 'Christi-anarchy' is and where it will lead me.
Than you once more, and good luck with the magazine (I hope to contribute at some point too!).
Saturday, 12 July 2008
The arresting officer was thanked for his participation in the event and we hope to see him again in the future for further brainstorming on how AWE Aldermaston can be transformed into a place of hope and prosperity.
Friday, 11 July 2008
(from Blackstone’s Custody Officer Manual by Huw Smart 2006)
S.3A(5) Bail Act 1976
Where a constable grants bail to a person no conditions shall be imposed under subsections (4), (5), (6) or (7) of s.3 of this Act unless it appears to the constable that it is necessary to do so for the purpose of preventing that person from –
(a) failing to surrender to custody, or
(b) committing an offence while on bail, or
(c) interfering with witnesses or otherwise obstructing the course of justice, whether in relation to himself or any other person.
Section 3A Bail Act 1976
1. S 3 of this Act applies, in relation to bail granted by a custody officer under part IV of PACE 1984 in cases where the normal powers to impose conditions of bail are available to him, subject to the following modifications.
2. Subsection (6) does not authorise the imposition of a requirement to reside in a bail hostel or any requirement under para. (d) or (e)
Section 47(1A) PACE
The normal powers to impose conditions of bail shall be available to him where a custody officer releases a person on bail under s.37(7)(a) above or s.38(1) above (including that subsection as applied by s.40(10) above) but not in any other cases. In this subsection “the normal powers to impose bail” has the meaning given in s.3(6) of the Bail Act 1976
Section 3A(4) Bail Act 1976
Where a custody officer has granted bail in criminal proceedings he or another custody officer serving at the same police station may, at the rquest of the person to whom it was granted, vary the conditions of bail and in doing so he may impose conditions or more onerous conditions.
Section 7(3)(b) Bail Act 1976
A person who has been released on bail in criminal proceedings and is under a duty to surrender into the custody of a court may be arrested without warrant by a constable –if the constable has reasonable grounds for believing that that person is likely to break any of the conditions of his bail or has reasonable grounds for suspecting that that person has broken any of those conditions.
“…but it is clear that imposing bail conditions should be viewed as an alternative to authorising detention after charge. When a court issues bail conditions, it must consider the same requirements as in s.3A(5) above (s3(6) of the Bail Act 1976) …”
“… Provided the custody officer or the court can justify a particular condition, there is no actual limit as to the kind of condition that may be imposed”…
Since conditional bail is an alternative to continued detention I looked at what Huw Smart has to say about remand in custody:
Section 38(1) PACE
Where a person arrested for an offence otherwise than under a warrant endorsed for bail is charged with an offence, the custody officer shall (subject to s.25 of the CJPOA 1994 [making bail virtually impossible for various very serious offences]), order his release from police detention, either on bail or without bail, unless-
(i) name or address cannot be ascertained…..
(ii) the custody officer has reasonable grounds for believing that the person arrested will fail to appear in court to answer to bail;
(iii) in the case of a person arrested for an imprisonable offence, the custody officer has reasonable grounds for believing that the detention of the person arrested in necessary to prevent him from committing an offence;
(iv) in the case of a person arrested for an offence which is not an imprisonable offence, the custody officer has reasonable grounds for believing that the detention of the person arrested is necessary to prevent him from causing physical injury to any other person or from causing loss of or damage to property;
(v) the custody officer has reasonable grounds for believing that the detention of the person arrested is necessary to prevent him from interfering with
(vi) the admin. of justice or with the investigation of offences or of a particular offence; or
(vii) the custody officer has reasonable grounds for believing that the detention of the person arrested is necessary for his own protection.
From all this I gather our bail conditions were unlawful. He should have gone through these steps:
Unconditional release is the norm
Conditions can only be imposed if he is thinking he must remand in custody
Non imprisonable offence (which I was told very specifically is the case with byelaws, hence no fingerprinting etc) – only reasons = to prevent him causing physical injury to another person; or loss/damage to property; or interfering with admin. justice or investigation; or for own protection.
Since none of these conditions apply then he has no power to impose bail conditions.
When detention is necessary to prevent a further offence
"Evidence to detain a person under ss.(iii) above may also be provided by the PNC. The custody officer will need to examine the detainee's previous offending history to decide whether there are reasonable grounds to believe that if s/he were to be released on bail, further offences may be committed. The custody officer should take into account the offence for which the detainee has been charged on this occasion. For example, if the detainee only has previous convictions for shoplifting, and has been arrested and detained for a burglary, it would be difficult to justify further detention to prevent him/her from committing further burglaries. However, each case has to be taken on its merits. It should be noted that this section only applies to imprisonable offences committed by the detainee.
Where the custody officer believes that the detainee must be prevented from causing physical injury to any other person or from causing loss of or damage to property, statements from the investigating officer and witnesses may provide the necessary grounds. It should be noted that this section applies to non-imprisonable offences committed by the detainee
Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994
5A. — (1) Section 5 of this Act applies, in relation to bail granted by a custody officer under Part IV of the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984 in cases where the normal powers to impose conditions of bail are available to him, subject to the following modifications.
(2) For subsection (3) substitute the following—
"(3) Where a custody officer, in relation to any person,—
(a) imposes conditions in granting bail in criminal proceedings, or
(b) varies any conditions of bail or imposes conditions in respect of bail in criminal proceedings,
the custody officer shall, with a view to enabling that person to consider requesting him or another custody officer, or making an application to a magistrates' court, to vary the conditions, give reasons for imposing or varying the conditions."
(3) For subsection (4) substitute the following—
"(4) A custody officer who is by virtue of subsection (3) above required to give reasons for his decision shall include a note of those reasons in the custody record and shall give a copy of that note to the person in relation to whom the decision was taken."
Judicial studies board website http://www.jsboard.co.uk/magistrates/hrtraining/mf_04.htm
5a Bail Act Applications
Both the Bail Act 1976 and the Convention state that a defendant has the right to bail.
The Bail Act 1976 provides conditions which must be complied with before a person is either remanded in custody or released on conditional bail. In a similar way Article 5 ensures that everyone has the Right to liberty. This Right can only be withheld in accordance with a procedure prescribed by law such as the Bail Act 1976.
For example, in one particular case (Matznetter v Austria 1969) the Court of Human Rights ruled on a remand in custody based on the fear of further offending. The Court of Human Rights stated that this could not be justified if the previous convictions were not comparable, either in nature or seriousness, with the charges preferred against the accused. Magistrates correctly applying the 1976 Bail Act would have come to the same conclusion as the Court of Human Rights. This case shows how much of our legislation is in tune with the Convention.
Archbold Part II – (Bail Act 1976, Schedule 1)
defendants accused or convicted of Non-imprisonable offences
Defendants to whom Part II applies:
1. where the offence or every offence of which the defendant is accused or convicted in proceedings is one which is not punishable with imprisonment the following provisions of the part of this Schedule apply
Exceptions to right to bail
2. The defendant need not be granted bail if-
(a) it appears to the court that, having been previously granted bail in criminal proceedings, he has failed to surrender to custody in accordance with his obligations under the grant of bail; and
(b) the court believes, in view of that failure, that the defendant, if released on bail (whether subject to conditions or not) would fail to surrender to custody.
3. The Defendant need not be granted bail if he is in custody in pursuance of the sentence of a court or of any authority acting under any of the Service Acts.
4. The defendant need not be granted bail if:-
(a) having been released on bail in or in connection with the proceedings for the offence, he has been arrested under s.7 of this Act; and
(b) the court is satisfied that there are substantial grounds for believing that the defendant, if released on bail (whether subject to conditions or not) would fail to surrender to custody, commit an offence on bail or interfere with witnesses or otherwise obstruct the course of justice (whether in relation to himself or any other person)
Bail Act 1976
s.5.5 – must give reasons for imposing conditions via ss.3(4),(5),(6)
s.7 arrest for breach of bail conditions
s.37(7)(a) – shall be released without charge and on bail for the purpose of enabling the DPP to make a decision under s.37B
s.37B re DPP charging or not, caution or conditional caution
s.37C breach of bail following release under s.37(7)(a) re failure to surrender
s.47 – bail after arrest.