Kickstarter Project: “The World is my Country”


“The World is my Country”: A Visual Celebration of the People and
Movements that Opposed the First World War
Make your pledge donation here:

Deadline for pledges: 4pm, Sunday 26 January 2014

“[We] will break before we bend … The world is my country” — Derby
anti-war activist Alice Wheeldon, who was framed for plotting to murder
the Prime Minister, Lloyd George, in a letter from prison, February 1917.

This year, to mark the 100th anniversary of the start of the First World
War, Peace News is launching a major new project: “The World is My
Country”: A Visual Celebration of the People and Movements that Opposed
the First World War.

At the centre of this project will be *ten new full-colour posters
designed and made by PN’s co-editor Emily Johns*, celebrating key
figures and events from the First World War anti-war movement —
including figures and events from Germany & the Global South – bringing
their stories and chutzpah alive for a new generation.

The project has already raised the lion’s-share of the monies required, but now
needs your help to raise £3000 so that they can make this project
maximally effective, including the production of a booklet version of
the posters with the background research that can’t be included on the
posters themselves.

The project is using the crowdfunding web-site Kickstarter to do this, and you
can find out more about this project (including the sliding-scale of
rewards donors) and pledge a donation here:

Please note that this is a
time-limited project, and that you have only 30 days to make your pledge.

*About the Posters*

Featuring the distinctive graphic art of *Emily Johns*, the 10
full-colour posters will be distributed widely at WW1-related events
throughout 2014 as well as serialised in PN itself.

Stories include:

* a secret soldiers’ pact to shoot to injure rather than to kill;
* the gleeful, even mischievous, appropriation of a pompous
prosecutor’s words for use as anti-war propaganda;
* the network of refuges for war resisters on the run in Sheffield,
Liverpool, and Leicester;
* the jailing of one of the century’s greatest philosophers (who had
already been dismissed from his college and banned from “prohibited
areas” amounting to one-third of Britain for his anti-war
activities, and who subsequently managed to smuggle a letter out of
jail, hidden in the uncut pages of the Proceedings of the London
Mathematical Society);
* the conscientious objectors shipped to France and sentenced to
death, saved by the sexual charisma of a famous aristocrat;
* the Jamaican man who refused to be conscripted on the grounds that
the European Powers “have oppressed and tyrrannised over my
fellow-men” while “I am not given ordinary privileges as a citizen”.

The project also aims to commission and publish complementary work from
five contemporary poets, and using these and the posters as a
springboard for a series of public events — including exhibitions in
London, the Midlands, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland, one or more
strategically-placed billboards in London, targeted media work, and a UK
speaking tour.

A talk with Adam Hochschild, author of To End All
Wars: How the First World War Divided Britain (Penguin, 2011) – one of
the few histories of the conflict to foreground the war’s opponents, and
a major inspiration for this project – will be held on Friday 17 January 2014


‘To the Belligerent Governments’: “The victory you seek is a victory
which shall perpetuate your empire over mankind; keep Humanity bound in
fetters to your cruel and senseless systems; maintain your castes and
your monopolies; strengthen your embargo upon the peoples’ liberties;
leave your heel firmly planted on the peoples’ necks.” – E.D. Morel,
co-founder of the anti-war Union of Democratic Control, May 1916, jailed
for six-months for sending an anti-war pamphlet to Switzerland.

“Freedom’s battle has not to be fought on the blood-drenched soil of
France but nearer home — our enemy is within the gates” — Birmingham
socialist William Holliday in a speech at the Birmingham Bull Ring, May
1915. (Holliday was arrested and sentenced to three months hard labour
for this speech).

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