Welcome aboard Amber Goneni, who’s joined the London CND team as our Youth & Student rep. Amber’s taking a year’s sabbatical as University of the Arts London’s Campaigns Officer. Amber’s full of ideas for the months ahead, so watch this space for news. Amber joins Nobu Ono who runs the CND Society at SOAS and helps organise London CND’s annual conference in January each year, and both are working with Ben to expand CND’s reach among the capital’s students.
Welcome to Ben Smoke who joined the team at the end of May, as London CND’s Group Development and Social Media officer. Ben has bags of campaigning and blogging experience. If you or your group needs information or support, or if you want to get involved for the first time, Ben’s your man. He’s usually in the office Tuesday and Friday, send him an email on firstname.lastname@example.org or leave a message on 020 7607 2302.
On August 6th London CND joined millions across the world in remembering the dropping of the atomic bomb on Hiroshima in 1945. Estimates on the number killed range from 100,000 to 180,00 with 63% of the buildings in the city destroyed by the bombing. After a commemoration ceremony in Tavistock square gardens earlier the day, around 50 people attended Friends House, Euston for an evening meeting on the theme 'Hiroshima to Chernobyl: No to Nuclear’.
The event, chaired by Bruce Kent, started with a video report from Hiroshima on commemorations there, as well as clips from HBO’s hit mini-series ‘Chernobyl’. London Region chair Carol Turner spoke on the Chernobyl disaster and the impact the accident had on communities across eastern Europe.
Readings from Nobel Prize winning Svetlana Alexievich’s Voices from Chernobyl by Carol Turner and Jan Woolf, Author and founder of No Glory in War continued this theme. Author and Performer AL Kennedy also spoke on the contemporary dangers of nuclear weapons and power which prompted debate and comment from those in the audience on the subject of mobilizing against nuclear in an age of climate and political crisis.
We will be having more public meetings in the future, so please be sure to keep an eye on our events page for further details.
The Defence and Security Enforcement International (DSEI) arms fair is one of the largest arms fairs in the world and we're co-ordinating with various groups and organisations for a No to Nuclear day on 4th September. We're hoping that as many of our members as possible can get down to help us try and shut down the fair so please do keep the date free and for more information, please visit the CND website.
There'll be lots of different ways to be involved on the day, one of which is to take part in, or support non-violent direct action to ensure the site is shut down. If this is something you'd be interested in, there’ll a training day in collaboration with Mad Hatters on 31st August. Please do get in touch with us via email to find out more.
London region CND vice-chair Hannah Kemp-Welch visited Hiroshima in august 2019 for the A&H conference and sent back this touching and powerful video report on the conference, and the city, 74 years after the bomb was dropped.
This year marks the 74th anniversary of the dropping of nuclear weapons on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Commemoration events will be taking place across the city, including a peace walk through central London, and ceremonies in Tavistock Square and London’s Peace Pagoda in Battersea Park. Below are a list of all events taking place. If yours is not on this list, please contact email@example.com and let us know what you’re planning so we can add it!
Join us on Sunday 4th August for a guided peace through London and discover some of the people and places in the city associated with international peacemaking - from the Gandhi Statue in Tavistock square to Victoria Tower Gardens nearby parliament.
This year we'll be back for our annual commemoration service in Tavistock Square on 6th August, opened by Cllr Maryam Mayor of Camden, and compered by London CND Vice President Jenny Jones of the Green Party, with the usual mix of performers and speakers.
Kingston Peace Council/ CND Hiroshima Day event
Assemble 8.30 pm, 6th August, in Canbury Gardens on the Kingston river bank. Please bring white flowers to cast onto the water in remembrance of those who died, and candles to illuminate the path beside the river.
Organised by: Kingston Peace Council/CND
Hosted by Bruce Kent, with a video link up with Hannah Kemp Welche in Hiroshima, CND's representative at the Japanese Conference Against A&H Bombs. More speakers tbc.
On Friday 9th August, there will be a peace walk from Westminster Cathedral after the service for Franz Jaegerstaetter, to the London Peace Pagoda, followed by a Lantern-Lighting Ceremony. Timings TBC but for more information please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Finchley Hiroshima and Nagasaki Commemoration
On Saturday 10th August, Finchley’s annual Hiroshima and Nagasaki commemoration ceremony will take place at VIctoria Park, Ballards Lane, Finchley (nearest postcode N3 1LY). Meeting by the commemorative cherry tree at 11am, a minute of silence will be held, and participants are invited o bring flowers to lay beneath the tree and to share tea and thoughts afterwards at the café. Contact: Charles Wicksteed email@example.com for more information. (Accessibility: Level access over grass. Nearby parking for blue badge holders.)
Join us on Sunday 4th August for a commemorative peace walk through London and discover some of the people and places in the city associated with international peacemaking.
In this guided walk with Valerie Flessati and Pat Gaffney we'll be making our way from the Gandhi Statue in Tavistock square to Red Lion Square, Trafalgar Square, Whitehall and Westminster, finishing in Victoria Tower Gardens, next to Parliament. During the course of the walk we'll be joined by Bruce Kent - Honorary Vice President of CND. Though this is a guided walk, those attending are welcome to drop out on the route when/if they need to.
We’ll be meeting at 2pm at the Gandhi statue in Tavistock Square. Tickets are free, but limited, so make sure to book yours now here;
Around 100 people attended CND Vice President Walter Wolfgang’s funeral service in North London on 6 June, many of them London CND members. Known to many as the old gent evicted from 2005 Labour conference for heckling then Foreign Secretary Jack Straw over the Iraq War and detained under the prevention of terrorism Act, Walter was a lifelong nuclear disarmer and anti-war activist, and a campaigner for Palestinian rights.
An organiser of the first Aldermaston March, Walter was active in London Region CND from its inception in the 1950s and was a committee member until he died. Walter was also a Labour Party member and a friend of Jeremy Corbyn for many years. Corbyn’s message was read at the funeral service:
‘I am sorry I cannot be with you today. I am attending the commemorations for D-Day in Normandy.
‘While I am there, I will be thinking about all those who suffered at the hands of Nazism and fascism, but especially Walter and his family, who were put through so much by that ideology of evil.
‘I first got to know Walter in the 1970s, through the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament. I remember chairing meetings of the CND council. Every single council member would speak at length, all on the same topic. When nobody could take any more, I would try and bring the meeting to a close. It was always at that point that Walter would raise his hand to make his contribution.
‘But you couldn’t say “no” to Walter. You knew that whatever he wanted to say, it would be important and interesting. We loved him for it.
‘I continued to work with Walter through CND, the Campaign for Labour Party Democracy, and the Campaign for Non-Alignment, in which Walter played a huge part. I will be eternally grateful for all the support he gave me, particularly at the 2005 General Election, where he spent hours on end fundraising, and telephone canvassing for our campaign in Islington North.
‘And I will never forget him turning up at my house with a present in hand, the very first visitor after my eldest son Ben was born.
‘I was so proud to be able to present him with a Labour Party Merit Award at our Annual Conference last year, where he delivered a televised video message to the conference, emphasising the importance of peace, justice and socialism. He was an inspiring comrade, a brilliant mentor, and a wonderful friend. He is a huge loss to the international labour movement and the peace movement.
My wife Laura and I were among the last people to visit Walter in hospital before he died. He said to me: “Jeremy, we are going to win aren’t we?” I said “yes”, and he smiled. And that is how I will remember him.’
Our friends at Campaign Against the Arms Trade (CAAT) have taken the British Government to court over sales of arms to Saudi Arabia - arms used in the devastating civil war in Yemen. On Thursday, the court of appeal ruled that the sale of these arms was unlawful, and immediately suspended all licenses. CAAT had this to say on the ruling:
“The court found that the government had failed to properly assess whether there have been breaches of International Humanitarian Law. This historic judgement means that the government must now stop issuing new arms exports licences and suspend existing licences to export arms to Saudi Arabia for use in Yemen, and retake all decisions in accordance with the law.
These sales should never have been licensed in the first place. Even as schools, hospitals, weddings, and funerals have been bombed, the government has licensed the sale of billions of pounds of weapons for use in the conflict.
We have now shown that these arms sales were not just immoral, but also unlawful. But even now the government is likely to resist. Every step of the way it has done all it can to keep the weapons flowing”
This is a huge victory for the peace movement, but plans are already being made to try and overturn the ruling. CAAT are urging all supporters to contact their MPs to ensure this doesn’t happen. You can find out more information here.
Last week, founding member of CND Walter Wolfgang sadly passed away at the age of 95. Walter was life-long vice president and sat on the EC of the campaign. Tributes have been pouring in for the anti-nuclear campaigner, including this from Labour Leader Jeremy Corbyn in the Guardian:
”Walter was horrified by the cold war and the prospect of nuclear annihilation. In 1958 he was a founder member of the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament, and helped organise the first Aldermaston march to Britain’s Atomic Weapons Research Establishment – an occasion he remembered for the presence of bands and music and an unexpectedly good turnout.
He stood as a Labour candidate for Croydon North East in the 1959 general election. He did not win, and was prevented from standing again due to his anti-nuclear views. Unperturbed, he dedicated the rest of his life to that cause – a level of commitment that was recognised when CND made him its vice-president for life..”
You can read the full article here.