The Future Wars conference explored the impact of new technologies on war and it took place on the 10th November at Birkbeck University of London. Below you can watch video clips from some of our amazing speakers!
We’re really excited to announce the details of this year’s London CND conference - with the theme ‘Trump’s finger on the nuclear button.’
We’ll be exploring themes of global conflict, nuclear escalation and grassroots resistance, with speakers including Catherine West MP, Ambassador Husam Zomlot, and Medea Benjamin from Code Pink USA.
Tickets are free, and you can book yours here.
We look forward to seeing you!
Tower Hamlets CND, which will be celebrating its 60th anniversary next year, held a meeting at Whitechapel Library on 8th November. The main focus was to discuss the aim of reaching out to other organisations* with similar aims, both inside and outside the borough, with a view to the reciprocal dissemination of information about campaigns, events and matters of general interest.
This forum was described as a ‘Network for Peace’ with the primary strands being social justice, sustainability and peace.
The Chair of THCND, Phil Sedler, explained that he had contacted several organisations about the meeting and that some had expressed interest in the project, whilst not being in a position to send a representative to this initial brainstorming.
It was emphasised that this focus for other groups within the borough would have an informal structure which it was agreed is preferable to many, in particular the young. Carol Turner from London CND and Georgia Elander, staff member, hope to enthuse people to participate and will lend administrative support until the end of February, by which time the group should have found its feet.
The importance of social media was highlighted, and LCND are offering to organise and run a workshop on using technology, including how to set up a Facebook page, using Twitter, advertising events, etc.
The Chair explained that some thought had been given to data protection issues and it was important that each organisation be approached by one of their own members - a cascade of information was a useful analogy.
Having discussed various ways of organising the coalition, two immediate aims were identified:
Individuals within groups need to be contacted, so any personal contacts would be helpful
It was agreed that a social before Christmas would provide an opportunity for further sharing of ideas and insights
GE will send out the initial email inviting organisations to join and a second with details of the social.
THCND’s next meeting will be on 10th January 2019 at Kingsley Hall and the AGM will be on Thursday 2nd March.
Report by Kate Cryan, London CND member
Early Day Motion 1744 – put forward by Lloyd Russell-Moyle MP and supported Caroline Lucas, Jonathan Edwards, Peter Bottomley, Kelvin Hopkins, and Emma Dent Coad – has already attracted support from Scottish Nationalist, Plaid Cymru, LibDem, Conservative, and Democratic Unionist MPs. The full text reads:
‘That this House is deeply concerned by the announcement on 20 October 2018 by the US President of the decision to withdraw the US from the Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF); notes that withdrawal from the INF will serve to undermine international attempts to curb nuclear proliferation; further notes that this move will destabilise global and specifically, European security; commends those countries, including France and Germany, who have released statements criticising the move; and calls on the Government to use its influence on Washington to urge the US to deal with any concerns it may have over treaty compliance through diplomatic means and to uphold its commitments to the treaty.’
‘…on the negotiating table in Geneva is a Soviet proposal to reduce by half the respective nuclear arms of the USSR and the USA, which would be an important step towards the complete elimination of nuclear weapons.’
Mikhail Gorbachev, 15 January 1986
The road to the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty between the USA and the Soviet Union began with a Soviet statement, quoted above. The world was sceptical that an effective arms control agreement between these two would ever be reached. Almost two years later, on 8 December 1987, US President Ronald Reagan and General Secretary Gorbachev signed the INF Treaty; itt was ratified by the US Senate in May 1988.
The Treaty banned the US and USSR (later the Russian Federation) from possessing ground-launched nuclear missiles with a range of 500 to 5,500 kilometres. Nearly 2,700 short- and medium-range missiles were destroyed as a result. In consequence, cruise missiles and SS20s were removed from Britain and Europe.
A decade later, on 20 October 2018, President Trump announced his intention to withdraw. Twenty four hours later, UK Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson announced Britain stood ‘absolutely resolute’ with Trump.
London Region CND Chair Carol Turner said: ‘Overturning the treaty reintroduces the threat of nuclear war in Europe, and elsewhere – at a time when relations between the Russia and the US, and Britain too, are deteriorating.
‘US withdrawal requires Congressional approval. We’ll see if Trump will get it. Meanwhile, it’s the job of us all to let Gavin Williamson know how irresponsible he is to threaten Britain with the frightening possibility of nuclear confrontation on our doorstep once more.’
What you can do:
Invite a London CND speaker to your next meeting
Write to your local MP and let them know your views
Urge your MP to support Early Day Motion – visit the CND UK website here
On Monday, Parliament’s Jubilee Room was filled with enthusiastic young activists from London universities, come to hear from our vice-presidents about getting involved with London CND.
We were kindly hosted by Catherine West MP, who spoke alongside Jenny Jones and Bruce Kent about their support for the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament.
The event was attended by students from universities including University College London, University of the Arts London and Pearsons Business College, as well as Catherine West’s alma mater, the School of Oriental and African Studies. It was a great opportunity for students to meet other activists, and find out about starting their own university CND societies with the support of London CND.
Before the drinks reception, a small group of students was given a private tour of the House of Lords by Jenny Jones, Baroness of Moulsecoomb, who is another of London CND’s vice-presidents.
You can see more photos from the event on our facebook page.
Registration for CND UK’s AGM and conference closes this Friday, 12 October. It takes place in Bristol this year, on the weekend of Sat 20 and Sun 21 October. The AGM is Saturday – your chance to vote on policy for the coming year, including London’s motions, and elect CND’s national representatives for the coming year.
It’s been a busy year, and with activities in the pipeline, our Vice President Catherine West MP is appealing for financial support for London CND’s work in future: ‘Thank you to everyone who's played a part in London CND’s work this year. I’ve enjoyed meeting many of you at our annual conference and Hiroshima Day film show – a terrible reminder of why we do what we do. And what good news it was to get recognition of this with the Nobel Peace Prize award. I write to share some of our plans for the year ahead, and ask you to make a financial contribution towards London CND’s work.
Walter Wolfgang, a member of London CND’s executive committee, this week received a Merit Award for his years of dedication to the party. Walter joined Labour in 1948 after fleeing Nazi Germany and he has spent his life fighting for peace, justice and socialism.
Here is his touching acceptance speech.
Welcome to this blog entry from Lydia!
You might have heard about my time here with London CND from my previous blog. Last Monday, I had the opportunity to help out with London CND’s screening of The Man Who Saved The World, part of our annual ceremony to commemorate the victims of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. With 50 people attending, many of whom have been members for decades, it was truly inspiring to see everyone come together for the purpose of remembering those who were lost to violence, and maintaining the endeavor for peace.
The evening started with a warm welcome and talk from Catherine West MP; a woman admirably passionate about the fight against nuclear weapons. She gave a heartfelt speech followed by a reading of an extract from Fallout, by Fred Pearce, a book which explored the detrimental effects of nuclear energy since dropping the first atomic bomb.
The movie began afterwards. Before our eyes played the story of Stanislav Petrov, the man who on 26 September 1983 - a time when the US-Soviet relations were severely strained - prevented not only the start of a nuclear holocaust, but also the end of the world as we know it. Throughout the movie flashed images that reveal the real impacts of nuclear weapons. It stressed that these are not merely a hypothetical issue, but an issue that threatens human extinction by the minute. They are the ingredients to a war which can never be won. The documentary included a mention of a US nuclear missile that really solidified the room’s perception of nuclear weapons. The soldier introducing the missile to Stanislav Petrov described the damage: if all the bombs dropped on both sides of WW2 were combined into a single missile, it would only cause 60% of the damage caused by this one. These were the kinds of missiles that threatened human existence in 1983, and still do to this day. Stanislav Petrov’s actions demonstrate the importance of always choosing to do what is right, despite being alone in believing it is the right thing to do. He demonstrates the reality of the power of the individual in preserving humanity, and in the fight for peace. Most importantly, he personifies the extent to which saving the world - or destroying it - can be truly momentary.
In stressing this, he left us with a crucial reality-check:
“We must learn to coexist like brothers, or perish like dinosaurs”.
Until next time,