East London CND Peace Network Launch: Report

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:

  1. Individuals within groups need to be contacted, so any personal contacts would be helpful

  2. 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

Parliament motion on US withdrawal from INF Treaty

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.’


Trump trashes INF Treaty, UK follows suit

‘…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

Young activists meet London CND's vice-presidents at Parliamentary reception

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.

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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.

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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.

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You can see more photos from the event on our facebook page.

CND conference - last chance to register!

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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.

Full details here, including registration for individuals and organisations.


Support London CND: a message from our Vice-President Catherine West MP

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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.


Read more


Donate to London CND

The Man Who Saved The World: Film Screening

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.

 Catherine West MP speaking at the start of our film screening

Catherine West MP speaking at the start of our film screening

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,

Lydia.

Hiroshima Day 2018

 Raised Voices choir performing at our ceremony

Raised Voices choir performing at our ceremony

London CND held our annual ceremony to commemorate the victims of the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki on Monday 6th August. In a powerful and moving ceremony, we heard from a range of speakers and and performers, and were joined by around 100 attendees. 

Councillor Maryam Eslamdoust, the Deputy Mayor of Camden, lay a wreath at the memorial tree, and we were sent a message from the Mayor of Tower Hamlets which you can read below, alongside the statement from the Mayor of Hiroshima which was read out by Shigeo Kobayashi at the ceremony.


Statement from the Mayor of Tower Hamlets

The 6th of August is an important point of reflection each year, where we take the time to remember the terrible events of World War 2, particularly Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

This day is marked around the world as a vital moment to pause, reflect, and think about how we can all work together to avoid and agree to prevent such events in the future. This has become increasingly important in a world which can sometime feel ever more fragmented.

The last century also marked an increased targeting, particularly with modern and more powerful weapons and particularly those able to strike remotely, of urban populations in war.

The events of 1945 feel increasingly distant as each year passes, yet we must not forget them. They are a reminder of what can happen in the darkest of days, and a reminder that we must always strive for peace.

- Cllr John Biggs Mayor of Tower Hamlets


Statement from the Mayor of Hiroshima

It’s 73 years ago and a Monday morning, just like today. With the mid-summer sun already blazing, Hiroshima starts another day. Please listen to what I say next as if you and your loved ones were there. At 8:15 comes a blinding flash. A fireball more than a million degrees Celsius releases intense radiation, heat, and then, a tremendous blast. Below the roiling mushroom cloud, innocent lives are snuffed out as the city is obliterated.“I’m so hot! It’s killing me!” From under collapsed houses, children scream for their mothers.

“Water! Please, water!” come moans and groans from the brink of death. In the foul stench of burning people, victims wander around like ghosts, their flesh peeled and red. Black rain fell all around. The scenes of hell burnt into their memories and the radiation eating away at their minds and bodies are even now sources of pain for hibakusha who survive.

Today, with more than 14,000 nuclear warheads remaining, the likelihood is growing that what we saw in Hiroshima after the explosion that day will return, by intent or accident, plunging people into agony.

The hibakusha, based on their intimate knowledge of the terror of nuclear weapons, are ringing an alarm against the temptation to possess them. Year by year, as hibakusha decrease in number, listening to them grows ever more crucial. One hibakusha who was 20 says, “If nuclear weapons are used, every living thing will be annihilated. Our beautiful Earth will be left in ruins. World leaders should gather in the A-bombed cities, encounter our tragedy, and, at a minimum, set a course toward freedom from nuclear weapons. I want human beings to become good stewards of creation capable of abolishing nuclear weapons.” He asks world leaders to focus their reason and insight on abolishing nuclear weapons so we can treasure life and avoid destroying the Earth.

Last year, the Nobel Peace Prize went to ICAN, an organization that contributed to the formation of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons. Thus, the spirit of the hibakusha is spreading through the world. On the other hand, certain countries are blatantly proclaiming self-centered nationalism and modernizing their nuclear arsenals, rekindling tensions that had eased with the end of the Cold War.

Another hibakusha who was 20 makes this appeal: “I hope no such tragedy ever happens again. We must never allow ours to fade into the forgotten past. I hope from the bottom of my heart that humanity will apply our wisdom to making our entire Earth peaceful.” If the human family forgets history or stops confronting it, we could again commit a terrible error. That is precisely why we must continue talking about Hiroshima. Efforts to eliminate nuclear weapons must continue based on intelligent actions by leaders around the world.

Nuclear deterrence and nuclear umbrellas flaunt the destructive power of nuclear weapons and seek to maintain international order by generating fear in rival countries. This approach to guaranteeing long-term security is inherently unstable and extremely dangerous. World leaders must have this reality etched in their hearts as they negotiate in good faith the elimination of nuclear arsenals, which is a legal obligation under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. Furthermore, they must strive to make the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons a milestone along the path to a nuclear-weapon-free world.

We in civil society fervently hope that the easing of tensions on the Korean Peninsula will proceed through peaceable dialogue. For leaders to take courageous actions, civil society must respect diversity, build mutual trust, and make the abolition of nuclear weapons a value shared by all humankind. Mayors for Peace, now with more than 7,600 member cities around the world, will focus on creating that environment.

I ask the Japanese government to manifest the magnificent pacifism of the Japanese Constitution in the movement toward the entry into force of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons by playing its proper role, leading the international community toward dialogue and cooperation for a world without nuclear weapons. In addition, I hereby demand an expansion of the black rain areas along with greater concern and improved assistance for the many people suffering the mental and physical effects of radiation, especially the hibakusha, whose average age is now over 82.

Today, we renew our commitment and offer sincere consolation to the souls of all A-bomb victims. Along with Nagasaki, the other A-bombed city, and with much of the world’s population, Hiroshima pledges to do everything in our power to achieve lasting world peace and the abolition of nuclear weapons.

- MATSUI Kazumi, Mayor, The City of Hiroshima

   August 6, 2018

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Programme of speakers from the ceremony

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You can view more photos from the ceremony here