CND

CND slams Westminster Abbey 'thanksgiving' service for nuclear weapons

Campaigners at CND and a host of other organisations have roundly condemned plans to hold a ‘thanksgiving’ service for Britain’s nuclear deterrent at Westminster Abbey.

The Royal Navy plans to host a National Service of Thanksgiving to mark 50 years of the Continuous at Sea Deterrent on the 3rd of May. New nuclear submarines are currently being constructed as part of a £205 billion Trident replacement scheme.

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CND will hold protests at Westminster Abbey if the service goes ahead.

Kate Hudson, CND general secretary, said:

“It’s morally repugnant that a service of thanksgiving for Britain’s nuclear weapons system is due to be held at Westminster Abbey. This sends out a terrible message to the world about our country. It says that here in Britain we celebrate weapons – in a place of worship – that can kill millions of people.

“If the Defence Secretary doesn’t cancel this service, we call on the Church authorities to step in to stop it. CND will hold protests at Westminster Abbey on the day of the service if this celebration of nuclear weapons goes ahead.”

In July 2018, the General Synod passed a motion which states “nuclear weapons, through their indiscriminate and destructive potential, present a distinct category of weaponry that requires Christians to work tirelessly for their elimination across the world.”

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Peace with Iran: updates from Code Pink USA's campaign

Code Pink USA have won another victory in their campaign for the US to rejoin the Iran nuclear deal, with Representative and presidential hopeful Tulsi Gabbard committing her support.

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In May 2018, President Trump pulled the US out of the deal, which provided that Iran's nuclear activities would be limited in exchange for reduced sanctions. The international community reacted to Trump’s announcement with serious concern.

CND General Secretary Kate Hudson said of the decision: “Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw the US from the Iran nuclear deal is a dangerous and irresponsible move, rightly condemned by the international community. The groundbreaking 2015 deal achieved its central aim: Iran doesn’t have a nuclear weapons programme. Only a president hellbent on making the world a more dangerous place would consider such a belligerent and counterproductive move. It will be seen as a step towards war and sends a threatening message to the world.”

For the past couple of weeks, Code Pink have been calling on the 2020 Presidential hopefuls to publicly support rejoining the deal as part of their campaign to reinstate it.

So far, Senators Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, Kamala Harris, Representative Julian Castro and candidates Wayne Messam, Marianne Williamson, and now Representative Tulsi Gabbard have all committed to re-entering the Iran Nuclear deal.

Code Pink also had another victory last month when the Democratic National Committee passed a resolution calling on the U.S. to re-enter the Iran Nuclear deal. This means that rejoining the agreement is the official policy of the Democratic Party.

Code Pink USA is a grassroots peace and social justice movement working to end U.S.-funded wars and occupations. In January this year, we held a video interview with its co-founder Medea Benjamin, which was screened at our conference. You can watch the interview in full here.



Protest NATO: 70 years too many

This April, the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) celebrates its 70th birthday.

As CND General Secretary Kate Hudson writes, ‘in the 30 years since the Cold War and the removal of its political and military rival, the Soviet Union, NATO has massively expanded territorially, changed its mission statement from a defensive to an aggressive posture and embarked on a series of wars, of which their intervention in Afghanistan is getting on for two decades long. ‘

CND has long opposed NATO, and on the 2nd April will protest to challenge this aggressive alliance which makes all of us less safe. Linking with anti-NATO protests internationally, CND will be at NATO’s Allied Maritime Command in Northwood.

Join us on the 2nd April to say No to Nato and No to Trump!

A new nuclear arms race? The INF treaty explained

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What is the INF treaty - and why does it matter?

This morning, we woke up to the news that Donald Trump is pulling the US out of the INF treaty. So what?

Read our explainer to find out why it’s actually a big deal.

What is it?

The Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF for short) was signed in Washington in 1987 between Ronald Reagan and Mikhail Gorbachev, then General Secretary of the USSR. The treaty put an end to an arms race in which both the US and the USSR had deployed nuclear missiles all across Europe.

The INF outlawed all missiles with ranges of 500–1,000 kilometers (short-range) and 1,000–5,500 km (intermediate-range), and by May 1991, 2,692 such missiles were eliminated.

Why does Donald Trump want the US to pull out?

In October last year, Trump announced his intention to withdraw from the treaty on the grounds that Russia is not complying with it. The Trump administration claims that Russia is developing a new Cruise missile, which violates the treaty.


What happens next?

Today Trump confirmed that the US will be leaving the treaty. The US will suspending its compliance on Saturday, and will serve formal notice that it will withdraw altogether in six months.

If Russia does not destroy its new missiles within that six-month window, the US will start to develop its own intermediate-range missiles. This is likely to lead to a dangerous nuclear arms race.

Use CND’s tool to call on the foreign secretary to save the treaty.


Trump's finger on the nuclear button: Report from London CND 2019 conference

Photo: Henry Kenyon

Photo: Henry Kenyon

Last Saturday, CND supporters from across London gathered for our annual conference - this year taking the theme ‘Trump’s finger on the Nuclear Button.’

We were honoured to be joined by Ambassador Husam Zumlot, head of the Palestinian mission in Washington until President Trump closed it down. The Ambassador gave fascinating insights into the challenges facing those who seek a peaceful solution to the Israel-Palestine conflict, and what the Trump administration’s policies mean for the region. We also heard from Catherine West on the UK Parliament’s response to the Trump administration, and from Ann Feltham from the Campaign Against the Arms Trade on the importance of ending arms sales to Saudi Arabia.

After the first session we crossed the Atlantic, with a video interview with Medea Benjamin from Code Pink USA, a women-led organisation opposing war and militarism. She told us about the varied tactics Code Pink uses - from traditional protest marches to inventive publicity stunts and educational programmes - and said she hoped to work more closely with the UK peace movement in the months and years ahead.

You can watch the video interview  here

You can watch the video interview here

Our second plenary featured Dr Rebecca Johnson from the Acronym Institute, London CND Chair Carol Turner, and Rae Street, Vice-Chair of CND UK. The guests discussed the trashing of international treaties - such as Trump’s intention to pull out of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty, first signed in 1987 between the US and Russia. We heard about the importance of international agreements like the in building towards a nuclear-free world.

SOAS CND chair Nobu Ono speaking at the conference. Photo: Henry Kenyon

SOAS CND chair Nobu Ono speaking at the conference. Photo: Henry Kenyon

In the final plenary - ‘Think Global, Act Local’ - our speakers tackled the challenge of how to take concrete action as campaigners and communities to build this world. Sara Medi Jones, acting CND General Secretary, spoke about CND’s current campaigns; Nobu Ono told us about the work he’s been doing running SOAS CND, and the challenges and opportunities in youth and student activism. Green Party co-leader Jonathan Bartley left us with a message of hope: that we are living through times of intense change, in which the old political order is breaking apart - and we have the opportunity to build something new.

London CND vice-chair Hannah Kemp-Welch chairs the final panel of the day. Photo: Henry Kenyon

London CND vice-chair Hannah Kemp-Welch chairs the final panel of the day. Photo: Henry Kenyon

You can see all the photos from the conference here.





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.

July blog: hello from Lydia!

Hello there, this is your first blog from Lydia! You might have heard of me from Georgia’s blog entry last month. So onto introducing myself: I’m 17 (Year 12, going into Year 13), and I study English Literature, History, Government and Politics, and Religious Studies as my A levels, and I’m very passionate about issues of peace, equality, and social justice.

A while ago I contacted the London CND asking for the opportunity to complete a work experience placement, and –to my surprise-, they said yes!  So after weeks of tiring revision and sleep deprivation that is called exam season, I’m finally here! So far, I’ve had the opportunity to contribute to preparations for the Hiroshima and Nagasaki commemoration activities. In essence therefore, it’s been great! I’m also very excited for the upcoming contributions that I’ll be able to make during my time here.

What made you interested in the CND, you may wonder – and I shall answer. Well, I’ve been a competitive debater for around 4 years now, and although the issues we discuss are wide-ranging (from sports, to social policy, to international relations and economics), what remains their irremovable basis is the ways in which they affect people. Everyone- in ways in which you may not get to think about, until you’re sat down with 15minutes to prepare for a motion which you may not know a lot about, and you find yourself forced to think about stakeholders. There are always many more than you think. So this was my first step into social justice.

This newly critical view that I gained however, does not stop on the individual, regional, or social level. It’s important to care about stopping injustice whether it be down your own road caused by a racist, or across the world by a missile. I first heard of the CND back when I was still doing my GCSE in History, in which we covered its opposition to the Iraq War. The CND had demonstrated to me how holding beliefs that are absolute in protecting the people (whose voices are often muted), most often would result in the better situation. Ultimately, there aren’t many wars which truly yielded peace or justice.

I think therefore that an important step in making sure a message of peace and justice prevails, and is not completely separated from politics is engaging the youth in this. To say that the youth do not have valuable opinions would be a lie, but it is disillusionment that distances us from politics and making a change. We’re often idealistic and most frustrated with injustice, and we really exist! Although, I can say that the CND are making efforts in engaging the youth; for instance, the Peace Education Campaign, and willingly allowing me to join them. So with the importance of peace, justice, and youth engagement in mind, I will be sitting here, enjoying my front seat on giving my share of the effort!