To mark the 8th anniversary of the Fukushima disaster, three mothers from the town met in Parliament, along with Caroline Lucas MP and Dr Ian Fairlie. You can watch the full video below.
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.
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.”
If the thanksgiving service goes ahead, join our protest outside the Abbey on the day
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.
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.
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.
London CND member Jill Truman returned to Greenham Common in February 2019 for a photo exhibition highlighting life in the women's peace camp, where she met up with sisters from her former home town of Bristol. Below she records her recollections for London CND.
THERE ARE NO FENCES, topped with razor wire, at Greenham Common now; no ugly, squat concrete buildings; no runways or silos; no convoys of lorries loaded with missiles.... No soldiers or MOD police or bailiffs or dogs. All those locked gates, named by women after the colours of the rainbow, have gone as well.. It was outside each of those gates, that groups of warmly-wrapped and often dishevelled women set up camps. The sites were makeshift: a few “benders” made of plastic sheeting and a fire to provide warmth and cooking facilities.
Those fires were the soul of each camp, symbols of hope and determination. Again and again, the bailiffs would stamp then out and throw the blackened kettles and pans into their “munchers” - together with the women’s possessions. Time after time after time, the women would re-light the fires and start over. Some stayed for days, some for weeks, months, years. They did put them out and leave the camps until the Cruise missiles had been taken away and the American base, closed.
Now, trees and ponds and thickets extend in every direction. Birds and rabbits and deer have reclaimed their common. Even on a greyish, coldish day in February it is beautiful. The only remnant of the American army base is the Control Tower, looking harmless, even friendly – its door wide open. No longer do you have to smash a window and break in. Nobody arrests you, tries you in Newbury Crown Court or sends you to prison. We just walked in!
THERE WAS SOMETHING VERY FAMILIAR about the people crowded round two large tables in the café: thirty years older, and remarkedly clean and tidy, but recognisably these were Greenham women, some accompanied by friends and relatives. The atmosphere was joyful, affectionate, celebratory. We had come to see an exhibition of black-and-white photographs taken by Wendy Carrig while she lived at Blue Gate in 1985. Whoever could have predicted that it could ever be possible to hold such an event in the forbidden, the hostile, Control Tower? The photos are graphic, recording conditions and situations which might otherwise be forgotten and are backed up by informative written records, including one by Rebecca Johnson, who spent five years there. I was accompanied by a grand-daughter, who had never heard of the Greenham Common peace camps until breakfast-time that morning. Like it or not, we are history now.
There are other interesting exhibitions in this newly-friendly Control Tower. Along a passageway, extends a time-line which narrates events which have happened there over the centuries. Upstairs,
is a room with aeroplanes and bombs and such things (numerous little boys and dads were in there). At the top, is a glazed viewing area, with wonderful views in all directions.
AFTERWARDS, we went outside, lit a fire and sat round it, sharing food and talking. There was a lot of laughter. Easy to forget, for a short time, that nuclear weapons may have left Greenham Common but there are more of them than ever, spread around the world. And plenty of warlike presidents prepared to press the nuclear button.
❍ Jill Truman is a former Greenham woman and playwright. Her work includes Common Women, a play about the peace camp which is still performed from time to time today.
❍ A short report of the photo exhibition and some of the photos that were displayed can be accessed at https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-berkshire-46468386
If you missed our conference in January, no fear - all the sessions were recorded on video and are available now on YouTube. You can watch them all below!
Palestinian Ambassador Dr Hasan Zumlot
Dr Hasam Zumlot Q&A
Catherine West MP and Ann Feltham from CAAT
Video interview with Medea Benjamin of Code Pink USA
Rae Street, former CND Vice Chair, and Carol Turner, London CND
Rebecca Johnson, ICAN, and Bruce Kent, CND
Hannah Kemp-Welch, CND, and Sara Medi Jones, acting CND Vice-Chair
Jonathan Bartley, Green Party Co-Leader, and Nobu Ono, SOAS CND
ICAN have launched their Cities Appeal: a global call from towns and cities across the world in support of the UN Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons.
You can write to your local council today to ask them to support the appeal using the text below!
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.
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.
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.
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.
You can see all the photos from the conference here.
At our annual conference on the 12th January, titled ‘Trump’s Finger on the Nuclear Button’, we were lucky enough to carry out a video interview with Medea Benjamin from Code Pink USA, a women-led anti-war organisation. Watch it here!