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 email@example.com 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’s Vice-Chair Hannah Kemp-Welch visited Hiroshima in August 2019 for the World Conference Against A&H Bombs, 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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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 email@example.com
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 firstname.lastname@example.org for more information. (Accessibility: Level access over grass. Nearby parking for blue badge holders.)
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