Greenman's Occasional Organ

Ecosocialist. Syndicalist. Critical Techno-Progressive.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

50th Anniversary of First Aldermaston Peace March

The peace movement of the 1980's - mobilising against the threat of tactical nuclear weapons and the insane idea of "limited" or "theatre" nuclear war in Europe - was part of my introduction to politics. The marches, rallies and demonstrations against the siting of Cruise, Pershing II and SS20 missiles in Europe were formative experiences of activism and public protest for me. CND - the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament - was central to the movement in Britain, but started even earlier, in the 1950s with mobilisations against global nuclear testing and weapons development at Aldermaston.

Recently even the Tory journalist Matthew Parris had to recognise that CND and the broader peace movement played a crucial role in raising public awareness of the nuclear threat and created a more restricted environment for political and military figures who wished to take risks or act beligerently. The peace movement also was a key field in the early development of the New Left in Britain, and the arena in which Civil Disobedience and Nonviolent Direct Action (NVDA) were developed by the likes of the Committee of 100. In turn, the Committee was the subject of a popular Peace News Pamphlet published during the 1980's revival called "From Protest To Resistance" - a slogan taken up by many radicals at the time and used as the title of a song by 80's anarcho-punks Conflict.

This year sees the 50th anniversary of the famous original Aldermaston marches, recalled in the original march organiser Peggy Duff's interesting autobiography, "Left Left Left".

The following is an invitation from CND to this year's 50th anniversary protest at Aldermaston on Easter Monday, 24th March at 12 noon.

We invite you to participate in a lively demonstration against the development of nuclear weapons at Aldermaston and to celebrate 50 years of anti-nuclear protest in Britain.

This Easter marks the 50th anniversary of the first march to the Atomic Weapons Establishment Aldermaston - the heart of Britain's nuclear weapons programme. We need you - and your friends, colleagues, communities, and networks - to surround the base and create a colourful, effective, and massive demonstration.

With parliament voting in March 2007 for a new fleet of nuclear armed submarines, and with the construction of facilities for a new generation of nuclear warheads already underway at Aldermaston, it's time to send a clear message to the government that 50 years is enough!

While celebrating five decades of sustained campaigning against nuclear weapons, the emphasis will be on embracing the future, pushing for disarmament and working together to build a broad movement that grows from strength to strength.

The event will be lively, with each gate at the site being linked to a different era - with appropriate decoration and entertainment - and is being organised by CND national and regional groups and people from the wider anti-nuclear, peace and anti-war movements. If you would like to get involved in organising for this event in your area, please get in touch.

Groups can come dressed as they want, could be in theme with the gates, or as weapons inspectors, or campaigners from the future, or as nuclear bombs, or flowers!

The possibilities are endless! The event will be organised using the ' Block' structure so that your group comes ready to take up as much space around the site as possible. We have a website for your 'Block' to add their details and how much space they can take up along the fence line.

For Example, Eastern Block, dressing as nuclear cowboys can take up 200 meters of fence line using 2 banners 100 people and a radioactive horse prop!

That's just an example.

We need to start mobilising now and get our coaches booked and the seats full! It will take 5,000 people to surround Aldermaston AWE. The developments at Aldermaston are well on their way, we need to move our campaigning to the next stage, build an even stronger movement and stop the development of new nuclear weapons. THE BOMB STOPS HERE!


Aldermaston 2008 is organised by CND

For more information email: mellcndeast@cnduk.org or call 0845 3370282

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