From the Soapbox on Lush Cosmetics website – scroll to end for Lush video of June 2016 month of actions:
People’s Nuclear Disarmament, by Angie Zelter.
The government and most politicians may vote to replace Trident, but peace campaigners escalated their protests in the run up to the vote.
For the whole month of June 2016, we resisted, protested and disrupted the ongoing work at the Atomic Weapons Establishment, Burghfield (near Reading in Berkshire). This is where the final assembly and maintenance of the nuclear warheads takes place.
The warheads go into the missiles on the nuclear powered UK Trident submarines that are based in Faslane in Scotland. Nuclear convoys travel up and down the roads, through major cities, to transport these deadly cargoes between England and Scotland.
Protesting against nuclear weapons has been going on since the 1950s, and came to a head in the 1980s during the Cold War. With escalating nuclear proliferation and ongoing wars they are still still seen as a major security and humanitarian threat to everyone on earth, which is why hundreds of campaigners made the journey to Burghfield and engaged in creative nonviolent resistance.
The Brexit referendum and its appalling media coverage encouraged some people in our society to come out with truly nasty harassment of anyone deemed to be ‘other’ or non-national. We all need to be concerned about this and take action. But we can also be aware that it is unsurprising, given that we have a government that not only condones, but continues, on a daily basis, to prepare for mass murder using nuclear weapons. Our actions at Burghfield successfully blockaded the Construction Gate, partially closing the military base down and resulted in the longest ever blockade of a British nuclear weapons base.
This was done by a relatively small number of very determined people – probably around 300 over the whole month – who think the whole concept of nuclear weapons is immoral and inhumane. No country should possess a weapon that can cause so much destruction, that has also been declared illegal under international law, and which the vast majority of other nations want us to dismantle immediately. A government that legitimises mass murder signals that there is nothing inherently wrong in contemplating violence and murder; it’s just a question of context.
The single biggest threat to all life on earth as we know it is climate change. At this critical point in time, all governments and their peoples should be uniting to deal with this, sharing knowledge and resources, working out how to de-carbonise our societies and ensure future generations survive with dignity and in peace. Instead, we are becoming more and more divided, and squandering vast human and financial resources on pointless weapons of mass destruction and engaging in countless wars that are major carbon users.
It is time to heal divisions and co-operate, not continue to prepare for infinite war. The referendum dominated the news and there was very little coverage of the month of protest at Burghfield. But it is exactly at this time, more than ever, that we need to say no to war and nuclear madness, and yes to peace and creating a world in which all peoples can live together with respect for each other and all living beings.
For a full account of the June month of action against Trident’s Replacement see http://tridentploughshares.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/07/June-2016-illustrated-summary.pdf .
Watch footage from the protest below.
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Video from June 2016 month of action at AWE Burghfield comissioned by Lush Cosmetics – thank you Lush!