Images from UN Ban Treaty signing and related demonstrations
STOP THE ARMS FAIR
Pro-disarmament campaigners from Greater Manchester recently took part in actions and demonstrations at DSEI 2017, the world’s largest arms fair. Check out the video here…
UN Ban Treaty – Letters to the press
On 7th July 2017, the United Nations General Assembly adopted a landmark agreement outlawing nuclear weapons, known officially as the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons. It will be open for signature to states in September. For FAQ, visit here.
NATO – A dangerous alliance (by Rae Street, May 2017)
Our Vice Char, Rae Street, recently visited Brussels to join the anti-NATO, anti-Trump demonstrations and NATO Counter Summit, whose slogan was ‘Invest in Peace Not War’.
She wrote up her views on the state of play with NATO in the Morning Star here.
What Would Betty Do? (April 2017)
On 22nd April, we held a memorial event for our late friend and comrade, Betty Tebbs.
It was a joyous occasion, with music, poetry, readings from Betty’s autobiography and a performance of the brilliant ‘play for voices’ Carry Greenham Home.
Also, in the morning, Jacqui and Linda spoke to BBC Manchester about Betty’s legacy here (starts at 2:11:25)
Survivors’ Stories – Testimony from Hiroshima (April 2017)
Last weekend, we were honoured to host two Hibakusha – survivors of the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki – in Greater Manchester.
Our guests – Reiko and Midori – showed tremendous bravery and strength in relaying their own and their families’ experiences of the bombings, as well as reflecting on more recent tragedies like the Fukushima nuclear power disaster.
Below are some photos and video of the trip, which included civic receptions, meetings with local schoolchildren, visiting gingko trees in Dunham Massey and two very moving public meetings at People’s History Museum.
Thank you to our guests for sparing their time and their continued efforts to spread a message of peace.
The visit was timed to coincide with the first round of negotiations at the UN, aimed at developing a global ban treaty outlawing nuclear weapons. For more on this, visit CND General Secretary Kate Hudson’s blog here.
Reflections from our Vice Chair, Rae Street (November 2016)
During the last few weeks, the world has seemed to become more and more, if it were possible, dangerous. People were already suffering unbearably in the conflict in Syria, from the aggression of the Israelis against Palestinians, from being oppressed minorities, for example, the Burmese Rohingya, and in many more ways.
Now in CND we can envisage even worse to come. The election of Donald Trump looks likely to bring more trouble to the world. Even though we are all shocked at Trump’s words on climate change and on Muslims, let us look particularly at nuclear weapons. During his campaign, Trump repeatedly raised the question of using nuclear weapons. In May, Trump said if ISIS were to attack the US he ‘might return fire with a nuke’. At the same time, he reportedly also asked ‘experts’ why he could not use nukes. Chilling. So now the two, so-called, allies both have leaders who would use nuclear weapons: Trump and Teresa May.
Here is the first part of an Open Letter to Donald Trump from the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists:
“Dear President-elect Donald Trump,
You will soon have control of the U.S. nuclear arsenal. If it is ever used, it could kill every American, as well as the rest of humanity, because of the impacts of the smoke from fires that would be ignited, which would cool Earth’s surface and kill virtually all crops in the ensuing winter.
You now have the opportunity to prevent this from ever happening by quickly reducing our nuclear arsenal, saving us hundreds of billions of dollars in the process.
What a waste of money for weapons we can never use. Please cancel the modernization program (cost $1 trillion) and consider all the other things we could do with this money. The United Nations has now passed a resolution supported by 123 nations for working in 2017 towards a worldwide ban on nuclear weapons. The U.S. voted against this Resolution. You now have the chance to reverse that and support the Resolution…”
Here in Britain, a similar open letter, substituting Trident and its replacement for ‘modernization’, could be sent to Prime Minister, Teresa May, and, indeed, all the pro-Trident MPs.
Some people have said it could be a promising sign that Trump is signaling a reduction of support for NATO. While of course it seems useful in terms of world stability to look at reducing support for nuclear-armed NATO, interference from such a belligerent, clueless leader is hardly to be welcomed.
In CND, we must continue to bring out the dangers of Trident and its replacement, not least in the cost, and also show that NATO and its nuclear policies, making bi-lateral agreements from the Mediterranean to the Pacific, is not a force for good.
Nukes of Hazard – Nuclear weapons convoys campaign
Clipping from letters’ page of Manchester Evening News, 12th November 2016
Notes from Dr Kate Hudson’s talk ‘The politics and economics of Trident replacement’
Date: 4th August // Location: MadLab, Manchester // Author: Rae Street
Sean Morris (Secretary, Nuclear Free Local Authorities) opened the meeting with a reference to the work of the NFLA. He mentioned the costs of Trident renewal when the vast amount of money and resource would be better spent on establishing a Defence Diversification Agency which could promote manufacturing, for example, in the sustainable energy industry.
Kate Hudson opened her speech by saying this was a timely moment to come following the Parliamentary vote on Trident replacement. Although the vote ‘for’ Trident had increased there have been significant pointers in the opposition to nuclear weapons. She cited the conservative MP, Crispin Blunt, chair of the House of Commons Defence Committee, who had first revealed the increased costs of Trident and is now opposed to the project. She said a new political consensus is emerging against Trident: The Trades Union Congress, many trade unions, leading military, faith communities. Yet there is still an ignorance among MPs on the issue, for example, in Parliament on the cost, which instead of £205 billion they say will cost only £31 billion. Disappointingly a once in a lifetime opportunity was ignored.
Kate then listed five important arguments against Trident:
Nuclear weapons do not bring security. Our main threats are analysed as ‘terrorism’, cyber warfare and climate change. Even the military say Trident does not meet our needs.
In all likelihood the Trident system of submarines has now been rendered obsolete by new technical developments. She particularly mentioned the underwater drones which may well be able to detect the submarines – and therefore render them targetable – when Trident is supposed to glide under the seas and not be spotted.
Expenditure on Trident is being made at the expense of public spending on the NHS, social and welfare services. While there is a ‘cry of austerity’, there always seems to be money for war and weapons. CND’s own figure of £205 billion could be an underestimate following Brexit and its effect on the dollar exchange.
CND have estimated in a careful analysis that 11,520 jobs across the UK could be at risk with a cancellation of the programme. But even a fraction of the money to be spent on replacement could be used to establish a Defence Diversification Agency, which Jeremy Corbyn has already promised. The skilled workers would be able to transfer to socially useful work, especially in manufacturing for sustainable energy projects. There would also be jobs in de-commissioning. She emphasised that far more jobs would be created by spending the £205 billions elsewhere.
Not only would it be illegal to use nuclear weapons under any law, the replacement of Trident is not compatible with Article 6 of the Nuclear non-Proliferation Treaty where nuclear weapons states were urged to “disarm in good faith”. Kate also referred to the case of the Marshall Islanders who are currently taking a case through the International Court at The Hague claiming nuclear testing in the Pacific had virtually destroyed their country. At the moment 130 states have formed an Open Ended Working Group, following a decision of the United Nations General Assembly, to agree a legal instrument to outlaw the nuclear weapons, just as there are legal treaties to ban chemical and biological weapons. Our government is boycotting these meetings which seems hypocritical given they declare they want to see a nuclear weapon-free world.
Kate’s said that only a minimum of countries had nuclear weapons – a possible 9 out of over 200. Half the globe is in NFZs. UNGA has passed a resolution asking for progress on disarmament. The draft recommendation agrees that there should be a legal instrument to outlaw nuclear weapons. But our government boycotts such conferences – they claim to be multilateralists but won’t join in the discussions.
Scotland. 58 of the 59 Scottish MPs voted against Trident. It is an important issue in Scotland as Trident is based at Faslane, but also Scottish CND has campaigned strongly in addition to the Scottish Nationalist Party and the Scottish churches. This means that the vote at Westminster further distances the Scottish electorate from decisions made in the House of Commons. We will have to wait to see what happens if and when Article 50 of the EU is invoked.
Labour party. Jeremy Corbyn, as leader, had asked for a Defence Review. Now there is the leadership vote so this seems to have been set aside. However, at the Labour Party conference the issue of Trident might well be raised through the ‘contemporary resolution’ process.
She concluded by saying that this is time of challenges, threats and opportunities. We can reverse the process of maintaining and replacing the Trident nuclear armed submarines; we must continue to work on the issue. There followed a question and answer session with big thanks expressed to Kate for coming from London and giving us such a clear and inspiring talk.
Greater Manchester & District CND also wanted to thank MadLab for the use of their premises and pleasant support from staff.
Trident vote banner drop protest: