nuclear and arms industries and protestors

   There have been a number of both general and specific campaigns and protest against the arms industry and particularly nuclear weapons. These have at times focused on individual sites where nuclear weapons have been located. A prime example of this was the women’s peace camp established at Greenham Common in Newbury, Berkshire, outside a United States airbase where cruise missiles were located. The women-only nature of the camp provided a focus not only for the protest against nuclear weapons but as a positive element of the feminist movement. Other camps were sited at other bases in Great Britain, emphasizing that positive action outside of the mainstream pressure groups could raise and maintain the debate over nuclear weapons. Organizations such as the longstanding Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND) and Greenpeace have campaigned against the nuclear threat. CND was founded in 1958 and organized an annual Easter march to the weapons research establishment at Aldermaston in Berkshire. Greenpeace have organized numerous campaigns to highlight threats to the environment, including nuclear tests carried out by France in the South Pacific. During this campaign, the Greenpeace vessel Rainbow Warrior was sunk by French agents and a crew member was killed.
   Other arms protests have concentrated on companies who manufacture and supply weapons, both generally and to particular regimes that have been seen as oppressive. Such action has been taken at company annual general meetings where protestors can, through the purchase of a small shareholding, gain access and ask difficult questions. In terms of popular cultural representations, the issue of nuclear war was memorably raised by Raymond Briggs in When the Wind Blows and has also been a focus for popular music and protest. The music festival organized by Michael Eavis at his farm in Glastonbury has for many years donated profits to CND along with other charitable organizations, and there have in the past been a number of artists who have been broadly aligned with this cause including Billy Bragg and Paul Weller. While in the Style Council, as well as playing benefit concerts, Paul Weller included a number of exhortations to join CND on LP sleeves, along with the following quote from a Greenham Common woman which perhaps summarizes the issue: ‘We are concerned with the preservation of all life. How dare the government presume the right to kill others in our names?’
   Further reading
    Minnion, J. (1983) The CND Story, London: Alison & Busby.
   GUY OSBORN
   STEVE GREENFIELD

Encyclopedia of contemporary British culture . . 2014.

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