Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Faslane Futility

 There has been a tradition of anti-nuclear protest in Scotland since the early 1960s when the US Navy established a base for their submarines at Dunoon on the Holy Loch. The Scottish National Party, the Scottish Socialist Party and the Scottish Green Party all oppose the deployment of nuclear weapons. It is not unusual for members of these Scottish political parties, and indeed some from the Labour Party, to attend rallies outside Faslane. Both George Galloway and Tommy Sheridan have been arrested in demonstrations.

 The Faslane peace camp began 30 years ago. It was set-up as a Scottish version of Greenham Common. After all those years the camp is still there - and so are the warheads.

 Eric Thompson was commodore of the naval base in the mid-90s says: "Our original security concerns were Russian special forces, for which we had a barbed wire fence. Then we started worrying about the IRA, so we had a double-barbed wire fence but it was actually the peace camp and political embarrassment which kept us on our toes." He recalls one incident in which three peace campers managed to get into the base dressed as Santa Claus. "They were actually in the sights of an armed Royal Marine guarding the jetty and he could have taken all three of them out but he decided shooting Santa Claus was not going to be a good idea."

Mahatma Gandhi counselled non-violent resistance to nuclear war. People should get out of their homes and look the pilots in the eye as best they could. With love and prayer, and without hatred for their killers above, they were to offer themselves willingly in sacrifice. Aircrew were thus given the opportunity for redemption before bombs away. He hoped that the gesture of accepting death would be transformative for those who commit mass murder in pursuit of their political objectives.Clearly, Gandhi hadn’t banked on missiles. These days against the scourge of nuclear weapons, the human race has little more than the thin line of activists at places like the Faslane Peace Camp. They paddle out in their little dinghies to confront British nuclear submarines to remind us all that these weapons are not worthy of human possession. Each day it becomes more obvious that mankind must choose between the security of a peaceful society, which only conscious action can bring about, and the insecurity of militarism.

It is not just a matter of "Stop Trident". It is about ending of all wars and the economic competition between national ruling classes that cause them. It requires advocating policies and taking actions which will make war impossible, by removing its causes. As long as there are economic rivalries for wars to be fought over, wars will take place and, whatever the weapons of choice, death and destruction will be the result. 

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