"I need to be able to look my grand-children in the eyes"

IssueOctober 2006
Feature by David MacKenzie

These days the Faslane machine, as far as can be seen from the outside, goes on as normal. The hundreds of cars and coaches that form the work shifts, the supply vehicles in all their variety, drift in unhindered. However, if Faslane 365 lives up to its promise, from the first of October all this will change.

The British state is trampling on the basic laws of humanity by wielding Trident, a weapon of terror capable of killing millions. How do we respond? There are many equally important ways of resisting Trident, by demonstrating, lobbying politicians, getting our case across in public, and being effective conveyors of information and ideas. The inhumanity of Trident also needs acts of peaceful civil resistance to confront the threat directly.

Fading notions

In Scotland there has been a tiny but intriguing political change.

When asked a Trident question by SNP's Nicola Sturgeon (prompted by September's Walk from Faslane to Holyrood) First Minister Jack McConnell ignored the advice of the Scottish Parliament's rule driven Presiding Officer that it was a “reserved” (ie UK government) matter and pitched into the debate. Yes, his contribution was modest and limited, but it did point up that the notion that you can censor by technical reservation an issue like WMDs is fading fast.

Autonomous action

Meanwhile, back at the base, what can we expect from Faslane 365?

Fifty groups have chosen dates and committed themselves to taking on two days of blockading (some overlapping with the previous and subsequent groups). They will not be there simply to protest - they aim to cause as much peaceful and confrontational disruption and cumulative nuisance as they can. The list includes groups organised locally (Assynt, Glasgow, Edinburgh, Leicester, Sheffield, Sweden, Belgium, Japan etc), by political parties (SNP and Greens), by organisations (CND, Quakers, Stop the War, etc) and by groups sharing a common interest or profession (Cyclists, Parliamentarians, Health Professionals, Writers, etc.).

Though all are committed to the nonviolent ethos of the campaign and its common demand that Trident be de-commissioned and not replaced, they are all autonomous and will conduct their two days of blockading as they see fit. First up are the Greenham group, bringing together women who were at Greenham, those who wish they had been - and their mothers, daughters, grandmothers and grand-daughters.

Join us

The launch of Faslane 365 on 9 September was at an official reception by Edinburgh City Council at which council leader Ewan Aitken gave his full support to civil resistance to Trident.

At the same event Joy Pitman from the Dance and Movement Block explained why she would be dancing a blockade at Faslane: “I need to be able to look my grandchildren in the eyes.”

We are still seeking groups who will take on a two-day blockade. Can you help to form one in your area, among your friends, your own circle of interest, your profession? Although these groups take responsibility for their own organisation there is plenty of help available. Our Resource Pack is full of helpful and practical advice, we can provide training workshops and specific support for managing legal support, media work, and accommodation.

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