Building a strong movement

IssueOctober 2008
Feature by Kelvin Mason

The Wales Peace Festival takes place in Bangor over the weekend of 18-19 October. An annual event, the Festival has become the main opportunity for people from all over Wales to take stock, exchange information, participate in lively debate, and look to the future.

Organised this year by Bangor and Ynys Môn Peace and Justice Group, the festival programme includes Dylan Morgan on the campaign to stop Wylfa B nuclear power station, and former Guantanamo detainee Moazzam Begg talking about Cageprisoners and his work to end “rendition” without trial.

Although the Peace Festival has become an annual event, it depends on groups taking responsibility and its future is uncertain. In Wales, at least, the mass anti-war mobilization of 2003 did not result in an enduring peace movement on a larger scale.

Activists in Wales agree it is becoming increasingly difficult to attract new people. Phil Steele of Bangor and Ynys Môn Peace and Justice Group is realistic: “We have the structure and contacts in place to mobilise people rapidly. Inevitably the noise dies down for a bit, but the fight is more necessary than ever.”

One strand of debate this year will be how to sustain the Festival and the Cynefin Y Werin (Common Ground) network.

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