Joined-up resistance

IssueFebruary 2006
Comment by David McKenzie

Doors continue to swing open for Faslane 365, the ambitious plan to blockade Faslane naval base continuously for a year. It seems to be catching the imagination.

Perhaps one of the reasons for this lively response is the fact that these days people working for social change are showing an increased readiness to express solidarity across a wide range of connected problems and injustices, such as war, debt, poverty, abuse of asylum seekers, arms sales, drugs, corporate scams, destruction of ecosystems, while still working on the single issue that is their greatest concern.

One step beyond

Faslane 365 is based on the conviction that we now need to go one step further and link up our civil resistance too. One off demos and protests can raise an issue and bring it to public attention but we need sustained civil resistance to push our politicians into making the changes we need for a better structured world.

In favour of Faslane 365 is its chosen focus, nuclear weapons. While it would be arrogant as well as futile to attempt to rank the issues listed above by their importance, there are some which epitomise and illustrate the embedded and underlying structural problems. Britain's weapons of mass destruction fit that bill, giving as they do such a clear example of the abuse of power by threats and lawlessness. If politicians can so easily rationalise threatening mass destruction and when our military are engaged in wars so horrifying as that in Iraq where whole towns are being destroyed, then our society's moral base is shattered and every kind of random violence is legitimised.

Together and autonomous

Faslane 365 is asking people to act together against Britain's WMD as an effective way of applying pressure for their removal and at the same time of signalling our determination for change across a broad front of problems and concerns. The simple plan is for groups to contribute (or to share in) two consecutive days of blockading of the Trident nuclear weapon base at Faslane on the Clyde. These groups are being invited to use their part in the blockade as an opportunity to highlight their own concerns and link these concerns to the issue of nuclear weapons -- in particular the determination of the British government to maintain and renew an illegal and genocidal weapon of mass destruction.

All participating groups are being asked to commit to a basic set of nonviolent guidelines that stress openness and respect for all, and to share the main demand of the blockade: Trident is to be taken off patrol and a clear timetable for dismantling the UK's nuclear weapons to be made plus a commitment not to develop new nuclear weapons. Beyond that basic common agreement each blockading group will operate entirely autonomously. No one organisation will “own” the continuous blockade. It will be seen as a diverse community attempt to call a halt to the legitimisation of state terror. There will, however, be working groups to provide support on a range of practical issues.

Get committed

We aim to start on 1 October, 2006 -- the anniversary of the Judgement of the Nuremberg Tribunal. We won't begin unless we have three months of the programme committed.

The first blockade has already been booked for a women's blockade that links Faslane 365 with one of the biggest successes of the peace movement, the removal of cruise nuclear weapons and closure of the Greenham Common airbase.

There is support for the year-long blockade from a long list of organisations and already we have filled around a dozen days in the programme. We invite each and every one of you to take on one 48-hour blockading block and to support it in any way you can.

See more of: David Mackenzie's diary