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Buried Treasure: selections from the Peace News archives

30 years ago: Opposing the Falklands War

PN was a leading voice in the radical opposition to the Falklands War; though there was plenty of reactionary opposition too – from both ends of the orthodox political spectrum.

The stated British policy to regain control of the islands by backing up diplomatic pressure with military might, in effect using the task force as a political weapon, is bound to lead to confusion.

When does a military engagement leave the political arena and become a political weapon? ... Military means subvert the political process, and then, with the weakening of non-military action, an increase in military action becomes imperative....

The most frustrating thing for the peace movement is not only the feeling of powerlessness to have any immediate effect on the situation – that’s common enough – but the difficulty of even being aware of our own strength of support, and the knowledge that most people not actively involved have no idea of what opposition there is, because of the way the media is reacting.

The little coverage of British opposition to the war has been mostly of the dissident MPs.

People reliant on the straight press can easily think that the only opposition comes from people who don’t have a strong opposition to the Argentinian junta. Yet where has the opposition to the junta been found for many years – amongst those Tory MPs who have suddenly discovered that it is fascist, or amongst those peace groups now opposing the war?

One thing that theorists in the nonviolent movement should now be doing is to look at ways that small communities ... can evolve a self-chosen and self-reliant life, and how without force of arms they can sustain it in the face of nearby would-be colonial powers.

Another important activity is to work harder in support of those few radical activists in countries like Argentina.

The ultimate struggle is not between the British and Argentinian forces, but between those forces and those of us in both countries trying to subvert them.

From the 14 May 1982 issue of Peace News. Buried Treasure is compiled by Albert Beale, author of Against All War: 50 years of Peace News.

Topics: War and peace