I’m thinking that the world, this world, my world is a strange place to be, what with all this talk of war and bombs, that may once more drop from the sky at any time soon on more poor and innocent people - it’s day’s like this that make me feel depressed, and as I start to think about the movements of protest, and what have they really achieved - anything?
My first encounter with an activist from the peace movement was in 1974, when I met this fascinating 1950/60s CND member, she was as I remember, very typical and had that distinctive quality of being a woman campaigner and diehard stormtrooper to the cause, to the end. I don’t think that we can take away or lightly dismiss many of the good things that many hundreds if not thousands of people and from all walks of life did for us, they who have seen and propagated or even had the courage to leak information out, the otherwise unidentified liquid secrets of the state and the real role it plays in world affairs.
There have been movements of protest against war before but nothing quite like the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament. It’s membership hard to place a number on as it held no register of members, but did claim at its peak to have the support of 20 per cent of the population for its far-reaching demand that the British government, acting alone, should renounce atomic weapons.
My second encounter with a CND member came in the mid 80s, this guy, a young man I met in my local ward Labour Party, location Tower Hamlets, he was inspired by Gandhi and his theological applications of non-violence, as CND was enjoying a re-surge in membership and activity it was not long before he invited me to take part in a die-in protest inside and on and along the platforms of Mile End tube station as this station was designated as a place to bury the dead by the government in the event of a nuclear attack - It was an interesting evening, and yes you can have some fun on demonstrations - I did and still do.
CND sprang up with dramatic suddenness. The symbol appeared as if by magic and its slogan ‘ban the bomb’ became a household phrase.
Tens of thousands of people rallied to its marches and demonstrations. Now after years of much effort it can at best only host joint events with the likes of Stop the War people and that set has its own problems, funny that CND reasoned that if enough people protested about the bomb’, and a final goal of world-wide disarmament they believed that any and every government would have to take action, and how it is that Stop the War proved many years later that this is not the case - makes you think!”