London region CND vice-chair Hannah Kemp-Welch visited Hiroshima in august 2019 for the A&H conference and sent back this touching and powerful video report on the conference, and the city, 74 years after the bomb was dropped.
This year marks the 74th anniversary of the dropping of nuclear weapons on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Commemoration events will be taking place across the city, including a peace walk through central London, and ceremonies in Tavistock Square and London’s Peace Pagoda in Battersea Park. Below are a list of all events taking place. If yours is not on this list, please contact email@example.com and let us know what you’re planning so we can add it!
Join us on Sunday 4th August for a guided peace through London and discover some of the people and places in the city associated with international peacemaking - from the Gandhi Statue in Tavistock square to Victoria Tower Gardens nearby parliament.
This year we'll be back for our annual commemoration service in Tavistock Square on 6th August, opened by Cllr Maryam Mayor of Camden, and compered by London CND Vice President Jenny Jones of the Green Party, with the usual mix of performers and speakers.
Kingston Peace Council/ CND Hiroshima Day event
Assemble 8.30 pm, 6th August, in Canbury Gardens on the Kingston river bank. Please bring white flowers to cast onto the water in remembrance of those who died, and candles to illuminate the path beside the river.
Organised by: Kingston Peace Council/CND
Hosted by Bruce Kent, with a video link up with Hannah Kemp Welche in Hiroshima, CND's representative at the Japanese Conference Against A&H Bombs. More speakers tbc.
On Friday 9th August, there will be a peace walk from Westminster Cathedral after the service for Franz Jaegerstaetter, to the London Peace Pagoda, followed by a Lantern-Lighting Ceremony. Timings TBC but for more information please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Finchley Hiroshima and Nagasaki Commemoration
On Saturday 10th August, Finchley’s annual Hiroshima and Nagasaki commemoration ceremony will take place at VIctoria Park, Ballards Lane, Finchley (nearest postcode N3 1LY). Meeting by the commemorative cherry tree at 11am, a minute of silence will be held, and participants are invited o bring flowers to lay beneath the tree and to share tea and thoughts afterwards at the café. Contact: Charles Wicksteed email@example.com for more information. (Accessibility: Level access over grass. Nearby parking for blue badge holders.)
Join us on Sunday 4th August for a commemorative peace walk through London and discover some of the people and places in the city associated with international peacemaking.
In this guided walk with Valerie Flessati and Pat Gaffney we'll be making our way from the Gandhi Statue in Tavistock square to Red Lion Square, Trafalgar Square, Whitehall and Westminster, finishing in Victoria Tower Gardens, next to Parliament. During the course of the walk we'll be joined by Bruce Kent - Honorary Vice President of CND. Though this is a guided walk, those attending are welcome to drop out on the route when/if they need to.
We’ll be meeting at 2pm at the Gandhi statue in Tavistock Square. Tickets are free, but limited, so make sure to book yours now here;
Around 100 people attended CND Vice President Walter Wolfgang’s funeral service in North London on 6 June, many of them London CND members. Known to many as the old gent evicted from 2005 Labour conference for heckling then Foreign Secretary Jack Straw over the Iraq War and detained under the prevention of terrorism Act, Walter was a lifelong nuclear disarmer and anti-war activist, and a campaigner for Palestinian rights.
An organiser of the first Aldermaston March, Walter was active in London Region CND from its inception in the 1950s and was a committee member until he died. Walter was also a Labour Party member and a friend of Jeremy Corbyn for many years. Corbyn’s message was read at the funeral service:
‘I am sorry I cannot be with you today. I am attending the commemorations for D-Day in Normandy.
‘While I am there, I will be thinking about all those who suffered at the hands of Nazism and fascism, but especially Walter and his family, who were put through so much by that ideology of evil.
‘I first got to know Walter in the 1970s, through the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament. I remember chairing meetings of the CND council. Every single council member would speak at length, all on the same topic. When nobody could take any more, I would try and bring the meeting to a close. It was always at that point that Walter would raise his hand to make his contribution.
‘But you couldn’t say “no” to Walter. You knew that whatever he wanted to say, it would be important and interesting. We loved him for it.
‘I continued to work with Walter through CND, the Campaign for Labour Party Democracy, and the Campaign for Non-Alignment, in which Walter played a huge part. I will be eternally grateful for all the support he gave me, particularly at the 2005 General Election, where he spent hours on end fundraising, and telephone canvassing for our campaign in Islington North.
‘And I will never forget him turning up at my house with a present in hand, the very first visitor after my eldest son Ben was born.
‘I was so proud to be able to present him with a Labour Party Merit Award at our Annual Conference last year, where he delivered a televised video message to the conference, emphasising the importance of peace, justice and socialism. He was an inspiring comrade, a brilliant mentor, and a wonderful friend. He is a huge loss to the international labour movement and the peace movement.
My wife Laura and I were among the last people to visit Walter in hospital before he died. He said to me: “Jeremy, we are going to win aren’t we?” I said “yes”, and he smiled. And that is how I will remember him.’
Our friends at Campaign Against the Arms Trade (CAAT) have taken the British Government to court over sales of arms to Saudi Arabia - arms used in the devastating civil war in Yemen. On Thursday, the court of appeal ruled that the sale of these arms was unlawful, and immediately suspended all licenses. CAAT had this to say on the ruling:
“The court found that the government had failed to properly assess whether there have been breaches of International Humanitarian Law. This historic judgement means that the government must now stop issuing new arms exports licences and suspend existing licences to export arms to Saudi Arabia for use in Yemen, and retake all decisions in accordance with the law.
These sales should never have been licensed in the first place. Even as schools, hospitals, weddings, and funerals have been bombed, the government has licensed the sale of billions of pounds of weapons for use in the conflict.
We have now shown that these arms sales were not just immoral, but also unlawful. But even now the government is likely to resist. Every step of the way it has done all it can to keep the weapons flowing”
This is a huge victory for the peace movement, but plans are already being made to try and overturn the ruling. CAAT are urging all supporters to contact their MPs to ensure this doesn’t happen. You can find out more information here.
Last week, founding member of CND Walter Wolfgang sadly passed away at the age of 95. Walter was life-long vice president and sat on the EC of the campaign. Tributes have been pouring in for the anti-nuclear campaigner, including this from Labour Leader Jeremy Corbyn in the Guardian:
”Walter was horrified by the cold war and the prospect of nuclear annihilation. In 1958 he was a founder member of the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament, and helped organise the first Aldermaston march to Britain’s Atomic Weapons Research Establishment – an occasion he remembered for the presence of bands and music and an unexpectedly good turnout.
He stood as a Labour candidate for Croydon North East in the 1959 general election. He did not win, and was prevented from standing again due to his anti-nuclear views. Unperturbed, he dedicated the rest of his life to that cause – a level of commitment that was recognised when CND made him its vice-president for life..”
You can read the full article here.
To mark the 8th anniversary of the Fukushima disaster, three mothers from the town met in Parliament, along with Caroline Lucas MP and Dr Ian Fairlie. You can watch a full video of the meeting below.
Campaigners at CND and a host of other organisations have roundly condemned plans to hold a ‘thanksgiving’ service for Britain’s nuclear deterrent at Westminster Abbey.
The Royal Navy plans to host a National Service of Thanksgiving to mark 50 years of the Continuous at Sea Deterrent on the 3rd of May. New nuclear submarines are currently being constructed as part of a £205 billion Trident replacement scheme.
CND will hold protests at Westminster Abbey if the service goes ahead.
Kate Hudson, CND general secretary, said:
“It’s morally repugnant that a service of thanksgiving for Britain’s nuclear weapons system is due to be held at Westminster Abbey. This sends out a terrible message to the world about our country. It says that here in Britain we celebrate weapons – in a place of worship – that can kill millions of people.
“If the Defence Secretary doesn’t cancel this service, we call on the Church authorities to step in to stop it. CND will hold protests at Westminster Abbey on the day of the service if this celebration of nuclear weapons goes ahead.”
In July 2018, the General Synod passed a motion which states “nuclear weapons, through their indiscriminate and destructive potential, present a distinct category of weaponry that requires Christians to work tirelessly for their elimination across the world.”
If the thanksgiving service goes ahead, join our protest outside the Abbey on the day
Code Pink USA have won another victory in their campaign for the US to rejoin the Iran nuclear deal, with Representative and presidential hopeful Tulsi Gabbard committing her support.
In May 2018, President Trump pulled the US out of the deal, which provided that Iran's nuclear activities would be limited in exchange for reduced sanctions. The international community reacted to Trump’s announcement with serious concern.
CND General Secretary Kate Hudson said of the decision: “Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw the US from the Iran nuclear deal is a dangerous and irresponsible move, rightly condemned by the international community. The groundbreaking 2015 deal achieved its central aim: Iran doesn’t have a nuclear weapons programme. Only a president hellbent on making the world a more dangerous place would consider such a belligerent and counterproductive move. It will be seen as a step towards war and sends a threatening message to the world.”
For the past couple of weeks, Code Pink have been calling on the 2020 Presidential hopefuls to publicly support rejoining the deal as part of their campaign to reinstate it.
So far, Senators Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, Kamala Harris, Representative Julian Castro and candidates Wayne Messam, Marianne Williamson, and now Representative Tulsi Gabbard have all committed to re-entering the Iran Nuclear deal.
Code Pink also had another victory last month when the Democratic National Committee passed a resolution calling on the U.S. to re-enter the Iran Nuclear deal. This means that rejoining the agreement is the official policy of the Democratic Party.
Code Pink USA is a grassroots peace and social justice movement working to end U.S.-funded wars and occupations. In January this year, we held a video interview with its co-founder Medea Benjamin, which was screened at our conference. You can watch the interview in full here.
This April, the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) celebrates its 70th birthday.
As CND General Secretary Kate Hudson writes, ‘in the 30 years since the Cold War and the removal of its political and military rival, the Soviet Union, NATO has massively expanded territorially, changed its mission statement from a defensive to an aggressive posture and embarked on a series of wars, of which their intervention in Afghanistan is getting on for two decades long. ‘
CND has long opposed NATO, and on the 2nd April will protest to challenge this aggressive alliance which makes all of us less safe. Linking with anti-NATO protests internationally, CND will be at NATO’s Allied Maritime Command in Northwood.