An account of the retreat at Aldermaston on30th. Ann. Of Plowshares 8 Action
By Ciaron O’Reilly
P U B L I S H E D B Y P A U L
P D F W E B P U B L I S H I N G
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ENGLAND - "Faith & Resistance" retreat at Aldermaston on 30th. Anniversay of PlowsharesA Report (with lots a links) by Ciaron O'ReillyA few months ago the Catholic Worker network in England decided to embark on a series of "Faith and Resistance Retreats" as a basis of nonviolently confronting the war & the warmachine and deepening our broader sense of community beyond our specific projects &living/working situations. The first was timed to mark the 30th. anniversary of the originalPlowshares 8 action and to nonviolently confront Britain's ongoing production and refinement of nuclear weapons at Aldermaston.As we gathered in Oxford last Saturday, word was coming through from Dublin that all wasn'tgoing well for the Tony Blair autobiography book launch tour. The author was being greetedwith a hailstorm of eggs, shoes and dissent.See here for photos and footage:http://www.wsm.ie/c/dublin-protest-war-criminal-tony-blairIt sounds like it was an egg splat heard around the world. It has nourished a mass nonviolentmovement in England & beyond of moving the Blair's bio into the "crime section" of whateverbook store you find it in and has directly lead to the cancellation of the London leg of his tourslated for Picadilly this week.We were gathering in Oxford to celebrate the 30th. annivesary of the Ploughshares 8http://www.craftech.com/~dcpledge/brandywine/plow/webpa...8.htmwho enfleshed theprophecy of Isaiah September 9th. 1980 at the General Electric factory in King of Prussia,Pennsylvania. G.E. were working on a first strike nuclear delivery system at the time. U.S.friends are returning to the site this week which is now owned by Lockheed Martin and stilldeveloping weapons of mass destructionWe were hosted in Oxford by Stephen Hancock of the Upper Heyford Ploughshareshttp://www.craftech.com/~dcpledge/brandywine/plow/webpa...S.htmin a house once owned bythe celebrated English author Graham Greenewww.grovehouse.infoOn Saturday evening we sat down to a film recounting the Catonsville 9 draft board raid in 1968"Investigation of a Flame":http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v5UWcjDNnmMThe Plowshares movement was very much influenced by the draft board raids of the VietnamWar period. We look forward to a more expansive & detailed documentary "Hit and Stay":http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/934604446/hit-and-stayon this movement that should bereleased later this year. I think one of the major lessons drawn by the Plowshares movementfrom these earlier experiments with prophetic resistance is that community makes nonviolentresistance viable and sustainableBy Sunday morning our numbers included Australian, Dutch, English, Irish, Malaysian Swedishand U.S. folks, Catholic Workers, students, lecturers, musicians, mothers, fathers, priest,supporters of Totenham, Villa, Wednesday, Man United, Oxford F.C. and some people (believeit or not) with no interest at all in football!
We celebrated mass outside and this was followed by a go around and a check in - of introductions and how we felt presently about the war and the war machine and the potential forresistance to it. The general feeling was distress with the general disengagement with the war andgratitude that we could gather together to facilitate some resistance.We then gathered in the rotunda for a talk on the Plowshares movement. I gave a talk using theacademic work on the movement undertaken by Sharon Nepstead "Religion and War in thePlowshares Movement"http://www.cambridge.org/us/catalogue/catalogue.asp?isb...17670.Based on surveys and interviews with plowshares activists, this is a fine objective look at theplowshares movement from the outside in and I can't recommend it highly enough. THIS IS AREALLY REALLY IMPORTANT BOOK! It is particularly good on the problems, andotherwise, of transfering the Plowshares actions outside the U.S. context. I also shared frompersonal experiences with three plowshares communities on 3 continents in which I haveparticipated.ANZUS Plowshareshttp://www.craftech.com/~dcpledge/brandywine/plow/webpa...S.htmJabiluka Plowshareshttp://www.craftech.com/~dcpledge/brandywine/plow/webpa...S.htmPit Stop Ploughshareshttp://www.craftech.com/~dcpledge/brandywine/plow/pit_s...s.htmWe also heard firsthand the insights and experiences of -Chris Cole who shared from his BAE plowsharewitnesshttp://www.craftech.com/~dcpledge/brandywine/plow/webpa...S.htm-Fr. Martin Newell from the JubileePloughshareshttp://www.craftech.com/~dcpledge/brandywine/plow/webpa...0.htm-Susan Clarkson from the Riverside Plowshareshttp://www.craftech.com/~dcpledge/brandywine/plow/river...s.htmFollowing lunch we were joined by Brian Larkin from TridentPloughshareshttp://www.tridentploughshares.org/index.php3who brought us up to speed onwhat is happening at the nearby Aldermaston Atomic Weapons Establishment. The news is notgood! We also heard more about where the Trident Ploughshares movement is at 14 years intotheir struggle to rid Britain of nuclear weapons.We then broke up into action and solidarity groups to prepare for Monday at Aldermaston.The day ended with a cabaret in the rotunda. Although Bristol Nick's Dylan/Rovicscovers,Martin's unaccompanied rendition of very early Tom Jones, Miriam's poetry and SooTian's Seeger cover offered stiff competition...it's pretty hard to beat the professionalism andonstage presence of "Lovers Electric" who have just signed with a German label. Check themout.....http://www.loverselectric.com/flash.htmlBy Monday evening a group of us were gathered at Newbury Police station to welcome out
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England 'Faith & Resistance' by Ciaron O'Reilly
Ciraon O'Reilly of London Catholic Workers offers and account of a recent retreat at Aldermaston on the anniversary of the original Plowshares 8 action. Coincidentally Tony Blair's Dublin book signing was taking place the same weekend…
Ciraon O'Reilly of London Catholic Workers offers and account of a recent retreat at Aldermaston on the anniversary of the original Plowshares 8 action. Coincidentally Tony Blair's Dublin book signing was taking place the same weekend August 30th. Contains lots of links some of which regrettably don't work - a case of lost in applications translations. I'll post an update whenever I get them figured.
Check out the 'Lover's Electric', link which really speaks to the heart of this style of witness based protesting. I'm not at all surprised Ciaron brought this one to our attention. A great track and nice chilled video: http://www.loverselectric.com/flash.html