On the 12th of December 1982 women at Greenham Common Women’s Peace Camp held the “Embrace The Base” demonstration outside the fence of USAF Greenham Common. 30,000 women surrounded the Base, which was about to become the site for 96 Cruise Missiles with nuclear warheads. We had organised for many months for this demonstration.The next day there was non-violent direct action. Gates were blockaded and women were arrested. Some of us had already been to prison, but those blockades were the start of resistance to Cruise Missile Convoys being deployed on exercise to Salisbury Plain.The years that followed were hard on those of us who lived at Greenham Common Women’s Peace Camps. There were constant evictions. Bailiffs and police would demand tents were moved. We moved them back when they left. Repeat evictions several times a day in the worst years reduced to once a day, then a few times a week.There were huge evictions too, with hundreds of police. We endured and remained.
Greenham Common Women’s Peace Camp stayed for 19 years outside the Main Gate until 5th of September 2000. We witnessed Cruise Missiles and the USAF leave, the Base close down and Greenham Common returned as Common Land. A Peace Garden was built, with money raised by us, at the site of the original Greenham Common Women’s Peace Camp.Thousands of women were arrested and imprisoned, many of us repeatedly. Helen Thomas; a young Welsh woman was killed by a West Midlands police horse box as she waited to cross the road on 5th August,1989. We experienced the struggle against a State which was determined to protect USA nuclear weapons in Britain.We faced the threat of guns by the USA and British military. On Halloween 1983 five miles of the nine mile perimeter fence was taken down by women with bolt cutters. This was 6 years before the Berlin Wall was taken down!
This was a time when NATO and the Warsaw Pact faced each other across the Berlin Wall.The Warsaw Pact was disbanded, and the Russian Federation was formed from the break up of the Soviet Union. NATO continued and expanded eastward, despite undertaking not to.What followed was a terrible history of NATO driven war upon war; Iraq, Serbia, Afghanistan, Libya, Syria and Ukraine. NATO is an undemocratic military alliance controlled by the USA. NATO sees Russia and China as threats because they have the power to create a multipolar world. NATO can create nothing but an extension of the USA empire so it has advanced to Russia’s borders.The USA has even withdrawn from the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces INF) Treaty. During my 17 years at Greenham I advocated a non-aligned stand.This was a part of our opposition to all nuclear weapons. I believe all nuclear weapons are the enemy of humanity and life on Earth. If NATO disbanded there would be an opportunity for nuclear disarmament. The threat of nuclear war which haunts all our lives could be finally ended.The money spent on these weapons should be used for the NHS. Sanctions imposed by the EU and the USA on Russia have caused energy prices to rise to unaffordable levels. It is clear to me who are the aggressors; the elite of militaristic capitalists who hold power in the USA and NATO nations.They have control over proxy states and the EU.They make the NATO policy which causes and arms endless wars in pursuit of world domination.The cost to the majority of us is humanitarian and economic crisis.
No nuclear weapons at USAF Lakenheath! Britain out of NATO!
Kathrine Jones,vice-president SLP Welsh Region 11/12/2022