A weekend of discussion, workshops, music, film, theatre, networking and action. A celebration of International Peace Day held over the weekend 20-22 September 2019. This is a record of the event…
Video – Plenary sesssion Q&A – Rebecca Johnson, ICAN (International Campaign Against Nuclear Weapons, Hannah Tweddle, CND (Campaign for nuclear disarmament & Kirsten Bayes, CAAT (Campaign Against Arms Trade)
Powerpoint presentation by Dr Rebecca Johnson – ICAN (Intl Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons
On International Peace Day 2019 we celebrated the successes of the peace movement and received inspiration for future action in glorious sunshine. This event recalled Braziers’ original focus on peace – The Glaisters who founded Braziers Park School of Integrative Social Research just after WW2 were lifelong peace activists and Braziers’ mission is still to research and practice conscious co-existence, understand human’s place in nature and take constructive action in the world.
We learnt about the new UN Nuclear Ban Treaty supported by 122 non nuclear states and winner of the 2017 Nobel Peace Prize. We heard the stories of military veterans, an ex nuclear submarine commander and a jailed peace activist. We had a talk about Brexit and potential impacts on peace in Northern Ireland and a history of Greenpeace’s anti nuclear testing and Trident campaigning and there were group discussions covering everything from drone wars to nuclear warheads on our roads, the militarisation of space and how to challenge it.
The film War school showed how the military is being normalised to school children and we are the only European country still recruiting child soldiers at 16 as well as the impacts of serving in the military and was followed by discussion with the director Mic Dixon.
Aldermaston Womens Peace Camp set up on the lawn and welcomed visitors round their fire to hear about their monthly camps. An interactive exhibition of Greenham Common women’s peace camp and a wide range of information stalls from Extinction Rebellion to Trident Ploughshares, Nukewatch and The Peace Pledge Union set up in and around the house with leaflets, information and free copies of Peace News for everyone. Dorothy Glaister one of Brazier’s founders was a regular seller of Peace News in Reading and was arrested at protests at American Airforce bases.
There were NVC (non violent communication), NVDA (non-violent direct action) and peaceful action planning workshops,
The highlight of Saturday was the concert in the barn, starting with Peggy Seeger in conversation with local author Hugh Warwick ,who compered the evening. We were treated to fascinating stories from Peggy’s amazing life and some very topical songs. Then it was Spill the River, local indie band with beautiful sounds resonating through the ancient barn. Robb Johnson, brilliantly funny with powerful, political songs passionately delivered came next and the evening was rounded off with an inspirational and thought provoking set from Seize the Day which had all ages dancing and singing along. The music was followed by a lovely Autumn equinox ceremony around the fire and some delightful fiddle and didgeree dooing rounded off the evening. More videos await editing…
Sunday saw a coach trip to the nuclear warhead factories at Aldermaston and Burghfield with running commentary from veteran activists and a peaceful action at the gates facilitated by the MoD police.
Meanwhile back at Braziers people enjoyed a poetry session with Ruth Garfield and talks from guest speakers; Andrea Needham read from her book ‘Hammerblow‘ and described disabling a BAE war plane and subsequent jail time before being found not guilty by a jury, and Melvin Lyons gave a presentation and led a discussion about the potentially detrimental impacts of Brexit on the Northern Ireland peace process by undermining European Union’s ongoing role as the main sponsor of peace in Northern Ireland, as well as the Good Friday (Belfast) Agreement 1998 and border security between the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland.
Sunday’s highlight was the moving play ‘Conchies’ about a community of conscientious objectors who refused to fight in the war and set up a farm in Lincolnshire where they had to teach themselves farming and integrate with locals. Brilliantly performed by A Certain Demographic, all the way from Lincolnshire.
And the whole weekend was captured graphically by Rebecca from Envirovisuals with some phone video taken by Nac and Trish and some professional video by Zoe Broughton (to follow) – more pictures, videos, presentations and links will appear here soon – send yours to firstname.lastname@example.org
Follow on Activities – 5 October 2019 RAF Croughton rally – several of us were there at ‘Keep Space for Peace’ and also at Extinction Rebellion peace bloc in London with CND and other peace groups and individuals in October 2019.
Also see CND and associates forthcoming events and actions listing.
Nonviolent Communication / Needs-based Communication – weekend foundation course with Graham Timmins at Braziers Park January 2020