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Fresh priorities ahead for CND

RAE STREET reports on the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament’s virtual AGM

LAST Saturday the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament held a successful online AGM under the banner, “NHS Not Trident.” 

Resolutions that were passed included “Covid-19 and Trident,” calling on the government to redirect the current £205 billion spend on replacing Trident towards health and welfare services.  

On a “New Cold War With China,” it was agreed to prepare a briefing and simple fact sheet about the US-led aggression towards China.  

On the “Militarisation of Space,” conference resolved to continue to campaign against the militarisation of space and draw attention to the US bases in Britain at Fylingdales, Menwith Hill and Croughton; to continue to support the Keep Space for Peace Week and call on the British government to save and strengthen the Outer Space Treaty and reinstate the concept of space as the province of all humankind.  

On “Defence Diversification,” it was resolved to campaign within the labour movement for the implementation of motion 17 passed by the 2018 Trades Union Congress and backed by Unite the Union, to establish a shadow defence diversification agency and also to continue to call for the Labour Party to implement TUC policy. 

On “New Nuclear Power Stations,” members were urged to support the Together Against Sizewell campaign and contact their own MPs to ask that the project be abandoned. 

Also members were alerted to the fact that although Hitachi had pulled out of building a new nuclear power station on Wylfa, on Anglesey, the government had left the door open for a possible way to finance a power station there.

On “Disarmament Treaties,” the proposer highlighted President Donald Trump’s recklessness in terms of his attitude towards nuclear arms, with actions that bring everyone across the world dangerously near the precipice of using nuclear weapons.

The nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty was signed in 1968. It stated that the nuclear weapon states should “disarm in good faith.” 

Has that happened in the following years?    

No. Not only that, they have continued to develop their nuclear weapons, making their killing power greater and greater — Britain’s part in the US Trident project being a prime example of that.

In 1987 — thanks in no small part to the non-violent direct action of the women at Greenham Common — Ronald Reagan and Mikhail Gorbachev signed the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty, as a result of which the US and the Soviet Union destroyed 2,692 short-, medium- and intermediate-range nuclear missiles in 1991. 

But, in 2019, Trump declared the suspension of US obligations under the treaty. Then, of course, Russia followed suit.

Trump also withdrew from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, known as the Iran deal, by which Iran would have redesigned and converted its nuclear facilities in order to have lifted all the nuclear-related economic sanctions, freeing up tens of billions of dollars in oil revenues.  

The US administration continues its sanctions on Iran, with tragic consequences for the people.

Trump is now threatening to renew nuclear testing, which would break the spirit of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty.  

Although the US stalled on ratification of the Treaty because of opposition from the Republicans, every country in the world has adhered to a global non-testing norm since 1990.  

Should the US resume testing, in whatever form, it will put pressure on Russia, China, Pakistan, India and others to resume or start nuclear testing.

Remember what happened after the above-ground testing in the US where the downwinders still suffer, or when the French tested in the Pacific Islands where the Marshall islanders gave birth to the babies with birth defects.

We also should not forget that the British tested seven bombs at Maralinga in southern Australia between 1956 and 1963.  

The indigenous people were cleared off their land and most certainly suffered, many dying of cancer. Part of that land is still sterile — another part of our government’s shameful history.

We need the British government to make clear it will have no part in the Trump administration’s nuclear policies, especially on this latest threat. 

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