Wales, Greenham Common and Occupy

Helen Thomas at Greenham Common
Helen Thomas at Greenham Common

A memorial bench to Helen Thomas, a peace campaigner killed while taking part in the Greenham Common Women’s Peace Protest, has been unveiled in the centre of Newcastle Emlyn by the town clock. Helen was born and went to school in Newcastle Emlyn and her family still have a business there. Aged only 22, Helen died after being struck by a police vehicle in 1989. Folk singer Dafydd Iwan wrote a song about Helen, ‘Cân i Helen’ and took part in the ceremony honouring Helen where Mayor Hazel Evans said the town council honoured her memory and her commitment to peace and her fight against nuclear weapons.

The Occupy movement has filled our media who struggle to understand the nature of protest which is not accompanied by a list of demands.  Thirty years ago Wales kicked off another protest which lasted for 19 years. The Greenham Common Peace Camp, where Helen Thomas sadly lost her life, was started in September 1981 by a Welsh group, Women for Life on Earth, who travelled to RAF Greenham Common in Berkshire to protest against the decision of the British government to allow Cruise missiles (nuclear weapons) to be sited there. The Women for Life on Earth group walked 120 miles from Cardiff to Greenham Common and on reaching their destination they chained themselves to the perimeter fence. They were joined by women from across the UK and during the height of the protests, thousands of women blocked the entrances to the base, cut through perimeter fences and formed human chains around the site.

Ring of womenThere were some huge demonstrations during the tenure of the Peace Camp. In December 1982, 30,000 women joined hands around the base at the Embrace the Base event. On 1 April 1983, some 70,000 protesters formed a 14 mile human chain from Greenham to Aldermaston and the ordnance factory at Burghfield. Another encircling of the base occurred in Dec 1983, with 50,000 women attending. Sections of the fence were cut and there were hundreds of arrests.

The women were ultimately successful as the Cruise missiles were removed in March 1991. The airbase was closed in 1993 but the peace camp remained until 2000. The attention they received prompted the creation of other peace camps at more than a dozen sites in Britain and elsewhere in Europe so the Occupy movement is not breaking new ground. There are two clear lessons for Occupy from the Greenham Peace Camp.

  • You have to be prepared to be there for the long haul
  • Despite all the Police, the Media, the Courts and Local Authorities throw at you – peaceful protest is the way to succeed

Support peace camps logoOccupy is beginning to succeed. It has caused the St Paul’s authorities to (finally) take a principled stand and Ed Milliband to (finally) come off the fence. Thoughtful people are starting to think the issues through and I’m optimistic that the most powerful force for change, public opinion, will gradually start to bring about the changes our society needs.

9,787 comments on “Wales, Greenham Common and Occupy

  1. Someone essentially help to make seriously posts I would state. This is the very first time I frequented your website page and thus far? I surprised with the research you made to make this particular publish extraordinary. Magnificent job!

  2. Right here is the right webpage for anybody who really wants to understand this topic. You realize a whole lot its almost hard to argue with you (not that I personally will need toÖHaHa). You certainly put a fresh spin on a subject that’s been discussed for many years. Great stuff, just excellent!

  3. An outstanding share! I have just forwarded this onto a co-worker who had been doing a little homework on this. And he in fact ordered me dinner because I stumbled upon it for him… lol. So allow me to reword this…. Thank YOU for the meal!! But yeah, thanx for spending time to talk about this topic here on your website.

  4. You’re so awesome! I don’t think I’ve read through something like that before. So wonderful to find another person with unique thoughts on this subject matter. Seriously.. thank you for starting this up. This website is something that is required on the web, someone with some originality!

  5. Hey there ps4 games.I found your blog using msn. This is a very well written article.I’ll make sure to bookmark it and return to read more of your useful information. Thanks for the post.I will certainly comeback.

  6. An intriguing discussion is worth comment. I do think that you need to publish more about this subject, it might not be a taboo matter but generally people do not talk about such topics. To the next! Best wishes!!

  7. Danke für eine weitere informative Website. Wo sonst könnte ich diese Art von Informationen so ideal geschrieben bekommen? Ich habe ein Projekt, an dem Ich gerade arbeite, und Ich habe nach solchen Infos Ausschau gehalten.

  8. I’ve been surfing online more than three hours these days, but I never discovered any attention-grabbing article like yours. It’s lovely value enough for me. In my view, if all web owners and bloggers made good content material as you probably did, the internet will likely be much more helpful than ever before.

  9. An outstanding share! I’ve just forwarded this onto a coworker who had been doing a little homework on this. And he actually bought me lunch because I stumbled upon it for him… lol. So allow me to reword this…. Thank YOU for the meal!! But yeah, thanks for spending time to talk about this matter here on your blog.

  10. Hi! I could have sworn Iíve visited this site before but after looking at a few of the articles I realized itís new to me. Anyhow, Iím definitely happy I came across it and Iíll be book-marking it and checking back often!

  11. What’s Happening i am new to this, I stumbled upon this I’ve found It absolutely useful and it has aided me out loads. I hope to contribute & aid other users like its aided me. Great job.

  12. You’re so interesting! I do not believe I’ve truly read through a single thing like that before. So nice to discover another person with a few genuine thoughts on this topic. Seriously.. many thanks for starting this up. This website is something that is required on the internet, someone with some originality!

  13. Hello! I’m at work surfing around your blog from my new iphone! Just wanted to say I love reading your blog and look forward to all your posts! Carry on the superb work!

  14. I blog frequently and I really thank you for your information. The article has really peaked my interest. I will take a note of your website and keep checking for new details about once a week. I subscribed to your Feed too.

  15. I blog frequently and I really appreciate your content. Your article has really peaked my interest. I’m going to bookmark your blog and keep checking for new details about once per week. I opted in for your RSS feed too.

  16. Oh my goodness! Impressive article dude! Many thanks, However I am going through issues with your RSS. I donít understand the reason why I cannot join it. Is there anyone else getting similar RSS problems? Anyone that knows the solution can you kindly respond? Thanks!!

  17. Aw, this was an extremely good post. Taking a few minutes and actual effort to create a superb articleÖ but what can I sayÖ I procrastinate a lot and don’t manage to get anything done.

  18. Oh my goodness! Impressive article dude! Thanks, However I am encountering issues with your RSS. I donít understand why I can’t subscribe to it. Is there anybody else getting the same RSS problems? Anyone who knows the answer will you kindly respond? Thanx!!

  19. After study a few of the blog posts on your website now, and I truly like your way of blogging. I bookmarked it to my bookmark website list and will be checking back soon. Pls check out my web site as well and let me know what you think.

  20. I was pretty pleased to find this website. I need to to thank you for ones time for this wonderful read!! I definitely appreciated every bit of it and I have you saved as a favorite to check out new stuff on your website.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *