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.

9,827 comments on “Wales, Greenham Common and Occupy

  1. Can I simply say what a comfort to discover an individual who actually knows what they’re discussing online. You certainly understand how to bring a problem to light and make it important. A lot more people must read this and understand this side of the story. I can’t believe you aren’t more popular because you certainly possess the gift.

  2. Your style is very unique in comparison to other people I’ve read stuff from. Thanks for posting when you’ve got the opportunity, Guess I will just bookmark this web site.

  3. I absolutely love your website.. Excellent colors & theme. Did you develop this site yourself? Please reply back as Iím attempting to create my own blog and want to learn where you got this from or what the theme is named. Thank you!

  4. I seriously love your website.. Great colors & theme. Did you build this amazing site yourself? Please reply back as Iím hoping to create my very own blog and want to find out where you got this from or exactly what the theme is named. Thank you!

  5. Iím amazed, I must say. Seldom do I encounter a blog thatís both educative and entertaining, and let me tell you, you’ve hit the nail on the head. The problem is something too few men and women are speaking intelligently about. I am very happy that I found this in my hunt for something relating to this.

  6. Excellent site you have got here.. Itís hard to find high quality writing like yours these days. I honestly appreciate people like you! Take care!!

  7. You’re so interesting! I do not suppose I’ve truly read anything like that before. So good to discover somebody with a few unique thoughts on this issue. Really.. thank you for starting this up. This website is something that is needed on the internet, someone with some originality!

  8. Can I just say what a comfort to find somebody that really knows what they are talking about on the internet. You actually understand how to bring a problem to light and make it important. More people have to look at this and understand this side of your story. I was surprised that you’re not more popular because you surely possess the gift.

  9. Oh my goodness! Impressive article dude! Thanks, However I am encountering difficulties with your RSS. I donít know why I can’t join it. Is there anybody getting similar RSS issues? Anyone who knows the answer will you kindly respond? Thanks!!

  10. Howdy! This post couldnít be written any better! Looking at this article reminds me of my previous roommate! He always kept talking about this. I will send this post to him. Fairly certain he’ll have a very good read. Many thanks for sharing!

  11. After exploring a handful of the articles on your site, I truly appreciate your way of blogging. I book-marked it to my bookmark website list and will be checking back soon. Take a look at my web site too and tell me your opinion.

  12. Having read this I thought it was really informative. I appreciate you finding the time and energy to put this content together. I once again find myself spending a lot of time both reading and leaving comments. But so what, it was still worth it!

  13. Howdy, I do think your web site may be having web browser compatibility issues. Whenever I take a look at your site in Safari, it looks fine however, when opening in I.E., it’s got some overlapping issues. I simply wanted to provide you with a quick heads up! Other than that, fantastic site!

  14. Having read this I believed it was rather informative. I appreciate you spending some time and effort to put this content together. I once again find myself personally spending a significant amount of time both reading and leaving comments. But so what, it was still worth it!

  15. Iím amazed, I have to admit. Rarely do I encounter a blog thatís equally educative and interesting, and without a doubt, you have hit the nail on the head. The issue is something not enough men and women are speaking intelligently about. I’m very happy that I found this during my search for something regarding this.

  16. Hi there! This blog post couldnít be written any better! Reading through this post reminds me of my previous roommate! He continually kept preaching about this. I’ll forward this article to him. Pretty sure he’s going to have a great read. Thank you for sharing!

  17. An intriguing discussion is worth comment. I do believe that you should write more about this subject matter, it might not be a taboo matter but usually people do not discuss such subjects. To the next! All the best!!

  18. Nice post. I learn something totally new and challenging on websites I stumbleupon everyday. It will always be helpful to read through content from other writers and use something from other websites.

  19. Oh my goodness! Incredible article dude! Thanks, However I am having troubles with your RSS. I donít understand the reason why I can’t join it. Is there anybody else having identical RSS issues? Anyone who knows the answer can you kindly respond? Thanks!!

  20. I really love your blog.. Excellent colors & theme. Did you develop this site yourself? Please reply back as Iím planning to create my own personal site and would love to find out where you got this from or what the theme is called. Many thanks!

  21. Hi, Neat post. There’s an issue together with
    your web site in internet explorer, would test this? IE nonetheless
    is the marketplace chief and a huge portion of other people will miss your fantastic writing due to this problem.

  22. Hi, I do think this is an excellent web site. I stumbledupon it 😉 I may return yet again since i have book marked it. Money and freedom is the best way to change, may you be rich and continue to guide other people.

  23. Everything is very open with a really clear explanation of the challenges. It was definitely informative. Your site is very useful. Thank you for sharing!

  24. I must thank you for the efforts you have put in writing this website. I am hoping to see the same high-grade content by you later on as well. In fact, your creative writing abilities has encouraged me to get my own, personal site now 😉

  25. Wonderful goods from you, man. I have understand your stuff previous to and you are just extremely fantastic.
    I actually like what you have acquired here, really like what you’re saying and
    the way in which you say it. You make it enjoyable and you still take
    care of to keep it wise. I cant wait to read far more from
    you. This is actually a terrific site.

  26. Hi, I do believe this is an excellent website. I stumbledupon it 😉 I am going to return once again since I book-marked it. Money and freedom is the best way to change, may you be rich and continue to help others.

  27. Iím amazed, I have to admit. Seldom do I encounter a blog thatís equally educative and interesting, and let me tell you, you’ve hit the nail on the head. The problem is something not enough folks are speaking intelligently about. Now i’m very happy that I stumbled across this in my hunt for something regarding this.

  28. I blog often and I genuinely appreciate your content. This 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 as well.

  29. You are so awesome! I do not believe I’ve read through a single thing like that before. So nice to discover somebody with some genuine thoughts on this topic. Really.. many thanks for starting this up. This web site is one thing that is required on the web, someone with some originality!

  30. An interesting discussion is worth comment. There’s no doubt that that you should publish more on this subject, it may not be a taboo subject but generally folks don’t discuss these topics. To the next! Kind regards!!

Leave a Reply

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