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     Scottish CND      Magazine


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On September 9th 1980, eight people entered the General Electric plant in King of Prussia, Pennsylvania USA, where nose cones for the Mark 12A nuclear warheads were manufactured. They hammered on two cones and poured their own blood on the missile parts, some desks and documents. The eight peace activists took their inspiration from the Biblical prophesies of Isaiah They shall beat their swords into ploughshares and their spears into pruning hooks.

This was the start of the Ploughshares movement. Although the name derives from Hebrew scripture, Ploughshare is not a Christian movement, but embraces people from many belief systems, religious and non-religious. What they all have in common is a commitment to peace and disarmament, and a willingness to live this out by non-violently, openly and accountably disabling a war machine or system so that it can no longer harm people.

Since the original Ploughshares Eight, many people have followed the disarmament work. Using simple tools such as household hammers, people have continued to disarm weapons in small but effective ways. As of August 1997, over 140 individuals have participated in over 60 Ploughshares actions in Australia, Germany, Sweden, the UK and the USA.

The most common way of disarming is to use a hammer. The hammer is used to create as well as to take apart, and its use points to the urgency of the need for conversion from products of death and destruction, to products of construction and peace.

The TRIDENT PLOUGHSHARES 2000 PROJECT is to be seen in the historical context of the Ploughshares movement, and in the circumstances prevailing here in Scotland, where the UK Trident submarines are stationed.

In recognition of our responsibility to build a world free of nuclear weapons, we will endeavour to disarm peacefully, openly, and accountably the British Trident nuclear system by 1st January 2000. Our acts of disarmament are intended to stop ongoing activity which is criminal and illegal under well recognised principles of international law.

Several hundred international activists, organised into “affinity groups” of from 3 to 10 people, will openly sign a PLEDGE TO PREVENT NUCLEAR CRIME in May 1998. We will publicly commit ourselves to attempting peacefully to disarm a Trident nuclear submarine, or its support system.

However, we will give the government three months to dismantle the Trident system themselves, in accordance with the many international agreements they have already made. A small group of negotiators will spend these three months in intense dialogue with decision-makers at all levels.

If there is no commitment by the British Government to disarm all British nuclear weapons by the year 2000, then the first period of open Ploughshares actions will start at Faslane and Coulport from August 11th to 25th 1998, and thereafter there will be an open weekend of actions every three months. This is not a “one-off” demonstration, but a commitment to nuclear disarmament by the year 2000.

Each affinity group will take part in a minimum two-day workshop to enable them to prepare themselves emotionally, physically and legally for their actions, and to arrange support.

The CORE ORGANISING GROUP consists of the seven people whose names appear at the end of this invitation to participate. They are taking overall responsibility for the project, and exist to help empower all those who wish to participate. The ground rules for the projects include total non-violence, safety, openness and accountability.

Since as of March 1998, all British nuclear weapons will be operational from Scotland, there is a profound and especial obligation on us, the people of this land, to respond with as much courage and determination as we can muster to the intolerable situation where we now find ourselves.

Trident has been imposed upon us against our will, contrary to international and domestic law, and in defiance of all moral restraints. Please support the Trident Ploughshares 2000 Campaign.

The Trident Ploughshares Core Group are: Sylvia Boyes, Tracy Hart, Ellen Moxley, Brian Quail, Helen Stephen, Ian Thomson and Angie Zelter.

A video describing the Ploughshares project is now available. For more information or copies of the video contact: Angie Zelter, Trident Ploughshare 2000, 42-46 Bethel St, Norwich, Norfolk, NR2 1NR.

Scottish CND      Magazine