These are extremely challenging times for all of us, but there is also tremendous hope for better days ahead with countless initiatives that hint at the world we want to see, when all this is over. It is important now that we redouble our efforts for Peace and Justice, not only because this represents an opportunity for us as a society to re-evaluate our priorities, but for our own mental health as campaigners. Below we’ll discuss some reasons to be cheerful, link you to some inspirational reading and lay out our strategy for strengthening our campaigning even from isolation.
Solidarity and Mutual Aid
Communities are self-organising as never before to look after vulnerable neighbours, providing food and medical deliveries and other support. If you’re young, fit and healthy get out and lend a hand. Here are just a few lists of local groups: Beverley, Calderdale, Rotherham, Huddersfield, Hull, Leeds, Scarborough, Sheffield, Whitby, York.
If you are struggling to find support, get in touch and we can help you identify groups in your area who can help.
Socially useful production
Engineering companies that normally produce weapons are being asked to redirect their efforts to produce vital ventilators for the NHS and companies like Rolls Royce are responding. Key public transport and other services are being taken into public ownership to better serve the needs of the population. While these may be temporary measures, they present an example going forward that both the public and the workers involved can engage in.
If we can accomplish this even in crisis, imagine what a well planned and implemented programme of Defence Diversification would look like. A new documentary “The Plan” looks at previous attempts by armaments workers to push for socially useful production – you can see a 30 minute version here.
Security and Cooperation
Russian troops are being deployed in Italy this week, not as part of an invasion (that countless NATO exercises have prepared for) but as part of a medical aid expedition. There is growing awareness that internationally coordinated efforts are going to be essential in tackling this crisis, as interlinked nature of the security of our communities has become clearer than ever. A reassessment is already taking place of what we mean by ‘security’, with even mainstream US media outlets pushing for a move from strategies based on ‘National Security’ to ones based on ‘Human Security’.
- “To address the corona virus: Shift resources from nukes and the military to public health and the economy!”
Armchair activism: the revolution starts here!
While it’s vital that we physically isolate ourselves, we must not allow ourselves to become isolated – our ideas are more important than ever.
- Engage with your MP as part of CNDs ‘Wash our Hands of Trident Campaign’
- Write a letter to your local paper – get involved in the debate.
- Reactivate your old campaigning networks – give someone you’ve not spoken to in a while a call today and see how they are, who knows what it might lead to?
Meetings without meeting
We are encouraging all our local groups to arrange ‘virtual meetings’, it’s a great way to stay in touch. For office coordination we’ve been using Zoom, which is a free programme for online meetings. It’s good for CND groups as it allows people without a computer or smartphone at home to call in from a landline at local rate. If you’d like to organise a local meeting and need a bit of help setting it up give us a call and we can help out.
Keep in touch with upcoming events
We’ll be running a series of webinars and campaign events in the coming weeks – our first will be on the Movement against Weapons in Space at 6pm on 15th of April with international speakers to be confirmed this week. We’re moving forward as never before with our work on the Cities Appeal and will need all your help to make it a success and we’ll be sending our a supporter survey in early April to get to know your thoughts better.
While the office is closed, staff will be working from home in close contact with the coordinating group and are available on firstname.lastname@example.org, our individual emails and also on 05603 640753.
Stay safe. With much love and solidarity from all at Yorkshire CND.