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York blockaded HMNB Clyde on Monday 19th March 2007, and will return!
To get involved, join the yahoo group.
Go Us; We Rock
We got things together amazingly well considering the lack of time and experience. We worked really well together considering that we had only really met each other a few weeks back. We comfortably achieved what we set out to achieve.
Things to have done differently
Most working groups didn't really get on with the job. The materials group took a while to get going - a lot of this due to inexperience with what we were trying to do - and the food group never really happened at all. There was far too much "no need to do anything yet" going on in the early stages.
The workshop with Adam and Angie was the point at which we began really focussing. It would probably have been better to have had this earlier.
The buddy system didn't work for us. Affinity groups were sufficiently small to mean this wasn't a big deal for the blockading teams, but in terms of keeping track of people it wasn't a success. We should have exchanged phone numbers a lot quicker.
There was little organisation en mass once there. It would have made sense to have had a meeting every evening, assign roles (food prep, cleaning) for the next day and do a proper orientation (where the recyling is etc.) Label things.
We should have made utterly sure that everyone knew everyone elses names. Name games are useful. The drivers could have been a more integrated part of the gang.
We should have had maps and images of the site with us. We got a few from Helenburgh but it would have been useful to have had the ones from the meeting and the videos etc. that were shown way back at the first meeting.
- We should have agreed beforehand what we were going to tell the police and what we weren't. It might have been easier to have one designated liaison so blockaders could (politely) direct police enquiries to that person. It would have made sense for Grace to have done this, as she was the legal contact anyway. Might have been worth having one liaison on each gate. It was certainly a bad idea to have the police contact point the same person as the press contact point.
- We didn't really try to engage with the people going past the blockade to work. This could be an addition to the workshop.
- Part of the support offered by the support teamsshould have been emotional support - this was lacking at the North gate. The Spaniards and Ken provided it in bucketloads at the South. Nonarrestables can keep the atmosphere positive, congratulate and encourage the blockaders.
- Support team could also help check that the blockade's in the right place!
- Arrestables should have been carrying all the things they wanted to be arrested with - i.e. book, water, snacks, more clothes. Anything more than the basics should go to the support team. The blockaders spent a long time in the vans with all their possessions. Better to have them and risk them being confiscated than not to have them.
- Should make more of an effort to remember police names. They all look the same, so it's useful to know who you spoke to before.
- Improve our blockade. If the Nottingham lot can manage four hours then why can't we give it a go?
- In defense of not being there for 4 hours, I personally would have died from the cold. Otherwise I agree! (Ricjl)
Have some musical instruments/chants/slogans/plans. As we've got more time this time round, a few more preparations for that might be good. Particularly if we wanted to effectively support a blockading group.
Do most of the shopping in Glasgow, perhaps. There are plenty of ethical food options there.
There was a debate about hiring vans for the student blockade in June. There were comments that it was a bit too much like a school trip. There were also comments about the state of the vans afterwards being very much like it had been a school trip.
- Please add your entries here!
Taken from Goodmag Issue #3.
Nuclear warheads are the most destructive objects present anywhere on the surface of our planet and they have been constructed and maintained by six of the worlds most powerful democracies1. If the arguments against nuclear proliferation are both moral and pragmatic (which I believe they are), then how has this been allowed to happen? Why have people continued to vote for the bomb? Is this a global conspiracy? Are people being lied to, or are they not listening? What can we as individuals do when all three main parties believe in the need to the nuclear “deterrent”?
Breaking the law was a line that I had never endeavoured to cross but the injustice of our government's unfaltering desire for nuclear proliferation called me to action. Complaining had failed. It was time for resistance.
Although I had never risked arrest before, in the company of good friends with shared objectives I felt I could do anything. Plunging into new situations with new people is always daunting, yet my experience at Faslane was both empowering and exciting.
I overcame my natural tendency to avoid the unknown and at the same time worked hard against my natural urge to volunteer for everything (it is my 3rd year after all2). I pretty much managed it. Months of planning, training, construction, fundraising and practising lead up to the weekend. York was due to hold the torch for the year round blockade 18th-19th March.
I arrived in the middle of the night having missed the day of (legal) protest on account of being stuck in Nottingham. I had six hours to lay down my bags, sleep, wake up, eat, find out what I was supposed to be doing, wake up and put what was about to happen out of my mind. Then I woke up and tumbled into the van with my comrades on our merry way. With a strong sense of doom in the air, we sang excerpts from Team America and prepared for deployment. 5.45am – the enclosed industrial city of the nuclear base appears out of the window. It is time. Oh shit. Oh shit. Oh shit. It’s a nuclear base. What the HELL am I doing. Oh shit. Oh shit. Ok. Ok. Do I have my tube. I… where’s my karabiner? Oh shit. Oh shit. Doors open. We run. Oh shit. Get Down! We’re down.
Lying on your back attached to two people through some plumbing inside the gate of a nuclear submarine base watching the clouds go by, is more relaxing than you might think. It’s about 2oC and it’s considering snowing. The concrete is cold. I’m very tired. But we made it. The traffic is stopped. At 6am the police arrive (they’re not very surprised) and the traffic starts to queue up. It makes me smile to think of that moment. We had succeeded.
It gets colder and noisier, and the “cutting team” arrives. By 6.30am we’re being picked off one by one and the traffic starts to move again. The good news is those at the South Gate kept the resistance for another hour.
I was covered with a sheet and the cast-cutter got to work on our tubes. I was marched down the road (chatting merrily about the weather) by two somewhat confused policemen, asked some questions, photographed, and put in a van where I shared my Hobnobs with the male arrestees (not the policeman, they declined) and listened to the radio. Then through the beautiful Strathclyde countryside to Dunbarton where an equally genial officer discussed his last holiday to York with us. We had our possessions confiscated, details recorded, and were put in solitary confinement.
The cell is a bit bigger than a toilet in a train, with no window, just a crash mat and a toilet. The florescent light flickered and it smelt a bit of sick. But I suppose there had to a hard part to this experience somewhere. I thought I was in there for 24 hours. But after some lunch, a cup of tea (free food!) we were, to our great surprise, given back our possessions and our freedom. We discussed our relief in the foyer of Dunbarton police station and cheered the women’s release in Greenock. In Scotland at least, resistance is not futile: it’s a daytrip.
I didn’t get the impression I was being treated like a danger to society. It was more like the detention with the teacher who actually liked you but felt your shenanigans needed to be punished to make sure no-one else was encouraged. I trust that isn’t the message you are receiving. Come to Faslane to protest this debacle. And if you like, you can lie down on the concrete too.
1 That’s India, Israel, UK, USA, Russia and France. China and Pakistan having nuclear capabilities but not being democracies. There are a lot more countries without and they do fine.
2 Voice in my head
We are going to produce a guide for other groups? Put it here :)
- New-age Vikings promote peace by Oliver Duff, 20th June 2007 - The Independent
- York Vikings go berserk over Trident - Indymedia UK
- Vikings to storm nuclear sub base by Sam Southgate, Monday 19th February 2007 - The Press
- Vikings’ fleet fury by Sam Southgate, Tuesday 20th March 2007 - The Press