Thursday, October 19, 2017

Direct Action against the Bomb: 1960s and 1980s

The ever-useful London Rebel History calendar reminds us that this weekend sees at least two anniversaries, although not particularly 'landmark' ones, for the history of protest in Britain against nuclear weapons in its two great waves: late 1950s to 1960s; and 1980s, respectively.

21 [October]
Anti-nuclear direct action Committee of 100 launched, Euston, 1960.

22 [October]
1 million people attend CND rally against nukes, Hyde Park, 1983.

Debate about tactics was renewed in the second phase, with advocates of direct action advocating the need for more effective methods than appealing to politicians and trying to influence those in the corridors of power. The Solidarity group, members of which had participated in some of the most spectacular C100 actions (see previous posts listed below), produced a leaflet arguing for the continued relevance of their approach:



Of course the 1980s and subsequent decades were to produce their own, rather different, examples of sometimes long-sustained direct action, notably at Greenham Common and Faslane.


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Were They Bothered?
Some related sources for the earlier phase, indicating multiple ways in which the Committee of 100's tactics impinged upon the authorities, can be found in the National Archives.

NB. This list was compiled several years ago. A current search might turn up more recent releases and/or re-titled items, and some of these titles may have changed.

Admiralty
ADM 1/30660 Project LAMACHUS: Holy Loch Anti-Nuclear Demonstration Whitsun 1962 1962
ADM 1/28966 Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament and Committee of 100: Admiralty guidance 1963-1965 

Director of Public Prosecutions
DPP 2/3838 CHANDLER, Terence Norman, "Committee of 100" (London Committee): Appeal against conviction to the Court of Criminal Appeal by Chandler. Appeal refused 1964
DPP 2/3432 RANDLE, Michael Joseph and others ("Committee of 100"): appeal against conviction and sentence. Appeal dismissed 1962
DPP 2/3442 RANDLE, Michael Joseph and others ("Committee of 100"): appeal to the House of Lords against conviction. Appeals dismissed 1962
DPP 2/3678 MOULE, Peter and others ("Committee of 100"): conspiracy (to effect public mischief) S9 Official Secrets Acts 1911-1939. No action taken 1963 [Note: The naming of a defendant within this catalogue does not imply guilt].
DPP 2/4379 FARR, Kathleen: impersonation of HM The Queen at "Committee of 100" demonstration, "March of Shame", in Parliament Square, London, on 30 April 1967. Prosecution for sedition not in the public interest 1967 

Home Office
HO 325/163 Committee of 100 (Direct Action Group Against Nuclear Weapons): demonstration at Marham Royal Air Force Station, Norfolk on 11 May 1963; arrests under Official Secrets Act 1911 following trespass on airfield. Physical Description: With enclosure 1963 Jan 01-1963 Dec 31

Law Officers
LO 2/365 Applications for the attorney-general's fiat in Official Secrets cases: Committee of 100: consent 1964

Metropolitan Police inc. Special Branch
MEPO 2/11256 'Committee of 100': Special Branch reports concerning proposed demonstration at US Air Force Base at Ruislip at Easter 1964 1963-1964 

Ministry of Transport
MT 97/524 Road Service Licences: applications and refusals; transport of Committee of 100 to airfields 1961-1962

Prison Commission and Home Office Prison Dept.
PCOM 9/2208 ALLEGRANZA, Helen: member of the `Committee of 100'; at Central Criminal Court (CCC) on 30 January 1962 convicted of conspiracy to commit breach of Official Secrets Act; sentenced to 12 months' imprisonment; died [whilst in after] confinement 1962-1963

Prime Minister’s Office
PREM 11/3387 Demonstration in Trafalgar Square by nuclear disarmers: Prime Minister declined to see deputation from Committee of 100 1961
PREM 11/4284 Correspondence on activities of Committee of 100 1961-1963

Treasury
T 216/970 Personnel security: position of civil servants who are members of Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND), Committee of 100 and Church of Scientology 1962 May 09 - 1964 May 01

Ministry of Works
WORK 20/327 Trafalgar Square: meetings of the Committee of 100 1960-1961
WORK 20/336 Trafalgar Square: meeting of the Committee of 100, 17 September 1961. 



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Previously on this blog:

Sunday, October 15, 2017

PRESS RELEASE "The First Trumpland Political Thriller"

GHOST DANCE....by Ian R Mitchell..........THE FIRST TRUMPLAND POLITICAL THRILLER.......

                                          PUBLISHED OCTOBER 2017

It is January 2017. Donald Trump has just assumed the US presidency and become the world's most powerful man. The world is in shock – and fear, as it watches the jubilation this event causes over large parts of the United States.

Two friends set out on a road trip through the American West, just subsequent to the inauguration of Trump. One is Thomas, a Scottish freelance journalist familiar with the area, who is looking for copy for newspaper articles from the trip. The other is Louis, an American, a recently-divorced academic who has lived in Europe for over 20 years, and, stunned by the election result, wants to “find America” - and seek amorous adventures.

The journey starts in El Paso where “No-one goes on vacation” and takes them on an Odyssey through the wilds of West Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, Utah and Montana. They encounter the death agonies of rural and small town America in abandoned mining towns and witness agricultural decay, in an area unknown – and often despised - by many Americans. This is the heart of Trumpland, the boondocks fly-over states of ill-educated ill-informed and very angry people who are both witnessing and experiencing at first hand the Decline of the American Empire. The two friends' encounters with Trump's constituency are mitigated by meetings with the isolated and contrasting communities of ageing hippie drop outs, Native Americans, Hispanics and Mormons who also inhabit these little-known regions.

Life as ever in the USA imitates art, and an unwelcome incident on the Mexican border causes the friends to totally change their travel plans; then the road trip becomes a road flight that blows their odyssey totally off course and takes them to destinations unforeseen,  and a journey that will change both their lives in unexpected directions. Set in the template of the “far out west” road novel Ghost Dance is a serious work of political fiction, a state of the nation narrative, which is based on the author's thorough grounding of the history, scenery, culture and social structures of the US West. The novel illustrates in chilling fashion both the anger and hate which brought Trump to power, and the frightening portents this triumph carries for America and the rest of world, though the experience of two men grappling with forces at the limits of their comprehension, and beyond the limits of their control.


IAN R MITCHELL IS THE AUTHOR OF THE ACCLAIMED TRAVEL BOOK, ENCOUNTERS IN THE AMERICAN MOUNTAIN WEST AND OF THE COLD WAR POLITICAL THRILLER WINTER IN BERLIN.

GHOST DANCE IS PUBLISHED BY THE STOBCROSS PRESS AND IS AVAILABLE AS AN E-BOOK OR AS A PRINT ON DEMAND DOWNLOAD FROM AMAZON.
REVIEW COPIES CAN BE REQUESTED FROM STOBCROSS PRESS; contact