On 28th June-3rd July, 150 students from across Britain will create an alternative to the hedonistic summer festival circuit near Faslane nuclear base, Scotland. They will establish the Strident Tent State to interrogate the concept of nuclear deterrence with experts from NGOs, thinktanks, pressure groups and parliament. Throughout the week, these informed students will also take direct action at RNAD Coulport, where Britain's nuclear warheads are stored.
The decision to renew Trident, made on 14th March in the House of Commons, means that nuclear weapons and their attendant threats will remain a reality until today's students are in their fifties and sixties. The camp represents a new form of creative protest, bringing together students and experts to explicitly link intellectual arguments and creative discussion to direct action against Britain's nuclear weapons system.
Jo Tyabji, one of the national co-ordinators, and a student at St Catherines College, Oxford, describes the camp's approach:
“Everyone will have a voice. There’s a lot we can learn from the experts working in this field, but the student-led discussions and workshops are just as important. Yes, many of us are frustrated with the decision rushed through on March 14th, frustrated enough to risk arrest at Faslane and Coulport, but what we are doing goes beyond that frustration to instigate real change. We are equipping ourselves with the skills needed to make that change a reality”
Katie Ulrick, a participant in the Strident Tent State and student at Leeds University says
“I want my presence to bear witness to the threat nuclear weapons pose. We are the generation who will live alongside these proposed new nuclear weapons – I am not prepared to let my life be overshadowed by such an apocalyptic presence.”
This action forms part of a year-long protest, Faslane 365, in which civil society groups daily attempt to block access to the base. All students are welcome- please see the website for more details or email firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.