Oxford to Aldermaston Youth March, 10th - 12th April 2004
men and women, who pay for these weapons without ever having ordered them, who have never been asked anywhere yet if they wanted them. When and where have these preparations for nuclear warfare ever been put to the test of public opinion?”
This statement, just as relevant today, was written in 1957 by J. B. Priestley. It is from an article that inspired many to join the 1958 March to Aldermaston. Over 600 people marched from London to Aldermaston Atomic Weapons Establishment to demand one thing: unilateral British Nuclear Disarmament.
Aldermaston AWE (Atomic Weapons Establishment) has been the centre of the British nuclear weapons programme since the 1950s. Founded to build, maintain and eventually decommission the Polaris system, Aldermaston was the focus of many major CND protests and the famous London to Aldermaston marches.
Now, 46 years later, many things have changed. The Cold War has ended, but international tensions are at an all-time high. The recent attacks on Yugoslavia, Afghanistan and Iraq, and British and US declarations of their willingness to use nuclear weapons against non-nuclear states, show that the world we live in today is, if anything, more dangerous. Nuclear weapons still remain a huge threat to world peace.
Aldermaston is now required to maintain the Trident weapons system, consisting of four nuclear-armed submarines. Each submarine is loaded with 16 missiles, each of which takes up to 8 warheads; although according to the 1998 Strategic Defence Review they will carry only three. Even if this is true, it adds up to a destructive power 1344 times that of the bomb dropped on Hiroshima, which killed 140,000 people on impact, and costs the British taxpayer between £1,000billion and £1,500billion each year.
Planning permission has recently been sought, and given, for developments at Aldermaston AWE. With the decision as to the replacement of Trident to be made by 2010, it is clear that these developments will give the capability to research and develop an upgrade to Britain’s nuclear deterrent.
But our generation are no more willing to stand aside and watch a vast amount of resources be ploughed into building weapons of immense destructive capacity. On the 10th – 12th April, as a part of national protests, young people and students from around the country will be joining a Youth March from Oxford to Aldermaston against a new generation of nuclear weapons. The people on this march will be from many different viewpoints, many faiths and many different political backgrounds, but united in their desire for an alternative to the destructive cycle of nuclear proliferation.
Youth & Student CND are calling on young people and
students from across the country to join us in this march
to demand an end to British nukes and to reclaim our
future from the warmongers.