Faslane 365

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Faslane 365 was a one year continuous peaceful blockade of the Trident base at Faslane, Scotland, from 1st October 2006 to 30th September 2007. By mid-February 2007 over 500 people had been arrested for peacefully blockading the base.

Faslane 365 has been asking a wide range of local, national and even international groups from all sections of civil society to come to Faslane with at least 100 people committed to stay and make their visions for a just and peaceful future visible for at least two days.

The blockade website (http://www.faslane365.org/) explains that "The purpose of Faslane 365 is twofold: to bring people to witness and impede the nuclear base where Britain's nuclear weapons are deployed, and enable them to demonstrate the range of serious concerns - from human rights to climate change - that people in the real world consider to be the vital challenges for the 21st century. Running from October 1st 2006 for a year, at a time when Tony Blair has put on the political agenda the prospect of spending some £76 billion more to keep nuclear weapons in Scotland until at least the year 2055, Faslane 365 draws attention to the dangerous insecurity and waste of resources inherent in the Trident nuclear system, and mobilises support for these nuclear mistakes to be disarmed. In preventing nuclear 'business as usual' Faslane 365 also intend to highlight our real, human security needs, which will require a very different allocation of resources and action".

The Academic Blockade was just one of many, (http://www.faslane365.org/en/academics_and_scholars) and took place on 7th January 2007, blocking all traffic into the base for several hours as staff and students from the UK, Europe and Japan participated in giving seminar papers and discussing the papers prior to being arrested.

One of the papers delivered at the gates of Faslane, Richard Jolly stated that "I am here today because I am convinced that nuclear weapons are useless, expensive and destructive on a vast and most deadly scale. Indeed, nuclear weapons e facts are stark. Nuclear weapons will do nothing to prevent further war and they will be useless in the event that Britain or any other power are drawn into fighting. If they are used they will wreak unimaginable havoc and destruction. I believe therefore that Britain should embark on a serious process of nuclear disarmament, using all its power, influence, alliances and diplomatic skills to persuade others to join in the process. This after all is what the Non Proliferation Treaty commits us to. The issue is not whether replacing Trident is illegal under the NPT. Rather it is how Britain can strengthen its commitment to the NPT and, with others, restore momentum to it, as the UN SG appealed to all countries to do in 2005." (Jolly 2007: 2).

Another paper argued that dominant approaches to global security are completely out of step with reality, and realistic solutions to fundamental issues of global security are staring us in the face. These solutions have to be continually obscured by those seeking to maintain their positions of undeserved power in a non-egalitarian system. Fay Weldon is quoted as saying that “Much sheer effort goes into denying the truth: left to itself, it sweeps in like the tide” (Kenrick 2007).

This paper argued that realistic solutions are staring us in the face,and that this is made very clear in a recent article by John Vidal, Tania Branigan and James Randerson (2006) comparing the costs of tackling climate change with the costs of replacing Trident. They write that the cost to the UK of reducing our carbon emissions by the 60% minimum scientists say is needed by 2030 is estimated to be the same as the cost of renewing and maintaining Britain's Trident nuclear weapons system. They write that the latest Trident costs suggest an overall figure of £76bn to buy missiles, replace nuclear submarines, and maintain the system for 30 years. Meanwhile emissions are still rising and scientists, industry bodies and others suggest that £76bn could almost guarantee emission reductions from 150m tonnes of carbon a year today to the necessary level of around 60m tonnes by 2030.

The next Faslane Academics Blockade Conference will be on the 27th and 28th June 2007. It will be simultaneously both an academic exercise allowing critical analysis of the nuclear state, and a blockade of the Trident Submarine base at Faslane since the conference will happen directly at the North Gate on the road. It will be a blockade of base work by scientific discussion. This is a delightful form of action, one in which we put our profession literally against the Weapons of Mass-Destruction.

For those involved in organising the Academic blockade, ‘Academic’ includes all those who are trying to think thoroughly and critically about the nature of the world and the term is not meant to be confined to a particular professional group.

Contact details

Its website states, "Faslane 365 is now finished. Actions and resistance to Trident will continue in other forms."
Email: info AT faslane365.org
Web: http://www.faslane365.org

External links

Jolly, Richard (2007) 'Faslane Statement', Paper presented at the 'Academia Vs. Weapons of Mass Destruction Seminar' Faslane Nuclear Submarine Base 7th January 2007. http://www.faslane365.org/en/academics_and_scholars/submitted_papers_for_seminar_7th_jan_2007

Kenrick, Justin (2007) 'An Argument for Democracy: Solving Problems, Not Exacerbating Them', Paper presented at the 'Academia Vs. Weapons of Mass Destruction Seminar' Faslane Nuclear Submarine Base 7th January 2007. http://www.faslane365.org/en/academics_and_scholars/submitted_papers_for_seminar_7th_jan_2007

Vidal, John, Tania Branigan and James Randerson (2006) 'Could scrapping Trident save the planet? For the same price, Britain could either renew its nuclear arsenal or tackle climate change' in The Guardian, Saturday November 4, 2006. http://environment.guardian.co.uk/climatechange/story/0,,1939422,00.html