Why Nonviolent Direct Action ?

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Successive governments have failed to bring about disarmament despite agreeing to do so 45 years ago under the Non-Proliferation Treaty. Any use of nuclear weapons would be illegal under international law. And because Trident and other nuclear weapons are 10  times the size of the Hiroshima bomb any use would be a humanitarian catastrophe and devastate the planet probably causing widespread famine.

Most people feel that Trident is wrong, immoral, or even illegal. Most people, in Scotland at least, want it done away with. And most countries in the world do not have nuclear weapons and support a treaty to ban them.

But our government is able to continue to deploy these horrendous weapons against our will because we let it.  What if we refused to put up with it any longer? What if thousands, or even tens of thousands of us disrupted the deployment of Trident?

Let us become the changeOne blockade by itself will not force the government to disarm Trident (unless tens of thousands of us take part! – let’s hope that happens!). But neither will a demonstration by itself. Yet NVDA  is an effective (and inspiring) tool for dramatizing the injustice of the status quo. Taking part in or supporting nonviolent direct action is a very powerful way of expressing what we think and feel and can help us to become more committed campaigners. Symbolically shutting down the base is also an effective way get a message across to the public via the media. Many of us believe that when we get arrested resisting Trident, we will not be breaking the law but upholding it.

Civil resistance has been used time and again in campaigns that have brought major change. Just think of Gandhi’s salt march, Rosa Parks refusing to move to the back of the bus or many actions of the suffragists. Most people would say now that empire, segregation and denying women the right to vote were wrong and that nonviolent direct action in those campaigns was right and effective . In the same way civil resistance is an important tool in our kit. Indeed direct action at Faslane has helped bring us to where we are with a Scottish government that opposes Trident and raised the question of Trident replacement in Electoral politics. But we have to keep up the pressure.