“Out Satan must go, every hair and feather.” (George Macdonald)
Last week we heard that the Belgian government were blocking the export to the UK of technical equipment for nuclear warhead manufacture. Since the information appears to have been leaked we have no way of knowing whether the Belgians will persist with the block or not. However it ends up the story reminds us of how the supply lines (resources, equipment and finance) for nuclear weapon production and deployment cross state borders like a malignant web. In this reality principled state actors and others who know about the connections can bring it to light, make the objections, and have an impact on the whole appalling process. It will be pointed out that if the Belgians were to persist with the block the bomb-makers at AWE Aldermaston/Burghfield would look for and probably find an alternative source. Even if that is true the Belgian action would be no mere symbol. It would further highlight the nature of the supply web and, since it would be based on an objection to nuclear weapons as such, would further enhance the inhumane and pariah status of these weapons.
It has again become fashionable among those who wish to push back against good social movement to describe actions such as this as “gesture politics” and in doing so gloss over the fact that is these situations the lack of the vital “gesture”, be it refusing to repair Pinochet’s killer planes at Renfrew, or taking the knee, is the committed politics of connivance and collusion.
And as well as the supply lines the nuclear production and deployment web includes the transit strand, nuclear carrying ships and aircraft entering national waters and airspaces. This will be an issue for Sweden and Finland if they succeed in joining NATO. In that case will they stick to principle and refuse transit by nuclear-carrying NATO craft? That will be an issue for an independent Scotland since these days US nuclear weapon submarines are in and out of the Gare Loch like yo-yos. Will we have the smeddum to to say no?
All of which is part of the answer to those who say that there is no way the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons can have any effect if the nuclear-armed states do not acceded to it. In fact over the five years since its adoption by the UN the treaty has acquired growing credibility and the support of around 130 states; it has impacted on the investment policy of many large finance institutions who have removed the industry from their portfolios on the basis that these are inhuman weapons, as beyond the pale as poison gas and landmines; nations and political leaders who began by sneering at the treaty have changed their tune to a degree; whole cities within the nuclear-armed states have come out in support. This shift in perception away from the bland and mainstream normalisation of inhumane and catastrophic weapons is called the Stigmatising Effect.
We can all share in the Stigmatising process by challenging the mainstream normalising chatter whenever we come across it.
And finally, an invitation to next week’s Scottish ICAN Round Table
It’s such an exciting time for ICAN, growing and moving forward, and we are seeing interesting possibilities for connection with campaigners in Europe, despite the real fear of escalation in Ukraine.
Please remember we have Scottish Partners Round Table at 2.00pm on 6 December, its will be hybrid, and for those that can manage, an opportunity to visit the new peace premises at 58 Ratcliffe Terrace Edinburgh EH9 1ST that Peace and Justice are sharing with Secure Scotland.
For ICAN Partners, there will be a chance to see the facilities and have a coffee before the meeting from 1.00pm
Please reply to email@example.com if you think you can manage in person.
Janet Fenton Secure Scotland is inviting you to a scheduled Zoom meeting.
Topic: Scottish ICAN Round Table
Time: Dec 6, 2022 14:00 Dublin
Join Zoom Meeting
Meeting ID: 857 5505 6459