It’s taken the new cohort of Peaceworkers a few months to get sorted with updating the ‘P.O. Box Peace’, but we’ve finally got ourselves organised and looking forward to updating the blog with news and stories. Who knows what has inspired this sudden jump to action – perhaps it was the storm last weekend, or perhaps the knowledge that November is just around the corner and we haven’t got on with it yet!
I’m Andrew, and I’m based in London as a UK Peaceworker, working in two different organisations this year -War Resisters International (WRI) for four days a week, and Action AWE (Atomic Weapons Eradication) for one day. WRI is an international network of pacifist organisations dedicated to halting war and the causes of war, and I’m working in the Nonviolence programme, coordinating the revision of a book called the ‘Handbook for Nonviolent Campaigns’, which is used by activists the world over to plan and prepare their campaigns.
Action AWE is a grassroots campaign of nonviolent actions dedicated to halting nuclear weapons production at the Atomic Weapons Establishment factories at Aldermaston and Burghfield. With Action AWE I’m focussing on mobilisation and outreach work, arranging and organising talks and nonviolence trainings up and down the country. I’m very aware that if we’re going to scrap nuclear weapons in the next couple of decades, then the next 18 months is when we’ll really make that change happen.
My very first day at work – which feels like a long time ago already! – was spent at the Burghfield AWE disarmament camp, because WRI and Action AWE had come together to help organise and mobilise people from across Europe for a big blockade. It was inspiring to see people from as far away as Belgium, Spain, Germany, France and Finland put their bodies in the way of the ongoing development of nuclear weapons in the UK. I had a conversation a few days ago about how ‘peace folk’ can sometimes feel isolated, like they’re working away on their own, and this reminded me of how much of a real privilege it is to be in contact, from the very first day of my placement, with people all over the world and from every walk of life, working for peace. I’ve already been repeatedly inspired and humbled by people’s commitment to creating a more peaceful and just world.
This evening I’m planning on spending some time with my house mates, carving some Halloween pumpkins – but with a twist! One will be adorned with the logo for Action AWE, while the other will have WRI’s famous ‘broken rifle’ logo carved into it – however, I reserve the right to post pictures until we’re successful!