Thursday, May 22, 2014
South East London Women Oppose the Nuclear Threat (1984)
1984 was a busy year for the movement against nuclear weapons. American cruise missiles had been deployed in Britain, and there were protest camps at the US bases at Greenham Common and Molesworth. Cold War tensions were rising, and many people worried that a nuclear war was a real possibility.
Thirty years ago, Thursday 24 May 1984, was marked as International Women's Day for Disarmament, and was marked locally by what Peace News reported was 'a small but colourful march to Lewisham Common' organised by South East London WONT (Women Oppose the Nuclear Threat).The women only march started from The Albany, Deptford.
The Museum of London has a WONT leaflet from this period in its collection. It starts of with the statement that 'Lewisham has declared itself a nuclear-free zone, but Government predictions show that a nuclear attack on Croydon could kill over 90% of Lewisham people. Of these the vast majority would die slow, painful deaths from radiation, with no medical help available'.
The leaflet goes on to express the radical feminist perspective that was dominant amongst the women's peace movement at Greenham and elsewhere: 'Toys for the Boys... we see the nuclear threat as the ultimate expression of male aggression'.