Faslane Peace Camp faces a crisis over its future, with the four current residents saying it may have to be turned into a public garden area next month.
A major demonstration at Faslane is due this Monday, organised by the Scrap Trident Coalition, following weekend demonstrations in Glasgow.
And on Saturday April 13 there will be an open meeting on the future of the peace at 4pm in Glasgow’s Kinning Park complex.
An open letter on the peace camp’s website says that for the last two years a small group has been rebuilding the camp as a community of anti-nuclear action.
But the hope of growing in numbers has not been achieved: “Maintaining this space whilst having an active campaign with so few of us has put us under such pressure, personally and as a collective, that we can’t continue.”
The letter continues:
We feel, as a group, our limit on being here is June 12, the 31st anniversary of the camp. If the responsibility on deciding and enacting the future of the camp is to be ours, (i.e. if this notice does not provoke wider constructive discussion on the future of the camp or encourage a new wave of residents) then we will enact the following proposal:
We will start taking the camp down on May 12 to create a garden space (to be finished by June 12) that will both celebrate the 31 years of resistance here and act as a site facility to support future action camps.
We feel that leaving the camp empty and open to chance is not an option because we have seen it having ‘fallen into the wrong hands’ and feel that this is much more detrimental to the peace movement and activism in general than the camp not being here.
The residents’ statement stresses the benefits of the camp as a place to maintain a degree of living ‘outside the system’:
The facilities here are indicative of the ingenuity of 30 years of creative and resourceful individuals who have simply found ways to create alternative ways of organising that challenge so many of the negative learned behaviour in society.
Ideally, we would love to see this continue, not least because so many have worked so hard to continue it but also because the symbolism of dismantling the camp at this potentially crucial time in the struggle for nuclear disarmament (in the context of the ongoing Scottish independence and Trident replacement debates) would be the worst possible timing.
But they add that the camp can only have a future if a larger group of people are based there. The full statement is available at the peace camp website here.
Residents in Garelochhead and the Rosneath Peninsula fear that Monday’s demonstration will cause havoc for commuters and schoolchildren, as well as workers at HM Naval Base Clyde.
During the Faslane 365 demonstrations in 2007 residents were so angered by the A814 repeatedly being blocked by demonstrators that they formed their own protest group.
In 1998 Argyll and Bute Council obtained a court order to evict the peace camp’s occupants, but this was never used.