Greenham Common womens protest


It was a new form of protest and a high profile feminist statement – as well as an act of defiance against the siting of Cruise missiles on British soil at a time of heightened anxiety about the threat of nuclear war. The Greenham Common womens peace camp brought together young campaigners as well as veteran CND members.

The political right and tabloid press (and some on the left it should be noted) showered mockery on Greenham Common. But for many it awoke their political consciousness.

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About The Thatcher Crisis Years

I'm Tony McMahon and I've had two books published set in this time of crisis. "Original Rude Boy", the biography of Neville Staple of The Specials. "No Place To Hide", the biography of 80s boxer Errol Christie. I was very politically active during this period - not on Thatcher's side!

Posted on February 19, 2013, in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.

  1. Greenham Common helped provide a focus for CND at that time culminating in the ‘Joining Hands’ demonstration between the three ‘nuclear’ sites of Greenham Common, Burghfield Common and Aldermarston. Probably one of the biggest mass demo’s in this country it was, somewhat, organised chaos with no one quite knowing if the time had come to actually hold hands!

    Of course such an event led to men being there, something the women of Greenham were keen to avoid because, ‘of our aggressive nature’, and I saw this demonstrated when a local residents car was slowly trying to work its way through the throng and ran over the toe of a man who would not move out of its way! His reaction, to batter the car, would surely have confirmed the views of the Greenham Women?!

    • I remember the whole issue of women only political activity was hotly debated behind closed doors on the left – many didn’t like what they dubbed “separatism”. I remember going to one meeting in Liverpool where a teenager got very vexed about how they buried their poos!!! He was concerned they might be digging their old ones up (sic). I wish I’d invented that but I didn’t.

      • My recollection is that at that time the Left, nationally, was in some disarray – searching for a place and identity. With the SWP and Militant and those with in Labour Party looking to push forward their own agendas, significantly this was primarily a male preserve e.g. Derek Hatton! This allowed the right wing press to denigrate the women of Greenham as being at best well meaning and at worst feminist who were trying to do a way with men. This all ignored the fact that the point being made was that, and as was at that time clearly demonstrated, rightly or wrongly men tend to be the aggressors and more prone to violence and anger!

        Meanwhile, away from that organisations such as CND had no issue with the women only rule and I think the idea of the ‘Holding Hands’ demo was hotly debated as this inevitably meant men would be there!!!

        As for the women’s sanitary conditions they did receive some local help as well as from further a field, as an ex Bristol CND member I recall the group running a minibus to Greenham taking clean clothiers etc!

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