Britain passes its ten year mark in the war on Afghanistan, a
war that has never had any popular support and presently has no end in
sight. This year's Armistice Day 11/11/11 was hyped by the media into a
compulsory red poppy wearing day as a form of loyalty oath to the war
without end. Compulsory for all those in public life. The wearing of the
red poppy may have begun as a "Never Again" sentiment, but the
government has attempted to hijack it as a recruiting tool in these long
years of war. Footballers had the red poppy sewn into their jersies;
the international friendly against Spain was transformed into an
electronic Nuremberg Rally by the television conglomerates. All those
appearing on Sky and BBC had to wear a red poppy.
nature of this act points to a token sentimentalism of the ruling
elites and functionaries in relation to the young men and women they
have sent to kill and be killed in Iraq and Aghanistan over the past
decade. As Phil Berrigan once remarked to me "Sentimentality is not
love!" Love of those slain in previous wars would bring an end to the
wars in which we are now engaged.
Article continues on IndyMedia
Veterans Matthew Horne, Ben Griffin & former anti-war prisoner Ciaron O'Reilly
LCWs at St Paul's and at the High Court
4 November 2011
LCWs have been involved in a couple of recent high-profile protests in London:
Solidarity with Assange: Members of Catholic Worker
communities, Anonymous, Veterans for Peace, anti-war, freedom of
information and Occupy London activists gathered outside the High Court,
London in solidarity with Julian Assange on Wed. Nov 2nd.
Julian arrived just before 9 am followed by a huge
international media pack. The legal proceedings ended by 10 a.m. with
the High Court turning down the appeal against extradition to Sweden.
Julian and his defence team are now considering their options. On
exiting the court, Julian suggested accessing this website for
information about the case.
Occupy!: On Saturday Oct 29th a number of LCWs went down to St Paul's to show solidarity with the protests there. Ciaron O'Reilly was invited to take part as a Catholic Worker in the "Sermon on the Steps" of St. Paul's Cathedral organised by Occupy London. Here's a vid:
LCWs blockade Downing Street on 10th anniversary of Afghan war
7 October 2011
London Catholic Workers gathered this morning at Downing Street to commemorate the 10th anniversary of the war on Afghanistan. Some of us blockaded the entrance to Downing Street, spilling red paint on the ground as a reminder of all the blood that has been spilt in Afghanistan over the last decade. We also read out the names of people who have died in the conflict - Afghans and British.
More coverage can be found on London IndyMedia. A video and some pictures are posted below.
Chris Cole arrested at London Arms Fair 2011
28 September 2011
The following piece was written by Chris, long time friend of the CWs, shortly after his arrest.
On the morning of opening of the DSEi (Defence & Security Equipment
International) arm fair in London, I left early from my bed, grateful
for the hospitality of Giuseppe Conlon House, and made my way to the
centre of London. At Tower Hill station there was a large queue of
business men (they were all men) buying tickets to the Excel Centre
where the fair is being held. I mingled with them and asked some of
them – with BAE Systems badges on the
lapels – whether they were
buying or selling. It turned out that they were from Saudi Arabia and
their minder did not want me to talk to them – or them to talk to me.
I reminded him we were not in Saudi and democracy meant that we could
happily converse with each other.
The Excel Centre is in the east end of London – what used to be called
the docklands – not far from the other London Catholic Worker
Dorothy Day House. I had vigiled and prayed the night before with
about 150 locals from East London Against the Arms Fair outside the
centre. Many of the elder ones at the vigil would be able to recall
the devastation and loss of life visited upon the docks and
surrounding areas by German bombing in the Second World War. None of
us wanted such devastation and death rained on others with weapons
traded at the arms fair.
Alighting at the station exit for the arms fair there was intense
security and I looked around in vain for other protestors – there had
been a call out to meet together on the platform at 10.00am. As there
was seemingly no one else there I mingled with the crowds of business
men and made my way up to the entrance of the fair. There were large
glossy display boards all around extolling the virtues of various
weapons systems and arms companies. The closer I got to the entrance
the heavier the security was getting and it was clear I would not get
into the fair itself. Weighing up my option I got out a spray can
from my bag and quickly sprayed “DSEi Kills” and “Stop the Arms Trade”
on two of the glossy arms displays before being quickly grabbed by the
police. I did not however, go quietly. I spoke loud and clearly to
the long line of arms dealers
shuffling slowing towards the entrance –
urging them to reconsider their actions and speaking about the misery
and death their mornings work will surely bring. I run out of words
pretty quick and end by asking them repeatedly, to simply go home to
their families and to think about what they were doing. All of them
avoided eye contact.
I spent a few hours in the cells and have been charged with criminal
damage and have a plea hearing date next month. There were many other
actions against the arms fair that day and in the days following.
Investigators from human rights groups who did manage to gain entry
into the fair found cluster bombs and torture equipment on sale
despite specific promises from the organisation that such equipment
Arms fairs such as DSEi – are the public face of the arms trade – the
mere visible tip of the
iceberg. The vast majority of the work goes
on hidden beneath the surface, outside of the spotlight. Our task as
Christian peacemakers is to expose this rotten underbelly which is
responsible each and every day for visiting yet more death and
destruction upon the world – especially upon the poor.
A picture of Chris, courtesy Demotix, is here. Chris's blog is here.
9/11 Peace Vigil US Embassy London
20 September 2011
Catholic Workers and friends gathered outside the U.S. Embassy in London on Sunday to remember the dead of 9/ 11 and the U.S. wars that have followed. After being stopped and searched on suspicion of weapons, they held vigil and a banner that read
Mourn the Dead... Heal the Wounded... End the Wars!
Solidarity Vigil for Michael Lyons outside Colchester Military Prison
13 August 2011
Check out our video of last week's vigil for Michael Lyons:
Oxford Catholic Worker in court
8 August 2011
Our dear friend, Sister Susan from the Oxford CW was in court on Friday. She'd been up to her usual tricks: opposing violence in all its forms. The state doesn't like it so they've tried to fine her, but it'll take more than that to stop Sr. Susan.
Just a line to say first of all I am not in prison! At court today
the Fines Officer told me that they would attempt to extract the fine
from me by applying to have it taken from my Pension Credit. Failing
this they will issue a Distress Warrant, meaning a visit from a
bailiff. If that doesn't work they will call me back to court. He
said he realises that I wilfully refuse to pay but that they have to
pursue all options. This will run and run!
Thank you for all your messages of support which I've greatly appreciated.
Love and God bless,
Support Michael Lyons (and read our newsletter!)
4 August 2011
British Navy medic Michael Lyons is presently serving 7 months in Colchester
Military Prison for refusing to deploy to Afghanistan. At his
court martial Lyons testified that information on the nature of the war
released by WikiLeaks led to him taking a moral position against the war
You can send a letter of support to this address: 236 Lyons, D Company, MCTC, Berechurch Hall Rd, Colchester CO2 9MU. England.
You can also join us 3pm-5pm, Sat 6th August, for a solidarity vigil with Michael outside Colchester Military Prison where he is being held. We will be joined on the vigil by Ben Griffin, a veteran of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.
War Crimes Exposed - Don't Shoot the Messenger! Free Assange!
On July 12 and 13, Julian Assange's appeal against extradition to Sweden will be heard in the High Court, London. The lCW are gearing up to provide solidarity with Assange. Forthcoming events:
Public Meeting Sat July 9th 3pm with human rights activist Peter Tatchell, Iraq War veteran Ben Griffin, ex-prisoner of the U.S. Ciaron O'Reilly, other speakers and performers. The meeting will be held at Giuseppe Conlon Hall, 49 Mattison Rd. Harringey, London N4 1BG
Sr. Susan from the Oxford CW will be staging a 12 noon-2 pm vigil in solidarity with Julian Assange, Bradley Manning and against the War on Wed
July 6, Thurs 7th, Fri 8th at the High Court. Get in touch with us to find out how to join her; more info here.
Join us in a solidarity vigil with Julian Assange and in opposition to the wars at the High Court London from 9 a.m. Tues. July 12th. and Wed July 13th.
For more info about any of this contact Ciaron O'Reilly, 079 392 90576, email: ciaron AT yahoo.com
Three CWs Convicted for Nuclear Protest at AWE Aldermaston
22 June 2011
Three English Catholic Workers were
today convicted at Newbury Magistrates Court of Criminal Trespass under
the Serious Organised Crime and Police Act (SOCPA), and Criminal Damage.
The convictions follows a protest at the Atomic Weapons Establishment in September
2010 organised by the Catholic Worker. The three, Susan Clarkson (64), Chris
Cole (47) both from Oxford, and Fr Martin Newell (42) from London were Conditional
Discharged for 18 months and ordered to pay ï¿½553 each costs and
compensation. The three had created a gateway in the outer fence of AWE
Aldermaston and attached a sign say ï¿½Open for Disarmament: All Welcome.ï¿½
In their evidence the protestors described the massive development
currently being undertaken at AWE Aldermaston and argued that the
developments were in contravention of both the Nuclear Non-Proliferation
Treaty (NPT) and the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty.
Countering the prosecution argument that ï¿½crimes of aggressionï¿½ are not
crimes within domestic law, the defendants argued that ï¿½It is of course
morally, ethically and legally wrong to plan for mass murder by nuclear
war by develop, testing, building,and deploying nuclear weapons. That is
a crime as any sane and reasonable person could judgeï¿½.
Chris Cole said ï¿½The three of us went to AWE Aldermaston to say as
clearly as we could that nuclear weapons ï¿½ mass violence will neither
bring peace, nor security. Rather our security, our peace, and our
salvation lies in loving our enemy and working for the common good.ï¿½
Chris Coleï¿½s full court statement is available here. The original action report is available here.
Latest newsletter available
17 May 2011
Our latest newsletter is now available. There are articles covering the struggles of travellers in the UK, of ordinary folk in Burma protesting the military junta, and of ordinary folk in the UK protesting the austerity measures. There are also pics and reports from recent LCW actions and events... So check it out!
You may also be interested to find out what our friends in Ireland have been up to during the Queen's visit.
04 May 2011
"Everything I know of ethics,
I learnt from football"
Albert Camus, Algerian goalkeeper and French existentialist.
Last Saturday we had our regular dose of anarcho-refugee football at Finsbury Park
(Manor House tube station end). If you'd like more info about future games, phone or text Ciaron on 07939 290 576.
Last outing we had a big American input with a younger surfer dude skater kid and an
older ex-con, three from Ingerland and another three kidz (one from Brixton, two from Turkey)
who walking by we recruited, two brothers from Australia, a regular from
Sudan...great game. Get some exercise or watch and chat!