The Peace Movement

The Peace Movement is arguably the most well known social movement. The material culture of the Peace Movement - its banners, badges and symbols - have had a major impact on popular culture. Peace Movement activists have been participating in non-violent direct action, boycotts, peace camps, diplomacy, ethical consumerism and more since the beginning of industrial warfare, through the ongoing atomic age and into the most recent brand of military violence known as the 'war on terror'.

Since 1960 when the Macmillan Government announced it would site American Polaris missiles at the Holy Loch near Dunoon the West of Scotland has had a particular significance in the peace movement in the UK and beyond. There was concerted opposition to Polaris and to the subsequent siting of missiles in this area. The Faslane Peace Camp established in 1982 is one of the most long running peace camps in the world.

Many fine songs have been written protesting about the presence of nuclear weapons in Scotland. The Eskimo Republic written by Morris Blythman, for example, celebrates the canoeists who sought to disrupt the arrival of the nuclear subs in the Holy Loch and who were dismissed as a bunch of ‘eskimoes’ by Captain Laning of the US submarine Proteus. The song imagines an ‘Eskimo Republic’ where ‘there isnae class and there isnae boss/ Nae kings nor queens and damn the loss’. The most famous song to come out of the Holy Loch protests is Hamish Henderson’s Freedom Come All Ye, which has a bold imaginative vision of a Scotland which rejects its militarist past and embraces an internationalist and peaceful future. The lyrics to the song are written on the banner of the Scottish Trades Union Congress.

The posts below offer some insight into a movement that has, arguably, saved the lives of countless numbers of people.

Note: Unless stated otherwise the views expressed in the blog posts are those of individual bloggers and not the partner institutions.

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The Co-operative Women's Guild, the Working

Class and Pacifism by John Crossan

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Young Socialists, Hugh Gaitskell

and Polaris Missiles

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Women for Peace (Glasgow)

and the next Banner Tales Workshop