Women and Science

(Greenham Common Women's Peace Camp) | Women's Peace Camp zine

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  • A rare zine-style newsletter published in February 1983, early in the history of the Greenham Common Peace Camp. It contains camp news and information, including upcoming events, a map of the airfield, diagrams of Holloway and Drake Hall prisons, and who to contact to arrange Non-Violent Direct Action training. There are letters and essays reflecting on the methods and philosophy of the protest, and first-hand accounts of recent actions, the most interesting of which is a graphic-novel style retelling of an attempt to enter the base in snake costumes during the visit of Secretary of State for Defense Michael Heseltine at the beginning of February. The rest of the zine is heavily illustrated, including photographs taken by both activists and professionals (including several famous photos by journalist Raiasa Page) as well as drawings by camp members. Greenham Common zines, particularly from so early in the movement, seem to be rare in trade. We cannot locate any copies of this or similar issues in WorldCat, at auction, or with other booksellers.

    The Greenham Common protest was established in September of 1981 by the Welsh group Women for Life on Earth, who were opposed to the deployment of nuclear tipped cruise missiles at the site. What was initially planned as a single march became a permanent protest camp, one of the most significant and longest lasting women’s protests of the 20th century. In February 1982, for political reasons, the camp was made women only, and the following month they engaged in their first blockade of the base.

    The Greenham Common camp had no hierarchy, and its nature was defined by the thousands of individual women who visited when they could or lived permanently onsite for years. The activists engaged in non-violent resistance by disrupting movement in and out of the gates, cutting down portions of the fence, and trespassing on military property, and they endured frequent police raids, arrests, and evictions. A large number of the protesters were middle aged and older; they considered themselves ordinary mothers and working women, and made a point of the fact that they were opposed to nuclear weapons for deeply personal reasons. Their gender was crucial to their message: “a woman’s place was not in the home, but at a protest. Women could use their identity as carers and mothers to say, this is about the future safety of our children. We weaponised traditional notions of femininity” (Suzanne Moore, “How the Greenham Common Protest Changed Lives”, The Guardian, March 20th, 2017).

  • February 1983. 1983.

    32 page photocopied magazine (293 x 210 mm). Original black and white wrappers, the upper decorated with snakes and the lower with a printed poem. Some of the text in typescript and some reproduced from manuscript. Illustrations from photographs and drawings throughout. 40p price sticker to the upper cover. Wrappers very lightly rubbed, minor creasing to the upper corner and head of spine, contents toned as expected. Excellent condition.