Socialist Worker

People Power—Fighting for Peace exhibit shows strength of anti war movement

by Mary Phillips
Issue No. 2548

protest against war in london 2008

Stop the War Coalition protest in london 2008 (Pic: Adambro)

For anyone who thinks the Imperial War Museum can only be interested in putting the case for war, their People Power exhibition will be quite a shock.

It clearly gives the views of anti-war protesters from the last 100 years. This is done through film, audio statements, interviews with film stars and people from the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND) and Stop the War Coalition.

I was 23 during CND’s first Aldermaston March in 1958. Protesters marched from London to the nuclear arms establishment at Aldermaston and then annually from Aldermaston to London against the nuclear bomb.

You could see the impact it had on society.

There is film of the women at Greenham Common camp surrounding the perimeter fence against cruise missiles at the Royal Airforce base in the 1980s.

Conscientious objectors in the First and Second World wars are represented as well with quotations.

They were treated as traitors and many were imprisoned and beaten up.

There is also a government film telling people what to do in the event of nuclear war.

It tells people to put sandbags on the stairs and build hidey holes in the garden to protect the family.

The exhibition brought back memories of participating in marches and demonstrations.

The exhibition is important to see as it really spells out how much effect the anti-war movement has had on society—and how we can continue it today.

People Power—fighting for Peace at the Imperial War Museum, London SE1 6HZ. Until 28 August. Adult tickets £10, children £5

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