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Peace Camps

Click here for the Wikipedia article on peace camps (the originial source of much of the following information).

"Peace camps are a form of physical protest camp that is focused on anti-war activity. They are set up outside military bases by members of the peace movement who oppose either the existence of the military bases themselves, the armaments held there, or the politics of those who control the bases. They began in the 1920's & then became world famous in 1982 due to the tremendous worldwide publicity generated by the Greenham Common Women's Peace Camp. They were particularly a phenomenon of the United Kingdom in the 1980's where they were associated with sentiment against American imperialism, but Peace Camps have existed at other times & places."

"In the United Kingdom, people came to live outside military bases at protest camps in order to witness their opposition to and nonviolently protest against the presence of nuclear weapons in Europe that were directed against the then Soviet Union by the United States, calling for nuclear disarmament. The women at Greenham Common Women's Peace Camp were particularly against the placing of US cruise missiles there, something they claimed made the area a direct target of Soviet Union aggression. During the 1980s the United States Air Force had land-based cruise missiles at several of the above locations, not only Greenham Common; they have since been moved back to the USA, though there remains a US military presence in the UK, and the UK continues to possess and develop nuclear weapons itself. Due to these factors the concept of the peace camp remains alive today; and because of the presence of Faslane Peace camp there has continuously been at least one peace camp outside a military base in the UK since 1982."

"The term peace camp is primarily used for a form of anti-war protest camp particularly prevalent in the UK in the 1980s, however, it is also sometimes used to describe political factions before or during wartime that are opposed to a particular war. These are not a physical camps but political alliances. Currently, there is an Israeli peace camp."

"In addition, the term is sometimes used for summer camps that bring together youth from different groups in conflict (e.g., Palestinian and Israeli youth) to work towards transformation and improvement of mutual relations. While the organizers of such camps clearly support peaceful solutions, participants may not do so or at least not to the same extent. In addition, these camps are not intended as a "protest camp", but rather to constructively work towards their goals and bring about change in the participants, which are intended to serve as disseminators of peaceful attitudes in their home communities."

N.B.: Peace camps fit the definition of "peace monuments" as being anything which (1) symbolize peace, (2) are physical, and (3) are permanent. Admittedly, the permanency of peace camps is questionable. Even the protestors who create a peace camp in the first place hope (and expect?) that the original need for the camp will soon end and that the camp can be dismantled. Often this does not happen, and some camps have endured for relatively long periods of time. Eventually, however, as circumstances change and as the constant renewal which peace camps require falters, most, if not all, peace camps have gone out of existance.

Right click image to enlarge.
Early 19th Century - "Apaches de Paz" or Apache peace camps were established for the purpose of religious conversion. They were established near presidios in the early 19th century by the Spanish in what is now Mexico and the southwestern United States. These were administrated by the Roman Catholic Church to convert the Apaches to Roman Catholicism and - in the eyes of the Spanish - gaining the salvation of the Apaches. Rations and farming supplies were also given out at the camps in an attempt to turn the Apaches into farmers.

1920's - "The first peace camps are known to have originated in the 1920's." [citation needed]

c1957 - Nevada Peace Camp, near Nevada Test Site, Nye County, 100 km NW of Las Vegas, Nevada (USA). "An undefined space of land in the desert where anti-war groups, anti-nuclear coalitions, environmentalists & Western Shoshone Indians have gathered over...five decades to protest against activities at the Nevada National Security Site, the US government's continental nuclear weapons testing ground. This particular place, commonly referred to as the Peace Camp, is a place where more than 200 national & international groups have congregated to support & participate in the protests for hours, days & weeks at a time. The protesters are generally a combination of marginalized special interest groups who convene at the camp to express their views & feelings, forming a loosely organized community of short duration. The Peace Camp is the only location in the USA recognized & used repeatedly by so many groups to express their objections to national & world trends in nuclear testing, nuclear waste storage, various wars & devastation of the earth..." /// "The Peace Camp site still contains tent pads, ornamental rock formations & hundreds of pieces of graffiti. 'This archaeological research is unique...the only known intact Cold War protest camp in the world [sic],' said Dr. Colleen Beck, archaeologist with the Las Vegas-based Desert Research Institute." /// "From 1986 through 1994, two years after the US put a hold on full-scale nuclear weapons testing, 536 anti-nuclear protests were held at the Nevada Test Site involving 37,488 participants & 15,740 arrests, according to government records. Those arrested included the astronomer Carl Sagan & the actors Kris Kristofferson, Martin Sheen & Robert Blake."

August 1, 1981 - Concepcion Picciotto, Lafayette Square, 1600 block, Pennsylvania Avenue, NW, Washington, DC (USA). "Also called Conchita. Has lived in Lafayette Square since August 1, 1981, in a peace camp across from the White House, in protest of nuclear arms." Longest protest in US history. Photo taken in June 2010. Picciotto died on 26 January 2016.

Date? - Peace Camps (England). "The first modern peace camps were the various (initially mixed but later) women-only peace camps at the military base at Greenham Common, England, set up in 1981. Greenham Common Women's Peace Camp maintained a presence at the camp until 2000. Womens only peace camps were based at Waddington Lincs from April 1982 to September 1982 & at Capenhurst from October 1982 to March 1983. Other, mixed-sex, peace camps sprang up at the military bases of Upper Heyford, Daws Hill in High Wycombe, Molesworth common, Lakenheath, Naphill & Faslane. Faslane Peace Camp, which was established in 1982, is still in existence today."

September 1981-2000 - Greenham Common Woman's Peace Camp, RAF Greenham Common, Berkshire (England). "The last missiles left the camp in 1991 as a result of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty, but the camp remained in place until 2000 after protestors won the right to house a memorial on the site." Click here for Wikipedia arthere for Wikipedia article. "Greenham Peace Garden" is one of 13 sites on the MAW Peace Map of the British Isles as of January 2009.

June 12, 1982 - Faslane Peace Camp, alongside Faslane Naval Base, Argyll & Bute (Scotland). This peace camp still exists and appears to be permanent. Click here for Wikipedia article.

Spring 1982 - Brambles Farm Peace Camp, Waterlooville, Hampshire (England). Set up in 1982 on the site of a research & development facility for the production of the Spearfish 7525 torpedo for the Royal Navy. This camp, although anti-war and anti-nuclear in its beliefs, was also supported & attended by local people demonstrating against the loss of green space & the lack of public consultation. The protesters held up the construction work for a number of months & was visited by some 3,000 people from this country & abroad. A Torpedo Town Festival was held in the area for a number of years afterwards, the largest in 1991 at Liphook in Hampshire when some 25,000 people danced to the Spiral Tribe sound system. These festivals fell foul of the rave party & free festival crackdown in the early 1990's by the Tory government.
1983-1994 - Seneca Women's Encampment for a Future of Peace & Justice, Seneca Army Depot, Romulus, Seneca County, New York (USA). Demanded the abolition of nuclear weapons. Near the site of the 1848 Seneca Falls Convention about women's rights. September 26, 1983

September 26, 1983 - Five members of Puget Sound Women's Peace Camp entered Boeing's cruise missile production plant in Seattle, Washington, to leaflet the workers & were arrested. In November of 1980 & 1981 the Women's Pentagon Actions, where hundreds of women came together to challenge patriarchy & militarism, took place. A movement grew that found ways to use direct action to put pressure on the military establishment and to show positive examples of life-affirming ways to live together. This movement spawned women's peace camps at military bases around the world from Greenham Common, England, to the Puget Sound Peace Camp, as well as camps in Japan and Italy, among others.

1984-? - Naphill Peace Camp, near High Wycombe (England). A bunker was constructed for RAF Strike Command on National Trust land (Bradenham Village) between 1982 & 1985. Naphill Peace camp was set up to witness and oppose this construction. "'The Angry Pacifist' was a magazine produced by Daws Hill & Naphill peace camps. It produced two editions, both in 1984. The funds needed to produce the magazine were raised through a peace walk, starting at Daws Hill & ending at Naphill."

1986-2008 - Peace Farm, Amarillo, Texas (USA). Twenty acres of land on the southern boundary of the Pantex Plant. "Established as an information source about the Pantex Plant and to stand as a visible witness against the weapons of mass destruction being assembled there." Now abandoned. When visited in September 2009, four arches (of which two seen in image) remained, but the encircled Madre del Mundo sculpture by Marsha Gomez [1951-1998] (also seen in image) had been removed. /// Click here for illustrated report of our visit on 11 Sept 2009.

1986-2008 - Peace Farm, US Highway 60, Panhandle, Texas (USA). 20 acres of land on the southern edge of the Pantex Plant. "Established as an information source about the Pantex Plant & to stand as a visible witness against the weapons of mass destruction being assembled there." Both photos taken 11Sep09 by EWL after the camp was abandoned. Entry #983 in the "Peace Movement Directory" by James Richard Bennett (2001).

Date? - "Madre del Mundo" sculpture," Peace Farm, between Amarillo & Panhandle, Texas (USA). Sculpted by Marsha Anne Gomez [1951-1998]. Entry #982 in the "Peace Movement Directory" by James Richard Bennett (2001). EWL visited 11Sep09 & found the sculpture missing. According to a Peace Farm website, "Our Madre Sculpture is being kept safe & sound by one of our most trusted supporters." There is an identical sculpture near the Nevada Test Site at the "Temple of the Goddess Spirituality Dedicated to Sekhmet" at Cactus Springs, Indian Springs, Nevada.

1993 - Seeds of Peace Camp, Otisfield, Maine (USA). Created by journalist John Wallach [1943-2002] on site of former Camp Powhatan to bring together Arab & Israeli teenagers for summer programs. Now includes children from opposite sides of many conflicts from around the world. Has offices in New York City, Jerusalem, Amman, Lahore, Mumbai & Kabul.

2001 - Peace Camp, outside the Houses of Parliament, London (England). "In 2001, Brian Haw [1949-2011] set up a peace camp outside the Houses of Parliament in London. In August 2007, others who had joined him were evicted, but he was allowed to stay."

October 5, 2002 - Greenham Common Commemorative & Historic Site, RAF Greenham Common, Berkshire (England). Includes a six-foot high steel sculpture of a campfire, with a circle of seven standing stones within a landscaped setting. The sculptures symbolise the Greenham Common Women's Peace Camp (qv) that occupied the site from September 1981 until 2000.

2003 - Peace Camp, RAF Fairford (England). A peace camp was set up at Fairford on 17 February 2003 to protest US bombing of Iraq. Click here for photos taken on 22 March 2003.

July 20, 2003 - Peace Scupture (Greenham March Statue), City Hall, Cardiff (Wales). By Anton Agius [1956-2008] of Malta. Inscriptions: Her soul ignited goodness on our nuclear land; The burning bush of her sacrifice and faith will never be extinguished." -- Vernon Jones. Also "She will keep alive the memory of this womens action for peace which started from Cardiff in 1981 and went around the world." One of 13 sites on the MAW Peace Map of the British Isles as of January 2009. Click here to see article which accompanies the far right image. * 1 Alternate usages of the term * 2 Reasoning behind the protest * 3 History of peace camps * 4 1980s o 4.1 Naphill o 4.2 Washington, D.C. o 4.3 Brambles Farm, Waterlooville, Hampshire o 4.4 Seneca County, New York * 5 21st century * 6 References * 7 External links

Since 1985 - Aldermaston Women's Peace Camp(aign) (AWPC), Aldermaston (England). "There is also currently a women's peace camp at Aldermaston for one weekend a month."
Easter Weekends April 4-7, 1958, to Late 1960's - Aldermaston marches (England). Protest demonstrations organised by the British anti-war Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND) between the Atomic Weapons Research Establishment at Aldermaston in Berkshire & London, over a distance of 52 miles. At their height in the early 1960's they attracted tens of thousands of people and were the highlight of the CND calendar. Image shows Michael Foot [1913-2010] leading the first march.

February 2005 - Peace Camp, Daechuri (South Korea). In February 2005, peace activists & residents began a peace camp at the village of Daechuri, South Korea, in opposition to the expansion of Camp Humphreys [of the US Army], which declared autonomy from Korea on February 7, 2006. As of October 2006, resisting residents remain on-site, despite demolition of homes owned by residents who have accepted compensation. Click here for a description by Cindy Sheehan.

May 13, 2005 - Peace Camp, Drake's Island, just off Plymouth (England). On May 13, 2005 protesters set up a peace camp on Drake's Island, just off Plymouth. "Drake's Island lies half a mile off Plymouth's waterfront. It contains derelict military barracks & buildings from the Napoleonic era."

August 2005 - Camp Casey, Crawford, Texas (USA). In August 2005 Cindy Sheehan set up Camp Casey, a peace camp named after her son, outside the Texas ranch of US President George W. Bush, through which she has attracted considerable media attention.

Easter Sunday 2003 - Crawford Texas Peace House, Crawford, Texas (USA). "Facilities include a full kitchen, outdoor barbecue, AC, press room, indoor and outdoor meeting space, and limited overnight accomodations. The first big physical project undertaken at the site was the creation of a 40 feet-diameter labyrinth...with a Peace Pole at the center. “May peace prevail on earth” is inscribed in English, Hebrew, Arabic & Spanish on each of its four sides. In the fall of 2005 the Casey Sheehan Memorial Peace Garden was added. It includes a large sandstone monument ["Sheehan's Stand"] carved and donated by Ron Teska of Pennsylvania & a statue of Mary Mother of Peace. On December 31, 2006, another monument was placed inside the garden to commemorate the 655,000 Iraq civilians who have died since 2003... Crawford is the rural community in Central Texas, where President George W. Bush made his home in 1999 and thus became a key location in formulation of U.S. foreign polity leading to war." Click here for more photos.

July 19-22, 2012 - Peace Camps, United Kingdom. "As the pageantry, athleticism & rampant commercialism of the Olympic Games comes [sic] to London, a collaboration between the theatre director Deborah Warner, the actor Fiona Shaw & the creative events company Artichoke, put up tent encampments in eight coastal areas of outstanding beauty, including Cemaes Bay in Anglesey, Mussenden Temple in County Londonderry, Dustanburgh Castle in Northumberland & Fort Fiddes in Aberdeenshire. The tents...glow from within, accompanied by a soundtrack created by the composer Mel Mercier from the sounds of nature, & British love poetry in languages & dialects of the UK & Ireland. According to Warner, the idea for Peace Camp was sparked by hearing of the Olympic truce, when all nations receive the call to 'lay down your arms, and let the games commence.'"

Date? - Ground Zero anti-nuclear weapons community in Washington state near the Bangor submarine base. Hoped-to-be-permanent establishment, according to Ellen Barfield.

Date? - King's Bay community in Georgia near the King's Bay submarine base. Hoped-to-be-permanent establishment, according to Ellen Barfield.

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