Skip to content or view screen version

17 January 04 - Reclaim The Bases Now!

Reclaim The Bases | 23.12.2003 21:43 | Anti-militarism | Education

Reclaim The Bases Now!

Post-war is pre-the (next) war:

Reclaim The Bases now!
(Comment piece for Nonviolent Action, January 04)

The Iraq war is “over”, and continues as a brutal and often helpless occupation regime. This not only means death and suffering in Iraq. It also means that troops and military equipment have to be replaced – involving military infrastructure in the UK. Just some examples: Only recently did the 20 Armoured Brigade, based in Paderborn in Germany, replace the 19 Mechanised Brigade, which is based at the Gaza Barracks, Catterick Garrison, North Yorkshire. At present the 2^nd Batalion The Parachute Regiment, based in Colchester, is being deployed in Iraq, and probably flying out of RAF Brize Norton. In April 2004, the 1 Mechanised Brigade, based in Tidworth, will then again replace the 20 Armoured Brigade. On 27 November, Geoff Hoon announced that 1,100 reservists will be called up from 9 January on, “to support operations in Iraq”. In addition, RAF and Navy units are still involved in Iraq: the RAF with Tornado's from RAF Marham, and transport and refueling units from RAF Brize Norton. The Army's logistics for this operation involve the 101st Logistic Brigade Headquarters and the 27 Transport Regiment, both based in Aldershot.

But the war on Iraq is the past, the occupation of Iraq the bloody present. At the same time, politicians and military are planning for the future. Tony Blair's foreign policy guru and now Solana's secretary Robert Cooper openly promotes a politics of “double standards”. In The Observer, 7 April 2002, he wrote: “Among ourselves, we keep the law but when we are operating in the jungle, we must also use the laws of the jungle.” The “jungle” - this are what is now called “failed states”, or states on the “axis of evil”. The “law of the jungle” - we can see that at work in Afghanistan or Iraq. While Cooper and Co prepare the ideological background, the politicians build the organisational framework – the militarisation of the European Union, new armaments such as new air refueling and transport aircraft for RAF Brize Norton, Eurofighters for RAF Leuchars, or the development of mini-nukes at AWE Aldermaston – and the military is busy planning new operations in “theaters” all over the world. This kind monitoring and planning happens at PJHQ Northwood, close to London.

With Bush back in the US (or annoying other people elsewhere), it seems that the anti-war or peace movement is again silent. However, the above outlines the huge task ahead of us: disrupting the military “business as usual” of the occupation of Iraq (which is not that much “business as usual for the 1,100 reservists who will receive call-up notices in January), and to disrupt the bloody future plans of the military and our politicians. We know that marches won't do – they might play a role, but certainly marching alone doesn't change much. What is important during these post-war/pre-war times is to highlight the preparations for the next war(s) where they are being carried out: at military bases around the UK. Actions at military bases are important becaue they show that war is not only fought abroad – far away from home – but that war, and preparations for war, are the daily business of military personnel all over the UK. The Reclaim The Bases weekend on 5/6 April 2003, with actions at 17 military bases across the UK, was a beginning, albeit small. This was during war time. And during a war which met with unprecedented public opposition, and with direct action on a high level, right from the beginning.

Now, in a so-called peace situation, it will be more difficult to focus on the military's involvement and preparation for war. However, it is even more important. It is important to build our strength now, to be able to put a very serious spanner in the works when the military wants to get serious, and prepares for massive deployment of troops in ... (Iran, Sudan, Somalia, North Korea – enter your choice from the “axis of evil” here). We now need to develop pre-emptive nonviolence against pre-emptive wars in the “war on terrorism”. If we are serious about preventing the next war, then now is the time for action, now – before the countdown for the next war starts.

At the Reclaim The Bases summer camp at AWE Aldermaston in August 2003 activists from different groups at different bases around the UK decided for a second Reclaim The Bases weekend on 17/18 January 2004. This is the opportunity to show our strength (or weakness). Reclaim the Bases now – before the military claims more lifes – in Iraq or ...

Andreas Speck

Andreas Speck is an activist with The D10 Group and Reclaim The Bases.

For information on Reclaim The Bases check

Reclaim The Bases
- e-mail:
- Homepage: