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‘A Nuclear Refrain: emotion, empire and the democratic potential of protest’ with Kelvin Mason, Philip Johnstone and Lotte Reimer
Friday March 6, 2020 @ 7:00 pm - 8:30 pm
In 2020, the hands of the Doomsday Clock moved closer than ever to global destruction: humanity has just 100 seconds left to take action. While climate change and cyber-warfare grab more headlines, the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists forcibly reminded us that the nuclear arms race is also running out of control.
A Nuclear Refrain enlivens the discourse on nuclear deterrence, mutually assured destruction (MAD) and Trident replacement. The debate on nuclear weapons in the UK is entrenched: perpetual strategic, moral and economic arguments clash like bloodied heads banging against brick walls. But how is everyday life emotionally shaped by nuclear weapons, the specter and menace of the mushroom cloud? Why, deep down, is the UK determined to remain one of only a handful of official nuclear weapons states? What might politics look like if we stepped out of the cold, dark shadow of nuclear deterrence?
A Nuclear Refrain was conceived through scholar-activist participation in a Trident Ploughshares campaign of direct action against nuclear weapons in the UK. During an academic seminar blockade at AWE Burghfield in 2017, the authors were viscerally struck by the emotional, political and cultural constraints imposed by living in a nuclear weapons state. Honouring the art and social justice commitment of Charles Dickens, and casting a fresh light on the issues for informed readers as well as newcomers to the MAD world, A Nuclear Refrain is presented in the dramaticform of A Christmas Carol. Pro-Trident MP the Right Honourable Roger C. Bezeeneos is confronted by the atomic ghosts of the past, present and future on a tempestuous journey that will change his mind and all of our lives forever. Or will it?
Book launch with
Kelvin Mason, para-academic
Philip Johnstone, University of Sussex
Lotte Reimer, Campaign Choirs Network