Opposition to the Greenham Women's Peace Camps: RAGE against the 'obscene'

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This article examines the activities of the Ratepayers Against the Greenham Encampments. Operating under the deliberately provocative acronym, RAGE, this Newbury-based organization campaigned against the peace camps outside the nearby Greenham Common Royal Air Force base. This article argues that RAGE's repertoires of activism and the moral and financial support it received from a wider network of conservative organizations demonstrate the existence of a non-elite, sub-institutional and ‘respectable' form of ‘new right' activism in late twentieth-century Britain. Yet, such politics had distinct limits. RAGE struggled to win the support of either the local Conservative Party or the community within Newbury. That the content and tone of RAGE's campaigning proved highly controversial and divisive demonstrates both the fine line that existed between ‘authoritarianism' and ‘authoritarian populism' and some of the difficulties less skilful local actors had in promoting forms of politics resembling Thatcherism. Moreover, RAGE's difficulties suggest some limitations on the type of moral politics that were articulated by the 'new right' during the 1980s.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)204-227
Number of pages25
JournalHistory Workshop Journal
Issue number78
Publication statusPublished - 2014