Organizing Notes

Bruce Gagnon is coordinator of the Global Network Against Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space. He offers his own reflections on organizing and the state of America's declining empire....

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Location: Bath, Maine, United States

I grew up in a military family and joined the Air Force in 1971 during the Vietnam War. It was there that I became a peace activist.

Sunday, April 08, 2018

Plowshares action at Kings Bay, Georgia nuclear sub base



Seven Catholic plowshares activists were detained early Thursday morning, April 5 at the Kings Bay Naval Base in St. Mary’s, Georgia.

They entered on Wednesday night, April 4.  Calling themselves Kings Bay Plowshares, they went to make real the prophet Isaiah’s command: “beat swords into plowshares”.

The seven chose to act on the 50th anniversary of the assassination of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.,  who devoted his life to addressing the triplets of militarism, racism and materialism. In a statement they carried with them the group quoted King, who said: “The greatest purveyor of violence in the world (today) is my own government.”

Carrying hammers and baby bottles of their own blood, the seven attempted to convert weapons of mass destruction. 

Kings Bay Naval base opened in 1979 as the Navy’s Atlantic Ocean Trident port.  It is the largest nuclear submarine base in the world.  There are six ballistic missile subs and two guided missile subs based at Kings Bay.

[The base was built during the administration of President Jimmy Carter, former governor of Georgia.  During his presidential campaign Carter hypocritically said, "The arms race is a disgrace to the human race."]

The activists went to three sites on the base: The administration building, the D5 Missile monument installation and the nuclear weapons storage bunkers.  The activists used crime scene tape, hammers and hung banners reading: “The ultimate logic of racism is genocide, Dr. Martin Luther King”, “The ultimate logic of Trident is omnicide” and “Nuclear weapons: illegal – immoral.”  They also brought an indictment charging the U.S. government for crimes against peace.

The activists at the nuclear weapons storage bunkers were Elizabeth McAlister, 78, Jonah House, Baltimore, Fr. Steve Kelly SJ, 69, Bay Area, California and Carmen Trotta, 55, New York Catholic Worker.

The activists at the Administration building were Clare Grady, 59, Ithaca Catholic Worker and Martha Hennessy, 62, New York Catholic Worker.

The activists at the Trident D5 monuments were Mark Colville, 55, Amistad Catholic Worker, New Haven, Connecticut and Patrick O’Neill, 61, Fr. Charlie Mulholland Catholic Worker, Garner, North Carolina.

All activists were detained and will be handed over to custody of the Camden County Sheriff on charges of trespass and defacing government property.  No one was injured.

This is the latest of 100 similar actions around the world beginning in 1980 in King of Prussia, Pennsylvania.



UPDATE: The seven disarmament activists are being held at the Camden County Jail in Woodbine, Georgia. They are currently charged with three Georgia state crimes – misdemeanor criminal trespass and two felonies: possession of tools for the commission of a crime and interference with government property.

APRIL 6 UPDATE, from the support team: At this morning’s bond hearing, we learned that our seven friends are being denied bond. This is bad news and we will explore an appeal. Based on what we saw, it seems that the judge sets excessive conditions of release for many defendants.

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