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The Catholic Worker Movement, and its anti-nuclear heroes in prison.

Beating Nuclear Arms Into Plowshares, Jacobin, BY EILEEN MARKEY 18 Jul 21, The US nuclear arsenal gobbles up massive resources for death that should be used for human life. For decades, Catholic activists have put their bodies on the line to insist we dismantle that arsenal.

Mark Colville knew he would go to prison. When he and six others took wire cutters to the fence at the Naval Submarine Base Kings Bay in Georgia, home to a Trident nuclear submarine, the night of April 4, 2018, they weren’t trying to evade the law. They intended to break it.

It was the fiftieth anniversary of Martin Luther King’s assassination, and his 1967 speech on the “triple evils of racism, economic exploitation, and militarism” echoed in their heads. “Somehow these three evils are tied together,” King had intoned.

For these activists, the bonds are clear: the US dedication to its nuclear arsenal impoverishes the nation as it makes utter annihilation possible. This is a crime far more destructive than any people are routinely put in prison for, the trespassers argue………………

Like hundreds of nuclear weapons sites across the country and around the world, the fifteen-thousand-acre Kings Bay is a central feature of economic and psychic life in its area — in this case, Camden County, Georgia. “We’ve put the world on this hair-trigger alert where every city is fifteen minutes from annihilation — and yet we’re in this state of lethargy,” O’Neill said. “The entire economy of this town is predicated on the end of the world. They are doing the work of Armageddon.”

By midnight, O’Neill and Colville arrived at their destination: a monument in steel and concrete, models of the nuclear arms stored at the base. “It was an idol. We called it the missile shrine,” O’Neill explained. To them it was a false God — a rapacious one who has demanded seventy-five years of human sacrifice.

But their argument is deeper than objection to brutal or wanton spending priorities. To be forced to live under a regime prepared to unleash complete destruction at any moment, knowing that the government is willing to hijack the energy of the most basic bonds at the root of life — the energy in the atom — to destroy the world a hundredfold turns life into a death cult, O’Neill argues.

Eventually the three groups gathered at the missile monument. In a ritual rich with Christian symbolism, McAlister and Hennessy poured their blood on the monument. “Our nation is spilling a lot of blood. The killing our country does, it does in our name, and I strongly object,” Hennessy said.

“Part of the problem,” Colville explained later, “is that the blood spilled by our military isn’t seen. When you see the blood, it offers a potential shift in perspective from this end of the weapon to the other end.” Grady spray-painted “Love One Another” on the pavement. The group read the indictment aloud and unfurled the banner Kelly had been hefting in his backpack: “The Ultimate Logic of Trident: Omnicide.” Then they sat down and waited for the military police to arrest them.

The Catholic Worker Movement………….

The first Plowshares action — named for the biblical admonition from Isaiah to beat swords into plowshares — was launched in 1980 when eight people (including McAlister’s husband and her brother-in-law) broke into the General Electric nuclear missile facility at King of Prussia, Pennsylvania, beat hammers on nuclear warhead nose cones, and poured blood on nuclear blueprints. Since then, there have been more than one hundred similar actions across the United States and in New Zealand, Ireland, England, Australia, Germany, Holland, Scotland, and Sweden. They are direct inheritors of the hundreds of draft-board raids that so bedeviled the United States during the Vietnam War that J. Edgar Hoover established a specific unit to track Catholic activists……………

The Kings Bay seven were arrested on April 4, 2018, and held in the Camden County jail. A few posted bail and went back to their lives to await trial, …..

In 2019, the trial finally began. In October of that year, they were convicted, their arguments about the absurdity that disarming a nuclear weapon could be a crime but possessing one is not, their invocation of religious freedom, and their disputations on justice having convinced neither judge nor jury. Their sentencing was delayed by COVID. Finally, between June 2020 and April 2021, each was sentenced separately……………

“There is not an issue, no matter how small or local, that is not connected to our willingness to murder our children as the necessary cost of achieving security,” he said. “To resist nuclearism is to touch the main wire of racism, violence, poverty in our society.”

July 19, 2021 - Posted by | 2 WORLD, opposition to nuclear

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