Over the weekend of March 4th the Pacific Life Community (PLC) held its annual retreat in Menlo Park, California. Frida Berrigan delivered the keynote address. In the spirit of resistance the PLC Community held a vigil and nonviolent action at the Lockheed Martin plant in Sunnyvale. Among those arrested for trespassing were Disarm Now Plowshares members Susan Crane and Steve Kelly. Lynne Greenwald and Anne Montgomery were there vigiling and witnessing to the action.
Larry Purcell of the PLC wrote an opinion piece that he submitted to the San Jose Mercury News. It’s an indictment of Lockheed-Martin, builder of the Trident D-5 missile, and really poses a deeper underlying question: “Where is our treasure?”. The newspaper declined to print the piece; told Larry that it was “too much anti Lockheed rather than anti nuke and it would entail a lot of fact checking and demand a response piece from Lockheed.” Fact checking??? Here’s a fact that is irrefutable. If we ever start launching those Lockheed-built D-5 missiles bristling with nuclear warheads the radiation concerns currently on people’s minds – and which are serious – as a result of the nuclear reactor crisis in Japan will pale in comparison.
If the Mercury News won’t print Larry’s piece, WE WILL. I will not quibble over the “facts” of Larry’s article. The fact is that we are squandering out treasure while sewing the seeds of our own destruction, and that is morally reprehensible. Corporations like Lockheed-Martin are like parasitic, opportunistic organisms seeking to grow by consuming everything around them at any cost to the society that feeds them.
Please read Larry’s article, and then share it with as many people as you can, especially people who have not yet come to understand the harmful effects of war spending on our society and the world. We must help people see the truth beyond the lies if we are to move away from the culture of death and build a culture of life.
With Thanks to Larry and the Pacific Life Community,
Opinion Piece written by Lawrence Purcell, and originally submitted to the San Jose Mercury News
Early this month a group of us went to Sunnyvale to protest at Lockheed/Martin Corp – the biggest military contractor in the world. It’s hard to imagine how big Lockheed/Martin is. According to William Hartung, “One of every 14 dollars doled out by the Pentagon” goes to Lockheed. Put another way, “that amounts to a ‘Lockheed/ Martin tax’ of $260 per tax paying household in the United States.” If congress wants to find money with which to balance the budget they should look to our military budget first since our military budget is, by far, the largest in the world.
As the cost of weapons skyrockets, there is a direct impact on our children’s education. For one elementary school in Redwood City, their entire supply budget for 2010-2011 is $7,000. Over half of that was taken to pay the maintenance contract for their copy machine. The rest would be divided up among 8 classrooms and the school’s administration. What a struggle!!!
On the other hand, Lockheed/Martin is so rich that in 2009 they spent $12 million on congressional lobbying and campaign contributions. They give to both Republicans and Democrats – whomever in the Senate and House are in a position to decide where our tax money goes. As our government tries to limit the proliferation of nuclear weapons, Lockheed lobbyists have successfully pushed to USA to vastly increase expenditures on nuclear weapons this year.
Meanwhile, in Redwood City, our schools must decide between nurses & librarians or buses and student aides. In the school I’m familiar with, the 3rd grade class jumped from 20 students last year to 28 students this year. Two of those 28 children have special needs; but there is no money for a full time aide or even a part time aide.
Lockheed/Martin reportedly has 140,000 employees (probably an exaggeration) in about 46 states and in 2008 they received $36 BILLION from our taxes. Schools and hospitals would employ a lot more people with 36 billion dollars than Lockheed ever would or could.
Having said all of that about money & jobs & education, I was arrested at Lockheed for a to stop another form of insanity. Lockheed/Martin develops, tests and builds missiles for the Trident Nuclear Submarines. These missiles will carry nuclear warheads 4,000 miles and have an accuracy of 300 feet. We believe they are being produced to enable the USA to begin and end a nuclear war in a “pre-emptive first strike.” They will be used as a “shock & awe” that hopes to wipe out the so-called “enemy” completely. However, Nuclear Weapons threaten not only other people but also all people on earth. These weapons are so absurd at this point that a number of heavy weight politicians are finally calling for their total ABOLITION. Colin Powell, Henry Kissinger, Sam Nun, George Schultz, Mikhail Gorbachev and others have finally realized that these weapons profit no one except the arms dealers. Unfortunately, one thing these politicians have in common is that they are all retired—how sad.
As we protested and were arrested at Lockheed, there was very little press coverage. I guess the reporters were out checking Charlie Sheen or something else crucial to our species.
Every Democrat and Republican tells us “the future of our country depends on the education of our children.” Why don’t they put our money where their mouths are? The reason they keep wasting our money on nuclear weapons is that they have been bought (lock stock and barrel) by the gun lobby, which President Eisenhower called the “military industrial complex.” Feel free to join us and if you want more info go to www.pacificlifecommunity.wordpress.com.