Good Friday – Walking the Way of the Cross to Lockheed Martin

Dear Friends,

A group of the faithful carried the cross together, honoring the sacrifice and suffering of Jesus, on Good Friday.

They gathered – Catholic Workers, nuns, priests and lay people – and walked to the Lockheed Martin facility in Sunnyvale, California where day in and day out people go to work building the Trident II D-5 missiles that are deployed on our nation’s ballistic missile submarines.

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Each of those Trident missiles (and each submarine carries 24) is fitted with four (and as many as eight) thermonuclear warheads, each of which is many times more destructive than the bomb dropped on Hiroshima in 1945.  These submarines patrol 24 hours a day, seven days a week, on alert, prepared to launch their horrific weapons, threatening humanity with omnicide.

Such a thing is quite simply an abomination before God.

Scores of workers stream in and out of the Lockheed Martin facility every workday and, if the employee roster mirrors the societal demographic, a large percentage of those workers call themselves Christians. How then, can one who calls oneself “Christian” do the work of building something that is so un-Godly?  How can one build weapons that are, by their very nature, designed to incinerate tens of thousands or possibly millions – and that is with just a single warhead.

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Are we truly listening to The Story on Good Friday (or on any other day for that matter) when, instead of turning away from violence, from hatred, from fear, and turning toward LOVE, we continue to build the machinery of empire today.  How different is today’s empire from that which was threatened by Jesus roughly two thousand years ago?

On this Good Friday those who walked to Lockheed Martin stood vigil with signs and banners carrying messages of love and peace and calling on all good people to stop making war.  Some of those present went into the roadway carrying that cross and blocking the entrance to Lockheed Martin in an act of nonviolent resistance to nuclear weapons and war-making.  They were arrested by the Sunnyvale Police.  This was their sacrifice in the name of Jesus, who sacrificed for us in the name of a loving God who wants us to live together in Peace.

Those arrested for their witness were Steve Kelly, Susan Crane, Larry Purcell, Mary Jane Parrine, Louis Vitale, and Ed Ehmke.  Steve was held on a warrant, and Larry didn’t sign the citation.  Those released have a court date May 13th.  Steve and Larry will be in court Wednesday, April 3rd in the afternoon.

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Click here to view photos of the Good Friday vigil and action at Lockheed Martin. 

My wish today is that each of us was able to look Jesus in the eyes as he hung high up on that cross when he was crucified, and that we may connect in such a way that we find it in our hearts to carry that cross as we are able – whether a few inches or a few miles – so that others may live… so that we may all learn to live together as brothers and sisters one day as is God’s intention.

With great thanks this day to all who sacrifice so that others may live.

Peace,

Leonard

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Living In an Urban Village

Living In an Urban Village

by Lynne Greenwald

written for the Tacoma Catholic Worker newsletter

One of my favorite activities is showing visitors around our community.  Guests are often surprised at the number of houses, gardens and services offered.  By providing housing, showers, meals, clean socks and countless opportunities to just listen, provide a smile and a sign of respect, many of the people that live in this 4-block area share a vision of another way of living with others. Continue reading

Berkeley gathering to welcome Susan out of prison

The day after I was released from FCI Dublin, friends and peace activists had organized a gathering at the Berkeley Unitarian Fellowship Hall. It was so wonderful to see friends and people who have all worked so hard in different areas for justice and social change..  It was wonderful to be with people who have hope that things can be better.  I was met with smiles, hugs, delicious and colorful food, and news of past and future actions for peace, for justice, for a nuclear free world. Continue reading

Moving from “Empire to Servanthood”

Friends,

The National Catholic Worker gathering wrapped up yesterday (Sunday) with prayers and nonviolent resistence at both the Nevada Test Site (aka: Nevada National Security Site) and Creech Air Force Base, protesting both nuclearism and drones.  59 Catholic Workers were arrested at the Test Site, and 18 were arrested at Creech.

I’m sharing (see below) the Final Statement created by those gathered over the past few days in Las Vegas.  It is an extraordinary statement calling us all to the Gospel of Nonviolence and the walk of the peacemaker.  It calls on the Church to end its complicity in the hubris of Empire.  It calls on our entire nation to repent for the crimes of war.  Above all, it recommits those present at the the CW gathering to “creating the Beloved Community where all God’s people can live together in peace with justice.”

To that day when Nation will not take up sword against nation, nor will they train for war anymore,

Leonard

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Final Statement for Las Vegas Catholic Worker Gathering
(On the 10th Anniversary of the U.S. Bombing and Invasion of Afghanistan)

We Catholic Workers from around North America gather in Las Vegas on this 10th anniversary of the U.S. bombing and invasion of Afghanistan with the theme “From Empire to Servanthood.” We renounce all war-making as a affront to the God of Creation and we reject the false gods and religion of Empire that dominate our national spirit. We call on our church and nation to join us in repenting for the violence the U.S. has inflicted, and make reparations to all of its victims at home and in Afghanistan as well as in Iraq, Pakistan, Yemen and elsewhere. At this critical point in history, when we face unending wars, nuclear perils, occupations, and economic collapse, when human life and creation itself has become so devalued and killing has become the norm; when greed, exploitation, racism and discrimination are at the heart of social injustice; when our earth and environment is endangered as never before; we recommit ourselves to the God of creation that calls us to revere all life as sacred, and to resist the way of violence, oppression, and empire.

As we hear the cry of the suffering and the poor of our country and world, we demand that all resources being squandered for weapons and war be instead spent to meet urgent human needs.

As the U.S. government continues its immoral and illegal occupation of Afghanistan and Iraq, and its murderous drone attacks, especially in Pakistan, we recall the words of Dorothy Day regarding U.S. war-making during World War II:

“We are at war, a declared war, with Japan, Germany, and Italy. But still we can repeat Christ’s words, each day, holding them close in our hearts, each month printing them in the paper… We will print the words of Christ who is with us always, even to the end of the world. “Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who persecute you …” In The Catholic Worker we will quote our Pope, our saints, our priests. We will go on printing the articles which remind us today that we are all called to be saints, that we are other Christs, reminding us of the priesthood of the laity…We are still pacifists. Our manifesto is the Sermon on the Mount, which means that we will try to be peacemakers.”

Yes, we are still pacifists. In the name of Jesus who calls us to love unconditionally and be peacemakers, we call on all followers of Jesus to embrace and practice the Gospel of Nonviolence. We urge our church leadership to break their silence and prophetically proclaim Christ’s gospel by calling the entire nation to repent for the war crimes we have committed. We invite them and all followers of Jesus to join us in making the following appeal to the political, military and economic power structure of our nation:

–end all U.S. war-making and and military intervention throughout our world, especially in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya and Pakistan.

–stop all drone attacks in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Somalia, and Yemen.

–stop demonizing Arabs and Muslims.

– and the US backed Israeli occupation of Palestine and support self-determination for the Palestinians.

–disarm and abolish all conventional, biological, chemical and nuclear weapons.

–close and/or convert all nuclear and conventional weapons facilities, military bases, and military training centers like the SOA/WHINSEC.

–stop the U.S. militarization of space.

–convert our war-based economy to one centered on serving the common good, alleviating poverty and protecting the environment.

–initiate an equitable redistribution of the earth’s resources.

–work to reverse global climate change and bring about environmental justice.

–cultivate respect for the health of the land that feeds us and honors the people that lived on it before us.

–end the practice of torture.

–close the Guantanamo U.S. military prison, the Bagram prison in Afghanistan, all secret black sites and detention centers, and end indefinite detention.

–end all ROTC training programs at all levels in Catholic and public schools.

– and we must end the “war on the poor” at home by: abolishing the death penalty, ending the practice of mass imprisonment, stopping prisons for profit, providing housing, jobs, adequate food and health care for ALL, taking down the wall on the US/Mexico boarder and insuring and protecting human rights of all immigrants.

Mindful of all political prisoners, including those Catholic Workers and other resisters imprisoned for acts of peacemaking, we commit ourselves to nonviolently resist all forms of state-sanctioned violence and oppression. In our efforts to come out of and resist U.S. Empire we concluded our weekend gathering by doing nonviolent direct actions at the Nevada Nuclear Test Site and at Creech AFB, a center of U.S. drone warfare. In solidarity with sisters and brothers around the world calling for an end to political repression, corporate domination and militarism, we seek to build a new society in the shell of the old. We commit ourselves to help create the Beloved Community where all God’s people can live together in peace with justice.

Walking the Road to Conversion

Reflection by Susan Crane

As the sentencing date approaches, I’m thinking about our walk onto the US Naval Base Bangor, and thinking about the nuclear weapons  at the Strategic Weapons Facility, Pacific.  Where do these warheads and missiles come from? Where are they made?

We know that the secondaries for the nuclear warheads are made at the Y-12 plant in Tennessee, and locally, both Bix and Jackie Hudson are both awaiting trial for walking onto the Y-12 property.

We know, from the discovery papers that the government gave us before the trial, that Lockheed Martin maintains the Reentry Bodies that carry the warheads from the D-5 missile to their target.  The day we walked into SWFPAC, Lockheed Martin said that they couldn’t work on the re-entry bodies  (RB lockheed martin)  and the cost impact was $40,000 dollars that day. Continue reading

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