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Guide Religion and War Resistance in the Plowshares Movement (Cambridge Studies in Contentious Politics)

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So he and several others explored the idea. For nine months, they strategized and prayed together; eventually, eight people chose to act.

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The eight then set out to resolve such practical issues as gaining access to the King of Prussia facility. They also had a nurse draw their blood, which they would carry into the plant in baby bottles. Everyone ensured that their responsibilities and families would be cared for while they were in jail. Finally, the group wrote a press release. While they were drafting the statement, someone turned to the biblical book of Isaiah.

Mainstreaming Nonviolence - Ken Butigan - TEDxDePaulUniversity

We thought we could take in some hammers. Montgomery and Kabat spoke with the guard while the other six slipped into the facility. Meanwhile, the other activists quickly found the room where the warheads were stored. We just kept walking until we walked into the test area and there were these golden-colored warheads on a table. Interview with Molly Rush, conducted by the author, March 26, Plowshares Movement Similarly, Daniel Berrigan observed: The building is huge: we had no idea exactly where the cones could be found.

Of one thing we were sure. We had been at prayer for days. And the deed was done. We eight looked at one another, exhausted, bedazzled with the ease of it all. We had been led in about two minutes, and with no interference to speak of, to the heart of the labyrinth. Then they kneeled in a circle, held hands, and prayed.

Once they were arrested, the group released its statement to the press. Thus GE advances the possible destruction of millions of innocent lives. In our action, we draw on a deeprooted faith in Christ, who changed the course of history through his willingness to suffer rather than to kill. Schuchardt recalled: The reaction from the authorities was vicious and furious. Even as an experienced criminal defense lawyer, I had never guessed that they could multiply and fabricate thirteen separate charges.

I was really shocked at the [charges of ] aggravated assault, simple assault, terroristic threats, on and on and on. They just opened the 7 8 Berrigan, Daniel. Quotation from pp. Berrigan, Daniel. Then the federal authorities said that they would be prosecuting us as well. We had anticipated that we were facing 30 years. History of the U. The Historic Peace Churches Christian opposition to war has a long history. In the face of persecution, many peace church members 9 10 11 Interview with John Schuchardt, conducted by the author, July 22, The Plowshares Eight appealed their convictions.

While awaiting the decision for an appeal, most refused to accept bail. Nearly ten years later, they were resentenced by a new magistrate, Judge James Buckingham. Buckingham was considerably more sympathetic, allowing the eight to bring in expert testimony and to introduce international law. The prosecutor made no sentencing recommendation, and General Electric — facing its own legal problems for defrauding the government on a military contract — did not request restitution for the damaged missiles. The eight were sentenced to time served and placed on parole.

Rather than isolating themselves from violence, Quakers actively struggle to abolish war. Many have refused to support the military in any way, including military exemption payments and non-combat services. IFOR developed out of an ecumenical meeting in in Switzerland, organized by Christians who sought a way to prevent the impending advent of World War I.

The war actually broke out before their conference concluded, and two participants, a British Quaker and a German Lutheran, made a commitment to work for peace and reconciliation, even though their nations were at war with each other. Nonviolence in America. Maryknoll, NY: Orbis, p. Cooney, Robert, and Helen Michalowski.

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Philadelphia: New Society Publishers. All of the life sentences imposed on conscientious objectors were eventually repealed. For further information, see: Cooney, Robert, and Helen Michalowski. Philadelphia: New Society Publishers, p.

Wittner, Lawrence S. Stanford: Stanford University Press. We are therefore determined not to support any kind of war and to strive for the removal of all causes of war.

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From ‘the effect of repression’ toward ‘the response to repression’

A second meeting was held in , when participants voted to make the organization permanent. However, these organizations were revitalized when the onset of the Cold War generated fresh opposition to nuclear weapons and a renewed call for disarmament. Organizers launched SANE into national prominence in November when they placed an ad in the New York Times that called for an immediate moratorium on nuclear testing. Stanford: Stanford University Press, p. McCrea, Frances B. Plowshares Movement Whereas SANE used conventional methods of protest and concentrated on educating the public about nuclear weapons, others saw the need for direct resistance.

Eleven of the protesters trespassed onto the site and were promptly arrested. I am going because it is time to do something about peace, not just talk about peace. I am going because it is cowardly and degrading for me to stand by any longer, to consent, and thus to collaborate in atrocities.

When you see something horrible happening, your instinct is to do something about it. I have to act.

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This is too horrible. We know it. When they arrived in Hawaii, they were told that a federal court had issued an injunction against their action. The crew decided that they would continue their voyage regardless of the consequences, and they headed for the U. They were soon intercepted by the Coast Guard, which arrested the men on charges of contempt.


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After they were brought to trial, convicted, and placed on probation, the crew set sail once more, managing to leave U. They were sentenced to sixty days in prison, but their action attracted international news coverage that inspired others to complete the campaign. On July 1, , several individuals sailed into the U. Bigelow, Albert. Maryknoll, NY: Orbis. This account was drawn from the following sources: Cooney, Robert, and Helen Michalowski.

In the late s, it was revived by the growing concern about nuclear power. This issue generated national attention in when a group called the Clamshell Alliance mobilized 1, people to nonviolently occupy the Seabrook nuclear power plant construction site in New Hampshire. Within a few years, nearly 1, grassroots groups were using this type of direct action to stop nuclear power.

When the Three Mile Island accident occurred at a nuclear power plant in Pennsylvania, MfS ranks expanded and organizers felt the need for a more focused strategy. Boyer, Paul. Philadelphia: Temple University Press. Plowshares Movement deployment of nuclear weapons and of missiles and new aircraft designed primarily to deliver nuclear weapons.

The growing momentum of the peace movement evoked responses from numerous Christian groups. Although historically supportive of U. By the early s, almost sixty bishops joined the Catholic peace organization Pax Christi. This document — which the bishops endorsed by a vote of to 9 — called for a comprehensive test ban treaty and the eventual elimination of nuclear weapons. Boulder: Lynne Reinner Publishers, p. Castelli, Jim.