Summer Quarterly 2018
Adapted from The Nuclear Resister
Seven Catholic plowshares activists entered Kings Bay Naval Submarine Base in St. Mary’s, Georgia on April 4th, 2018. They said in a statement that went “to make real the prophet Isaiah’s command to ‘beat swords into plowshares.’” Once on the base, the activists used crime scene tape, hammers and hung banners reading: “The ultimate logic of racism is genocide —Dr. Martin Luther King,” and “Nuclear weapons: illegal/ immoral.”
The seven acted on the 50th anniversary of the assassination of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., who devoted his life to addressing what he called the “triple evils of militarism, racism and materialism.” Another of their banners reworked Dr. King’s “ultimate logic” declaration, applying it to nuclear weapons saying “The Ultimate Logic of Trident is Omnicide.”
Kings Bay Naval base is the Navy’s Atlantic Ocean Trident submarine port. In southeastern Georgia, 38 miles from Jacksonville, Florida, Kings Bay is the largest nuclear submarine base in the world. The site maintains six giant Trident long-range, nuclear missile submarines (each two football fields long), and two guided missile subs.
The group also carried a written indictment of the nuclear weapons base accusing the US government with crimes against peace.
Carrying hammers and baby bottles of their own blood, the seven attempted to symbolically convert weapons of mass destruction. They hoped to call attention to the ways in which nuclear weapons kill every day by wasting scarce resources desperately needed to address hunger, disease, and homelessness.
The action statement added that nuclear weapons kill before being detonated “through our mining, production, testing, storage, and dumping, primarily on Indigenous Native land.” The statement quoted Dr. King, who said in his Beyond Vietnam speech, “The greatest purveyor of violence in the world today is my own government.”
The seven activists are Elizabeth McAlister, 78, of Jonah House, Baltimore; Fr. Steve Kelly SJ, 69, of the Bay Area, California; Martha Hennessy, 62, and Carmen Trotta, 55, both of the New York Catholic Worker; Clare Grady, 59, of the Ithaca Catholic Worker; Mark Colville, 55, of the New Haven, Conn. Catholic Worker; and Patrick O’Neill, 61, of the Garner, North Carolina Catholic Worker.
The seven were charged in federal court with felony Conspiracy, Destruction of Property on a Naval Station, Depredation of Government Property, and Trespass. The Kings Bay protest is the latest in the long series of 100 previous Plowshares actions. The Plowshares disarmament movement began in 1980 with “The Plowshares Eight” who entered a General Electric nuclear warhead factory in King of Prussia, Pennsylvania.
Patrick O’Neill, Carmen Trotta and Martha Hennessy were released on bond to house arrest on May 24, 2018. The four others can be sent only plain, white pre-stamped postcards that can be purchased at a post office, using only blue or black ink, at: Clare Grady #015632; Elizabeth McAlister #015633; Stephen Kelly #015634; Mark Colville #015635,
Glynn County Detention Center
100 Sulphur Springs Road
Brunswick, GA 31520