SPRING 1999 - ISSUE NUMBER 47
Summer Peacetribe in the eye of ELF
[ Traverse Area Planning for Summer Peacetribe ]
Dear Friends, Our dear friends and colleagues, Gerard Grabowski and Jan Shireman, have told us to get on the ball and offer some information on our summer peacetribe gathering. What follows is my earnest attempt to describe the possibilities. --Tom Howard-Hastings
A Clean Getaway
In this time of inexplicably mounting Pentagon budgets and endless bombing-in-peacetime, we who have tried to promote disarmament of weaponry of mass destruction wish to gather, to relax, to reflect, to recommit, to reassess. For years, we have hopped fences, cut down poles, organized our neighbors, talked to the media, served time in jails and prisons and we have won a few victories and lost many. Some of us are just thinking about returning to the front lines of activism, some are wanting to do a little bit now and then, and all of us need to gather, to talk, to share meals, to honor each other and the work to protect this beautiful Earth. We propose to do that this coming July 9-12 on a lovely peninsula jutting into a sweet little lake in the middle of Michigan's Little Presque Isle state forest.
Sixteen years ago, the Michigan Natural Resource Commission gave in, gave up, and gave away portions of four state forests in the rocky ancien mons running across the Upper Peninsula. The MNRC heard about 300 of us tell them not to do it during two days of public testimony in Petoskey and only heard from about 8 people in favor of giving the land to the US Navy. They gave it away anyway, even though 80 percent of the voters in the U.P. had voted against it in referenda.
Democracy in action
The navy built Project ELF and we are still trying to get them to dismantle it and return the land to Nature, to the people.
Three years ago, two of us went to the linked Extremely Low Frequency command facility in Wisconsin and cut down three poles, shutting it down, making a first strike nuclear war from the Trident submarines impossible for a day. In fact, we also made it impossible to send the firing commands to any fast attack submarines in the Persian Gulf for a day. That day was Earth Day, April 22, 1996.
We chose Earth Day because ELF and the nuclear navy make the Earth the first casualty, even without sending the command to fire nuclear or "conventional" weapons. We acted from a faith-based nonviolence but we acted using the symbolism of Earth Day because, if nuclear war is not the major environmental threat to the world, nothing is. Short of an impact of another planet, nothing would destroy much of nature faster than a nuclear attack, even a unilateral nuclear attack. In addition, based upon the environmental effects of the electromagnetic radiation emanating at all times from ELF, Wisconsin and the county of Marquette in Michigan successfully sued the navy to stop construction on ELF in 1984, but that was overturned not because science doesn't call ELF radiation bad but because of "national security." We say that's hogwash; the surest way to become a nuclear target is to have a nuclear bomb; the weapons do not make us secure. Rather, they make us less secure and they make everyone less secure. When the navy can come in and steal our state forests over our objections, that is not a confidence-building measure; that breeds national insecurity.
Then, while we were in jail awaiting trial, came the results of another trial&emdash;this one in the World Court in the Hague, where nuclear weapons had gone on trial in October of 1995, and, on July 8, 1996, the International Court of Justice found those weapons generally illegal. They are simply too big a threat to keep around.
Thus, on the third anniversary of that ruling, we invite new and old peacefolk to join us for a real "activists' vacation," camping out or staying in a log cabin (if you are not able to camp), or even staying in nearby Marquette and joining us for meals and sessions. We will be doing cooperative childcare and sharing meals. We will be gathering to talk about the law, the politics of saving this land, human rights, Earth rights and birth rights, and nonviolent power. Kary Love, one of America's best civil resistance defense lawyers, will come talk about how to battle various merchants of death in the courts (hey, he got us off sabotage, the fellow is good&emdash;then he lost on "damage to property" and we served our time, oh well). And we invite you to offer a workshop on some aspect of waging nonviolent struggle, or to lead a discussion on some such topic.
Our first mission is to simply get away and gather together, refreshing each other and renewing our recognition of our obligations to the Earth, to the children and the unborn, and toward a day when we will joyously hammer apart the final nuclear bomb. Please contact Gerard Grabowski or Jan Shireman at (616) 864-2203 or Laurentian Shield Resources for Nonviolence at email@example.com for further information or to add your ideas.
Laurentian Shield Resources for Nonviolence
Donna & Tom Howard-Hastings
12833 E Hwy 13
Maple WI 54854
--contact us for a subscription to our monthly newsletter or to receive our little catalog.
Traverse Area Planning for Summer Peacetribe
Help is needed to plan for ELF
Campout-Conference-Resistence-Retreat July 9-11, Harlow Lake in the UP. Planning session will be held at Traverse City Library Community Room, 610 Woodmer, Saturday, May 15, 11:00 A.M. to 3:00 P.M. For more information call Tom Shea (616) 946-3693 or Gerard Grabowski, (616) 864 2203.
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