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Religious Rebel, a Look at the Life of Philip Berrigan and Non-Violent Anti-War Activism: A Roundtable Discussion with Plowshares Activists Who Were Jailed for Committing Civil Disobedience Actions wi

StoryDecember 09, 2002
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  • Tom Lewis-Borbely, participated in historic civil disobedience actions with Philip Berrigan including in Baltimore in 1967 and Catonsville, Maryland in 1968 to protest the Vietnam War. In Baltimore four activists poured their own blood on draft files. On the night before the Baltimore Four trial, Lewis and Berrigan entered a Maryland Selective Service Board, snatched up draft records, carried them outside and set them ablaze with homemade napalm. As a member of the Prince of Peace Plowshares he was sentenced to six months in prison for his role in the Ash Wednesday Peace Action aboard the USS Sullivans in 1997.
  • Kathy Boylan, mother, sanctuary worker and member of the Long Island Catholic Peace Fellowship. On April 9, 1993 she entered the Plowshares Newport News Shipbuilding action while wearing badges identifying themselves as “disarmers.” After cutting through a fence they proceeded to the USS Tucson fast attack submarine. They scaled 80 feet of scaffolding, and climbed aboard. They then disarmed two Tomahawk cruise missile launchers by removing the inner metal casings and hammering on them with household hammers. They also poured blood onto these launchers as well as on a third Tomahawk launcher.
  • Elmer Maas, musician and former college teacher from New York City. He was one of the Plowshares 8, 1980 who entered the General Electric Nuclear Missile Re-entry Division in King of Prussia, PA where nose cones for the Mark 12A warheads were made. They hammered on two nose cones, poured blood on documents and offered prayers for peace. They were arrested and initially charged with over ten different felony and misdemeanor counts.
  • John Schuchardt, ex-Marine, lawyer, father and member of Jonah House. He was also a member of the Plowshares 8 in 1980. On July 14, 1983 as one of the AVCO Plowshares he entered the AVCO Systems Division in Wilmington, Massachusetts, where MX and Pershing II nuclear weapons components are produced. They hammered on computer equipment related to these weapons systems and poured blood on blueprints labeled MX-“Peacekeeper.” They also issued an indictment against AVCO and its co-conspirators, including the “national security state” and the Armed Forces, with an indictment for committing crimes against God and humanity by manufacturing for profit weapons of genocide.
  • Dean Hammer, father and member of the Plowshares 8. On Thanksgiving Day, November 24, 1983 as part of the Griffis Plowshares he entered Griffiss Air Force Base in Rome, NY. They hammered and poured blood on a B-52 bomber converted to carry cruise missiles as well as on B-52 engines. They also left at the site of their witness a written indictment of Griffiss Air Force Base and the U.S. Government pointing to the war crimes of preparing for nuclear war and depicting how the new state religion of “nuclearism” denies constitutional rights and punishes acts of conscience.
  • Ackie Allen, nursery school teacher from Hartford, Conn. She participated in the Griffis Plowshares in 1983. It became the first Plowshares case to be tried in Federal Court. They were acquitted by a jury of sabotage, but they were convicted of conspiracy and destruction of government property. They received prison sentences ranging from two to three years.
  • Kathleen Rumpf, prison advocate from Syracuse, New York. She is a member of the Catholic Worker movement and has been arrested more than 100 times during a lifetime of activism for peace and justice.
  • Rev. John Dear, S.J., Jesuit priest, pastor, peace activist, organizer, lecturer, retreat leader, and the author/editor of 20 books on peace and justice. He been arrested over 75 times in acts of civil disobedience; and spent nearly a year in prison for a Plowshares disarmament action.

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