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Arthur Laffin

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Year of Publication: 2019

Laffin, Arthur, A History of the Plowshares Movement - a talk, Kings Bay Plowshares 7, 2019

Laffin, a Plowshares activist and member of the radical Catholic Worker organization, gave this talk to 100 supporters of the seven protesters on trial that week for entering the Kings Bay naval submarine base in Georgia in 2018 and symbolically damaging weapons systems. They were found guilty of conspiracy, damaging government property and trespassing. The first Plowshares protest in 1980 involved eight Catholics trespassing on the General Electric Nuclear Missile facility in the King of Prussia, Pennsylvania, and taking  action that became characteristic of later protests: they damaged nuclear warhead cones and poured blood on files, before publicly announcing  their actions and being arrested. Laffin notes that Plowshares (drawing on the biblical injunction 'beat your swords into plowshares') grew out of the Catholic protests at draft offices during the Vietnam War, when draft records were destroyed. The Berrigan brothers took part in both.

See also: Cohen-Joppa, Jack, ‘They Came to Stop a Crime: The Trial of the Kingsbay Plowshares 7’, Peace News, 2636-2637, Dec. 2019-Jan. 2020, p.7.
(Article first published on 10 Nov. 2019, on Beyond Nuclear International: beyondnuclearinternational.org)

The article provides brief background on Plowshares and outlines the testimony by defendants during their trial. It also records the jury decision to convict each of the seven on four counts: trespass, destruction of government property, ‘depredation’ of government property on a military installation; and conspiracy to commit these illegal acts.

 

 

Year of Publication: 2010

Laffin, Arthur, Swords into Plowshares, Volume Two: A Chronology of Plowshares Disarmament Action, 1980-2003, Foreword by Daniel Berrigan., Eugene, OR, WIPF and Stock Publishers, 2010, pp. 110

This is the second volume of the history of the direct action movement launched by radical Catholics in the USA, whose tactics were taken up by Protestants and committed advocates of  disarmament in both the US and Europe. Protests have over the years been directed at a range of ICBMs designed to carry nuclear warheads, Trident submarines, and nuclear weapons plants. This volume, which includes individual accounts and information on trials of protesters, covers actions not only in the US, but in Australia, Germany, the Netherlands, Sweden and the UK.

Year of Publication: 1987

Montgomery, AnneLaffin, Arthur, Swords into Plowshares: Nonviolent Direct Action for Disarmament, San Francisco , Harper and Row/Perennial Library, 1987, pp. 243 pb

This is an account of the origin and early years of the US Plowshares movement launched in 1980 by radical Catholics, and edited by two of the leading figures in this new form of personal ‘witness’ against nuclear weapons. Plowshares took inspiration from the biblical phrase ‘beat your swords into ploughshares’ and physically attacked missiles and associated targets, before publicizing their actions and accepting arrest and often subsequent imprisonment. This book explains their motivation, wider social beliefs, and provides details of early protests.