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A History of the Plowshares Movement - a talk

Author: Arthur Laffin

Kings Bay Plowshares 72019

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.

 

 

Available online at:

https://kingsbayplowshares7.org/plowshares-history/