I am one of the Aegis 9. I got arrested, with eight other activists, April 1, during the snowstorm at the Bath Iron Works destroyer “christening,” for committing an act of nonviolent civil disobedience. We were there to further community reflection and discussion about steps we can take to deal with climate change and endless war-making.
We’ve been trying for years to get BIW to convert to making commuter rail systems, wind turbines, solar panels, tidal power systems, hospital ships, etc. Sustainable technology development employs many times more people than building warships does. I wore two giant carbon footprints. The one on my back said: “USA military largest carbon footprint in the world. Making warships accelerates global warming and drains our economy of money for healthcare, education, infrastructure.”
I felt especially moved to be there because these are the ships now being stationed in Jeju Island, South Korea, where I went several years ago. As part of the U.S. pivot to China, to monitor the South China Seas and threaten China, a base was built in the beautiful, pristine little village of Gangjeong, its volcanic coastline now blasted away, its access to the sea blocked by high walls and barbed wire. BIW continues to make these deadly Aegis missile defense systems, and I was in Bath to protest the newest one.
The protest was sponsored by Smilin’ Trees Disarmament Farm; Maine Veterans For Peace; Citizens Opposing Active Sonar Threats; the Maine Natural Guard; the Maine War Tax Resistance Resource Center; the Global Network Against Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space; PeaceWorks; Pax Christi Maine; Merrimack Valley People for Peace (North Andover, Massachusetts), and the Peace & Justice Center of Eastern Maine.