The next warship to go down the ways at Bath Iron Works will be christened the Lyndon B. Johnson on Saturday. In response, at 8:15 a.m., citizens united in voice calling for “conversion” will gather in protest of the continuing exclusive production of warships.

The gathering, beginning with a press conference, will mark a different launching, a statewide campaign calling for “Conversion” at the General Dynamics shipyard. Conversion from the production of instruments of war to “green technology” products, meaning high-speed trains, electric buses, windmills, solar panels, underwater turbines and other products fundamental to developing a sustainable economy.

“Climate Crisis Demands Conversion” heads the fact-filled flier through which the coalition of activists is asking all citizens to petition Maine’s congressional representatives to redirect funds from building warships at BIW to building sustainable energy systems in order to stem further climate disruption.

Seems like an easy call. The LBJ will join a fleet that is already larger (in aggregate tonnage) than the next 13 largest fleets combined! And the U.S. spends more money on the military than the next seven highest-spending countries combined! Far better that our money be spent on conversion to renewable energy if we are to believe what the Pentagon has stated – that climate change poses “immediate risks” to national security and that the Pentagon has the largest carbon footprint on the planet. This is absolutely an existential issue.

Imagine the institutional pride the workers at Bath could derive from being a part of the solution rather than seeing the product of their labors go off to support endless wars.

President Eisenhower’s words have never rung more true: “Every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed.”

Please join us!

Dud Hendrick

Veterans for Peace

Deer Isle


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