The Spark

“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.” — Karl Marx

Who are the Real Criminals?

Mar 3, 2014

Three activists called the “Transform Now: Plowshares,” an 84-year-old nun and two men, aged 65 and 58, were sentenced to jail terms of three years, five years and five years for the crime of “sabotage and destruction of government property.”

In July of 2012, these three pacifists entered a nuclear weapons facility from the woods surrounding it, cutting through barbed wire. Then they committed the “crime” of throwing blood on the walls of the facility and writing biblical quotations.

For these actions, under a provision of a law against terrorism, the government plans to keep Sister Megan Rice, Michael Walli and Gregory Boertje-Obed in jail.

Said Walli to the judge, “I was acting in support of the rule of law with my actions.” These activists had pointed out during the trial that it was the United States that was the “terrorist” in the matter, with enough nuclear weapons to wipe all forms of life off the planet several times over. The three argued as part of their defense that the U.S. stockpile of nuclear weapons goes against international treaties.

The three are part of a tradition of pacifists protesting at nuclear facilities since the original “Plowshares” action in 1980 involving Philip and Daniel Berrigan. At an earlier trial, Berrigan had said, “Some property has no right to exist.”

Which is the crime? To protest nuclear weapons or to imprison those who protest?