This month marks 20 years since publication of the first issue of the Newsletter of the National No-Nukes Prison Support Collective, now known as the Nuclear Resister.
We began with the conviction that support for the imprisoned activist is essential to the success of the movement for a peaceful, nuclear-free future, and with the faith that work worth doing would find the support necessary to continue.
Twenty years. It's nearly half our lives! But it simply expresses our faith and hope for the future, the same expression lived out by many people and groups we've come to know during this time.
Some are also celebrating their own anniversaries this year: Nukewatch is now 20 years old and going strong; likewise the Earth First! Journal. The Nevada Desert Experience is approaching 20 years of faith-based opposition to nuclear testing, and the Los Angeles Catholic Worker community, serving the poor and engaging in nonviolent resistance, is now 30 years old!
We found news of only one act of resistance to report in the four xeroxed pages of that first issue - the arrest and imprisonment of the Plowshares Eight. Eight Catholic men and women entered a General Electric plant in King of Prussia, Pennsylvania on September 9, 1980, where they hammered and poured blood on Mark-12A nuclear warheads to carry out the biblical command to beat swords into plowshares. Their act of direct disarmament trail-blazed an important path, sparking a now-international Plowshares movement of more than 70 such acts.
And now, two decades after that prophetic act, news of three of the Plowshares Eight appears throughout this 20th anniversary issue of the Nuclear Resister. Philip Berrigan is serving a prison term for his part in the Plowshares vs. Depleted Uranium disarmament action. Rev. Carl Kabat, after his latest arrest this past Hiroshima Day at nuclear missile silo N-7 in Colorado, is facing dismissal from his Roman Catholic religious order. Sr. Anne Montgomery, along with four other nuns, celebrated the 20th anniversary of the Plowshares Eight action by hammering and pouring blood on air and space weapons in Colorado.
We thank Phil, Carl, and Anne, along with the rest of the Plowshares Eight - Dean Hammer, Elmer Maas, Daniel Berrigan, Molly Rush and John Schuchardt - as well as the tens of thousands of others whose acts of resistance we've chronicled in these pages, and have been a source of inspiration and hope over the past 20 years. We are certainly not alone in the struggle!
About This Issue
Last month,we were determined to keep this issue of the Nuclear Resister to eight pages. Several recent issues have been 12 or 16 pages, packed with news of growing nonviolent resistance across the U.S. and around the world. But unfortunately, donations have not recently covered the added printing and postage costs of these extra pages. So, we reasoned, as the newsletter slipped into debt, we will just have to somehow squeeze it all into eight pages.
But which of these stories are less important than others, to be excluded, or pared down to bare details? How can we provide a historic record of this significant movement for a peaceful and nuclear-free future if we do not report on all of these hopeful acts of civil resistance in our pages?
So, once again, we have published 12 pages instead of eight. As we take hope from all of the stories that fill this 20th anniversary issue, we realize the need to determine how to best keep this publication going during what is clearly an upswing of nonviolent resistance, so that we can continue to act on the conviction that it is essential to support imprisoned activists.
Thank you for your support, which has made these past two decades of the Nuclear Resister possible.
-Jack and Felice Cohen-Joppa, editors