These voices were recently found on C-SPAN from coverage of the 1994 Labor Day rally
All of these figures spoke strongly that day in favor of converting and diversifying the shipyard to civilian production.
They knew what studies have long revealed
, non-military production creates more jobs.
According to Maine Veterans for Peace member Bruce Gagnon, “This more than $4 billion Zumwalt stealth destroyer’s mission will be to sneak up on China’s coast and blast them with new electromagnetic ‘rail guns’ right out of a sci-fi movie.”
The Navy did not actually want the destroyer because it would eat up too much of its shipbuilding budget. But President Obama, who was strongly supported in his run for president in 2008 by the Chicago-based Crown family (majority stockholders in General Dynamics), insisted the Zumwalt be built. Previous versions of Navy destroyers, outfitted with ‘missile defense’ systems cost about $1.5 billion each.
“The corporations that control our government,” Gagnon said, “are running our foreign and military policies these days. Endless war is big business and our communities are addicted to military spending. It’s virtually the only game in town anymore.”
Veterans for Peace and co-sponsoring groups will share the conversion message with the thousands who line up at BIW to enter the ‘christening’ ceremony. The peace groups are calling on the Maine legislature to pass a law creating a permanent commission to plan for conversion. Connecticut, very reliant on military spending, recently passed such a law and many other states are now working on similar legislation. Maine workers know that when military spending cuts do come jobs will be lost. Planning for conversion and diversification is a good fail-safe strategy.
Other sponsors for the April 12 protest at BIW include: Smilin’ Trees Disarmament Farm; Maine Women’s International League for Peace & Freedom; Pax Christi Maine; CodePink Maine; Global Network Against Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space; Vital Connections; and Peace & Justice Center of Eastern Maine.
Later in the evening on April 12 an International Panel on US ‘Pivot’ to Asia-Pacific will be held at the new Unitarian Church in Brunswick. Speakers from India, Japan, Korea and the US will discuss the implications of moving 60% of US military forces into the Asia-Pacific to “control” China. Potluck supper begins at 6:00 pm and the panel discussion at 7:00 pm. The public is warmly invited.
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