The Power To Withdraw Our Consent From Systems Of Violence
According to the director of the United Nations Institute for Disarmament Research, Renata Dwan, the risk of nuclear war is the highest it has been since World War II. Last year, seven plow shares activists entered the Kings Bay Naval Base in Georgia to protest the Trident submarine, calling it “the world’s deadliest nuclear weapon,” to bring attention to this risk. They poured blood on it and beat on it with hammers to symbolize the biblical statement, to “beat swords into plow shares.” We speak with four of the seven, the other three are in prison, about why they took this action, how it connects to the triple evils identified by Martin Luther King of “racism, extreme materialism, and militarism,” and what can be done to stop this threat.
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Clare Grady has lived for many years in Ithaca, NY, on Cayuga People’s land, in Haudenausaunee territory. She comes from a big loving family, and is the mother of 2 grown daughters, Leah and Rosie. Drawing deeply from her Irish Catholic roots, she is grateful that her parents, Teresa and John, raised their five kids in a community of faith-based resistance.
Martha Hennessy is the seventh child of Dorothy Day’s only child Tamar, divides her time between the family farm in Vermont and volunteer work at Maryhouse Catholic Worker in New York City. She is 62, a retired occupational therapist, and grandmother of eight. She has been arrested and imprisoned protesting nuclear power, war, the use of drones, the torture of prisoners in Guantanamo and other prisons, and the use of starvation as a weapon of war in Yemen. She has traveled to Russia, Egypt, Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan, Jordan, and Palestine to understand the effects of war on other peoples. Martha travels and speaks on the topics of life and work in community, Catholic Social Teaching, and peacemaking efforts in the tradition of the Catholic Worker movement.
Patrick O’Neill is 61 years old and the father of six daughters and two sons. His wife, Mary Rider, and he co-founded the Fr. Charlie Mulholland Catholic Worker House in Garner, N.C. in 1991, an intentional, pacifist, Christian community that works to uphold the Consistent Ethic of Life. Their daughter, Brianna, is married to Ricky Bennett. She is the administrator of the Women’s Birth and Wellness Center in Chapel Hill, N.C. Daughter, Bernadette, is married to Jeff Naro, and is a Catholic campus minister at Marist High School in Atlanta, GA. Daughter, Moira, works in the area of Food Justice at the Tucson, AZ, Food Bank. Daughter, Veronica, is a Bonner Scholar at Guilford College in Greensboro, N.C. Son, Timmy attends the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. Daughter, Annie, and son Michael, attend Raleigh Charter High School, and daughter, Mary Evelyn, attends the Exploris School in Raleigh, N.C. In addition to Catholic Worker responsibilities, Mary is a social worker and Patrickis a journalist. As Catholics, they try to put into practice God’s call to Love One Another. Their peacemaking efforts include extensive work opposing nuclear weapons, working for abolition of the death penalty, supporting immigrants, participating in the N.C.-based Moral Monday Movement, the new Poor People’s Campaign, Black Lives Matter and other anti-oppression and anti-racism efforts. He and Mary both participate in nonviolent direct action as a tactic for justice. Mary has been jailed three times and Patrick has spent more than two years in jail and prison for his peace work.
Carmen Trotta has been a member of the New York Catholic Worker for over thirty years. He is an integral part of the community which operates two houses of hospitality on the Lower East Side of Manhattan, caring for the poor and homeless, offering meals, clothing and shelter. Carmen is also an associate editor of The Catholic Worker newspaper which is published seven times annually and has been in constant publication since 1933. He is a graduate of Grinnell College, where he played football and studied religion. More recently Carmen has been spending three days a week with his ninety-three year old father on Long Island, caring for him in his home where he wants to remain. Carmen’s large family – he has 5 brothers and 1 sister — have greatly appreciated the flexibility of his work at the Catholic Worker making it possible for him to spend so much time caring for their father