Sunday, June 16, 2019

BIW Workers: BIW Has The Capacity For Conversion To Happen Pretty Easily

I'm thrilled to publish a guest post today from a worker at General Dynamics' Bath Iron Works shipyard calling for conversion of the shipyard.

Thank you, Patsy, for sending this along for me to read at our news conference this Friday, June 21 at 11am at the Portland (Maine) Public Library,  Room 3.

Good morning all !!
I have been asked to say a few words, but work prevents me from being there in person, so Lisa is kindly stepping in for me. Thanks, Lisa!! :)
The goal here is to give testimony, my personal truth as I see it, for the BIW conversion to happen. I am a 70 year old women who is going to retire soon from working at Bath Iron Works for over 32 years and I have seen a few changes over the years. Sadly, that is mostly after the 9/11 tragedy.
And, of course, as people get older and wiser, personal changes are inevitable. You learn why it has been so difficult to provide the American Dream for yourself and your families. Why people and huge companies are denying income inequality, climate change, and racial injustice throughout the world. To me, it all boils down to greed. And to change that attitude is like turning a destroyer in the water. It takes patience, hope, and persistence to this task with the goal of making the economy work for all its peoples. It's that important to the whole world! 
I believe BIW has the capacity with all the equipment and/or people that are already there for the conversion to happen pretty easily.  
All it would take is the will by the people and that's where you come in. You folks are doing important work by protesting, please continue to stand up proudly because you are all heroes to me. Continue to engage BIW workers, show them that you are just like them and are protecting the same way of life.
Imagine wind turbine platforms, fast trains, or Ships of Peace (Mercy Ships) being built at BIW. I can just imagine the workers' pride then! 
Do the unexpected and keep those beautiful smiles on your faces. 
Patsy Messier

Retired BIW worker Peter Woodruff also thinks conversion could happen if the will was there.

Check out this interview he gave in 2012 discussing the possibility of wind turbines being built instead of war ships.

If the embedded video does not work for you, view it here on YouTube

Protesters at BIW war ship celebration on April 27, 2019 in Bath, Maine. Many will be on hand calling for conversion on June 22 at 8-10am as BIW again celebrates completing a carbon belching war ship for the Pentagon.

Monday, June 10, 2019

Youth Climate Strikes Leader To Join Call For Conversion Of BIW To Address Climate Emergency

Dud Hendrick, major organizer for the BIW shipyard Conversion Campaign in Maine, was invited to present at a PechaKucha Summer 2019 event, EARTH, last week in Portland. He gave a great talk about his work with Veterans for Peace in solidarity with the many indigenous groups displaced or harmed by U.S. military dominion over the planet.

If you are unable to view the embedded video, use this link to see it on YouTube.

The speaker just after Hendrick was 12 year old Anna Siegel, Maine's leader of the Youth Climate Strikes. Her presentation on the climate emergency and what she and other Maine kids are doing about it, was powerful, too.

If you are unable to view the embedded video, use this link to see it on YouTube.

Siegel received a standing ovation for her message of urgency and all hands on deck to halt a climate catastrophe already well underway.

After watching her powerful message I stumbled across this news in Common Dreams: 'Class of 0000' Campaign Denounces 'Cowardly' Censorship of Student Call for Climate Action. Apparently valedictorians all over the U.S. had their graduation speeches cut by school administrators too timid to tolerate notice that there is, indeed, an accelerating climate emergency that may well threaten human life on the planet by 2050. 

Both Siegel and Hendrick will be on hand at our June 21 Conversion Campaign news conference in Portland. This event will officially launch the campaign, and we will be inviting people to consider joining us the following day to protest the celebration of yet another carbon belching war ship. That event takes place at 8am in nearby Bath and more details are available here (and the spybook event can be found here).

Here's the press release that went out this morning for the news conference. (Each sponsoring organization's name is a link to more information about their work on behalf of climate, peace, and justice on the planet.)


Climate activists will gather to call on Bath Iron Works to shift its industrial power to addressing climate change at a news conference for the Conversion Campaign on June 21. The conference will take place at 11:00 am in the Portland Public Library, Room 3.

Environmental, faith, labor, education and social justice leaders will be on hand to share their views on conversion, including Anna Siegel, age 12, state leader for the U.S. branch of the international Youth Climate Strikes movement. Presenting at PechaKucha in Portland on June 6, Siegel said:

“I envision a future when this planet has a future…We will get there, if we listen to the children. We must, or all will be lost.”

Nickie Sekera of Community Water Justice and Barry Dana, past Chief of the Penobscot Nation will also be on hand.

A business model that banks on the destruction of our environment needs to be reevaluated and changed, as there is no larger national security issue than the protection of our air and water sources,” said Sekera.  “There is nothing to protect if not for all life in a more equitable way.”

Dana commented, “War will soon be seen by all as a waste of time. We will soon be too consumed with basic survival due to our climate no longer providing life.”

He went on to say, “Our actions of CO2 emissions, of which the military is the largest emitter, along with the millions of people flying, buying goods transported thousands of miles all in the interest of profit margins, comfortable life styles and feeding the rich, will no longer be possible.”

“Survival will consume our every thought and action. Is this the world we want to leave to our grandchildren?"

A 2017 National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration report has projected at least a six inch sea level rise by 2050.

“Conversion should influence every decision our Congressional delegates make in the conduct of their work as our representatives,” said Dud Hendrick of Veterans for Peace. Hendrick presented the work of the Conversion Campaign at PechaKucha's June 6 show in Portland called, "Earth."

“Our planet hangs in the balance. Conversion at Bath can create more jobs while benefiting our planet.” Hendrick also called on the audience to join him in protesting the celebration of another war ship on June 22. He and 24 others were arrested April 27 for obstructing a public way at the BIW shipyard when a war ship celebration was going on; District Attorney Natasha Irving declined to prosecute their case.

Others who will speak on June 21 in support of the BIW Conversion Campaign: Dr. Jill Stein, Green Party US candidate for president in 2016;  Robert Shetterly, Americans Who Tell the Truth; Jason Rawn, Maine Natural Guard; Justin Beth, Chair of Portland Greens; Sue Pastore, 350 Maine; Bruce Gagnon, Global Network Against Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space; Ken Jones, retired professor of Teacher Education, USM; and Bill Slavick, Pax Christi.