Tuesday, June 21, 2016

The (Exceptional) American Way Inspires Resistance All Over The Planet

Photo credit: Roger Leisner, Maine Paparazzi
Meet Jason Rawn, the youngest member of the Zumwalt 12, arrested for civil disobedience in the street outside General Dynamics' Bath Iron Works shipyard on June 18.

Jason recently returned to the U.S. from participating in protests of U.S. military presence in Okinawa that look like this:
Photo credit: Reuters via Irish Times, "Huge protests at U.S. bases after Japanese woman's murder" June 19, 2016
Much of Jason's recent trip to Asia was also spent in solidarity actions, including planned arrests to block ongoing construction in Gangjeong Village, Jeju Island, South Korea. The Bath action on June 18 was in solidarity with the resistance group whose soft coral reef was entombed in concrete by South Korea's Navy working under the direction of the Pentagon to port large warships such as the Zumwalt class destroyer. 

Photo credit: Jason Rawn
Here's Jason being arrested by South Korean police for civil disobedience outside the navy base on Jeju Island:

Photo credit: Jason Rawn

As you can see from these photos, Jason has the gear and the determination for civil disobedience to resist militarism in every season. Here we see a banner displayed by activists on Jeju with Jason's trademark slogan, Dive$t from the Pentagon:
Photo credit: Jason Rawn
I have followed Jason's posts from Jeju and Okinawa these past several months with interest. He often highlighted the creative components of resistance there including performances, songs and visual displays.
Photo credit: Jason Rawn
Singers lift spirits at naval base resistance on Jeju Island
Photo credit: Jason Rawn
Artists at work on Jeju Island
The role of artists in lifting the spirits and supporting the solidarity of resistance movements cannot be overstated. It, too, finds a parallel in Maine where those arrested on July 18 held a banner created by the Artists Rapid Response Team (AART!) of the Union of Maine Visual Artists:
Photo credit: Regis Tremblay from "One More Warship: Remarks at the Launching of a Stealth Destroyer" by Dud Hendrick in Common Dreams, June 20, 2016
Photo credit: Roger Leisner, Maine Paparazzi
Another of the Zumwalt 12, artist Russell Wray, created and displayed a sculpture entitled "Maka the Dolphin" and a banner as beautiful as it is clear about why to resist the militarization of our oceans. Many children who passed by the display in Bath on June 18 remarked with excitement about the lovingly rendered dolphin.
Photo credit: Regis Tremblay of Rosie Tyler Paul harmonizing with singer-songwriter Mike Hasty in Bath.
From "More Photos From 'Stealth' Destroyer Protests at BIW in Maine" by Bruce Gagnon in Organizing Notes, June 18, 2016
As is evident from the reflection in Jason's sunglasses at the beginning of this post, the photographers who document resistance actions are another integral part of the movement resisting militarization. I have credited many of them here but it would be difficult to note them all; no matter what the corporate press in the U.S. lead you to believe, there are many of us working to resist the Pentagon's encroachment on our natural resources, our financial resources, and on innocent people around the planet. 

One more photographer whose contributions I'll note is Jenny Gray, who provided some of the most compelling photos of the civil disobedience sit-down action to block Washington Street in Bath:

Photo credit: Jenny Gray

Photo credit: Jenny Gray. Note Russel Wray in the dolphin hat he created for the occasion.
Can you find Jason Rawn in this photo? He's right there amid his blessed community of those not afraid to speak out and act out for peace. This is his rightful place and he often looks the happiest there. Let's join him.

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