Sunday, November 5, 2017

Too Scared To Protest, Or Too Foolish To Be Scared? #Aegis9

I learned with sadness that a former colleague had passed away. In my very first classroom -- an overcrowed trailer in Belgrade, Maine -- my Title I ed tech support for struggling readers was an experienced educator with a warm heart.

As a career change teacher I had a lot of adjusting to do to wrap my head around the often loony world of educating the whole public.

It began the day this ed tech took me aside and complained that a parent volunteer had her 5th grade daughter seated on her lap during reading group and was whispering the answers in the girl's ear.

Many years later I was the literacy coordinator at the district's middle school and my ed tech friend had transferred there as well. She stopped me in the hall to compliment a letter to the editor I had written supporting the importance of protecting Social Security under the W. Bush administration.

She described her own family's reliance on SS after her father passed away while the children were still growing up. I encouraged her to write a letter to the editor because people need to know that. She looked shocked and said that our superintendent "would not appreciate that." I countered that he had never said anything about my letters to the editor, to which her reply was "but that's you."

Apparently my lot in life is to do the things that other people yearn to do, but are too scared to try.

I was raised by parents who encouraged this sort of thinking if not action, and my mother was famous for slapping my father's boss after he pinched her butt at a party. My father laughed as he bragged about it to us children the next day.

 Organizer Toby Blome being arrested for blocking access to Creech Air Base in Nevada October, 2017.
Actually I know many people who have a far more impressive track record than I do of civil disobedience, or civil resistance if you prefer that term. My whole rap sheet consists of one arrest at the White House protesting Obama's continuation of imperial wars (failure to disperse from the fence, fined and released by bored Capitol police honoring my privilege as a white middle class woman). And now being a member of the Aegis 9.

The Aegis 9 were arrrested in an April Fool's Day snowstorm at General Dynamics' Bath Iron Works shipyard.

A director of the school board I work for now tried to block my internal transfer after news of my arrest became public.

The board's lawyers billed some expensive hours explaining to them why they did not want to do that as my right to freedom of expression on my own time was protected by the Constitution.

This turn of events caused the publicity surrounding my case to spread through my union, the Maine Education Association; my school district; and the law firm that represents almost all the school districts in Maine. Not bad for a few hours of my time on April 1.

Many of the Aegis 9 continued to bring their messages to Bath Iron Works during Maine's annual peace walk in October.
But as experienced civil disobedience/resistance defense lawyer Phil Worden reportedly said, the process is the punishment. And we haven't gone to trial yet.

I'm already feeling guilty for leaving my students and current teaching partner in the lurch on November 9 as my presence is required in court for jury selection. 

Those interested in reading more background on our actions and the legal proceedings thus far can use the links on this list. 

Which Side Are You On In The Struggle Against Corporate Government? #Aegis 9

#Aegis9 Video + Corporate And Local News Coverage Of Arrests At Bath Iron Works

Denied Entrance To Warship Christening[sic], #Aegis9 Arrested For Criminal Trespass

Is "Good German" Status Quo The Order Of Our Day? #Aegis9'

It pains me to compare my departed colleague to the "good Germans" who permitted the rise of Nazi government and the Holocaust on their watch.

But I think the comparison is apt. Most Germans weren't Nazis, but they were scared, and their timidity mostly ensured their silent complicity in WWII. The above-linked essay by my co-defendent Jason Rawn does a good job of laying out this argument.

This former Nazi Party member refused to salute Hitler -- at a shipyard in Hamburg in 1936.

If you're in Maine and want to step out of your comfort zone to support the Aegis 9, you can do so in West Bath District Court on November 9 at 8:30am. Our actual trial date will likely be set at that time, and is expected to be either in November or December.

UPDATE: Jury selection was postponsed in November and actually goes forward today, Friday, January 5, 2018 and our trial date is now tentatively Feb 1 & 2, 2018.

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