As Bryan already noted, the five Disarm Now Plowshares were sentenced at the end of last month for trying to beat the American nuclear weapons into plowshares—literally, with ordinary hammers—as prophesied in the book of Isaiah, as well as pouring blood over them. Yesterday at Religion Dispatches, though, there was also an excellent essay by Kristin Tobey about the action, its background and context, its symbolism and planning, and the longstanding communities that made it possible. Here’s a bit of it:
Like the Plowshares Eight, The Disarm Now Plowshares intended their act of civil disobedience — or “divine obedience,” as Plowshares activists prefer to call their actions — to function as symbolic disarmament, purifying the land and equipment from its sinful purpose; to draw attention to the danger of nuclear weapons (or “idols”); and to offer atonement, via the spilling of their own blood and the risking of their own freedom, for the sins of nuclear violence and idolatry. To ensure metaphysical efficacy, the action adhered to a ritual template that has remained strikingly consistent since the first Plowshares action — trespass, blood, hammers. But another crucial element of the Plowshares’ actions is the wait to be apprehended, which illuminates the ways in which the actions are meant to function.
As activists weary from war, campus killings, a tyrant in the White House and poverty at home started dropping out, Movement for a New Society built a model of sustainability.
As Congress considers requiring women to register for the draft, it’s time we remember the movements that fought to abolish conscription and learn from their victories.
The push toward corporate profits over people’s needs is already happening, but it doesn’t have to go that way if movements start planning big.