UPDATE 5/17/2013: the Sex and Politics podbean site is not putting up the sound file for this interview. The podcast for this interview can be found on iTunes here.
If you listen to Sex and Politics, the radio show I’m on (and if you don’t, by golly you SHOULD), you would have caught my interview last Thursday with Sister Megan Rice of the Transform Now Plowshares. For those of you joining late, the Transform Now Plowshares were a brief Page One story last summer. Sister Megan is an 83 year old nun (she was listed as an 82 year old nun in most news reports, but she told me she’s had a birthday since last year) who was one of three peace activists (including Greg Boertje-Obed and Michael Walli) who broke into the Y12 Nuclear weapons production plant in Tennessee on July 28 of last year. Calling themselves Transform Now Plowshares, they hammered on the cornerstone of the newly built Highly-Enriched Uranium Manufacturing Facility (HEUMF), splashed human blood and left four spray painted tags on the recent construction which read: Woe to the empire of blood; The fruit of justice is peace; Work for peace not for war; and Plowshares please Isaiah. They also hung banners and strung red crime scene tape.
The protesters face three federal charges, including a felony count of “depredation” of government property, which carries a maximum sentence of 10 years and a fine of $250,000. There was a hearing on February 6 to consider additional charges. The trial will be on May 7.
I did not know until our interview that Sister Megan had also worked with the Occupy Wall Street movement. She had put out a call last summer for Occupy to work for nuclear disarmament and peace. During my interview my colleague Phil Rosenberg asked pointed questions about nuclear power. Sister Megan has in fact focused on weapons, not the nuclear power issues; but one of the issues the peace movement has with nuclear power is that it’s used to put legitimacy around the weapons programs. The same plants that are used to manufacture uranium for the thousands of US warheads are also manufacturing the uranium for the plants. And President Obama is about to sink $85 Billion into a weapons modernization plan. This won’t help us negotiate with the Russians over new treaties. It won’t help the deficit either.
The Plowshares movement has engaged in nearly 100 acts of civil disobedience worldwide since their first disarmament action in 1980 at the GE weapons plant in Pennsylvania. This is Sister Megan’s first Plowshares action. She has previously been arrested for civil disobedience at the School of the Americas and as part of the protest group Nevada Desert Experience.
There’s an interview of Sister Megan upon her release from jail last summer here (from the Knoxville News):
Keep watching this space. This story is not over.