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Activism: Peace: NVCD: Stop First Strike


Twenty-five years ago this October, people everywhere watched fearfully as the superpowers went to the brink of global nuclear war during the Cuban Missile Crisis. When the Soviet government placed nuclear missiles in Cuba, to match similar U.S. deployments near the Soviet/Turkish border, President John F. Kennedy "drew the line...ready for a the risk of war," as the October 23, 1962 New York Times put it. JFK himself estimated that during those fateful two weeks, the chances of all-out nuclear war (which only the U.S., with its overwhelming nuclear superiority at that time, would have been in a position to start) was 30% to 50%.

Four decades into the atomic age, we have grown used to a never-ending arms race, but this sobering anniversary should remind us that World War III is a very real likelihood, not a remote theoretical possibility, if we continue on our present direction.

Now, in the late 80s, the global community is plunging toward a new missile crisis, even more dangerous than the one in 1962, as the Pentagon moves toward completion of its long-sought nuclear first strike capability. The Trident II D-5 missile and the NAVSTAR global targetting satellites are the linchpins of a deeply entrenched, little understood, high-risk strategy for regaining unchallenged U.S. global dominance. The U.S. plans for a usable nuclear first strike are the ultimate threat to back up a sharply escalated level of U.S. military intervention in the key resource producing areas of the Third World. And these weapons will drastically shorten decision and response time, putting the world in danger of nuclear holocaust through provocation, or simply through computer or human error.

Production of the Trident II D-5 nuclear missile system, described by one of its designers as the "ultimate first strike weapon," will be challenged this October by a statewide peace demonstration in the heart of California's Silicon Valley and a nonviolent resistance action at the Lockheed/Navy D-5 production and testing facility in the nearby Santa Crux Mountains. This action will be part of a nationwide set of resistance campaigns located at crucial links in the chain of first strike weapons production. Actions will also be held at the Hanford plutonium processing plant in the Northwest; the Honeywell facility in the Midwest; the Trident shipyard in the Northeast; General Electric's Space Division on the Mid-Atlantic Coast; Kirtland Air Force Base in the Southwest; and Cape Canaveral in the South. The plan for these campaigns was initiated by a First Strike Prevention Project proposal and is now being co-sponsored by a steadily growing network of peace groups.

In California, two dozen people from peace groups all around the state reached consensus on March 29, 1987 to form a new group called Alliance to Stop First Strike. As its first major organizing objective, the Alliance will participate in the nationwide Missile Crisis Actions by focusing on Lockheed. From there, the group will organize a strategy conference and ongoing actions to stop Trident II before its deployment in 1989, as well as other first strike weapons.

California's Trident II Missile Crisis Action, as well as the educational and outreach activities leading up to it, will emphasize the essential and unprecendentedly dangerous role of the Trident II D-5 and the associated NAVSTAR global targetting satellite system. The action will begin Otober 18th by a week-long Peace Walk linking Hunter's Point, where the nuclear warship U.S.S. Missouri may be homeported, to the corporate headquarters of military contractors in the San Francisco financial district, to the Lockheed Missile and Space Company headquarters in Sunnyvale. The Peace Walk will arrive on Saturday, October 24th, for a peace rally with noted speakers, musicians, and peace delegations from throughout California. This legal demonstration against nuclear first strike policy and weapons development will be held near Lockheed, a huge industrial complex flanked by the first strike anti-submarine warfare of the Navy's Moffet Field, and the Air Force global satelllite command center, the "Blue Cube."

After the Saturday peace rally there will be a day of rest, nonviolence preparations, and final planning meetings on October 25th. Sunday's activities will ready people from throughout California to begin a nonviolent blockade and occupation of Lockheed's facility in Bonny Doon, in the Santa Cruz Mountains. This forested 4,400 acre site, for the testing and assembly of Trident II reentry vehicles, employs over 300 Lockheed and Navy personnel. The affinity group action will begin around dawn on Monday, October 26th, and may be sustained for a number of days.

The October Missile Crisis Action, and the subsequent Alliance to Stop First Strike strategy conference in late 1987 or early 1988, is a crucial first step toward an ongoing, sustained, and growing nonviolent obstruction of key links in the chain of preparations for initiating nuclear World War. It is a unique opportunity to take decisive nonviolent direct action in defense of life. Please join us.

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