[Marxism] The Raytheon 9

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Mon Jun 2 20:03:45 MDT 2008

Can't Make it to Belfast? - Send a Solidarity Text to the Raytheon 9 
by Ciaron O'Reilly - Catholic Worker/Plowshares Belfast

They're on Trial For Us, We're on the Loose for Them!

The Raytheon 9 are an inspiration. I just got a phone call from my 
friend Les who's trying to get a plane ticket to get to Belfast for 
the Raytheon 9 trial. Les hasn't been to Northern Ireland since he 
did three tours with the British military. He says is it is so 
exciting that socialists and republicans are experimenting with 
nonviolent direct action and he wants to be there to support them at 
the trial. He says that this would be a great way for him to return 
to Northern Ireland - confront his past and celebrate a future with a 
community in resistance to war.

Les was a Brtish soldier who has moved on to nonviolent direct action 
against the war machine - in the '90's he broke the sanctions on Iraq 
and in 03 was arrested blockading the HMS Ark Royal as it pulled out 
to Iraq and the start of this war. As he was being arrested at 
Aldermaston a few years, ago the arresting cop forcing him to the 
ground and cuffing him said "You were in my unit in Northern 
Ireland!" Les's expression of regret for the previous activity they 
had undertaken together did not win him any favours.

Meanwhile Bush has been invited to Belfast as man of peace with the 
hope of further U.S. investment with no mention of restrictions on 
weapons manufactureres such as Raytheon 
The north fast tracked from the fringe of empire to central comfort 
zone where hi tech weaponary can be constructed and where troubles 
are exported to Iraq, Afghanistan, Lebanon, Colombia et al and become 
someone elses troubles.

To spend the day around the Raytheon defendants in the Laganside 
Courthouse has been an inspiration. To be around people risking their 
liberty for peace and justice is always both a nourishing and 
challenging experience. It always poses the question what can I do in 
repsonse to their gift and the wars that continue to claim so many vicitims.

Inside the court -at the front there was the Judge, to the side the 
jury, in the middle I counted 20 legal (mostly bewigged) 
professionals, at the back there was 30 of us in support from Derry, 
Dublin and Belfast. We were parents, partners, SWP, Catholic Worker, 
Quakers, Pax Chrisit, Republican, punk, a long hair lad from 
Hollywood and other traditions.

And then there were the defendants being frisked as they entered this 
weird kind of plexiglass, aquarium like pod in the middle of the 
courtroom. Boiled down these were unmistakenly Derry lads who did the 
right thing at the right time as Lebanon burned and Raytheon raked in 
the profits. A barman, a biker, a journo among their number. They 
stood with their action to save lives and are here today, 2 1/2 years 
later, risking their liberty to speak some truth to power.

Eamonn McCann took the stand. Born on the Derry's bogside in 1942 his 
parents were of the working class - a labourer and a retired nurse. 
His testimony traced his life's trajectory that brought him into 
Derry's Raytheon's offices - anti-Vietnam, civil rights, labour 
organising, radical journalism and sustained activism.

The events immediately preceeding the occupation and decommisioning 
of Raytheon by the nine were described. There was a sense that this 
was a vey Derry action. We were in the company of people who walk the 
walk after they talk the talk. A large crowd had gathered at Sandinos 
Bar in early August 06 to hear visiting U.S. veteran of the Iraq War 
Joshua Casteel http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fM8jjqxtSpY and an 
Iraqi exile describe their experiences of the war on Iraq.

The discussion, that followed the presentations, quickly turned to 
the U.S./Raytheon equipped Israeli bombing of Lebanon ongoing that 
night. The realisation that Raytheon with a plant in Derry was 
profiting and pivitol to the slaughter of these Lebanese civilians. 
The questions posed what is our response, what can we do to intervene 
in this slaughter?

The follow up meeting a few days later had all the hallmarks of human 
frailty that speaks of our movement that confronts corporate entities 
such as Raytheon ("light from the Gods") that claim omnipotence and 
the power of life and death. The room booked at Badger's Bar was 
doublebooked and the finetuning action meeting of 50 souls took place 
in the public bar much to the bemusement of fellow nonalligned 
drinkers. Then it was off to Raytheon on the morning of August 9th 
(the 61st. anniversary of the destruction of the city of Nagasaki by one bomb).

The last team talk was given a nearby carpark by Goretti who 
emphasised a commitment to nonviolence and an objective to disable 
Raytheon's equipment in attempt to preserve life and social 
infrastructure in Lebanon. Down the hill and around the three police 
officers present and the door kindly open by a worker entering the 
building. Up the stairs and into the corporate officers where 
software to deliver destruction is produced. But what would life be 
without a domestic? Eamonn and Gorreti concluding that their 20 year 
old daughter with severe learning need a difficulties a parent at 
large. Gorreti left the building, the door was barricaded and the 
very human work of military disarmament got underway. Raytheon's 
mainframe computer was decommisioned with the use of a handy fire 
extinguisher. Raytheon computers and paperwork were despatched 
through an open window ontothe car park pavement below. After 7 hours 
the barricade was broken with a chainsaw and the robocops inched 
forward around the nine card playing resisters. A scene reminiscent 
of the last roundup of the Jake and Elwood Blues Brothers!

Also recounted was the nine defendant's post arrest sojourn to the 
heavilly bombed Lebanese town of Cana where they experienced fisthand 
the victims and orphans of Raytheon WEBSITE

On cross examination the Prosecutor did his best to suggest that 
there was another agenda not an attempt to preserve life in Lebanon 
that drove the nine. He suggeted this was not a direct intervention 
but a publicity stunt. On recross the defendant explained he was a 
radio/television/newspaper journalist with little need of publicity 
stunts to express his views. The Prosectuor tried another tac - this 
was a revenge on Raytheon of wanton destruction following a 
frustrated political campaign. McCann pointed out if wanton 
destruction was the motivation the computers would not have gone out 
an open window but a closed one. Point taken!

The trial continues tomorrow. From my experiences what is significant 
in these dark times is solidarity and resistance. There isn't much 
resistance in the West these days because there is not much 
solidarity. The more solidarity the reister/defendant experiences the 
easier the task, the burden is lightened.

I hope Les makes it to Belfast.

If you can't make it to Belfast check out their webiste 
www.raytheon9.org and spread the word.

Send a text to me at the court. I'll copy it down and pass it on to 
the defendants
Inside UK 07950 290 857
Outside the UK 0044 7950 290 857
Not sure how you SMS/Text from U.S.?

Suggested text short message, name, city
eg. Goodonya! Ciaron, Dublin


Ciaron O'Reilly
Blog  http://ciaron.wordpress.com/

"The poor tell us who we are,
The prophets tell us who we could be,
So we hide the poor,
And kill the prophets."
Phil Berrigan

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