Back in 2019, former USM professor Ken Jones and I were arrested together protesting the christening[sic] of yet another General Dynamics war ship in Bath, Maine. Ken was one of those who chose to be jailed rather than pay a bail bondsman, and I was with his partner Melody Shank when Ken walked out of the private for-profit jail in Wiscasset where he and the others were held for a weekend.
Since returning home to North Carolina, Ken and Melody have been active in the resistance to a new war machine factory in their area. Here’s reporting gleaned from their accounts as well as the group’s Reject Raytheon website.
From Ken’s blog post in February 2021:
The site for the Pratt & Whitney (P&W, a division of Raytheon Technologies) plant being planned for Asheville is now being cleared of trees so that construction on the 1.2 million sq. ft. plant can begin soon.
It looks like mountaintop removal, a not unfamiliar occurrence here in the Appalachian Mountains. It breaks my heart to see it.
P&W builds engines for commercial and military jets, most notoriously for the state-of-the-art F-35 Lightning Fighter Jet. Raytheon is the 2nd largest arms manufacturer in the world, a major war profiteer.
…We did a die-in at Vance Monument in the center of Asheville.
We did a rally as part of the international day of action to celebrate the Entry into Force of the UN Treaty for the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons – Raytheon has over a billion dollars of contracts in the nuclear weapons industry.
My own research turns up that Raytheon spent $4 million lobbying our elected officials in 2019, and made big contributions to both Republican and Democratic campaigns in 2020.
Source: Opensecrets.com Raytheon summary
The continued operation of government at the national, state, and local level by corporate-sponsored officials is degrading the environment, degrading the health and well-being of children who grow up in poverty, rapidly increasing the number of people experiencing homelessness, and depriving millons of health care in the middle of a pandemic.
Our current Secretary of “Defense” Lloyd Austin served on the board of Raytheon Technologies after retiring from the military. The children in other countries being killed by U.S. airstrikes could not care less whether the current administration has a D or an R after its name, or how racially diverse it is.
Brave and dedicated activists like Ken, Melody, and their friends are not afraid to call out the elephant in our midst: gargantuan Pentagon budgets that enrich contractors like Raytheon at the taxpayers’ expense.
As the corporate press continues to push the notion that U.S. foreign policy under Biden is significantly different than that of his predecessor, independent journalists will keep pushing back on that lie.
Why not join us to share real information rather than manufactured news?