Convert the Iron Works from War to Peace

April 22nd, 2004 - by admin

Global Network Against Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space – 2004-04-22 00:25:44

An international peace group, headquartered in Brunswick, is calling for the conversion of Bath Iron Works to civilian production. By doing so, the group maintains that many times more jobs could be created for Mainers as “military production” is capital intensive, not labor intensive.

The group will gather at the Woodfords Congregational Church in Portland on April 23-25 for the 12th Annual International Space Organizing Conference sponsored by the Maine-based Global Network Against Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space (GN).

Events will begin with a protest rally on Friday, April 23 at Waterfront Park in Bath at 2:00 pm. Following the rally the assembled will march through downtown streets to Bath Iron Works at the time of a worker shift change.

On Saturday, April 24 at the Woodfords Congregational Church (202 Woodford Street) the Global Network will hold its day long conference entitled Resisting Empire: Understanding the Role of Space in U.S. Global Domination featuring plenary sessions and educational workshops.

Featured as the keynote speaker at the conference will be Dr. Helen Caldicott founder of the Nuclear Policy Research Institute. Dr. Caldicott, a long time leader in the anti-nuclear movement, years ago founded the Physicians for Social Responsibility.

“We are all concerned about jobs, especially in Bath and throughout Maine,” says GN Coordinator Bruce Gagnon. “The question is: What is the best way to create good jobs in Maine? Aegis destroyers are built with our tax dollars and it is clearly a political decision that keeps us from using those same dollars for other kinds of job creation. We believe that BIW should be converted to build ships of peace, windmills for sustainable energy creation, rail cars for public transportation, and the like.”

Studies by the National Commission for Economic Conversion have long shown that the most effective way to create lots of good jobs is to invest in those things that are socially and environmentally beneficial.

The GN maintains that the Aegis destroyer’s military mission is not to defend the US but instead will be used to surround China, thus provoking a new arms race in the Asian-Pacific region.

The Aegis, with new interceptor missiles that will be part of the Star Wars program, will be deployed in Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, and Australia.

Today China has 20 nuclear missiles capable of hitting the continental US, while the US has 7,500 nuclear weapons. Peace activists from several Asian-Pacific countries are expected to be at the April 23-25 events in Maine to describe their concerns about the implications of Aegis deployments in their part of the world.

The Global Network was founded in 1992 to stop the nuclearization and weaponization of space and today has 185 affiliate groups all over the world. Each year the GN meets in a different part of the world. For more information about the conference visit:

Global Network Against Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space
PO Box 652
Brunswick, ME 04011
(207) 729-0517

(207) 319-2017 (Cell phone)