Longform: ‘A Taste of Power': The Woman Who Led the Black Panther Party

Her skin was very white. She was a porcelain doll, and just as delicate. I never resented what Masai felt for her. It was understandable. Jean Seberg was truly beautiful.

We had met Jean in the early part of that terrible year of 1969. David had “assigned” Masai and me to see her. She was another white movie star who wanted to help.

A small group of Hollywood helpers had already begun to astound us with their support for our chapter by the time we met Jean. If we had thought about it, it was a natural alliance.

Historically, artists were the traditional allies of movements for social change. In the twentieth century, the art of filmmaking had produced men like Charlie Chaplin, so progressive he became a personal target of J. Edgar Hoover’s anti-Communist campaign. There had been the Hollywood Ten, and tens more, who were blacklisted from the film industry for refusing to cower before U.S. Senator Joseph McCarthy’s anti-Communist raid on America.

Recent history gave further testimony to that affiliation. The civil-rights movement, the most potent surge for social change in the history of America, had been vigorously supported by artists, black and white. When the latter-day Black Power people seized leadership of the black struggle, they shunned all white involvement, raising fists in white faces. White artists found their support of that movement rejected. Whatever the hazards of association, the Black Panther Party seemed to make a place in the sun for sympathetic whites. White artists were the first to come in out of the cold.

As Los Angeles and New York were the main homes of the artistic communities America fostered, the party chapters there began developing relationships with liberal and progressive white artists. In New York, there were such notable supporters as Leonard Bernstein. Our chapter in Southern California, however, was becoming the beneficiary of the support of the most powerful collection of artists in America: the Hollywood film industry’s ac­tors, actresses, producers, writers, and directors.

People like Don and Shirley Sutherland, and the writer Don Freed, and actors like Jon Voight and Susan St. James and Jane Fonda, and, most consistent of all, producer Bert Schneider had begun lending us their homes for fund-raising soirees that produced thousands of dollars in hard cash. They subscribed to and helped obtain other subscriptions for our newspaper. They sent monthly checks for our breakfast program, and paid our incessant bails. As most black artists, along with other black professionals, steered around and away from us, we clutched Hollywood, and did not analyze it. We thanked our stars.

That was what made me so resentful of author Tom Wolfe’s wholesale appraisal of such white supporters with the epithet “radical chic.” The influential and popular Wolfe coined that phrase to characterize the rich and famous suddenly latching on to the Panther cause—with the added counterimage of the black Mau Mau, who operated a flimflam to privately exploit the radical chic.

The bevy of white “star” supporters were, the cosmopolitan Wolfe suggested, only casting themselves in a more interesting role, to enliven the boring comfort of life between their real roles. I thought his well-touted term was, at best, a superficial stereotype. At worst, that label, as it seeped into the lingo of the times, ridiculed our supporters with a judgment that could make them recoil.

It was true that some of those cinematic souls were motivated by something less than concern over the plight of poor and oppressed black people. It was equally true that there were ordinary black opportunists in our revolution, as in our ranks. Among those at the various parties and brunches our steady supporters sponsored, there were surely those who wanted to satisfy their curiosity about mythical black men. There were surely those titillated by the danger and daring seemingly involved in being near real black “militants.” There were surely those who imagined themselves vicariously linked to some dramatic revolutionary act. There were surely those who simply found it the thing to do in 1969.

None of that was the point. We were dying, and all of them, the strongest and the most frivolous, were helping us survive another day.

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Unravelled

(Photo credit: meg_nicol)

(Photo credit: meg_nicol)

I do not need you
to validate me
or calibrate my chains
they fit just fine

I have steadily
deconstructed the myths
my life was built upon
the tension recedes

I do not want
what you have not got
the madness and din
do not comfort me

I have learned
to wield my words
to rest my colonized mind
beside the still waters.

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Mic check: Peter Schreiner

A Year From Today

by Peter Schreiner

“Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It’s not.” – Dr. Seuss – Special thanks to The Radiating Yogini that I found this most fitting introduction.

A year from today, there will be fewer wild animals, fewer birds, fewer fish, and among all organisms (insects, bacteria, fungi, vertebrates) 27,000 will give way to extinction.

A year from today, there will be fewer fields and prairies, woodlands and wetlands, jungles and rainforest and less inhabitable ocean.

Conversely, a year from today, there will be more people; 80 million more, give or take.

A year from today, we will have grown grain enough to feed the world’s surging populations. Yet only 20% of the yield will find its way into the human maw. The greater part goes to feeding livestock, poultry, and fish. This is animal agriculture and it cares not that it carries with it the brunt of climate change and environmental ruin (and here).

Ironic it is that our gluttonous western appetites, which bear burden of fault for our unsustainable food production, are helping to starve the rest of the world while we fat up.

A year from today, 60 billion land animals will have lived an appalling existence and died a brutal and horrible death so that you can eat cheap government subsidized unhealthy food at an unconscionable cost.

This isn’t dystopian fiction. It’s as real to hell on earth as it gets, because it is.

A staggering number of animals suffer brutally; in every way imagined, physically, sexually, emotionally, while living under constant torment and fear; and for many it goes on for years. A hard reality for feeling creatures to endure, wouldn’t you think. I think you would, if only you seen it for yourselves (and here). And you should see it, for it may open your heart and your eyes to the reality and unmitigated cost of this rampant human swarm on mother earth and her creatures not to mention the covert undermining done our psyche.

While the scope and intensity of torture willfully inflicted on vulnerable creatures is by itself nothing less than sadistic cold-hearted brutal insanity, then to heap upon that the accompanied environmental destruction, natural resource depletion, and the pollution of air, water, and soil, and all at the hands of a so-called, self-proclaimed intelligent and morally superior species is beyond absurd, beyond lunacy, beyond undefinable. – But I must try; it is murderous, suicidal, mentally deranged behavior, and psychotically irresponsible.

Perhaps humanity, if we dare call us that, can traverse the path of cruelty and ruin with no concern for its future. But that’s not how I see it. I see it as our “fleeting supremacy,” leaving two options.

One, continue what we’ve always done, and done so explicitly well: ignore or deny, sit back and relax, watch TV comfortably numbed by the intoxicating effects of medications, drugs, or alcohol while captivated by sports or stupefied by the irreality of reality TV as impending doom lurks obnoxious just outside our shuttered windows. Besides, any living generation will likely die off before any apocalypse befalls us, so what the hell.

Option two, however unlikely, we could all go vegan, and not simply because the UN recommends and Great Minds suggest such blasphemy, but because it is the right thing to do, and on many counts. We’d get healthy. We’d green-up and clean-up the planet, grow an abundance and a variety of healthy foods whose bounty we could distribute throughout the world to alleviate hunger, instead of planting endless acres of Monsanto’s poisonous genetically modified, government subsidized, pesticide and herbicide infused, insect and disease prone monoculture crops to feed livestock. We’d free up a significant amount of farmland that we could offer back to nature, thereby improving our climates, while we stop the brutal and senseless killing of innocent animals who’ve every bit as much right as we to live free of fear and torment by humans.

Meaning no offense, let me be clear. If you’re thinking to go vegan only to help green the planet or ease world hungry, don’t bother. There’s not enough vegans to make any difference by adding one more out of 7+ billion.

And don’t bother for its healthy and disease-curing diet ( here and here ) as long as you rely on healthcare — which, it should interest you to know, is the third leading cause of death in the USA. The first two being heart disease and cancer and of which have their primary cause and sustention by unhealthy diets and lack of exercise. And by the way, although they call it healthcare, it’s nothing of the sort. That’s doublethink for sick care. And “The Affordable Care” is more doublethink for an expensive corporate-government hornswoggle that has the masses clamoring about like fools for their so-called right to cheap healthcare, playing right into corporate greedy hands. Prevention will always be the low cost most effective healthcare and a plant-based diet and proper exercise offer you just that, health care.

Now however, if you’re thinking to go vegan so that in a year from today you’ll have spared nearly 200 living, breathing, feeling, innocent, fellow earthlings, a miserable existence, then I commend and encourage you on your compassionate consideration. And which brings me to my point, and I believe the solution to obtaining peace, global peace for all. The formula is simple; sounds childishly unattainable perhaps, except some have already applied the concept to their personal lives, and successfully so. Compassion = Love = Peace

Compassion

Compassion is the answer we’ve been looking for, all along. Not the mechanical fleeting emotion we see so often that comes from a compulsory put-on sense of moral obligation. But rather enduring compassion, one radiating sequestered within us. Once set loose would prove fertile and reciprocal, exhibiting the most amazing phenomenon of love, Love equal to Peace. And not the twisted peace leaders pontificate about to start wars, nor the half-baked compassion we serve on a selective basis. But rather the love that shares love with no exceptions; borderless timeless compassion for one another, for nature, the Mother of all things – and that’s the key, isn’t it. All things connected in network wherein each part affects the other, physically, spiritually, overtly, covertly, to benefit or to detriment. So should we deny peace to the least, then how in reason can we expect it to mature?

Begging the question, is peace what you really want?

I can’t answer that for you, but I sense the majority’s answer disheartening, and with due cause. A meaningful disposition toward Peace requires a radical shift in custom that most aren’t willing to forgo; a change in taste, to lifestyle, ego or pride, or perhaps it’s a matter of economics or livelihood, or simply the momentum of ages:

Culture.

Tradition.

Religion

Religion, the grand hoax of authority, stirs the simple and malleable with God given right of supremacy and exceptionality. Although its focus is a controlling intolerance, superiority and dominance, it injects into its minions pretense of entitlement and elite selection, whilst it secretly excommunicate the innate spiritual essence possessed of magical power that only a few are left aware. The pious have vanquished this power to hither unknowns; and as for others, it is nothing but an embarrassment, unfashionable and unspeakable in this practical, logical, scientifically insightful society to make mention, or take serious.

Religion marginalizes the individual’s spiritual power that it might encourage in its own oppressive God sponsored enslaving initiative – a weakened, impotent imitation of spirituality, nothing more, however powerfully persuasive. It begins by instilling shame and the fear of eternal punishment, therewith, by playing upon man’s eternal desire offers the obedient dutiful dupe eternal salvation and due reward in the afterlife. A place beside the Almighty Patriarch himself, at the cost of strict compliance in this life where the faithful must kowtow to representatives, dictates, and dogma of its invisible and temperamental God.

Religion is antagonistic, us versus them belligerence. It is a racist and prejudiced consummation of hate, homophobia, and xenophobia, and it sanctifies and justifies the killing of innocent living beings, human and nonhuman.

But still, the allegiant remain oblivious.

Government

Government, the perpetrator of non-peace, the surveyor of border and boundary, the planter of discord, the harvester of our fruit is a pit vile in gangsters, criminals, thugs, thieves, and perverts. Made the worse in that we encourage it, giving it license to war, to rob us of our freedom and our labors whilst its cohorts sit fat in ivory towers toasting success, mocking our gullibility and assumed — though demonstrated — weakness, dictating their perverted precepts to us, “freemen.” And we, ever so willingly condone and affirm it, patriotic in our duty thinking ourselves an active participant in its decisions founded upon lies as it pretend to this grand and illustrious role of liberator, protector, equalizer, and benefactor for the people and by the people, though it is nothing but a parasitic lying murderous band of bandits made exceedingly wealthy by bribe and graft and by the sweat of our works.

Handing it our right and responsibility toward self-discipline, self-control, self-determination, and self-protection – we’ve shackled our freedom in favor of grand illusion, demented guidance, and false security by an entity portraying as competent trustworthy leadership. To our ruin, we trust its power instead of our own. If in fact we are the intelligent species we fancy ourselves and if peace is our desired destination then we must realize authority seeks only its own path, is the enemy of the people and the adversary of peace. And so we must relieve ourselves a burden that robs from us the more each year.

Having always been liar and thief, governments, rulers, kings and queens, by their very nature, can be nothing else.

Don’t be fooled again.

We can do a world better without religion and government as we ease up on oppressive cultural and traditional values by moving forward to now. But far be it for me to suggest a revolution, but rather an evolution.

To tell it with a word from Tolstoy’s, ‘On Anarchy’, “The Anarchists are right in everything; in the negation of the existing order and in the assertion that, without Authority there could not be worse violence than that of Authority under existing conditions. They are mistaken only in thinking that anarchy can be instituted by a violent revolution. But it will be instituted only by there being more and more people who do not require the protection of governmental power and by there being more and more people who will be ashamed of applying this power . . .

“. . . To use violence is impossible; it would only cause reaction. To join the ranks of the Government is also impossible — one would only become its instrument. One course therefore remains — to fight the Government by means of thought, speech, actions, life, neither yielding to Government nor joining its ranks and thereby increasing its power.”

A year from today, we will still be oppressing nature, her animals and using them as food. Likewise and in return, governments will still be oppressing people and religions will still be regressing people.

Isn’t it high time we evolve to caring a whole awful lot?

_________________

Peter Schreiner can be found at his outstanding blog…Crows Head Soup – A Vegan Stew. This work is part of the Mic check guest blogger series.

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Jeffster Awards #44

(Photo credit: skulzstudios)

(Photo credit: skulzstudios)

This is the next installment of an ongoing series at Deconstructing Myths…the Jeffster Awards! This award will be given on an ongoing basis to five outstanding blog posts that caught my wandering eye. There are no strings attached or requirements for reciprocation. I don’t have time to comment on other blogs as much I’d like to so the least I can do is direct readers to some of these outstanding writers, poets, and visual artists. Please direct all feedback (likes, comments, follows) to the blogs themselves. I hope you enjoy these exemplary posts as much as I did. So, without further ado, here are the recipients of this week’s Jeffster Awards…hot off the (Word)presses.

Guantanamera! at Roger Hollander

Incredible at Rabab Jafri

The Nation: States Are Required to Educate Students Behind Bars. Here’s What Really Happens. at aneducatedbrother

All Things Revolutionary (Great and Small) at Izzy In a Tizzy

Residential Schools Findings Point To ‘Cultural Genocide,’ Commission Chair Says at Red Power Media

_________________

Peace and solidarity to all readers.

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Many rivers to cross

Sometimes, life leaves you reeling with nowhere to turn and no one to call out to. The capitalist juggernaut has left many of us one medical illness, one job loss, one paycheck from the brink. People who work all of their lives find themselves destitute in their so-called “golden years” and young people just starting out find themselves struggling under the weight of crushing debt loads. The stress of life inside the kingdom of capital is like an ever-present and mighty, rushing river; a current that carves canyons of despair and futility into our communities and our homes. Indeed, the poets and the bards have always known this truism, that there are many rivers to cross and that sometimes it’s only our will that keeps us alive. May we find comfort in one another’s stories and may we find the courage to change the things we cannot accept by hearing one another’s voices. Peace and solidarity to all readers.


(Here is another electrifying version of this song by Jimmy Cliff.)

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The bluest collar

(Photo credit: The All-Nite Images)

(Photo credit: The All-Nite Images)

 “I think organized labor is a necessary part of democracy. Organized labor is the only way to have fair distribution of wealth.”

-Dolores Huerta
It is already May in the land of good and plenty, a vast territory that was evidently the white, European settlers’ manifest destiny to inherit. It appears those pesky indigenous peoples who already inhabited the land were just squatters who needed to be foreclosed upon and evicted ASAP. To accelerate the manifest destiny PR campaign, some of the white, European settlers had the brilliant idea to import human beings from overseas in chains like so many Hondas and allow them and certain classes of immigrants and indentured servants to do all the labor in building up the new world’s order. In the 1800’s, British magnate Cecil Rhodes, who never met a natural resource in Africa he couldn’t exploit, had declared, “We must find new lands from which we can easily obtain raw materials and at the same time exploit the cheap slave labor that is available from the natives of the colonies. The colonies would also provide a dumping ground for the surplus goods produced in our factories.” The settlers took this message to heart and, hundreds of years later, their descendants have perfected a unique brand of capitalism that has been exported around the globe. In Vietnam, what American bombs and bullets couldn’t do, the global bankers and billionaires could as the Free Market™ has been pried opened to Western capitalists. Meanwhile, corporations in the homeland can luxuriate in the knowledge that there will always be people poor enough and desperate enough to work for modern day slave wages.
(Photo credit: United Workers)

(Photo credit: United Workers)

“To deny people their human rights is to challenge their very humanity.”

-Nelson Mandela

A particularly insidious method that capitalists have found to maintain social control and class order is by linking people’s work to their healthcare. This causes the job market to be rigid and inflexible for millions of workers who know that if they leave their jobs, their healthcare will not leave with them. Thus, men and women can be compelled to accept austere working conditions because they know that their families will lose healthcare if they complain or lose their jobs. What should be an inalienable human right becomes a political ball of yarn for the ruling mice to bat around for their amusement. Insult is added to injury in states where low income workers and their families have been denied health coverage because of the refusal to expand Medicaid in ideological opposition to the admittedly flawed Affordable Care Act. Allan Lokos, founder and guiding teacher of The Community Meditation Center in New York City, has stated“There is no illness that is not exacerbated by stress.” Workers in menial, subsistence level jobs are trapped like hamsters in a wheel while technology has enabled a 24/7, always on workforce. The bluest collar is reserved for those who cannot afford to take off work due to lost wages or implied threats to job security and, even if they are able to take off work, do not have sufficient health care to get treatment without incurring life threatening debt. The American dream in the abstract takes on a nightmarish tinge in all of it’s concrete lethalness.

(Photo credit: Jaime Fearer)

(Photo credit: Jaime Fearer)

All labor that uplifts humanity has dignity and importance and should be undertaken with painstaking excellence.

-Martin Luther King, Jr.

Somehow and somewhere along the long and winding road to full spectrum dominance capitalism, we have been conditioned to equate a person’s productivity with their worth. Rather than work for the sake of one’s craft, for personal fulfillment or as a contribution to the greater good, labor became a means to a profitable end which has been funneled to a select few. In the twentieth century, consumerism sped up the hamster wheel as people raced to work and earn more so they could buy more. Industrialism and the ability to mass produce things has been matched by the capability to mass transport things. These factors and many more have created a perfect storm for global capitalists who are no longer confined to narrow trade lanes based on geographical or political boundaries. The Trans-Pacific Partnership, like free trade agreements before it, was crafted by corporate and state interests to knock down any remaining barriers to the glorious Free Market™. A story that has long stuck with me tells of a Palestinian farmer named Avi who rose early tending to the olive trees and chickpeas that were among the ingredients in the fresh hummus he made daily. When an American observed Avi’s operation, his first thought was how Avi could scale up his operation and brand it for a wider market. But Avi told the American, “I don’t want to make more money. I make enough money. And I am done by 9 a.m. every day. The rest of the day is mine.” Some have the wisdom to never put on their collars in the first place. Peace and solidarity to all readers.

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Jeffster Awards #43

(Photo credit: skulzstudios)

(Photo credit: skulzstudios)

This is the next installment of an ongoing series at Deconstructing Myths…the Jeffster Awards! This award will be given on an ongoing basis to five outstanding blog posts that caught my wandering eye. There are no strings attached or requirements for reciprocation. I don’t have time to comment on other blogs as much I’d like to so the least I can do is direct readers to some of these outstanding writers, poets, and visual artists. Please direct all feedback (likes, comments, follows) to the blogs themselves. I hope you enjoy these exemplary posts as much as I did. So, without further ado, here are the recipients of this week’s Jeffster Awards…hot off the (Word)presses.

Avi at Scars Upon the Earth

First review of Confessions of a Carnivore at Nobody Wakes Up Pretty

Michael Eric Dyson’s Hatchet Eulogy for Cornel West at The Rancid Honeytrap

#CVSmatters at Abagond

Not the Independence and Socialism the Revolutionary Vietnamese Thought They Won at Frontlines of Revolutionary Struggle

_________________

Peace and solidarity to all readers.

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Food Chains

I have had the privilege of marching with the Coalition of Immokalee Workers and meeting some its members. The CIW works tirelessly on behalf of the tomato pickers in Immokalee, Florida and farmworker justice. The grassroots, coalition of the willing follows in the tradition of Cesar Chavez and Dolores Huerta who helped to organize farmworkers in the California fields decades ago. The struggles that farm and migrant workers have faced in the U.S. offer a stark reminder that not all men (or women) are created equal in the land of Big Agriculture’s milk and honey. This post is dedicated belatedly in honor of International Workers’ Day of May Day to all those who labor and toil under the capitalist grind. Peace and solidarity to all readers.

Source: Food Chains Film (currently airing on Netflix)

Resources: Fair Food Program, Coalition of Immokalee Workers

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ESSAY: WHAT TO DO WITH THE NEGROEZ?

Jeff Nguyen:

“What is gone is not just houses or pictures on the wall, not just the little neighborhood store we used to frequent, or the tavern where we hung out on warm nights; not just the small church in the middle of the block or even the flower bed alongside the house; not just the old landmarks or some of the schools we used to attend, not just the jumble of overcrowded habitations or the storied stacks of bricks we called the ‘jects (aka projects), housing schemes we knew by name and reputation. No, it is not just brick and wood that is missing from the landscape. What is gone, what we miss most of all is us.”

Originally posted on Moorbey'z Blog:

photo by Peter Nakhid

There is a secret hidden in the heart of New Orleans, a secret hidden in plain sight but ignored by all but the secret citizens themselves. Before Bienville arrived in this area in 1718, Native American scouts informed the adventurous Frenchman that there were groups of Africans—they probably said “blacks”—living over there in their own communities and that these self-ruled women and men would not talk to whites.

Although how the Native Americans knew that the blacks would not talk to whites remains unexplained, the report seems accurate on the face of it. After all, close to three centuries later in post-Katrina New Orleans there remain a number of us who are reluctant to talk truthfully to outsiders—not out of fear of repercussions or because of an inability to speak English but rather we remain reticent on the general principle that there’s no future in such conversations.

Indeed, I am…

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Longform: Nuns and Nuclear Security

The Y-12 National Security Complex sits in a narrow valley, surrounded by wooded hills, in the city of Oak Ridge, Tennessee. Y-12 and Oak Ridge were built secretly, within about two years, as part of the Manhattan Project, and their existence wasn’t publicly acknowledged until the end of the Second World War. By then, the secret city had a population of seventy-five thousand. Few of its residents had been allowed to know what was being done at the military site, which included one of the largest buildings in the world. Y-12 processed the uranium used in Little Boy, the atomic bomb that destroyed Hiroshima. Seven decades later, Y-12 is the only industrial complex in the United States devoted to the fabrication and storage of weapons-grade uranium. Every nuclear warhead and bomb in the American arsenal contains uranium from Y-12.

Strict security measures have been adopted at the site to prevent the theft of its special nuclear materials. Y-12 has some five hundred security officers authorized to use lethal force within its Protected Area, five BearCat armored vehicles, Gatling guns that can fire up to fifty rounds per second and shoot down aircraft, video cameras, motion detectors, four perimeter fences, and rows of dragon’s teeth—low, pyramid-shaped blocks of concrete that can rip the axles off approaching vehicles and bring them to a dead stop. The management of Y-12 calls the place “the Fort Knox of Uranium.”

After the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001, the Highly Enriched Uranium Materials Facility was built, at a cost of more than half a billion dollars, to safeguard Y-12’s uranium. Situated at the north end of the Protected Area, the storage facility is an imposing white structure, longer than a football field, with guard towers at all four corners. If the tops of the towers were crenellated, the building would look like an immense, windowless White Castle. Some nine hundred thousand pounds of weapons-grade uranium are stored inside it. Little Boy—a crude and highly inefficient atomic bomb, designed in the early nineteen-forties with slide rules—contained a hundred and forty-one pounds of weapons-grade uranium, and almost ninety-nine per cent of it harmlessly blew apart as the bomb detonated. Just a couple of pounds underwent nuclear fission—the splitting of atoms—above Hiroshima. And, when that happened, two-thirds of the buildings in the city were destroyed and perhaps eighty thousand civilians were killed. The amount of weapons-grade uranium needed to build a terrorist bomb with a similar explosive force could fit inside a small gym bag.

At about half past two in the morning on July 28, 2012, three people were dropped off at the Scarboro Church of Christ, a modest brick building with a single white spire in an African-American neighborhood of Oak Ridge. They walked through the church parking lot to a nearby dirt path, followed the path through a stand of trees, reached a meadow, and turned left. Up ahead, in the darkness, they could see the silhouette of a steep hill called Pine Ridge. On the other side of the hill was Y-12. All three had spent time in federal prison. They belonged to a loosely organized group whose members have been prosecuted by the Justice Department for violent crimes, sabotage, and threatening the national security. The three hoped to reach the uranium-storage facility before sunrise, having carefully planned the intrusion for more than a year. But they had no desire to steal anything or to make a bomb. They wanted to “heal” and “transform” the building with their own blood; to mark it as a symbol of evil, empire, and war; to protest against its role in maintaining America’s nuclear arsenal. Gregory Boertje-Obed was a Christian pacifist in his late fifties who painted houses for a living and worked with the homeless in Duluth, Minnesota. Michael Walli was a Catholic layman in his early sixties, inspired by the life of St. Francis of Assisi to live humbly and serve the poor. Megan Rice was an eighty-two-year-old nun, a member of the Society of the Holy Child Jesus. Carrying flashlights and backpacks, they headed toward the hill.

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