Posted August 13, 2014 by catholixworkerfarm
Categories: Upcoming Events

September 26, 2014
12 noon -1 pm
Lockheed Martin

corner of Java and Mathilda, Sunnyvale, CA

Campaign Nonviolence is a movement to build a culture of peace and justice by educating about nonviolence and working to nonviolently end war, poverty, and to reverse climate change. From September 21-27th, people in more than 111 cities around the US will be gathering to take action in ways that show the connections between war, poverty and the climate crisis. John Dear, Pace e Bene, and a cadre of dedicated people have been holding workshops on nonviolence over the past year leading up to these days in September.

As we gather at Lockheed Martin, America’s largest military contractor, we are aware of the spectrum of violence that Lockheed stands for: nuclear missiles for the trident nuclear weapon system, hellfire missiles that are fired from drones, planes sold to Israel and used against the people of Gaza. Lockheed sends interrogators to places like Guantanamo prison and lobbyists to Washington to form foreign policy. As we protest and vigil, we stand for the original rainbow of diversity, hope and peace.

We will welcome Kathy Kelly, who will join us as she arrives back from travels to Afghanistan. Kathy works with Voices for Creative Nonviolence. We welcome Sherri Maurin, who will gather with us, directly back from the resistance in JeJu Island.
We welcome the Veterans for Peace and all the recidivists and fellow travellers who want to join us.

Please come, wear a blue scarf if you have one, or a blue shirt. The blue scarves are a symbol that there is one sky above all of us…a symbol that the Afghan youth developed in their yearning for peace.

For more information call the Catholic Worker in Redwood City: 650-366-4415

Nevada’s Nuclear Resistance History

Posted May 30, 2014 by catholixworkerfarm
Categories: Deserts, Education, PLC Report, Reflections

Tags: , , , , ,

video of slide show
This was shown at the PLC 2014 gathering in Las Vegas, near Newe Sogobia, when the PLC did 4 vigils in three days!

Here’s the link from NDE, for full resolution:
Slide Show of 60 years of history (MPEG)
Slide Show of 60 years of history (mp4)


Opening Warrior Eyes

Posted April 11, 2014 by Subversive Peacemaker
Categories: Reflections

Tags: , , , , ,

After participating in last month’s Pacific Life Community demos in Las Vegas, Lorin Peters spent some time in reflection and wrote the following essay from what he likes to think of as his “Gandhian” point of view.

Lorin has been a long time participant in Pacific Life Community. He has taught Gandhian nonviolence (and high school physics) 1972-present in a Catholic HS in Oakland, Ca, served in Palestine with Christian Peacemaker Teams the summers of 2002-2009, and in Thailand with the Asian Muslim Action Network the springs of 2011-present.


Opening Warrior Eyes
Lorin Peters
2014 Mar

Lacksana and I are on our annual retreat at my brother’s place in Eagle, Idaho, reading by the fire, and reflecting and writing. OK, we are recreating a little, too – Lack downhills, I telemark. The two swans on my brother’s pond occasionally chase and harass certain of the geese. When they have successfully driven a goose away, they celebrate – flapping their wings powerfully, and “standing” on the water, then bobbing their heads up and down in unison. My brother’s wife calls it their “we bad” act.

Some of my thoughts here have been about our Pacific Life Community demonstrations. At some risk of coming across as a “we bad” actor, I would like to share some of my reflections.

Father Louie says, “If a house is on fire, we are obligated to try to rescue the people inside.” Dorothy Day says, “Don’t worry about being effective. Just concentrate on being faithful to the truth.”

From a Gandhian point of view, the objective of an obstructive action or resistance is to “open eyes” and hearts and minds. Including our own (assuming we already have the whole truth is the fundamentalist error.)

I believe that ‘one-person demos’ are more helpful than larger demonstrations. People recognize the courage it takes to stand alone, especially when opposing the state. Fifty people can demonstrate in 50 different places. A single demonstrator is approachable for a discussion or debate – a mass of demonstrators are intimidating. Marketing studies suggest that when people see the same message in three different places, they begin to remember and/ or consider the message (Jay Adkisson).

So I would encourage us to stand alone, or in pairs if you feel you need support. Space ourselves along a road or highway so drivers have maybe 10 seconds to read and react to each message. On a 60 miles-per-hour highway, 10 seconds is about 300 yards apart.

If a pedestrian passes, offer a friendly greeting. If anyone engages in dialogue, ask them what they think or believe, then listen. If we must speak, speak to their concerns.

For those who ‘cross the line,’ we might cross in small enough groups that each resister is engaged by a separate officer, for one-on-one conversations. In other words, don’t cross in groups that prevent individual interactions (unless you need the security of a partner). Then see if the officer is willing to engage in dialogue, eg, “What do you think about ….?” “What do you believe about …?” Then listen. Again, if we must speak, speak to their concerns, not ours.

Consider educating and preparing ourselves for dialogue with our opponents. Some time before a demonstration, write down the pro-war arguments we might expect. Then prepare specific responses to each argument. Historic examples and stories generally are more helpful – people can remember stories better, and people know they are true.

This is also a good discipline before writing or selecting our message posters. Our messages need to address people where they’re at, not where we’re at. So I have spent several hours this week thinking about what Americans believe, and then brainstorming about what they need to hear.

Americans who believe “violence is necessary” perhaps need to hear:
“Those who live by the sword will die by the sword” – Jesus
Canada won independence without a war
Denmark stopped Hitler without violence

Those who believe “violence is redemptive” may need to hear:
“He who conquers 10,000 others only makes 10,000 enemies” – Buddha
160 million died in the 20thcentury wars – Is the world safe yet?
Sending our ‘boys’ into other countries makes friends, or enemies?

Those who believe “our military makes us secure” probably need to hear:
What is the Dept of Defense defending in 130 other countries?
Is our military for securing us, or our empire?
Is it “Dept of Defense”, or still “Dept of War”?

Those who believe in “peace through strength” might need to hear:
Do we trust Canada? Why?
Lasting peace comes from positive relationships
Strength creates fear and enemies

Those who believe in “keeping the peace” perhaps need to hear:
British bobbies carry no guns – what’s wrong with US?
What comes from the barrel of a gun – peace, or more war?
Are you keeping the peace, or an empire?

Those who believe in “enforcing the law” may need to hear:
Is the law about control, or truth and justice?
Which is better – punishment, or restitution and healing?
Can we arrest conscience – Can we imprison truth?

Those who believe “America is a democracy” probably need to hear:
Many Americans are not Republican or Democrat – who represents us?
If 51% gets into office, and 49% gets nothing, are the 49% represented?
Why do the rich now spend a billion dollars on each election cycle?
What happens to politicians who do not serve money?
Does Congress represent people, or money?

Those who believe we need ‘nukes’ to deter ‘rogue’ nations might need to hear:
What makes a nation ‘rogue’?
– violating international laws?
– threatening other nations?
– invading other nations?
– possessing nuclear weapons?
Does this ‘rogue’ shoe fit US?
“Judge a tree by its fruit” – Jesus

Those who believe warriors are courageous perhaps need to hear:
Nonviolent warriors are courageous – they “glory in fighting alone” – Gandhi

Those who believe warriors are disciplined may need to hear:
Nonviolent warriors are disciplined – they listen to their enemies

Those who believe warriors are strong probably need to hear:
Nonviolent warriors are strong enough to “love their enemies” – Jesus

Well, these are some of my thoughts and suggestions. I pray they stimulate some of your thoughts and discussions.

Swadeshi Works!

Posted March 13, 2014 by Subversive Peacemaker
Categories: Nonviolence, Reflections

Editor’s Note: Lorin Peters attended the recent Pacific Life Community gathering in Las Vegas. During the retreat he made several references to Gandhi’s vision of “swadeshi”, the self-reliant world Gandhi was trying to build. Lorin wrote the following reflection about a Thai village that has carried out such a project.  He feels that “Gandhi’s vision has many connections to the vision at the core of the Catholic Worker movement.”

Swadeshi Works!

Lorin Peters
2014 Jan 29

Ban Lao was a traditional village in Northeast Thailand. Like most Thai villages of that era (1965-69), it had a Buddhist temple, and an elementary school, but its roads were dirt (the “highway” was gravel), and it had no running water (the system I helped them build was only the second in any village in Thailand). Due mainly to unsanitary conditions in the village well, infant mortality was 50%, as it was in most villages. People went to the provincial hospital only to die; otherwise they consulted the local spirit doctor.

More affluent than most Thai villages of that time, it had one pickup truck, and limited electricity several hours each evening, but no television (there were no TV stations within range). There were high schools 10 km down the road in the provincial town, but no one had ever passed the national matriculation exam. It was affluent because a number of the villagers worked in the provincial offices, or as teachers in other villages.

In India, after the Salt March and the Salt Works Raid (1930), millions of Indians realized they were free to ignore the British colonial power. But Gandhi realized they were not ready for freedom. Many wanted to become capitalists or communists, and replace British domination with their own domination over each other. So Gandhi retired from the independence movement and devoted his next 12 years to developing a culture based, not on power, but on swadeshi (self-reliance, including cooperation and sharing).

He understood that this is the real revolution, not just changing the faces in government. Civil disobedience and defying the government is exciting. But it does not change the culture of domination. Changing culture is not sexy or exciting. But it is the real work of revolution. He developed a comprehensive 18-point “Constructive Programme” to create swadeshi, self-reliant villages which could not be controlled or exploited by any system of colonization or centralized domination, foreign or domestic.

Ban Rai Gong King is a smaller village of 1200 souls near Chiang Mai in North Thailand.
When the Thai economy collapsed abruptly in 1997, due both to irresponsible lending within Thailand and to financial manipulation by foreign investors (see “A Siamese Tragedy” by Walden Bello), many government-financed programs shut down. Most of the villagers lost their jobs. All the local banks, from whom the villagers had always been able to borrow money, immediately stopped lending also.

Then something extraordinary happened in Ban Rai Gong King. The villagers decided to pool their resources and set up a community fund, under the leadership of their headman, Somsak Inthachai, and his wife, Suphaan. I do not know of this happening in other Thai villages. Somsak (Thais always use first names) and Suphaan appear to be college-educated, and to be deeply respected and trusted by their fellow villagers.

The villagers’ goal is a self-sufficient village, including growing and threshing rice, growing vegetables, raising livestock, farming fish, and processing their own agricultural products. They followed a community development approach based on participation by every household and every villager, beginning with community analysis through meetings, agendas, presentations and brainstormings. They identified eight “development areas” for a holistic village (not quite Gandhi’s eighteen), for each of which they created an independent committee and funding scheme. All programs are community initiated, and mostly community funded.

Gandhi’s programme began with khadi (spinning of cotton thread and weaving of homespun cloth) to provide employment and modest income for every family, and freedom from English cloth mills. Ban Rai’s first development area is economic planning, to provide modest income, and freedom from centralized debt institutions. They created a “Village Fund Network Office” where the villagers pool their “savings funds,” and which manages and administers those funds. Fifty percent of the dividends go to the fund members. Fifteen percent go to administration. But the other 35% go to welfare, including the disabled and the underprivileged, health services, scholarships, sports programs, children’s activities, the elderly and the environment.

A second part of Gandhi’s programme was village improvement. Ban Rai’s second area is village environment, including planting trees, sweeping and washing their streets, and restoring their creeks. They promote village pride with the slogan “Love your birthplace.” They organize festivals, tour groups, youth groups, and teenager groups.

A third part of Gandhi’s programme was health education. Ban Rai’s third area is health screening and early detection, including blood pressure and blood testing, body weight and waistline charts, and vision testing.

Ban Rai’s fourth area is classes in health, safety of food (preventing food-borne diseases), baking, and local cuisine. They offer help with newborn children, the injured, the handicapped, the elderly, and hospice.

Ban Rai’s fifth development area was constructing a health service center, in 2007. The center includes maintaining an exercise chart for each villager, a number of treadmills and other exercise machines, a sauna, a number of massage beds, and health foods and medicinal herbs sections. They also sponsor football (soccer) teams and other youth games.

Other sectors of Gandhi’s programme include the eradication of social evils, especially of untouchability, of alcoholism, and of leprosy. Ban Rai’s sixth area is the eradication of vices, especially drugs and alcohol (mostly men), and gambling (mostly women).

Two more of Gandhi’s sectors were uplift of women, and adult education. Ban Rai’s seventh area is social safety, including domestic violence, bodily assault, and theft, and also automobile safety, including traffic rules, seat belts and “driving under the influence.”

Three more of Gandhi’s sectors were uplift of peasants, development of cottage industries, and labor unions dedicated to the well-being of all, including owners. Ban Rai has set up savings groups for those who process herbs, make artificial flowers, make food safe, do composting and organic farming, or Thai massage. They have community funds for wholesale buyers, and for other occupations. They have support groups for those raising cattle, or pigs, doing agriculture, alternative energy (biomass), or developing their own health products, eg, honey shampoo, lemongrass oil (mosquito repellant), butterfly (purple) tea.

Gandhi’s final sector was communal unity across religious lines, especially Hindu and Muslim. Ban Rai’s eighth area is psychological well-being, including emotional, spiritual, and cultural well-being, including their folk music. They have set up groups for grandparents to share their wisdom with the young, for education in democracy, or in traditional medicinal herbs, for training in community leadership, or in “worshipping” (respecting) their monarch. When there is a dispute in the village, they use mediation, not the courts. They use community rehabilitation, not prison.

Except for being located in a tropical forest, Ban Rai could be anywhere in America. Everyone has running water and electricity. The streets are well-paved and clean, the houses are neat and well-maintained, the trees and yards are green. I saw only one old gray house, but the unpainted teak was more than a century old, and the roof tiles were far more subtle and beautiful than any roof tiles in America. Everyone has a cell phone, most have computers, the village has its own website.

As I was admiring one man’s elaborate fence this morning, he came out to greet me. But he was French, not Thai. This is his paradise. If I could handle the Thai seasons – hot, hotter, hottest – I too would consider moving to Ban Rai.

At the end of Headman Somsak’s presentation to our field trip, I said to our whole class, “You have just seen Gandhi’s dream of swadeshi, of self-reliance! This is exactly his vision, what he tried to create, to prepare his people for freedom from exploitation, both capitalist and communist.” Somsak was grinning widely – he spoke to us only in Thai, but he obviously understood my English.

Pacific Life Community at Nellis Air Force Base

Posted March 12, 2014 by Subversive Peacemaker
Categories: Nonviolence, PLC Report

Tags: , , ,

An affirmation of love and life while vigilant against nuclear weapons at Nellis Air Force Base in Las Vegas,Nevada by members of the Pacific Life Community.


Posted February 19, 2014 by Subversive Peacemaker
Categories: Upcoming Events


Yesterday’s sentencing of Greg, Megan and Michael, the three members of Transform Now Plowshares, was the culmination of the government’s collusion with the Nuclear Industrial Complex.  It is collusion in the sense that the government is breaking many laws, including international humanitarian law, in its continuing pursuit of nuclear weapons, and the courts cannot help but see and uphold established precedents, including the Nuremberg Principles. Supposed justice was “blind” to the wrong things in this case, and essentially every other case of this kind.

There is no lack of irony in the timing of yesterday’s sentencing. Seventy-one years ago on February 18, 1943 Sophie Scholl and other members of The White Rose were arrested at the University of Munich for dropping leaflets protesting the evils of the Third Reich.  Click here for an article on this piece of history.  Sophie, her brother, and the other members of The White Rose clearly understood the consequences of their actions, should they be caught.

tnp three sentenced

Greg, Megan and Michael also understood the probable consequences of their actions, and took their action with joyful hearts, fully prepared to accept those consequences. Judge Thapar gave all three significant prison time – Megan 35 months, and Greg and Michael each received 62-month sentences.  The judge’s intention by giving such long prison terms was to dissuade others to engage in such actions and instead to pursue “legal” means.

Of course, those of us pursuing nuclear abolition clearly understand the futility of legal means, which we have all tried over and over. As Felice and Jack of The Nuclear Resister said in a recent post about the Transform Now Plowshares sentencing: “YOU CAN JAIL THE RESISTERS BUT NOT THE RESISTANCE.”

Our thoughts and prayers go out to our brothers and sister in resistance on the next stage of their journey.

Time to get rolling towards the 2014 PLC!!!

Posted February 3, 2014 by Subversive Peacemaker
Categories: Upcoming Events

Tags: , ,

Dear PLC folks,

The 2014 Pacific Life Community retreat takes place from Friday, March 7th to Monday, March 10th.

The Las Vegas Catholic Worker is taking care of Housing and Food and Transportation for the retreat. Other people are co-coordinating the event schedule and it will be available soon. The event will start with dinner at 6:30 p.m., Friday, March 7 and end Monday. We look forward to seeing you.

We need your help to help us provide hospitality to everyone who is coming.  Please download the registration form, fill in all the information requested, and return it to us as soon as you can.

You can either e-mail to or mail to 1420 West Bartlett Avenue, Las Vegas, NV 89106-2226.

Peace and blessings, Julia Occhiogrosso and Gary Cavalier


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