May 7, 2007

UC Hunger Strike

From: Darwin BondGraham
Date: May 7, 2007 11:23:50 AM MDT
To: Darwin BondGraham

***FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: May 7, 2007***


Ellen McClure, 2nd-year UCSB student: (858) 663-9326
Mark Valen, 3rd-year UCSC student: (619) 395-2794
Chelsea Collonge, UC Berkeley alumna: (408) 813-5625
Will Parrish, Nuclear Age Peace Foundation: (805) 965-3443
Jedidjah de Vries, Tri-Valley CAREs: (925) 443-7148

WHAT: UC Student & Alumni Hunger Strike
WHEN: Wednesday, May 9th until ?
WHERE: UC Santa Barbara, UC Santa Cruz, and UC Berkeley
WHO: The Coalition to Demilitarize the UC and supporters

Students and alumni at three UC campuses will begin a fast this week to demand that the University of California stop designing, engineering and manufacturing nuclear bombs. Many of them pledge to go without solid food until the demand is met. The hunger strikers are calling on the Regents to pass a resolution at their next meeting -- scheduled for May 17th -- severing all ties to the nuclear weapons complex (see attached). The UC has managed, since their inception, the two US national labs responsible for all nuclear weapon design in the U.S., Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) and Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL).

This bold act of principled non-violent resistance is timed in response to the US Nuclear Weapons Council’s recent announcement that LLNL would design the first new Hydrogen bomb since the end of the Cold War, as well as to the planned resumption of plutonium bomb core (“pit”) manufacturing en masse at the Los Alamos National Laboratory in 2008. These programs are the first step in plans to revamp the entire nuclear weapons complex, under the auspices of the DOE’s “Complex 2030.”

“There has never been a more critical time for the UC Regents to take a principled stand against the US’ nuclear weapons programs,” says Will Parrish, a UCSC alumnus (2004) who has pledged to go without solid food until the Regents meet the demand for severance. “They are in a very powerful position to do so: They can withdraw their management of the Los Alamos and Livermore labs, which are the keystone institutions in the US nuclear weapons complex. They could cast the UC's enormous political and intellectual weight on the side of international law and morality, and seize this opportunity to work toward nuclear disarmament. To do otherwise is to continue to provide a much-needed veneer of academic legitimacy to the creation and maintenance of weapons that poison communities and endanger the entire world.”

According to second-year UCSB student Ellen McClure, “The university should not be involved in any way with the production of weapons of mass destruction. The UC's involvment has done nothing to make the research at the labs more transparent or less deadly.”

Jedidjah de Vries, outreach director of Tri-Valley Communities Against a Radioactive Environment (CAREs), said: “The programs of the UC’s nuclear weapons labs threaten our security by driving foreign nations to develop their own weapons, as well as our environment by continuing to contaminate the already heavily-polluted nuclear weapons complex sites. It also opens the door to new nuclear tests, something the U.S. has not done since 1992 and is banned under the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty. Not only is severing ties with the labs the right thing to do, but it would have a real impact on the ability to carry out this plan and begin building new nuclear bombs.”

During the week the hunger strikers will camp at central locations on their individual campuses. You can follow their progress at: On May 17th they will converge, along with supporters, at the regents' meeting in San Francisco to hold the Regents accountable to the will of the students and to the moral responsibility of the university. Student governments at multiple campuses have passed resolutions opposing the UC's ties to the weapon labs, and more are considering similar resolutions.

The students of the UC have a long history of organizing and taking action on this issue. The multi-campus Coalition to Demilitarize the UC has worked on several fronts to sever the UC's nuclear ties, including writing letters, generated petitions and speaking at Regents meetings during the public comments period. Most recently, this past November, they undertook an act of nonviolent civil resistance, disrupting the Regents meeting during its discussion of the nuclear weapons labs. Students are concerned with the Regents’ actions, not only because of the dangers posed by nuclear weapons, but because the Regents presume to act on their behalf and in their name.

To arrange an interview with the hungers strikers, contact any of the individuals listed above.

Darwin BondGraham
Voicemail: 805.322.7508


Anonymous said...

These folks are going to be quite hungry by the time Complex 2030 comes around.

Anonymous said...

Wah wah wah, let those idiots starve

Anonymous said...

This exact tactic has been tried by some UC faculty and students since the begining of the nuclear weapons complex (the Manhattan Project). It has failed every time because there are those influential voices in UC who recognize what a nationally influential service UC provides at almost no political cost to the country and at an incalculable benefit to our national security. To those who think "our natonal security" is a joke and needs no protection, I respectfully say: Neenerneererneerner.

darko said...

9:24 - cute...
10:22 - rude and stupid
10:54 - UC's play in our management is trivial... soon their play in LLNL's management will be trivial to nothing.

- darko

Anonymous said...

Ah, boundless optimism and selective attention to facts. To be in college again.

Anonymous said...

Looks like Darko has appointed himself as chief critiquing officer (CCO) for the blog. I would recommend that he/she develop a scoring scheme for efficiencies sake, but then we would all miss the witty comments that go with the critiques.

Anonymous said...

Perhaps Brad could organize a hunger strike here to defeat the new DOE polygraph policy.

Brad Lee Holian said...

Not me, Anonymous (5/8/07 6:14 AM). I don't believe in mixing religion with good food. I enjoy a good dinner with good wine and good friends; being all by myself and starving is just not my cup of tea (so to speak).


Darwin BondGraham said...

All of your comments are so sad.

The students involved in this hunger strike are probably more informed than all of you about the nature of RRW and pit production at Los Alamos, the implications of these developments for the Lab, nation and world, and how this can be stopped.

I suppose, however, that it would be too much for a student like me to expect Lab employees to be able to think critically anymore, to have hope anymore. After all, you have been thoroughly broken by your master, LANL.

Anonymous said...

Oh, we're quite up to date on things like RRW and pit production, and with respect to the latter, we're not to thrilled about it either. As for RRW, whine to LLNL.

Anonymous said...

Keep fighting the fight 9:13.

I really don't hear the word hope in many conversations. Hope for what exactly?

Anonymous said...

Seems to me that the students have been fed a significant amount of disinformation --- on the basis of their most recent accomplishments UC has already done almost everything possible to destroy this country's nuclear deterrent. They've certainly had help, but they deserve the lion's share of the credit. The students need not go hungry.

Foolish Old Fart said...

Ah, youthful idealism.

Surely the grass would be green the whole world over, if only The Regents would divest UC of nuclear weapons research.

No doubt, indeed, that we who work here are less wise and knowledgable than the snot-nosed brats who haven't even finished college yet, and have no real-world experience in anything (save perhaps creating MySpace websites).

I agree with the second comment above.

Anonymous said...

All you hungry UC students, be careful what you wish for.

Do you honestly believe that, if you're successful and UC completely washes its hands of nuclear weapons research, nuclear weapons and weapons development research will simply go away?

Have you ever considered that it might be a bit more likely that weapons work will just be taken up by institutions a bit more evil than a university -- by the Halliburtons and Bechtels of the world, for instance? Just the folks you'd like to have a sranglehold on nuclear weapons, right? Good work, kids.

Anonymous said...

we should give the enlightened students more of the world's problems to solve while they still know everything.

Anonymous said...

Did I hear today that UC/Bechtel will soon be running LLNS-LLC?

Anonymous said...

5/8/07 9:17 PM - why yes ... there are gonna be some huuuungry people at this strike!

Jedidjah de Vries said...

You may not agree with the demands of the hunger strikers. You may not particularly like college students. But, neither of those are a reason to denigrate their commitment.

If you would like to discuss the merits of rrw and the UC's involvement in the nuclear complex I would be happy to put you in touch with the students.

There is no idealism in their desire to not have their university involved in the production of nuclear bombs.

Anonymous said...

Jed, Why shouldn't I denigrate their commitment? Darwin Bondgraham certainly seems to feel he has a right to denigrate mine.

Jedidjah de Vries said...

What Darwin does or does not do has no bearing on the matter. If you wish to call him out for being impolite go for it -- but that doesn't give you leeway to sink to petty mockery.

Over 20 folks have committed themselves to going without food for at least a week, if not more. No food. This isn't a happy happy picnic they're going on. Argue with them, sure, but laugh at them?

They are putting themselves out there and acting on what they feel is right. If you think them ill-informed or just plain wrong I repeat my offer to put anyone who wants in touch with them to see for themselves not only their passion but their deep understanding of what is at stake.

Write or wrong these aren't the college kids you should be griping about. Gripe about the party-animals that don't look past the next weekend, not about those that have taken the time to learn about their world and put in the energy to try to make it better.

Anonymous said...

Anyone else try to submit a comment to the hunger blog, and notice that it's a bit of a black hole if the comment isn't of the form "rah-rah-rah, we support you"? Seems they don't have much stomach for dissenting opinions. Sad really - hard to take such people seriously when they're pretty obviously not interested in engaging any form of discussion involving both sides...

Anonymous said...

"Anyone else try to submit a comment to the hunger blog, and notice that it's a bit of a black hole"

Yes. They are not interested in "both sides of a debate." They are not interested in a debate. That is why Jed's suggestion to put us in touch with them to enlighten them is preposterous.

As for why make fun of them, Jed, it is simple. They deserve it. Going without food for a week or more will serve no useful purpose. It is a stupid thing to do.

Jedidjah de Vries said...

My offer is genuine and stands.

There was one comment on the hunger strike blog in need of moderation. If that was yours (and y'all are named anonymous so who knows) then it is now up.