Friday, April 1, 2016

#92 / Proactive

Trident II D5 Missile
Peace activists know about Bob Aldridge. Many years ago, Aldridge was the lead engineer at Lockheed on the Trident missile program.  The Trident missile was not, as Aldridge had been led to believe, part of a defensive military program intended to "deter" nuclear attacks against the United States. In fact, the Trident was a "first strike" nuclear weapon, designed to be used by the United States against other nations, and when Aldridge realized this, in 1974, he promptly quit his job at Lockheed, and has been a peace activist ever since. An interesting history of anti-Trident peace activism in the Pacific Northwest, as carried out by the Pacific Life Community, can be found by clicking this link

Most recently, Aldridge has written a short little essay in the magazine Integrities, published on a quarterly basis by IF, a nonprofit organization based in Santa Cruz County. IF works for peace, and economic and social justice, and Aldridge's essay can be found in Integrities Volume 29, No. 1 (2016), not yet posted online, but ultimately to get there, I feel certain. 

I was struck by this essay, which Aldridge has titled, "The Power of the Urge." In the essay, Aldridge describes his latest peace initiative, which is an attempt to carry forward the work of the Pacific Life Community, and to make that work genuinely effective. What Aldridge wants to do is to galvanize new action that can utilize "proactive nonviolence to change America." The suggested mechanism to accomplish this (non-modest) goal is called the "Proactive Co-op."

What I liked most was this statement in Aldridge's essay: "This is not another organization competing for funds and membership. We don't need more organizations."

What we need is thoughtful, strategic action, that can result in ordinary people changing what they do every day, much as Aldridge changed what he did when he realized the consequences of the work in which he was engaged.

If we are paying attention, and if we reflect upon what we are doing, and what we need to be doing to change the course of history, and to avert the catastrophe that is so obviously bearing down upon us (all of us, all over the world), we will conclude that we need to change what we do every day. 

We don't need more organizations, but we do need to change what we are doing. There's a word for making that kind of a change: Proactive!

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