Frida Berrigan’s Statement at Liz McAlister’s Sentencing

Liz_and_kids_2_(1)
Liz with her kids Kate, Frida, and Jerry

Liz McAlister, the eldest of the King Bay Plowshares 7, was sentenced on Monday via video to time served, three years supervised release and for a portion of the restitution for the seven of just over $30,000.

Frida Berrigan offered the statement below before her mother was sentenced.

Good morning, friends, My name is Frida Berrigan and I am here to speak on behalf of my mom, Elizabeth McAlister, one of the co-defendants in the Kings Bay Plowshares. I’m here in New London, Connecticut with my husband Patrick and our three kids, Liz’s grandchildren- Madeline, 6; Seamus, 7; and Rosena, 13. My brother Jerry is also here, with his wife, Molly and Liz’s other 3 grandchildren, Leah, 10; Jonah, 13 and Amos, 16. My sister Kate and her partner Karen are also here, they are now Liz’s roommates and live up the street a few blocks.
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How an 85-Year-Old Nun, Activists Infiltrated Top U.S. Nuclear Site, Exposing Dangers & Urging Peace

Transform NowVideo and report from Democracy Now!

Three peace activists who infiltrated a nuclear weapons site have been freed from prison after their convictions were overturned. In 2012, the self-described Transform Now Plowshares broke into the Y-12 nuclear facility in Oak Ridge, Tennessee. Known as the “Fort Knox of Uranium,” the complex holds enough uranium to make 10,000 nuclear bombs. The activists cut holes in the fence to paint peace slogans and threw blood on the wall, revealing major security flaws at the facility, which processes uranium for hydrogen bombs. The break-in sparked a series of congressional hearings, with The New York Times describing it as “the biggest security breach in the history of the nation’s atomic complex.” The three were convicted of damaging a national defense site. After two years behind bars, a federal appeals court recently vacated their convictions, saying the prosecution failed to prove the three intended to “injure the national defense.” All three were released this weekend until their resentencing on a remaining charge of damaging government property. They have likely already served more time than they are set to receive under their new sentencing.
http://www.democracynow.org/embed/story/2015/5/19/how_an_85_year_old_nun

Civil Resistance

lizNor is this a private experience because the addictions from which we must turn are systemic economic/political/cultural pathologies. The insights from the 12 Step programs tells us that the dysfunctional system cannot be reformed, it must be disengaged. We must develop collective and long-term disciplines of “turning around” that empower a political practice that is nonagressive and nonexploitative.

It may seem indulgent to talk this way in view of the suffering of the innocent. Yet how, except through suffering, are we to allow God whoever or whatever that might be for us to train us to fling ourselves upon the impossible? For when we learn that behind the impossible is God’s grace and presence; the future is an enigma; our road is covered by mist. But, we need to go on giving ourselves, because God continues hoping amid the night and God continues calling us to put ourselves out there with those who suffer. I don’t believe there is a better way to live than this a life of nonviolent civil resistance.

– Elizabeth McAlister