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ANVA plans week of resistance at Litton

Lynn Harrison — November 1983

The Alliance for Non-Violent Action (ANVA) is organising a week of action against the management of Litton Systems Canada Ltd., beginning on Remembrance Day, November 11. Hundreds of people are expected to occupy the grounds surrounding the Litton plant, participating in three days of civil disobedience.

The week will begin with an “Alternative Remembrance Day” on Friday, November 11. This will be the first gathering of the people who will be involved in the action of the following week. People are encouraged to bring banners and signs and to gather together in recognition of the significance of the day for the peace movement. Buses will leave from Bathurst St. United Church at 3:30 pm on Friday, arriving at the Litton plant at 4:00, when a walk and vigil will take place. None of the events on the “Alternative Remembrance Day” will involve civil disobedience.

The three days of civil disobedience are the Monday, Wednesday and Friday of the following week. Each day has a particular focus. Monday, November 14 involves action by women’s groups. Wednesday, November 16 represents “Liberation Struggles” — those of gays and lesbians, and of Third World countries.

Friday, November 18 is “Stop Cruise Production Day,” when all of the groups present during the week will encircle the Litton management building and form a sit-down blockade. The two days that don’t involve civil disobedience may be used by other groups who wish to hold rallies, vigils or other legal activities.

A special gathering for women who have been through the training for the week’s actions will take place Sunday, November 13, the anniversary of Karen Silkwood’s murder in 1975. Silkwood was a worker in a factory that produced parts for nuclear weapons, and was regularly exposed to plutonium. Through research, she discovered that she and her co-workers were working in unsafe conditions. She began to agitate for a risk-free environment, and was en route to meet with a reporter concerning her findings when her car was driven off the road. She was killed, and the information she carried with her was not recovered. The gathering to remember her will not involve illegal action.

Preparation days will be held on October 29 and 30, and November 5 and 6, when “affinity groups” will be formed for the following week. Affinity groups are groups of people who will stay together throughout the week of action and also through any trials or other legal actions which may ensue from the week’s civil disobedience actions. Emily Smith of ANVA says that people who already share close ties, as friends, or as members of particular peace groups, are encouraged to form affinity groups. This will facilitate the maintenance of strong support-systems that might be necessary in the months that follow.

The actions at Litton are part of a three year campaign which has focussed on Litton as a manufacturer of the guidance system of the sea launched cruise missile for the United States Navy. This campaign has grown from a few individuals to include the hundreds of Canadians who will practice civil disobedience during the week of November 11.

According to Ken Hancock of ANVA, this dramatic increase in the number of people willing to become involved in civil disobedience actions. illustrates a growth in the seriousness and commitment of the Canadian peace movement.

ANVA is an alliance of groups in Ontario and Qu├ębec, and its Ontario members include the Cruise Missile Conversion Project and Women’s Action for Peace. For more information about the actions taking place at Litton on November 11-18, contact Emily Smith or Margaret Hancock of ANVA, at xxx-xxxx.

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