To watch this interview, click HERE.
To read a summary more thorough than the brief summary below, click HERE for Word format or HERE for .pdf.
The Olympia Fellowship of Reconciliation’s March 2014 TV program “connects the dots” between three serious issues: nuclear weapons, nuclear power, and the climate crisis. The program also explores how human beings deal with – or avoid dealing with – these serious issues.
Bernie Meyer is our guest for this hour because he deals with substantive issues in fresh ways, and with wisdom and with profound humanity.
The specific context for this month’s program is that Bernie had deliberately trespassed onto the Trident nuclear submarine base in Kitsap County, Washington. He did this act of civil resistance in order to nonviolently express his profound concern about nuclear weapons. He was scheduled for a trial in federal court on December 16, 2013, but one week before the trial date, the federal prosecutor dropped the charges. Bernie had prepared a powerful statement that he wanted to read during his trial, so instead I (Glen Anderson, TV host and blog writer) invited Bernie to share his information and insights on this TV program.
Our TV interview begins by summarizing Bernie’s long history of conscientious actions for peace and social justice. As a young Catholic priest he challenged the Church to do more for peace and social justice. In 1969 he and some other conscientious Catholics committed nonviolent civil disobedience at Dow Chemical’s lobbying office in Washington DC, because Dow was producing napalm and other horrible chemical weapons and selling them to the US government to be used in the war in Vietnam. The activists waited to be arrested. Bernie and others served time in a federal prison.
From 1973 to 1978 Bernie lived in Denver, Colorado, and became concerned that the US government was making parts for nuclear weapons nearby at Rocky Flats. He started his activism against nuclear weapons there.
In 1978 he moved to Seattle, started opposing the Trident nuclear submarine in nearby Kitsap County, and became active in the Ground Zero Center for Nonviolent Action (www.gzcenter.org), which was located next to the Trident base.
Bernie carries out his work openly and ethically, grounded in nonviolence.
Bernie’s study of Mohandas Gandhi – the Mahatma – has also deepened his grounding in nonviolence and his methodology. He has portrayed Gandhi “in character” and brought his authentic message to address our modern situation, not only in the US but also throughout India, where many people know him as “the American Gandhi.”
In 2007 – dressed as Gandhi – Bernie walked from Faslane, Scotland, where the UK’s Trident nuclear sub-marine is based, to London, England. Along the way he learned more about the Sellafield nuclear power plant that very seriously polluting the Irish and English coasts with radiation.