For years now the only efforts within the NRV to hold the Radford Army Ammunition Plant to account have been based around the concerns of pollution and health risks for those living close to it. Some even adopted the name “patriots” in an attempt to give a sort of “legitimacy” to their efforts. Efforts have mainly been centered around the burn permits the arsenal regularly applies for to continue incinerating toxic chemicals on their site. And while it should be of concern to locals, this is a drop in the bucket when it comes to the total damage done by the Arsenal to people across the globe who suffer from the wrath of warmongers and the military industrial complex – which the arsenal is deeply embedded in.
Our concern for the negative impact of the Arsenal cannot begin and end just within our immediate vicinity. We must have solidarity and practice internationalism with the peoples and workers of the world who are systematically murdered with the missiles and bombs manufactured here. This is all the more egregious when the United Steelworkers Local 8-495 rather partner with the war corporation BAE Systems at the arsenal to continue their profiteering off every death caused by these weapons versus refusing to aid in the murder of oppressed peoples and fellow workers of the world like the heroic workers in Italy have recently done.
Once again Palestine is under siege by the apartheid state of Israel with the help of BAE Systems as they fire their missiles into Palestinian neighborhoods. At the time this was written the death toll stands close to 200 people in a matter of days, 58 of those deaths are children. As the local Palestinian diaspora rallies in the NRV to speak out against the genocidal actions of Israel many are asking “what can we do here to stop it?” The answer is clear, SHUT DOWN THE ARSENAL! If the apartheid state of Israel has no missiles to fire they have no ability to engage in mass murder.
It is our responsibility as workers of the New River Valley to practice solidarity with oppressed peoples and workers of the world, we have the power to directly disrupt the flow of weapons from the Arsenal to the genocidal regime in Israel. We must stand against BAE Systems and those who ally with them for the sake of greed and put an end to manufacturing the means to murder Palestinians. The environmental impact of the bombs and missiles manufactured at the arsenal have a long lasting negative effect upon the lands and health of the Palestinian people as well as every other people US imperialism wages war on.
Our local economy must not be complicit in unjust wars, workers here should not make a living off the murder of other workers. We can have a just transition for workers employed through the arsenal which will produce socially useful products. Nitrocellulose, the main ingredient manufactured at the arsenal for bombmaking, has many other uses which don’t require killing other workers. We can restrict its manufacturing to non-war purposes only. We can establish a committee of workers and engineers to research uses for the site other than bombmaking. The knowledge base and skills of the local working community is more than enough to create socially useful manufacturing that doesn’t toxify our NRV neighbors or our neighbors in Palestine.
We must extend our concern for the harm caused by the Arsenal beyond the NRV. We must shut down the arsenal and begin an immediate transition away from aiding and abetting genocide in Palestine.
SHUT DOWN THE ARSENAL!
STOP PALESTINIAN GENOCIDE!
THEIR STRUGGLE IS OUR STRUGGLE!
JUST TRANSITION FOR ARSENAL WORKERS NOW!