The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release

Ellen Grady, (607) 279-8303,, Mary Anne Grady Flores, (607) 280-8797,, Jessica Stewart: (207) 266-0919,, Paul Magno, (202) 321-6650, Willa Bickham, Brendan Walsh, (410) 233-0488,, Max Obuszewski, (410) 323-1607,   

50 Years After Catonsville, Kings Bay Plowshares 7

"Resistance needed to end empire" — interviews available. 


On May 17, 1968, anti-Vietnam War activist Catholics, calling themselves the Catonsville Nine entered a draft board in Catonsville, Maryland. The nine took hundreds of draft files, brought them to the parking lot, poured home-made napalm over the files (an incendiary used extensively by the U.S. military in Vietnam), and set them on fire. Approximately 300 similar actions followed across the country until the draft ended in 1973. See website with commemorative events -- -- and recent pieces in the Los Angeles Times and the Baltimore Sun. See trailer of film about the Catonsville Nine and approximately 300 other nation wide draft actions: "Hit and Stay."

The Catonsville Nine included Daniel Berrigan and Philip Berrigan, both deceased. The widow of Philip, Elizabeth McAlister, has been in prison since April 5th, as one of the Kings Bay Plowshares 7 -- see "Seven Catholic plowshares activists entered Kings Bay Naval Submarine Base in St. Mary's, Georgia at dusk on April 4th, 2018. They went to make real the prophet Isaiah's command to 'beat swords into plowshares.'

"The seven, Carmen Trotta, Patrick O'Neill, Martha Hennessy, Liz McAlister, Clare Grady, Fr. Steve Kelly, and Mark Colville, all Catholic Workers, chose to act on the 50th anniversary of the assassination of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., to highlight what King called the 'triplet evils of militarism, racism and materialism.' Carrying hammers and baby bottles of their own blood, the seven attempted to expose and convert the omnicidal weapons of mass destruction. They hoped to call attention to the ways in which Trident nuclear subs and nuclear weapons kill every day, by their mere existence and the cost of their maintenance."

"Kings Bay Naval base opened in 1979 as the Navy's Atlantic Ocean Trident port. It is the largest nuclear submarine base in the world, housing 6 US Tridents, 2 smaller nuclear subs and rents space to British Tridents."

Clare Grady, one of the Kings Bay Plowshares 7 currently imprisoned, is a member of the Ithaca Catholic Worker with her sisters, Teresa, Ellen, and Mary Anne, in N.Y. Their father, John Peter Grady, was apart of the Camden 28, a group of Catholic left anti-Vietnam War activists acquitted after executing a raid on a Camden, New Jersey draft board. Ellen spoke at the opening event commemorating the Catonsville Nine's action earlier this month in Maryland.

She said today: "Clare is the mother of two daughters. Her husband Paul works with the local community kitchen. She and the other activists are facing four Federal charges, including most dangerously, conspiracy. They've been in jail for six weeks with no bail and they've been all been separated now. Their next hearing is Thursday, May 17th." See piece on the action in the National Catholic Reporter. Clare Grady wrote from jail, "The Trident and all nuclear weapons are the cocked gun held to the head of the planet. These omnicidal weapons embody all 3 of the triplets Dr. King spoke of, seeking global dominance for resources. This always has a racial dimension effecting people of color. Black, Brown, Indigenous Peoples are always on the receiving end of deadly force as empire seeks to maintain its global dominance."

"We must encourage each other to be the resistance needed to end empire. The U.S. government is gearing up to spend over a trillions of dollars on more nuclear weapons." said her sister, Mary Anne. "And the U.S. government's ongoing airwars, like lethal and illegal use of MQ9 Reaper drones over Afghanistan and elsewhere is another continual killing many are blind to." See the the The Bureau of Investigative Journalism's page on drone warfare.

In Baltimore: Bickham and Walsh run the Viva House in Baltimore, which they founded shortly before the Catonsville Nine action and provided support for the that action 50 years ago. See piece in America magazine Max Obuszewski is with the Baltimore Nonviolence Center, which has been involved in the Catonsville Nine commemberations and organizing recent protests at the headquarters of the National Security Agency nearby.