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Women Against Military Madness annual walk against weapons targets Lockheed Martin

By Sarah Martin

WAMM protest weapons makers that arm apartheid Israel.  | Fight Back! News/Kim DeFranco

St. Paul, MN – On Saturday, June 1, Women Against Military Madness (WAMM) members had their 17th annual Walk Against Weapons of War. The day was sunny as 125 WAMM members and supporters rallied at Langford Park within a residential community. They then continued with a march to Forward Edge ASIC, a subsidiary of Lockheed Martin.

This yearly walk initially protested Alliant Techsystem Inc., a Honeywell spinoff of its defense businesses. In the 1970s and ‘80s, Honeywell was the target of massive local protests because of its production of cluster bombs.

Continuing with this tradition, WAMM focused their walk against Lockheed Martin, the largest weapons manufacturer in the world. With record profits in 2023, Lockheed Martin is a glaring example of the health of our nation's war machine. The State Department reported that sales of U.S. military equipment to foreign governments in 2023 rose to $238 billion. Lockheed Martin’s F-35 fighter jets, sent to Israel, are being used to indiscriminately bomb Palestinian citizens, killing and displacing 90% of the population of Gaza, predominantly women and children.

Robyn Harbison, WAMM director, emceed the program in the park before the march and welcomed the people, “Lockheed Martin clearly makes money from the mayhem and misery of war, and takes from humanity the possibility of having world peace. That is why it is our duty to fight back! It’s our duty to fight for the freedom and safety of all people, including Gazans and all those terrorized by the U.S. military.”

Anna Madison, member of new WAMM committee, Families Against Military Madness (FAMM), spoke at the rally, emphasizing the role of arms makers, “While our fellow parents and caregivers in Gaza are left to collect the only remaining pieces of their children and loved ones after they’ve been desecrated by bullets and bombs; the employees and shareholders can rest easy knowing that each dead body represents a new profit opportunity. So, when you hear over and over that ‘no one wins a war,’ one only needs to watch Lockheed’s stock price to see who the clear winner is.”

Holding banners reading, “Women Against Military Madness, Walk Against Weapons” and “No MN money for weapons manufacturers,” the activists took to the streets, marching to Lockheed. On the route, Harbison led the marchers in chants like “Killing children is a crime!” “Free free Palestine!” and “Lockheed, Lockheed we know you, bombing Gaza is what you do!“

As the marchers continued taking the streets, bystanders and shop merchants saw the activists waving Palestinian flags and carrying signs, “Forward Edge ASIC = merchant of death,” “No tax dollars for Lockheed Martin,” “Free Palestine” and “Let Gaza Llve.”

Finally, the marchers gathered in front of the ForwardEdge ASIC main entrance. Mike Runyon, representing Students for Justice at Normandale Community College, spoke to the crowd, reminding them, “This is the United States’ genocide. It belongs to Joe Biden, and the presidents that came before him. From Harry Truman and on, this is about the American empire. Joe Biden put it best himself as a senator in 1986. ‘[Supporting Israel] is the best $3 billion investment we make. If there were not an Israel, the United States of America would have to invent an Israel to protect her interests in the region.’”

Before the march returned to the park, people went to the war profiteers’ front door and placed articles of children’s clothes with a piece of paper attached to them saying, “Representing a child killed in Gaza by U.S. weaponry.”

As chants rang out on the way back to the park, marchers were joined by children and youth from a nearby Tibetan cultural school, where their voices were clearly heard throughout the neighborhood, chanting “Free Palestine!” They were excited in joining the march for the children of Gaza and the liberation of Palestine.

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