Friday, December 25, 2020

Ulster County's weapons contractor expands

Woodstock's weapons contracting business is booming as the rest of the economy struggles. Should we change our priorities and support peaceful, green manufacturing instead of yet more weapons production? After all, we know that peaceful, green manufacturing creates more jobs (per $ invested) than military contracting.

Empire State Development Announces Completion of Ametek Rotron Expansion In Ulster County

"Ametek Rotron has completed its $2 million expansion in Woodstock, Ulster County. As part of this project, the company has committed to creating 15 new full-time jobs. Ametek Rotron specializes in high-performance fans for the defense and commercial aviation industries, working with companies like Lockheed Martin, Raytheon, and Northrop Grumman, and other high-end electronic users. ... The project will increase the manufacturing capability of the current facility by 30% and will allow the company to expand into advanced and additive manufacturing arena." [sic]

So once again our tax dollars (in this case, $604,000 of our state taxes) are going to support the expansion of the military-industrial complex rather than creating peaceful, green jobs.

Local politicians chimed in:

Assemblymember Kevin A. Cahill: "I am proud to have supported the funding that led to this much-anticipated project coming to fruition.” 

Ulster County Executive Patrick K. Ryan: "We are proud to have Ametek Rotron as an important part of the Ulster County community."

Woodstock Supervisor Bill McKenna: “I am glad to see this addition to Ametek Rotron.”

It's a pity none of them has a word to say about Rotron's supplying parts for all major US weapons systems including nuclear missiles, and to prominent human rights violators such as Saudi Arabia and Israel. Nor about Rotron's long history of poisoning the wells, groundwater and soil of local homes with the toxic byproducts of its weapons components manufacturing.

Monday, June 29, 2020

Kathy Kelly on the need for a peace economy

From Counterpunch

" ... The time for manufacturing of weapons of war has passed as a viable industry for our nation, despite the way some of our political leadership clings to economies of the past. The global pandemic emphasizes for us all the interconnectivity of our global society and the folly, wastefulness, and moral failure of war in all forms. We must transform facilities like BIW [Bath Iron Works, Maine, maker of Aegis naval weapons systems] and Marinette [Fincantieri Marinette Marine shipyard, Wisconsin, maker of warships for the Pentagon and Saudi Arabia, visited by Trump on June 25] into hubs of manufacturing for solutions to the climate crisis, including public transportation, resources for the creation of renewable energy, and disaster-response vessels.

Building clean energy systems would generate up to 50% more jobs than making arms systems according to research by leading economists. The two biggest security threats to the United States are currently the climate crisis and COVID-19. The Pentagon’s contractors have long contributed to the climate crisis, and the time for conversion is now. ..."

Read Kathy Kelly's full article

Saturday, May 2, 2020

Woodstock's Biggest Business Is War

Local residents joined the international May Day Strike by gathering at the entrance to the local military contractor (Woodstock's largest employer) with posters urging Rotron to manufacture materials for life not death.

Saturday, April 18, 2020

Ventilators for national security?

Woodstock's own weapons contractor is still open as an "Essential Business" under the category of "defense and national security-related operations". What if, instead of making yet more components for weapons of war, it turned to making something much more crucial to our national security at this moment -- ventilators? Or at least, components for ventilators? As a company whose main products are sophisticated air-moving devices and electronic equipment, it might seem they were well placed to help with this urgent need.

Thursday, April 9, 2020

A portal into the next world

Arundhati Roy in the Financial Times:

"Historically, pandemics have forced humans to break with the past and imagine their world anew. This one is no different. It is a portal, a gateway between one world and the next.

We can choose to walk through it, dragging the carcasses of our prejudice and hatred, our avarice, our data banks and dead ideas, our dead rivers and smoky skies behind us. Or we can walk through lightly, with little luggage, ready to imagine another world. And ready to fight for it."

Sunday, March 22, 2020

Delgado takes time to call for more F-35s in the midst of the coronavirus crisis

In this moment of unprecedented social and fiscal crisis, Rep. Antonio Delgado is among the members of Congress who have taken the time to sign a letter calling on the Federal government to fund even more F-35s than the Pentagon had requested. These boondoggle planes won't fight the coronavirus -- indeed they will be useless in any actual war situation too -- and will take badly needed funding away from providing help for the overwhelming needs of individuals and institutions as we try to face and recover from this crisis and the economic crash that it's bringing.

We urge you to contact Rep. Delgado and tell him to reconsider his position and put pressing human and social needs first.