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ATK Summer Blow-Out Sale in Santa Barbara

by Megan Barnes & Will Parrish Friday, Sep. 07, 2007 at 2:11 PM
wparrish@riseup.net

The sidewalk in front of the downtown Santa Barbara office of Alliant Techsystems (ATK), a leading US war profiteer and the US government's primary supplier of depleted uranium munitions, was the site of an end-of-the-summer "blow-out sale" on August 20th.

ATK Summer Blow-Out ...
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The sidewalk in front of the downtown Santa Barbara office of Alliant Techsystems (ATK), a leading US war profiteer and the US government's primary supplier of depleted uranium munitions, was the site of an end-of-the-summer "blow-out sale" on August 20th.

For over three hours, more than 30 ATK "salespeople" individually informed passersby about the weapons being created and supported in their community. Shouts of “Bomb Globally, Buy Locally!” “WMDs for All Your Needs!” and “Bombs Are Dropping While You’re Shopping!” rang throughout the afternoon, as well as mock auctions for cluster bombs and radiation rays.

The guerilla theater-based action was part of the August 16-19 Think Outside the Bomb national conference at the University of California, Santa Barbara. Think Outside the Bomb is a network of anti-nuclear, anti-war, social justice, and eco activists -- and many who identify in various other ways -- who come together based on a common interest in nuclear abolition. It was the third conference in as many years to occur in Santa Barbara, the home of an increasingly vibrant anti-imperialist community of organizers and activists.

A local activist posing as an ATK employee named “D. Pleted-Uranium” said the response of shoppers was relatively positive. “The tactic is lighthearted and goofy, so they are more receptive.”

Although real ATK employees peered out their windows anxiously and police arrived eager to deliver citations, none of the participants were arrested and little could be done to minimize the commotion.

The Truth commercial-like action literally left a mark on State Street. A potted sunflower which decorated the stage during Think Outside the Bomb was brought to the action and transplanted by supportive landscape workers to a planter on the curb, where it sits discretely amidst towering flowers.

Participants spent time planning the action for all four days during the conference. In support of the action, Think Outside the Bomb offered direct action training with the Ruckus Society. During these breakout sessions, participants spent time focusing on definitions of direct action, roles, goals and demands, and planned actions for hypothetical scenarios. These exercises served not only as practice, but as a launching pad for the ATK action a few days later.

Spiral Q Puppet Theatre, of Philadelphia, held daily workshops for activists to learn how to use art in public demonstrations. Participants brainstormed ideas for the ATK action, such as constructing fake grenade bombs and fat cats whose pupils were glazed with dollar signs. One student suggested changing ATK to stand for “armed to kill.”

“I've never been in a group that's been able to generate something this creatively on a consensus basis,” said Jonathan Williams, National Director of Student Peace Action Network (SPAN), who attended the workshops.

As its name suggests, Think Outside the Bomb enabled activists to step outside the stream of their normal lives to discuss pressing issues that are often hidden and suppressed. By collaborating with others and realizing their connection to movements for peace, ecological balance, social justice, and nuclear abolition, activists were rejuvenated and inspired to bring back knowledge from the conference to their local communities, and to those still in “the box” that is mainstream society.

Significantly, ATK's Santa Barbara office is located in the midst of one of the most popular shopping malls in a city that is, to much of the outside world, defined by its consumerism. The ATK "blow-out" sale was the first of perhaps many similar actions that will take place in the months to come, as local organizers continue to mobilize to demilitarize their community, as a step toward ending the rule of global imperialism.

For more information on Think Outside the Bomb, see www.thinkoutsidethebomb.org. For more on localized resistance to militarism in Santa Barbara, see www.sbantiwar.org.

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ATK Action 1

by Megan Barnes & Will Parrish Friday, Sep. 07, 2007 at 2:11 PM
wparrish@riseup.net

ATK Action 1...
p1010002.jpg, image/jpeg, 500x375

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ATK Action 2

by Megan Barnes & Will Parrish Friday, Sep. 07, 2007 at 2:11 PM
wparrish@riseup.net

ATK Action 2...
atkb.jpg, image/jpeg, 500x375

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ATK Action 3

by Megan Barnes & Will Parrish Friday, Sep. 07, 2007 at 2:11 PM
wparrish@riseup.net

ATK Action 3...
p1010004.jpg, image/jpeg, 500x375

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ATK Action 4

by Megan Barnes & Will Parrish Friday, Sep. 07, 2007 at 2:11 PM
wparrish@riseup.net

ATK Action 4...
atka.jpg, image/jpeg, 500x375

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ATK Action 5

by Megan Barnes & Will Parrish Friday, Sep. 07, 2007 at 2:11 PM
wparrish@riseup.net

ATK Action 5...
p1010010.jpg, image/jpeg, 375x500

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ATK Action 6

by Megan Barnes & Will Parrish Friday, Sep. 07, 2007 at 2:11 PM
wparrish@riseup.net

ATK Action 6...
set_8_041.jpg, image/jpeg, 500x375

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ATK Action 7

by Megan Barnes & Will Parrish Friday, Sep. 07, 2007 at 2:11 PM
wparrish@riseup.net

ATK Action 7...
set_8_044.jpg, image/jpeg, 500x375

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ATK Action 8

by Megan Barnes & Will Parrish Friday, Sep. 07, 2007 at 2:11 PM
wparrish@riseup.net

ATK Action 8...
atkc.jpg, image/jpeg, 500x375

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ATK Action 9

by Megan Barnes & Will Parrish Friday, Sep. 07, 2007 at 2:11 PM
wparrish@riseup.net

ATK Action 9...
atkd.jpg, image/jpeg, 700x525

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