As I Recall It by Suki Rice

Here’s what happened as I recall it.
Sukie Rice

In April 1976 Linda LeClair (the AFSC staff person in Concord) called  and asked me to come up and do a n-v workshop with some folks who were  considering some actions against building the S. nukes. I did so and we had an evening of discussion and role-playing at a neat vegetarian restaurant.

 There were people there who were questioning whether or not the actions should be purely non-violent in action or philosophy. So we role-played a bunch with people being the demonstrators, some as police and some as the general public watching it on TV. The role-plays proved how essential n-v is to get the message across to not alienate the NH public.

 Then in July Linda called to say the licenses were being given and  people were gathering (at Guy Chichesters in Rye) on Saturday to figure out how to proceed. Elizabeth Boardman and I (Elizabeth was also AFSC and a very long-time Quaker and activist) went up and that was the beginning of the Clamshell, including the name. It was decided early on that the actions would be n-v. and all who participated in civil disobedience had to have training.

 Groups sprang up rapidly but the first group onto the land HAD to be NH residents. So the night before Aug 1 I did a night-time training session with the first 14. It was full of info on jail/personal recog./ no bail info; role plays from which they determined how they wished to proceed, etc. It was intense and they were psyched.

 The model of affinity groups came from n-v training and actions with  anti-war work. I was the only trainer at that time except Frances (Crowe) for the Western Mass group (AFSC). I was able to meet with all groups from RI to Maine, NH and Cambridge, and CT. The sessions were about 4 hours long with hand-outs. After the Aug. 22 action I requested that I could train up new trainers so each state would have people who could share the load. And then we began weekend training-for-trainers workshops and those folks prepared people for the April 30/May 1
 1977 action.
 With the Aug 22 action, the idea of spokes became established. The  training included hecklers, etc. as Diane writes. Also how to live on the land for a number of days. A lot on the legal process so people would be fully prepared and not freak out by their sentence and would stick together. How to go limp. role of support people/food, etc. ( Ah, the days before cell phones. ) I believe the sessions went from one extremely packed 4 hour session to two 4-hour sessions
 that allowed for more contributions. The handbook was essential.

 It was with the 1400 arrests May ’77 that Movement for a New Society (MNS) people came up from Philadelphia and brought their process and wonderful contributions….especially at the Manchester armory. (My n-v training came from people who had been active in the south with SCLC and MLK and through the non-violence movement that grew up with anti-war demonstrations. MNS was a part of that but still new.)

 It was after that that I moved to Maine and became much less active. I just remember being very grateful to all who where devoting  their time toward the non-violence commitment.

Suki Rice was a long-time staff person for American Friends Service Committee in Boston.

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