Another Boeing Is Possible
- (remarks prepared by John M Repp for the Sunday, September 29, 2019
- People’s Town Hall on Nuclear Weapons, Seattle)
Boeing is a key part of the U. S. military industrial complex, making and maintaining nuclear weapon delivery vehicles and guidance systems. Boeing will maintain the Minuteman III nuclear weapon carrying intercontinental ballistic missiles until 2030. Boeing also produces the guided tail kit for the new B61-12 nuclear gravity bomb. Boeing makes key components for US and UK Trident II (D5) nuclear weapons[i].
A few years after the 1973 energy crisis in the U.S. when there were shortages of oil and huge waiting lines at gas stations, Boeing won a contract from the Federal Government to design, build and test large wind turbines. I worked at Boeing during that time, and I watched the fabrication of a huge windmill in the building next to the machine shop in Seattle where I worked. It was the same building where thousands of B-17 bombers were built during World War II. About the same time Boeing engineers developed and the company patented more efficient solar cells that generated electricity from the infrared as well as the visible spectrum. After the energy crisis was over, Boeing sold the patent on those efficient solar cells. And Boeing got out of the wind turbine business in the late 1980’s.
The example from the energy crisis of the 1970’s shows us that if Congress decides to fund a Green New Deal and commits to the transition to wind and solar on the scale needed to deal with our climate catastrophe, much of the military-industrial complex can be converted into a green industrial complex. It is up to Congress. Boeing will work on whatever it can make a profit on.
Finally and most important, if history is any guide, a massive movement of nonviolent direct action will be needed to push Congress to commit to meeting most of the electrical power demand in the United States through clean, renewable, and zero-emission energy sources.