Cruise Missile Conversion Project (CMCP)
The Cruise Missile Conversion Project was a dedicated group of women and men committed in 1980-1981 to resisting Canadian militarism. They chose as their focus the Rexdale, Ontario manufacturing plant operated by Litton Systems Canada. This American branch-plant, under the terms of a $1.2 billion contract, was involved in creating the navigational “brain” for the cruise missile – a “first strike” weapon in the U.S. war arsenal.
CMCP organized marches and demonstrations at the Rexdale plant, and also tried to engage the plant’s workers in stopping the production of the war software and hardware. Many times the CMCP members waited at the plant gate to talk with the workers about disarmament and to provide copies of the CMCP newsletter, entitled Jobs and Peace. Their focus was the fact that jobs need not be lost if the plant could be converted to manufacturing beneficial to society, instead of weapons of mass murder.
CMCP also encouraged the Litton System Canada workers to unionize in order to better their own prospects, although CMCP members also held a long-term vision of worker-owned companies and worker self-management. CMCP was clearly committed to class issues and labour issues, seeing them as key to dismantling militarism. Engagement in disarmament issues also included a deep questioning of the patriarchy and its values, and CMCP incorporated a feminist stance in its ongoing critique.
CMCP was one of more than 100 local organizations involved in the Toronto Disarmament Network.
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