Peace boat Golden Rule sets sail to complete trip started 60 years ago to Marshall Islands

Crew of the pro-peace vessel says our future is at stake

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The clouds parted to shed light on the Golden Rule, the iconic peace promoting vessel as it left Humboldt Bay this morning.

The crew set off to complete a journey to the Marshall Islands which began nearly 60 years ago. In 1958, the Golden Rule’s crew attempted to sail to the Marshall Islands to disrupt U.S. nuclear testing — but they did not make it. They were stopped by the U.S. Coast Guard and brought back to a Honolulu jail. Some time later the vessel sank in Humboldt Bay. The ship was pulled up in 2010, and underwent an intensive five-year restoration.

Today, a new crew carries on the same anti-nuclear pro-peace message in a world which they say is teetering on the edge of a nuclear disaster.

The crew and supporters of the Golden Rule on the morning of its departure for the Peace in the Pacific tour.

“If we don’t get rid of nukes, we are intentionally or unintentionally going to have a nuclear incident,” said Helen Jaccard, project manager and crew member of the Golden Rule.

The launch from Humboldt Bay marks the beginning of a three year  “Peace in the Pacific” tour to Hawaii, the Marshall Islands, Guam, Okinawa, Korea and Japan. The revival of the Golden Rule parallels what Jaccard says is a resurgence of anti-nuke, anti-war, and pro-peace movements. Jaccard said during their journey, they will work to connect with other movements.

According to Jaccard, the anti-nuclear pro-peace movement is vital to the survival of humanity. Even a limited nuclear exchange, he said, “would result in a nuclear autumn in the Northern Hemisphere making it impossible to grow crops. Billions of people will starve.”

Mike Hackett, a Vietnam combat veteran, said he believes in the mission of the Golden Rule.

“We need to avoid resorting to militarism,” Hackett said.

Instead of defaulting to aggressive militarized responses during conflict, Hackett said, we need to prioritize diplomatic communication. He sees the Golden Rule as a way to embody that philosophy while sharing it with the world.

Hackett became involved with the Golden Rule after joining Veterans for Peace, the primary organization behind the revival of the Golden Rule.

“I needed healing,” Hackett said. “For me, the Golden Rule is cathartic.”

Hackett will be joining the crew of the Golden Rule when they arrive in San Francisco on Friday and will dock for three days, according to their website. During this time, Golden Rule crewmembers be doing various forms of public outreach, according to Hackett. Continuing on, the ship will make several stops along the coast of California and will arrive in San Diego in early October. From there, the Golden Rule will sail west into the Pacific.

“It’s more important than ever to let the public know about the danger of nuclear weapons, which is why we’re going to the Marshall Islands,” said Gerry Condon, the national president of Veteran for Peace.

Condon said the public will be able to follow the progress of the Golden Rule in real time by visiting https://share.delorme.com/goldenrule .

To bring attention to the voyage of the Golden Rule, a festival titled “Against the Wind” will be held from Oct. 14-19 with events at the Arcata Playhouse and Humboldt State University.

Philip Santos can be reached at 707-441-0506.

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