Hiroshima/Nagasaki Events

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Nuclear weapons must never again be used against any nation under any circumstance. The tragic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki have given us insights into the devastating effects that nuclear weapons can have. In recognition of the 70th anniversary of the bombings, Peace Action and its affiliates will be holding events, vigils, and screenings of Nuclear Savage throughout New York State. See below for all events in New York State this August.

Conversations with Jim Anderson: Lawrence Wittner

Aug 04, 2015 from 12:00 PM to 1:00 PM
wufoam.com,

Larry Wittner will be on radio ‘Conversations with Jim Anderson’ which airs every Tuesday on WUFO 1080AM and can be listened to at wufoam.com (click listen live). He will discuss history of nuclear arms control & disarmament, role played by Peace Movement, where nuclear disarmament stands today,, the recent agreement with Iran, and extended invitation to attend his talk in Buffalo on Aug. 6th.

On Tuesday, August 11th Kevin Martin, Peace Action (National) will be on the show.

Nuclear Savage (2011) Writer and director Adam Jonas Horowitz

Aug 04, 2015 from 6:00 PM to 7:45 PM
Upper Hudson Peace Action Presents “Nuclear Savage”
Niskayuna Public Library, 2400 Nott St. E., Schenectady

Nuclear Savage (2011) Writer and director Adam Jonas Horowitz

http://www.nuclearsavage.com/ Featuring recently declassified U.S. government documents, survivor testimony, and unseen archival footage, Nuclear Savage uncovers one of the most troubling chapters in modern American history: how Marshall Islanders, considered an uncivilized culture, were deliberately used as human guinea pigs to study the effects of nuclear fallout on human beings.

Sponsored by Schenectady Neighbors for Peace. Information: elaineklein@hotmail.com

All films are free and open to the public.

Peace Gathering to Commemorate the 70th anniversary of Hiroshima & Nagasaki

Aug 05, 2015 from 12:00 PM to 2:00 PM
Peace Gathering to Commemorate the 70th anniversary of Hiroshima & Nagasaki
Japanese Consulate, 299 Park Avenue, 48th st and Park Ave, New York
Please join us, Wednesday August 5th, 12 noon, Japanese Consulate, 299 Park Avenue, 48th and Park Ave, NYC, to commemorate the 70th Anniversary of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, apologize for the catastrophic bombing of those cities, present a letter to the Japanese government supporting the people’s struggle to keep their peace constitution, reject US pressures on Japan to join its military alliance, give up the US nuclear umbrella and sign the Humanitarian Pledge, now supported by 113 non-nuclear nations to fill the legal gap for nuclear disarmament by banning and prohibiting nuclear weapons just as the world has done for biological and chemical weapons.

Upper Hudson Peace Action Presents “Message From Hiroshima”
Aug 05, 2015 from 7:00 PM to 8:45 PM
Upper Hudson Peace Action Presents “Message From Hiroshima”
Bethlehem Public Library, 451 Delaware Ave, Delmar

Message From Hiroshima (2015) Director, Masaaki Tanabe; narrator,George Takaei http://www.cinemalibrestudio.com/message-from-hiroshima/ This documentary provides an inside look at the devastating effects of the first atomic bomb dropped, as depicted in testimonials from survivors, and computer-generated recreations of the city and way of life that were lost.
Sponsored by Upper Hudson Peace Action Information: elaineklein@hotmail.com
All films are free and open to the public.

Annual GVCP Hiroshima/Nagasaki Candlelight Vigil

Aug 05, 2015 from 7:30 PM
Annual GVCP Hiroshima/Nagasaki Candlelight Vigil
Avon Traffic Circle, Routes 5 & 20, Avon, NY
This yearly event—our 41st year—is a very powerful, moving public statement of our dedication to peace and nuclear disarmament. This year is the 70th anniversary of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Please join us, and bring a friend! Note: Before the vigil, at 6:00 PM, some GVCP members will gather at Tom Wahl’s restaurant, 283 East Main St. (Routes 5 & 20) in Avon for a snack. All welcome!

Albany Reading of John Hersey’s “Hiroshima”

Aug 06, 2015 from 11:00 AM to 1:30 PM
Albany Reading of John Hersey’s “Hiroshima”
Townsend Park, Henry Johnson Blvd. & Central Ave., Albany, NY

The event is free and open to the public and the public is encouraged to join in the reading. Those interested in reading can sign up to participate when they arrive. Please bring folding chairs. Rain site is the Social Justice Center, 33 Central Ave., Albany.

On August 6, 1945 the United States of America used the atomic bomb for the first time to destroy the city of Hiroshima, Japan; on August 9, the U.S. used the atomic bomb again on Nagasaki, Japan. Over 200,000 people died immediately in the two bombings and over a hundred thousand more died in the following decades as a result of the effects of the radiation.
Hiroshima by John Hersey tells the story of the bombing on August 6, 1945 by following the story of six of the survivors. The book version has been in print since 1946.
Co-sponsored by the Poetry Motel Foundation, the Tom Paine Chapter Veterans for Peace, Upper Hudson Peace Action. For more information contact Dan Wilcox, 482-0262, dwlcx@earthlink.net.

Syracuse Annual Hiroshima Day Dramatic Procession

Aug 06, 2015 from 12:00 PM to 1:00 PM
Syracuse Annual Hiroshima Day Dramatic Procession
City Hall Commons, 201 E. Washington St, Syracuse, NY
Join us for our annual recommitment to nuclear disarmament. This year, along with Peace Action of CNY, we will ask our representatives in Congress and the Senate to defund nuclear weapons programs in favor of funding humans needs in the US.

Schenectady Peace Walk To Commemorate Atomic Bombings

Aug 06, 2015 from 5:00 PM
Schenectady Peace Walk To Commemorate Atomic Bombings
First Reformed Church N. Church St in the Schenectady Stockade, N. Church St, Schenectady, NY
Peace Walk To Commemorate Atomic Bombings

Schenectady Neighbors for Peace will mark the 70th anniversary of the U.S. atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki by gathering Aug. 6, beginning at 5 p.m. when we will gather at the First Reformed
Church on N. Church St in the Schenectady Stockade.

In front of the peace pole, we will share prayers, poems and song. We
will proceed to the next 6 peace poles in Schenectady, stopping at
each one for 10 minutes to remember the Japanese victims of the
nuclear bombings and to share our hope for worldwide nuclear
disarmament.

The walk proceeds to the First Methodist Church on State St, Union
College’s Jackson Gardens, the First Unitarian Universalist Church on
Wendell Ave, the Kateri Tekawitha Church on Upper Union St, the Temple Gates of Heaven on Ashmore Ave, and concludes at the peace pole in Central Park, on the hill near the Rose Garden.

We invite all concerned citizens to join us, and we encourage
congregants and leaders of these sites to meet us at the peace poles
and share thoughts or prayers with us.

“The Peace Pole project was begun in Japan as a grassroots community
project in 1975 and has grown into an international movement. It is
estimated there are 200,000 Peace Poles in the world. The message on
them, written in several languages, is May Peace Prevail On Earth.
They are recognized as the most prominent international symbol and
monument to peace.” – www.peacepoleproject.org

Hiroshima Day: The WNY Peace Center Present Lawrence Wittner

Aug 06, 2015 from 7:00 PM
Hiroshima Day: The WNY Peace Center Present Lawrence Wittner
Network of Religious Communities, 1272 Delaware Avenue, Buffalo, New York
Lawrence Wittner is Professor of History emeritus at SUNY Albany. He began his career as a peace activist in the fall of 1961,
when he and other college students picketed the White House in an attempt to block resumption of U.S. nuclear weapons testing. Since then, he has participated in a great many peace movement ventures, and has served as president of the Peace History Society, as convener of the Peace History Commission of the International
Peace Research Association, and as a national board member of Peace Action, the largest grassroots peace organization in the United States.

In addition, he has been active in the racial equality and labor movements, and is currently executive secretary of the Albany County Central Federation of Labor, AFL-CIO. A former co-editor of the journal, Peace & Change, he is also the author or editor of thirteen books, including Rebels Against War, The Biographical Dictionary of Modern Peace Leaders, Peace Action, Working for Peace and Justice, and the award-winning trilogy, The Struggle Against the Bomb. His hundreds of published articles and book reviews have appeared in journals, magazines, newspapers around the world. He has given lectures about peace and disarmament in dozens of nations, and has spoken about such issues at the Norwegian Nobel Institute and at the United Nations. “How Peace Activists Saved the World from Nuclear War.” The WNY Peace Center presents Lawrence Wittner.
WNYPC Telephone: 716 332-3904 – WNYPC.org

Peace Action of Staten Island Presents “Nuclear Savage”

Aug 06, 2015 from 7:00 PM to 9:00 PM
Peace Action of Staten Island Presents “Nuclear Savage”
Staten Island Museum, 75 Stuyvesant Place, Staten Island
Featuring recently declassified U.S. government documents, survivor testimony, and unseen archival footage, Nuclear Savage uncovers one of the most troubling chapters in modern American history: how Marshall Islanders, considered an uncivilized culture, were enrolled as human subjects in the top-secret Project 4.1 to study the effects of nuclear fallout on human beings. The film follows the islanders today as they continue to fight for justice and acknowledgement of what was done to them.
Suggested donation $5. Light refreshments.

This screening is part of the commemoration of the 70th anniversary of the A-bomb attacks on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, sponsored by Peace Action of Staten Island and Social Justice Committee of the Unitarian Church of Staten Island.

For more information contact pasi.contact@gmail.com or leave a message at 718-989-2881.

Long Island Hiroshima Commemoration with Amy Goodman

Aug 06, 2015 from 7:30 PM
Long Island Hiroshima Commemoration with Amy Goodman
Unitarian Universalist Congregation at Shelter Rock, 48 Shelter Rock Road, Manhasset, NY
Great Neck SANE/Peace Action, Long Island Alliance for Peaceful Alternatives and Social Justice Committee of the Unitarian Universalist Congregation at Shelter Rock invite you to join us for an EVENING OF REMEMBRANCE, RESISTANCE and ENGAGEMENT

Special Guest Speaker: AMY GOODMAN, Award-winning journalist and host of DemocracyNow

Music by WILLOW, Women’s Acapella Group
Conducted by Farah Chandu

Refreshments

Everyone welcome. Contributions voluntary.

For info: Great Neck Sane Peace Action,516-487-3786
LI Alliance, 516-741-4360 or UUCSR 472-2980

Bay Ridge Hiroshima Day Commemoration Walk and Vigil

Aug 08, 2015 from 1:30 PM to 3:00 PM
Bay Ridge Hiroshima Day Commemoration Walk and Vigil
Assembly Point, 4th Ave and 96th Street, Brooklyn, NY
ASSEMBLE ON 4TH AVE. BETWEEN 96TH & 97TH ST.
SOLEMN MARCH TO FOURTH AVE. & SHORE RD.
SILENT VIGIL FROM 2:00 PM TO 3:00 PM
Peace Action Bay Ridge Interfaith Peace Coalition
P.O. Box 090-756, Brooklyn, NY 11209-0756
peaceactionbayridge@yahoo.com; www.panys.org/BR
(646) 824-5506

Peace Action of Staten Island Sponsors 70th Anniversary Hiroshima-Nagasaki – Honoring the Hibakusha

Aug 09, 2015 from 11:00 AM to 1:30 PM
Peace Action of Staten Island Sponsors 70th Anniversary Hiroshima-Nagasaki – Honoring the Hibakusha
Unitarian Church of Staten Island Parish Hall, 312 Fillmore Street, Staten Island
Interactive Learning Stations for Adults and Children
Music by Young Musicians of Staten Island
Participatory Stories of the Hibakusha (the Survivors)
Light refreshments
Child care available
Sponsored by Peace Action of Staten Island, Social Justice Committee of the Unitarian Church of Staten Island, ISLA
To volunteer or for more information email pasi.contact@gmail or call Sally 917-362-0897

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DRAWING BLOOD FROM A STONE: EASIER THAN BUILDING AN ECONOMY FROM GREEK OLIVES: A THOUGHT PIECE

The financial exploitation of Greece in recent years and Greece’s possible alignment with Russia have raised the question of whether Greece should remain in the Eurozone, take a temporary leave from the Eurozone, or be outright exiled from the EU. Allowing Greece’s GDP to become increasingly uplifted by German contributions only exacerbates relations with more powerful EU member-states, does not enforce accountability upon Greece, and further drive Greece towards economic relations with Russia.

Allowing Greece to remain within the Eurozone raises the issue of moral hazard, or when a country engages in high-risk behaviors with the knowledge that another state or organization will bear the brunt of the reaction. Greece’s continued employment of high-risk financial practices with bailouts from “lenders of last resort” such as the IMF only conditions the Greek government to continue its behavior. This is because even if organizations such as the World Bank deem further economic action as “unsustainable, Greece will be able to secure short-term funding to continue operating its banks and make minimal payments on already outstanding and maturing debts.  For persons within Greece, banking restrictions and other financial austerities still apply.

A Greek exit from the Eurozone, and a presumed return to the Drachma (the Greek currency before Greece entered the Eurozone), would relieve the Eurozone and the EU of many of the stresses caused by constant Greek loaning and the draconian repayment conditions that went with each loan, but could cause “shock therapy” in Greece’s already struggling economy. Shock therapy by exiting the Eurozone would cause Greece to endure the liquidation of many small business’ and personal assets, the possibility of at least a month of unpaid wages, and transferring local government funds to the central bank to maintain infrastructure.  However, Greece would be allowed to stay in the EU, which has geopolitical implications that would be disastrous if Greece were to be exiled from the EU.

A Greek exile from the EU would have massive trade implications for the EU. Not only would Greece be forced to endure shock therapy, but the possibility of Russia opening trade relations with Greece would ensue. Greece has already shown interest in joining the Eurasian Economic Union, an economic union comprised of Russia, Krgyzstan, Kazakhstan, Belarus, and Armenia, and has signed a 2 billion Euro economic treaty with Russia that would build a Gazprom pipeline from Russia to Greece.  A Greek exile would open up Mediterranean and Balkan ports to Russia, and allow for Russia to extend its economic sphere of influence further into Europe via a common Orthodox religion. Lastly, a Greek exile would be disastrous to weaker EU states because if Greece turns on the EU and NATO and aligns with Russia (and by extension provides ports, telecommunications, and other support), precedent would be set for other bailed out states such as Portugal and Spain to leave the EU due to lack of economic strength, and potentially compromise the EU’s economic legitimacy.

Allowing Germany to continue its economic colonization of Greece is exploitative to an economically weak state that had previously aided in canceling out half of Germany’s World War II debts in 1953. Conversely, excusing all of Greece’s debts sets a dangerous precedent that a country can behave with wanton disregard to contract law and the binding nature of treaties. Greece’s desire to engage in closer economic relations towards Russia, and Russia’s desire to gain improved access to Greece’s ports in the Mediterranean is a sign that Greece perceives itself as no longer welcome in the EU, and possibly NATO, and Russia is more than willing to expand its fledgling economic union into the west. Cancelling out Greece’s debts with the condition that Greece voluntarily leaves the Eurozone would reciprocate the forgiveness that Greece showed Germany, while allowing Greece to endure economic reforms without further hindering the legitimacy of the European Union. A fresh start provides Greece an incentive to reduce further relations with Russia, but also to show that while the EU will use economic force when necessary, it is to promote economic reform rather than economic recidivism and colonization.

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CYBERWAR AND THE NUCLEAR RISK

hydrogen bomb

Nuclear weapons and powerplants possess various risks to the general population such as radioactive fallout mutating and killing flora and fauna as radiation is emitted into the atmosphere and contacts plants and animalsi. Nuclear weapons cause this damage through fallout that exists as radioactive particles enter the atmosphereii, while nuclear powerplants possess risks through both natural disasters such as earthquakes and tsunamisiii, mechanical faults during testingiv. Cyberwarfare is a method in which attacks are launched by states or non-state actors through the use of personal computers and offshore serversv in order to compromise another state’s infrastructure. Cyberattacks have already been used to compromise the Natanz nuclear facility’s centrifuges in Iranvi, creating a proof-of-concept that cyberattacks can be used to attack nuclear facilities in “undesired” nuclear states. Additionally, cyberattacks have been used by large states as a replacement for war in NATO member-statesvii because NATO affords collective security under Article 5 of its charter. Cyberattacks have also been used in “hybrid warfare,” where they are used in conjunction with traditional attacks to further weaken the attacked state.viii For nuclear weapons that are already used in attacks, this opens a new means of compromising the mechanisms that control these weapons and prevent catastrophic failures of protection mechanism.

By analyzing the role of cyberattacks on nuclear weapons mechanisms and nuclear powerplants, this entry will demonstrate how cyberwarfare is a legitimate threat against the computer systems that control many of the nuclear power and weapons facilities throughout the world. Using the attack on Stuxnet as a proof-of-concept, I will demonstrate that attacks, should they go unchecked by security organizations, can have worldwide implications far greater than imagined by the general population. Thus, this entry shows that there is more to worry about than merely traditional attacks or mechanical failure, but rather an encrypted attack that is nearly impossible to trace.

Read more

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Judithpalooza! Photos – 4/27/15

 

DSCN0787-003
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Peace And Planet- April 24-26, 2015


Peace and Planet Poster-Ad

Peace & Planet

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The US / Iran Nuclear Agreement

iran-nuclear-weapons

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Image Source: http://www.somalilandpress.com/somalilanda-nuclear-armed-iran-would-transcend-the-confines-of-the-middle-east/

On April 2, 2015, the United States, along with the United Kingdom, France, Russia, China, Germany, and the European Union, reached a deal with Iran that would severely restrict their ability to produce nuclear resources solely for power-generation purposes. This unified effort of all of the permanent members of the UN Security Council, as well as Germany and the EU, resulted in the reversion of Iran’s nuclear production to first-generation methods, reduce centrifuges by two-thirds, and reduce Iran’s stockpile of low-enriched uranium (less than 3.67% U-235 by concentration) by 97% over the next 15 years (among many other sanctions upon Iran). While this is a first step in preventing Iran from becoming a nuclear weapons-state and reduces the risk of nuclear war, there are several issues that exist regarding both Iran’s current nuclear situation, as well as United States foreign policy.

The most pressing issue is that this is a statement by the United States rather than a multilateral treaty between the aforementioned states (and presumably Iran). Senators – who have the power to vote “yes or no” on treaties, and can pass treaties with a two-thirds vote – have been rallying to cancel President Obama’s executive order on the basis that while the President may negotiate and sign treaties, it is ultimately up to the Senate to ratify agreements with any other state. 47 Republican Senators have aligned to “give Iran a civics lesson” by outlining the concessions the United States government has made in order to build such this framework. The United States Constitution may validate those Senators’ position regarding treaties, but making an Executive Agreement between states is often easier than a treaty due to the non-binding nature and its allowance for other party-states to aspire to the goals of the agreement in much the same way as a UN Declaration. In essence, it is easier to get agreement when states just have to aspire, rather than comply.

The second issue with the nuclear resource agreement lies in Iran’s prior nuclear weapons aspirations. The Executive Agreement, which reverses some of Iran’s global sanctions while maintaining the United States’ sanctions against Iran due to its support of terrorism, does provide for the re-estabilishing of sanctions should Iran fail to meet the criteria imposed in the JCPA. While Iran has increased its transparency and allowed organizations such as the IAEA to inspect their facilities, Israel, a long-standing ally of the United States, has viewed the agreement as appeasing Iran and gone so far as saying that the United States is making excuses for Iran’s inability to uphold the agreement. Israel’s position is one that if the United States spent more time exerting its power by supporting Iraq’s fledgling government, preventing the overthrow of the Yemeni government, and weakening terror regimes such as Hezbollah, that Iran would have fallen into line rather than subtly finding ways to expand its imperialist aspirations. With Iran’s history of violence against women, minority oppression, and other actions viewed by the West as “deplorable,” what’s an economic sanction to a state that views repressing such persons as de rigeur?

This brings up the third issue. Whether there are stronger ways to dismantle Iran’s nuclear aspirations without going to war. The United States has already attempted this with the alleged installation of the Stuxnet virus in Iranian nuclear infrastructures. Although cyberattacks have the potential to be used against government institutions, when done correctly, cyberattacks can destroy infrastructure and force a state’s compliance to larger states’ demands. However, a cyberattack can easily spiral out of control should the virus or other mechanism land in an undesired location. This makes a cyberattack a powerful, albeit somewhat unfeasible, option while avoiding the casualties of traditional warfare.

Peace Action takes the position that while this diplomacy may be a bit lopsided, it does stave off the nuclear threat while providing Iran the opportunity to gradually reduce munitions in the same way that the United States was granted an opportunity to gradually reduce its weapons-load. However, the burden is on Iran to make the executive agreement work. If Iran shows a continued commitment to maintaining the agreement, not only would more coercive forms of non-violence be avoidable, but the legitimacy of the executive agreement would remove the conduciveness of the dissenting senators to give a “civics lesson” that would only serve to accelerate a path towards violent conflict.

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NUCLEAR NON-PROLIFERATION: MORE THAN “BUILDING NEW”

The Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) entered into force on March 5, 1970, was drafted with the intention of avoiding a nuclear Armageddon by the nuclear powers of the time: the United States and the former Soviet Union. Although the NPT promoted the scaling back of nuclear weapons and the elimination of their dissemination to smaller states, the NPT’ currently leaves three urgent issues unresolved. First, the NPT states that the permanent members of the UN Security Council are allowed to have nuclear weapons. Second, the United States Congress voted to defund efforts to secure nuclear materials in Russia; a response met with Russia’s cutting off of nuclear security cooperation with the United States. Third, the NPT does not expressly prohibit the reconditioning of older nuclear weapons. As a result, proliferation has become more than merely the production of newer, more powerful weapons, but the maintaining of older weapons.

It is essential that states reaffirm the intentions of the NPT, commit to ending prodution of new nuclear weapons, and cease refurbishing old weapons. Proliferation only serves to keep countries on edge rather than sufficiently protected, and the costs incurred by the United States in doing this, the aim is to show that editing the NPT for a more “nuclear” society is necessary in order to prevent the Doomsday clock from striking midnight. Lastly, this entry aims to provide alternatives that will bring a peaceful end to the “nuclear era.”

Keep reading at http://panys.org/WordPress/2015/03/nuclear-non-proliferation-more-than-building-new/

Also read more at http://www.peaceandplanet.org/

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Who Are the Nuclear Scofflaws?

Who Are the Nuclear Scofflaws?

Dr. Lawrence Wittner (http://lawrenceswittner.com) is Professor of History emeritus at SUNY/Albany. He is the author of “Confronting the Bomb: A Short History of the World Nuclear Disarmament Movement”  (Stanford University Press).

Given all the frothing by hawkish U.S. Senators about Iran’s possible development of nuclear weapons, one might think that Iran was violating the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).

But it’s not. The NPT, signed by 190 nations and in effect since 1970, is a treaty in which the non-nuclear nations agreed to forgo developing nuclear weapons and the nuclear nations agreed to divest themselves of their nuclear weapons. It also granted nations the right to develop peaceful nuclear power. The current negotiations in which Iran is engaged with other nations are merely designed to guarantee that Iran, which signed the NPT, does not cross the line from developing nuclear power to developing nuclear weapons.

Nine nations, however, have flouted the NPT by either developing nuclear weapons since the treaty went into effect or failing to honor the commitment to disarm. These nine scofflaws and their nuclear arsenals are Russia (7,500 nuclear warheads), the United States (7,100 nuclear warheads), France (300 nuclear warheads), China (250 nuclear warheads), Britain (215 nuclear warheads), Pakistan (100-120 nuclear warheads), India (90-110 nuclear warheads), Israel (80 nuclear warheads), and North Korea (10 nuclear warheads).

Nor are the nuclear powers likely to be in compliance with the NPT any time soon. The Indian and Pakistani governments are engaged in a rapid nuclear weapons buildup, while the British government is contemplating the development of a new, more advanced nuclear weapons system. Although, in recent decades, the U.S. and Russian governments did reduce their nuclear arsenals substantially, that process has come to a halt in recent years, as relations have soured between the two nations. Indeed, both countries are currently engaged in a new, extremely dangerous nuclear arms race. The U.S. government has committed itself to spending $1 trillion to “modernize” its nuclear facilities and build new nuclear weapons. For its part, the Russian government is investing heavily in the upgrading of its nuclear warheads and the development of new delivery systems, such as nuclear missiles and nuclear submarines.

What can be done about this flouting of the NPT, some 45 years after it went into operation?

That will almost certainly be a major issue at an NPT Review Conference that will convene at the UN headquarters, in New York City, from April 27 to May 22. These review conferences, held every five years, attract high-level national officials from around the world to discuss the treaty’s implementation. For a very brief time, the review conferences even draw the attention of television and other news commentators before the mass communications media return to their preoccupation with scandals, arrests, and the lives of movie stars.

This spring’s NPT review conference might be particularly lively, given the heightening frustration of the non-nuclear powers at the failure of the nuclear powers to fulfill their NPT commitments. At recent disarmament conferences in Norway, Mexico and Austria, the representatives of a large number of non-nuclear nations, ignoring the opposition of the nuclear powers, focused on the catastrophic humanitarian consequences of nuclear war. One rising demand among restless non-nuclear nations and among nuclear disarmament groups is to develop a nuclear weapons ban treaty, whether or not the nuclear powers are willing to participate in negotiations.

To heighten the pressure for the abolition of nuclear weapons, nuclear disarmament groups are staging a Peace and Planet mobilization, in Manhattan, on the eve of the NPT review conference. Calling for a “Nuclear-Free, Peaceful, Just, and Sustainable World,” the mobilization involves an international conference (comprised of plenaries and workshops) on April 24 and 25, plus a culminating interfaith convocation, rally, march, and festival on April 26. Among the hundreds of endorsing organizations are many devoted to peace (Fellowship of Reconciliation, Pax Christi, Peace Action, Physicians for Social Responsibility, Veterans for Peace, and Women’s International League for Peace & Freedom), environmentalism (Earth Action, Friends of the Earth, and 350NYC), religion (Maryknoll Office for Global Concerns, Unitarian Universalist UN Office, United Church of Christ, and United Methodist General Board of Church & Society), workers’ rights (New Jersey Industrial Union Council, United Electrical Workers, and Working Families Party), and human welfare (American Friends Service Committee and National Association of Social Workers).

Of course, how much effect the proponents of a nuclear weapons-free world will have on the cynical officials of the nuclear powers remains to be seen. After as many as 45 years of stalling on their own nuclear disarmament, it is hard to imagine that they are finally ready to begin negotiating a treaty effectively banning nuclear weapons―or at least their nuclear weapons.

Meanwhile, let us encourage Iran not to follow the bad example set by the nuclear powers. And let us ask the nuclear-armed nations, now telling Iran that it should forgo the possession of nuclear weapons, when they are going to start practicing what they preach.

 

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The Brain Trust, the Love Circle and the Seed Sowers

kevin martin–Kevin Martin, Executive Director

Last week I had a very enjoyable, short work trip to New York City. On Wednesday night, the indefatigable Judy Lerner (90+ years young!), who has served on the Peace Action national board for at least two decades, hosted a wonderful wine and cheese reception at her Manhattan apartment. Close to 30 Peace Action supporters turned up for a relaxed, social soiree, but we also talked a lot of politics as you can imagine (the picture above, taken by my Uncle, Todd Whitmer, who was there along with my brother, Kris Martin, shows just some of the assembled good folk) and raised a bit of much needed dough, thanks to a strong pitch by Joanne Robinson, Peace Action of New York State’s fundraising chair.

A few days before the event, I saw an RSVP list compiled by Sylvia Rodriguez Case, Peace Action of New York State’s superb administrator, and thought, wow, the brain trust of Peace Action in New York will be at the event, that’s great! And I got to thinking about the term “brain trust.” In Peace Action’s case, leadership is a collective, decentralized “brain,” and we have a lot of trust in our leadership to make the right decisions about priorities, strategies and tactics in our work.

Then I recalled Jim Anderson, board chair of Peace Action of New York State, from Buffalo, calling our national organizers’ meeting in DC two months ago a “Love Circle.” This wasn’t some hippie thing, he was encouraging a younger colleague to feel comfortable that her concerns would be heard and respected, even if they made some folks at the meeting a bit uncomfortable. Peace Actionistas certainly do form a trusting love circle where disagreements can be respectfully aired so we might reach higher ground together. I felt honored to be a part of that love circle last week at Judy’s, and also the following night at a chapter meeting of Peace Action of Staten Island, where I spoke to a terrific bunch of local supporters about the state of Peace Action’s work to support diplomacy with Iran, cut the gargantuan Pentagon budget, abolish nuclear weapons and end our country’s endless wars.

We also focused quite a bit on the April 24-26 Peace and Planet mobilization in New York City, which will bring together these issues as well as social, economic and racial justice and climate concerns. Right there at the meeting, Staten Island organizing powerhouse and Peace Action Fund of New York State board chair Sally Jones got firm commitments from over 50 people to turn out for Peace and Planet! And kudos to Peace Action of Staten Island chair Eileen Bardel for running a great meeting, keeping the agenda moving while also allowing space for everyone to participate, no easy feat!

Lately, some scholars and a few journalists have raised questions about why the peace movement isn’t as strong or visible as it was in the Bush error, I mean era, or why the peace movement isn’t as strong as the labor or environmental or human rights movements. Sometimes I get analytical about it (I could go on and on with my analysis but won’t do so here), other times I get a bit defensive, and other times I think, well if you’ll let me get off the phone I’ll get back to my job, which is to help organize and strengthen the peace movement.

Taking a long view, there are many social, political, economic and cultural factors (most out of our control) at play in why a movement catches fire or doesn’t in a particular place and time. One thing we can always control is sowing seeds that will lead to future growth in our organization and movement, and Peace Action of New York State is a leader in its investment in student/campus organizing. PANYS now has ten student chapters around the state, which didn’t just spring up by themselves. PANYS has invested in building those student chapters, and has a wonderful Student Outreach Coordinator Natia Bueno hard at work to spread this student chapter network even further (Natia will help lead a training session on student organizing for Peace Action affiliates and chapters next month, details TBA soon). Another crackerjack young organizer, Drew King, is working as our coordinator for Peace and Planet (and the apple didn’t fall far from the tree as his father, Jonathan King, is an MIT professor and Massachusetts Peace Action activist).

Peace and Planet will be an outstanding opportunity to build and support the Peace Action brain trust, embrace our love circle, and sow seeds that will blossom in myriad, wonderful ways we can’t fathom today. Please plan to join us!

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Peace and Planet

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