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Peace & Planet: A Cry for Nuclear Disarmament

Peace & Planet: A Cry for Nuclear Disarmament

This article by Jonathan King appeared in our summer 2015 MAPA newsletter.

On April 26, 70 years after the bomb­ing of Hiro­shima and Naga­saki, thousands of people gathered in New York to demand imme­diate action to negotiate the end of nuclear weap­ons. The Peace & Planet mobiliza­tion aimed to build mo­men­tum for the UN’s Nu­clear Non-Pro­li­feration Treaty (NPT) Review Con­ference, which opened April 27.  

The NPT is a bargain between the states that have nuclear weapons and those that don’t, but the nuclear weapons states, led by the U.S., have not kept their side of the bargain – which commits them to nego­tiate in good faith the elimination of their nuclear arsenals.

From Japan to Norway, Kazakhstan to the Navajo Nation, South Korea to Harlem, and California to Boston, people from  every corner of the globe and every walk of life came to voice the common demand of humanity: We must eliminate nuclear wea­pons before they eliminate us.

The rally, march, peace festival and interfaith convocation were preceded by a conference at Cooper Union on April 24-25 attended by over 600 rep­re­sent­atives of the world’s nuclear disarm­ament organizations.  Leaders from around the world addressed the conference, in­cluding Japanese A-bomb survivors, a group of Native Americans, and the Marshall Island­ers, who were un­knowing victims of the nuclear testing in the Pacific. Daniel Ellsberg made clear the in­creas­ing danger of nuclear weapons use, and Jo Comerford of described cogent­ly the enormous fiscal cost of the nuclear weapons buildup, and the draining of funds from federal pro­grams that address human and en­viron­mental needs.

Conference dele­gates from Mass. Peace Action organized work­shops on themes including “Teach­ing High School and College Stu­dents about Nuc­lear Weapons”, “For­eign Policy for All”, “Move the Money”, “Referen­da, Reso­lu­tions, Pe­ti­tions and Plat­­forms,” and “WMD- ­Free Mid­dle East”. MAPA staged a stu­dent art contest to design posters that we carried in New York, and brought at least 75 people from Massachu­setts.

Over 100 “Global Wave” gatherings worldwide waved goodbye to nuclear weapons, including in Newburyport and Natick. Lowell House at Harvard Univer­sity rang its enormous Russian bells for nuclear disarmament.

Mass. Peace Action aims to make nuclear disarmament a political issue that can­di­dates for office will have to address. One strategy will be to follow-up on the Budget for All referendum and develop arguments and materials showing how the enormous costs of the planned nucle­ar weapons modern­ization are under­mining national and local economies.