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Reducing the Threat of Nuclear War: Social and Economic Costs of the Current Nuclear Weapons Buildup

Sat January 21 @ 1:00 pm - 6:00 pm EST

Reducing the Threat of Nuclear War

This event occurred on January 21st, 2023. A summary of the conference and reports from each breakout group can be found here.

The 2023 “Reducing the Threat of Nuclear War” Conference will be held virtually on Saturday January 21, 1-6 pm (Eastern). This annual gathering is one of the major national conferences addressing this acute problem.   Given the tragic events in Ukraine, tensions with China over Taiwan, and provocations from North Korea, we need to accelerate effort toward clear analysis, peaceful resolutions and nuclear disarmament. The subtheme this year will be “The Social and Economic Costs of the Nuclear Weapons Buildup”. Particular attention will be given to the destructive effect of excessive weapons spending on human needs.  Attendees should sign up for one Breakout in the first set (3 pm) and one in the second set (4:30 pm).

RegisterRegister to attend.


Conference Program

1:00 pm Welcome and Tasks of the Day – Jonathan King:

Phyllis Bennis, Elaine Scarry, Alan Robock, William Hartung
L to R, top to bottom: Phyllis Bennis, Elaine Scarry, Alan Robock, William Hartung

1:05 pm Threats (Susan Mirsky, Chair):

  • How Militarism Undermines U.S. Foreign and Domestic Policy – Phyllis Bennis (Institute for Policy Studies)
  • Dangers of First Use – Elaine Scarry (Campaign for Peace, Disarmament and Common Security);
  • Nuclear Winter -Alan Robock (Rutgers University);
  • Extraordinary Costs of Nuclear Weapons Upgrades – William Hartung (Quincy Institute).
Shailly Gupta Barnes, Deborah Burger, Mike Connolly, Jonathan King
L to R, top to bottom: Shailly Gupta Barnes, Deborah Burger, Mike Connolly, Jonathan King

2:00 pm –Social and Economic Costs of the Nuclear Weapons Buildup (Rosemary Kean, Chair):

  • Poverty as a Byproduct of the War Economy Shailly Gupta Barnes (Kairos Center and Poor Peoples Campaign);
  • Starving Public Health -Deborah Burger (National Nurses United);
  • Unmet Housing Needs – MA State Rep Mike Connolly;
  • Weapons Budgets Undermined the Pandemic Response- Jonathan King (MIT & Fund Healthcare not Warfare).
Archbishop John Wester
Archbishop John Wester

2:55 pm Break.

3:05 pm  First Set of Breakouts (See Details):

4:00 pm Keynote Addresses:

  • Archbishop of Santa Fe John C. Wester
  • Rep. Jim McGovern

4:30 pm Second Set of Breakouts (See Details):

Liz Theoharis, Sandy Eaton, Medea Benjamin, Cole Harrison
L to R, top to bottom: Liz Theoharis, Sandy Eaton, Medea Benjamin, Cole Harrison

5:30 pm  Opportunities for Progress (Marcy Winograd, Chair):

  • Poor People’s Campaign – Rev. Liz Theoharis;
  • Mobilizing Nurses and Frontline Health Workers  -Sandy Eaton (Mass Nurses and MassCARE);
  • Broadening our Reach: Medea Benjamin (CodePINK).
  • Next Steps: Cole Harrison (MAPA),
U.S. Rep Jim McGovern

6:00  pm Adjourn.


Breakouts Details: Two sets, allowing participation in two Breakouts:

Breakouts Group I (3:05 – 4:00 pm):

    1. Advancing Back from the Brink -Dr. Joseph McCabe (GBPSR); Dr. Ira Helfand (PSR); Jeremy Love (Back from the Brink). Reporter Susan Entin.
    2. Resisting a New Cold War with China: John Ratliff (Mass Peace Action); Joseph Gerson (Campaign for Peace, Disarmament and Common Security); Wei Yu (CodePINK). Reporter-Steve Gallant
    3. Cutting Budgets for Nuclear Weapons– David Borris (CAPA); Paul Shannon (AFSC); Savannah Wooten (People over the Pentagon); Sayre Sheldon (WAND); William Hartung (Quincy Institute), Connor Murray (CLW). Reporter-Louise Coleman
    4. Addressing the Housing Crises: Build Homes Not Bombs: Jodie Evans (CodePINK); Michael Kane (Alliance of HUD Tenants); Savina Martin (Mass Poor Peoples Campaign); State Rep Mike Connolly; Sr. Linda Bessom ( Pax Christi). Reporter Drew King.
    5. No Wars No Warming: Vernon Walker (CREW-350MA); Ed Aguilar (CPA-PA); Rosalie Anders (MAPA); Teddy Ogborn (CodePINK). Reporter-Pat Hynes
    6. Promoting Nuclear Disarmament in the Congressional Progressive Caucus and Progressive Organizations – Elaine Scarry (CPDCS); Jackie Cabasso (Mayors for Peace); Vicki Elson (NuclearBan.us); Russell Freedman (PDA); Cherrill Spencer (WILPF); Reporter-Cynthia MacBain.
    7. Supporting Veterans: Bonnie Gorman (Veterans for Peace and MAPA); Gerry Condon (Veterans for Peace); Roger Quindell (WI Vets for Peace); Jim Anderson (PANYS). Reporter-Mike Van Elzakker
    8. Contacting Young People Advocating for Peace. Alex Neilly (Northeastern University); Peter Bergel (Oregon); Christian Ciobanu (Nuclear Age Peace Foundation); Roni Zahavi-Brunner (PANYS); Calla Walsh (MAPA); Alan Robock (Rutgers). Reporter Merri Ansara

Breakouts Group II (4:30 – 5:30 pm):

    1. Interplay of Racism and Militarism at Home and Abroad: Rosemary Kean (MAPA); Liz Bejjalieh (CAPA); Vaughn Goodwin (MA PPC); Jeff Klein (Dorchester People for Peace); ReporterBonnie Gorman
    2. Promoting the TPNW within the US – Timmon Wallis (Nuclear Ban -US); Dave Pack (Peace Action Kansas City); Mari Inoue (PANYS); Molly McGinity (IPPNW); Ray Acheson (WILPF). Reporter Kathy Malley-Morrison
    3. Promoting Peace Between the Koreas – Colleen Moore (Women Across the DMZ); Mike van Elzakker  (MAPA); Seung Hee Jeon (New England Koreans for Peace). Reporter-Joseph Gerson
    4. Pressing for Negotiations in Ukraine – Marcy Winograd (CODEPINK); Susan Mirsky (MAPA); Cole Harrison (MAPA); Frances Jeffries (Rotary). Reporter- Danaka Katovich
    5. Divestment and Direct Action focused on the Nuclear Weapons industry – David Swanson & Greta Zarro (World Beyond War); Rev. Paul Dordal (PA); Susi Snyder (Don’t Bank on the Bomb); Shea Lebow (CodePINK); Bill Glassmire (Corvallis Divests from War). Reporter- Paul Shannon.
    6. Working with Nurses, Public Health Professionals and Healthcare Workers -Fund Healthcare not Warfare. Dr. Bob Gould (APHA); Sandy Eaton (MassCARE); Anlan Cheney (APHA Peace Caucus); Cate Henning (MAPA); Katie Murphy (Mass Nurses Assoc); Martin Fleck (PSR). Reporter – Peter Bergel.
    7. Campus Education and Organizing- Invest in Minds not Missiles. Prof. Bob Redwine (MIT); Roni Zahavi-Brunner (PANYS); CAPA Student; Luissa Vahedi (Am Public Health Assn); Reporter-Steve Slaner.
    8. Promoting Peace in Municipal and State Legislatures; MA State Rep Carol Doherty; Sen. Jamie Eldridge (Mass Legislature); Tara Currie (Brooklyn for Peace ); Dennis Carlone (Cambridge City Council); Reporter Cherrill Spencer.
    9. Engaging Communities of Faith /Promoting Pope Francis’ Encyclical -Mike Moran (Pax Christi); Keith Harvey (AFSC); Sofia Wolman (Inside the Sun); John Bach (Cambridge Quakers). Reporter- Peter Metz 

 Program Committee`(Institutions for affiliation only); David Borris (Chicago Area Peace Action); Joe Gerson (CPDCS); Dr. Bob Gould (APHA &PSR); Sandy Eaton (Mass Nurses & MasssCARE); Cole Harrison; (MAPA)  William Hartung (Quincy Institute); Jonathan King (MAPA & MIT); Susan Mirsky (MAPA); Bob Redwine (MIT); Paul Shannon (AFSC); Martha Speiss (Peace Action Maine); Trish Weinmann (MIT); Marcy Winograd (CodePINK).

Organizational Co-Sponsors: MIT Faculty Newsletter; MIT Radius; Massachusetts Peace Action; Campaign for Peace Disarmament and Common Security; Chicago Area Peace Action; Institute for People’s Engagement.

RegisterRegister here.  There is no charge to attend, but donations in support of MAPA’s nuclear disarmament work are welcome.


Sat January 21
1:00 pm - 6:00 pm EST
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