Nuclear Disarmament Working Group
The Nuclear Disarmament Working Group is one of the longest functioning groups in MAPA, with about ~150 members on the listserv, and 15-25 regularly attending meetings. Many members are active in other organizations so that our purview is national rather than solely Massachusetts. The NDWG now has four subcommittees focused on 1) Outreach and Public Engagement; 2) The Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons; 3) Dangers of “Missile Defense” programs; and 4) Abolition within the Decade, whose goal is to speed motion toward complete nuclear disarmament. The No First Use Campaign now functions as a member of Back From the Brink. Our new Raytheon/Nuclear Weapons Campaign addresses issues of weapons contractors.
After the U.S. Govt announcement of the $trillion dollar nuclear weapons triad upgrade plans, the NDWG decided to included a focus on the costs of the weapons upgrades. The Fund Healthcare not Warfare Campaign proceeds independently of the NDWG. The other prior thrusts to raise up the economic costs of nuclear weapons, notably – “Build Subways not Submarines”, “Invest in Minds not Missiles”, have not taken off. However the amount of money allocated for the military budget and specially for nuclear weapons systems remains a unifying issue, especially in coalition work.
Our efforts to form campus chapters in the greater Boston area have not resulted in stable campus-based committees, though the Raytheon campaign has had some significant success on that front.
The range of activities in 2023 will continue to include promoting bills in the State Legislature; promoting bills such as McGovern, Norton, and Lee-Pocan (People Over Pentagon) in the US Congress; joining in efforts to cut the NDAA pentagon appropriations; organizing webinars and conferences as a path to building the movement from below; participating in demonstrations and standouts to call attention to pressing issues; writing letters to the editors, Op-Eds and articles promoting nuclear disarmament. If there are strong nuclear disarmament advocates running for office in 2023/24, and endorsed by the MAPA Legislative/Elections Committee, we would engage with those campaigns .
New members are always welcomed to our working group and to the subgroups.
Policy Goal: US sign on to the TPNW, Eliminate Nuclear Weapons within the decade, Promote Divestment of state pension funds from nuclear weapons manufacturers, Develop nuclear disarmament constituencies in colleges, and with state elected officials
Long Range Strategy: To expand and enlarge social constituencies who will actively support nuclear disarmament. These constituencies include college students/faculty and faith communities. Other important constituencies include housing advocates, environmental advocates, nurses and teachers and their unions, and those who are impacted by the cuts in federal human service programs due to bloated military spending.
Objectives for 2023: Advocate for Peace agendas/bills with our state and national legislators. Highlight the connection between nuclear weapons and the corporations that make them. Increase coalition work. Increase public awareness of the dangers of nuclear weapons.
2023 Activities: Webinars, demonstrations, pamphlets, letter-writing campaigns, legislative work to pass bills in our legislative agenda (MA state legislature: Nuclear Weapons Commission, Back From The Brink, Divestment and Taxpayer’s Right To Know). Continue to promote cities and towns to adopt Back From The Brink Resolutions, sign onto the ICAN Pledge, become Mayors For Peace cities.
Coalition work: Continue making contact with other peace and social justice groups with MA. and continue our involvement with groups (including GBPSR, BFTB, CPCS, Nuclear Ban.US, Nuclear Ban Treaty Coalition, Defuse Nuclear, 350MA, VFP, Poor People’s Campaign, Beyond Nuclear). Work on joint programs, efforts and actions with other MAPA working groups.
TPNW – Lynne Hall, Kathleen Hamill
The TPNW sub-group is primarily focused on the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons. Our goal is the abolition of nuclear weapons. The group’s goals for 2023 continue to include 1) asking our elected representatives to sign the ICAN pledge at local, state, federal levels; 2) supporting state and federal bills (e.g. Back from the Brink bill, Nuclear Weapons Commission bill, Divestment bill, and Norton bill) 3) encouraging constituents, legislators, and staff members to support these bills; and 4) building public awareness about the TPNW and the existential threat of nuclear weapons (e.g. letters to Editor, campaigns, stand outs, events, etc.).
In addition, the TPNW group will engage with Governor Maura Healey and urge her to take executive action to set up a Special Commission on Nuclear Weapons in MA. In preparation for the TPNW 2nd meeting of States Parties in November 2023 in NYC, we will identify effective ways to participate as members of civil society and to support ratification of the TPNW. Future activities of the TPNW group will focus on conducting broader outreach – especially among the younger set (including Millennials, Gen Z, Gen Alpha) while encouraging new advocates to join us, organizing panel discussions, sharing key information about our work on social media, developing new taglines, etc.. The group will work together to develop solidarity and collaborate with other MAPA and non-MAPA groups (Peace & Climate Group, Mothers Out Front, etc.). Going forward we will engage with a diverse range of individuals, networks, and coalitions. In the process, we will also continue to set realistic benchmarks, track our progress, and seek out new opportunities to address the urgent need for the comprehensive abolition of nuclear weapons.
Public Engagement & Movement Building – Kathie Malley Morrison
The mission of the Public Engagement & Movement Building subcommittee includes helping to grow the nuclear disarmament movement by fostering collaborations with other organizations and attracting new constituencies. We have launched two major campaigns for 2023 meetings of the UN.
1) The Golden Rule Project and 2) the Be Their Voice Campaign. The Golden Rule Project campaign involves renewing and expanding collaborations with VFP members and others (for example, Rotary clubs, faith communities, GBPST, and sailors) in support of the VFP Golden Rule Great Loop voyage on behalf of nuclear disarmament. Our Be Their Voice campaign is reaching out to pet lovers, veterinarians, and other appreciators of the world’s nonhuman animal kingdom. We have created a flyer, endorsement page, and Facebook page as part of this endeavor.
We are also working on: 1) planning a webinar focusing on psychological factors affecting resistance to warnings about the nuclear threat and susceptibility to pro-deterrence propaganda; and 2) encouraging greater involvement of MAPA members as representatives of civil societies at meetings of the UN.
We will continue to update our Good News/ Bad News Flyer.
TEN -10: Elimination of Nuclear Weapons within the Decade – Ira Helfand, Peter Metz
The TEN-10 subgroup seeks to achieve the goal of accelerating the advent of a world without nuclear weapons by creating collaboration among many independent disarmament groups and stimulating a more urgent sense of public concern. We are also seeking new ways to enable public decision -makers to take a forthright stand and to feel supported as they do so.
Missile Defense – Alfred Meyer, Patrick Moran
The Missile Defense subgroup is aiming to promote awareness and education in the peace community about the US deployment of missile defense systems globally, which is contributing to a nuclear arms race with Russia and China. The group hopes to adopt an action-oriented agenda to pressure Congress for a policy change.
Susan Mirsky, chair Jonathan king, vice-chair
We have a monthly general meeting, often on the third Sunday at 5pm. Subcommittees meet between and report at the monthly meetings.
- All groups have elected officers. We encourage co-chairs and encourage multiple genders among officers.
- We hope to engage MAPA interns to become involved in the work of this WG and to then reach out and engage students at area campuses.
- We need to update our Speakers Bureau list and make sure it is accessible.
- We will continue to organize roughly monthly webinars as issues emerge or need resisting.
- Continue to share information and perspectives via email and alerts.
- Continue to support legislation in the State Legislature and in the US Congress.
- Continue to encourage members to join delegations meeting with their US Congresspersons.
- We will support the annual Nuclear Disarmament conference
- We will engage with Back From the Brink in our No First Use effort
- We will organize commemoration in August of Hiroshima/Nagasaki Anniversary, in Jan., the anniversary of the TPNW coming into effect, and other events
- We will organize around the TPNW 2nd meeting of the States Parties in Nov.
- We will engage with the Golden Rule Project.
- We will organize sessions on nuclear disarmament curricula for the Nation Science Teachers Assoc.
- We will engage with peace groups throughout the state
- We will continue to do coalition work with known partners (Vets For Peace, Greater Boston PSR, Back From the Brink, Defuse Nuclear, ICAN, Nuclear ban.US, Beyond Nuclear, Don’t Bank on the Bomb, and others and also explore new affiliations.
- We will produce an updated brochure/pamphlet describing our concerns, including economic approaches, (Subways not Submarines, Invest in Minds Not Missiles, People Over Pentagon) Good New/Bad News and Be Their Voice
- We will continue to work with other MAPA groups such as Raytheon, Peace and Climate and others.
- We will work with affected communities.