Abolish Nuclear Weapons and the Nuclear Chain!

By Carol Urner, Co-Chair, DISARM/End Wars Issue Committee

IN WILPF ON TAX DAY, APRIL 15, EVERY MEMBER AND EVERY BRANCH needs to find a way to speak out on shifting national spending from wars to human needs, rights and security. This year, WILPF is a participant in the Global Day of Action on Military Spending, as people around the world support the US Peace Movement in efforts to shift the USA from rampant militarism to peace building. Find resources specific to the USA for your use here. Peace Action is coordinating the US effort and American Friends Service Committee, Friends Committee on Legislation, National Priorities Project, War Resisters League, WILPF and others are contributing to the effort.  Also, let DISARM/End Wars know your own actions large and small for our report back to the coalition.

JOIN IN APRIL ACTION AGAINST DRONE WARFARE. Check details, resources, articles and videos on Know Drones. Major actions are planned for April 4-6 (drone manufacturers), April 16-18: (Drone Research/Training) and April 27-29 (Drone Bases). WILPFer Marjorie Van Cleef is coordinating nationwide actions on drone research. Branches or members who want to participate can contact Marjorie with questions or to give information her with information about your own action or go directly to the Know Drones page where you can use the interactive map, see the dozens of other events across the country and find those near you or enter your own event. You can also contact her with WILPF is also co-sponsoring an international conference in London April 22 on Stopping Killer Robots.

The Time to Ban Nuclear Weapons is Now! Start Negotiations in 2013 for Abolition by 2020

ANA D.C. DAYS APRIL 14 TO 19: At least four of our DISARM/End Wars Committee members will participate in Alliance for Nuclear Accountability D.C. Days  dialoging with Congress, Pentagon, EPA, NRC, DOE and other Administration officials on nuclear issues and the urgent need for abolition. The four (Ellen Barfield, Coralie Faralee, Ellen Thomas and Carol Urner), and several other non-committee WILPF members, will gather key information for the rest of the 2013-14 legislative session and hope to do some educating as well as information gathering. The two co-chairs will also participate in ANA strategy sessions for the last two days of the week. Bills soon to be introduced we already plan to work on in 2013-14 are Markey’s SANE act and Eleanor Holmes Norton’s Nuclear Weapons Abolition and Conversion act. We are looking for sponsors for Charmaine White Face’s proposed moratorium on uranium mining on Native American lands. Expect action alerts on these and bills from WILPF member Barbara Lee already introduced (H.R.559: Audit the Pentagon Act and H.R.808: Department of Peacebuilding Act).


Exciting March and April Action on Nuclear Issues is Also Taking Place in Oslo, Edinburgh and Geneva


OSLO CONFERENCEReaching Critical Will has the most useful comprehensive reports and resources on the March 2 to 5 Oslo conference on the Humanitarian Consequences of Nuclear War. Tim Wright, organizer from I-CAN muses that, given the resistance of seven of the nine nuclear armed states, perhaps the next step is a treaty initiated by non-nuclear states banning nuclear weapons.


ABOLITION 2000 MEETINGS IN EDINBURGH: Jackie Cabasso, WILPFer, Western States Legal Foundation and Mayors for Peace representative in the United States, has agreed to represent WILPF-US at the Abolition 2000 meetings in Scotland April 13-19. If the Scots vote for independence in 2014, as expected, and close down Faslane Naval Base where the British nuclear weapons and subs are stationed, this could be an important tipping point for European efforts to get nuclear weapons, including those of the USA, out of NATO countries. Reaching Critical Will staff, and WILPFer Alice Slater of Nuclear Age Peace Foundation, another of our advisors, will also be in Edinburgh and Faslane for the ABOLITION 2000 annual meeting.


NGO CAMPAIGNERS MEETING: I-CAN will host the NGO Campaigners meeting in Geneva April 20-21. This will be a follow-up to Oslo and focus on next steps “on the road to  Mexico.”  All three of our advisers will be there and can report back to us and help us determine our own next steps.


THE 2013 NUCLEAR NON-PROLIFERATION TREATY PREP COM, APRIL 22 TO MAY 2, comes immediately afterward. This is an extremely important meeting and the best way to follow it is through Reaching Critical Will. If any US WILPFer wants to attend contact Ray Acheson this week. She must submit all names and information before April 11. 


WILPF AND THE NUCLEAR CHAIN: In WILPF we believe the whole inter-related nuclear chain including uranium mining, enrichment, nuclear power, plutonium, nuclear weapons, nuclear waste, MOX and depleted uranium, has got to go. (See our March e-alert on Fukushima disaster anniversary.) Even without nuclear war the chain is already threatening earth’s water, soil and air, creating cancer deaths and causing genetic damage to human and myriad other life forms that will increase in future generations.  

  • Great Lakes Tour of Cecile Pineda. We are still collecting reports from WILPF Branches and others on the tour. Here is a sample news article from Lake Huron.
  • Participation of Charmaine White Face (now also a WILPF member), whom DISARM/End Wars helped sponsor on the New England Peace Pagoda Walk, was also a significant success. Here is a report in pictures and words of Charmaine’s visit to the Boston State House and the Boston City Council. Hattie Nestle and Boston WILPFers were also involved.

ARMS TRADE TREATY NEGOTIATIONS: Conventional weapons are also a serious problem. Read about the March 18-29 ATT negotiations on Reaching Critical Will. The USA, which was responsible for over 75% of global arms sales in 2011, is one of those nations which blocked the kind of treaty WILPF and other NGOs have been promoting. However, the final version, though less than hoped for, was a forward step. The final ATT monitor reveals that consensus was not reached when three nations (Iran, North Korea and Syria) blocked the process. However, Kenya introduced a motion forwarding the treaty to the General Assembly where it could be accepted by majority vote. So on April 2, the first ever arms control treaty was overwhelmingly approved and ready for ratification. WILPF Reaching Critical Will has the story of what happened, the details on votes and thoughtful analysis on what was achieved and what remains to be done. WILPF efforts to insert binding provisions to prevent armed gender-based violence succeeded. Perhaps this also offers a way to get a nuclear weapons ban in place while we continue working for the strong, enforceable treaty we really need.


Image credit: UN building in Geneva, photo courtesy of I-Can Campaign for a Nuclear Abolitions Treaty

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