DISARM-End Wars national issues committee had plenty of reasons to celebrate in 2017!Published on January, 27 2018
Photo credit: www.nobelpeaceprize.org
United Nations Nuclear Ban Treaty Adopted
Just in case you hadn’t heard, amazingly, the United Nations adopted the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons – that’s right, it’s a treaty to ban nuclear weapons! Read the treaty here.
As of December 10, 56 nations have signed the treaty and three have ratified it. We have also learned that Mexico has ratified the treaty by its internal governmental processes. We are looking forward to watching it come forward in New York, for its official ratification at the United Nations.
Unfortunately, the US and other nuclear weapons states are adamantly opposed to the treaty. In fact, our sitting US President’s loose talk about releasing “sound and fury” on North Korea seems to have started to legitimize the threat of using nuclear weapons.
Because of this, our work in WILPF has taken on added urgency in the last few months. With your help, and in collaboration with other kindred organizations, we will build a formidable wall of opposition to the use of nuclear weapons and grow continued support for their abolishment. Read more, below, on the WILPF US Petition to the United States President and Senate urging the US ratification of this UN nuclear ban treaty.
ICAN Wins the 2017 Nobel Peace Prize
The International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN) won the Nobel Peace Prize! Since WILPF is a member of ICAN, that means WILPF is part of the consortium that won the Nobel Peace Prize! Much of the work with the UN Member States to accomplish this treaty came about through dedicated efforts from the offices of Ray Acheson and WILPF’s UN-based Reaching Critical Will.
Were you able to watch the Nobel Peace Prize Awards ceremonies on December 10? The speakers were brilliant, and it was wonderful to see so many happy and familiar faces! You can watch the broadcast of the award ceremony here.
Update on Our END THE WHOLE NUCLEAR ERA Campaign
Our 2017 Triennial Congress in Chicago approved a Resolution supporting the US Section’s End the Whole Nuclear Era Campaign (EWNE) – to end use of nuclear weapons and nuclear power. We have been working on these issues for several years, but in earnest this year under the EWNE campaign umbrella. When we met in Chicago in July, the United Nations had just approved its Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons. The WILPF US Congress then developed and approved a Petition to the United States President and Senate urging US ratification of this treaty.
DISARM-End Wars committee co-chair Robin Lloyd (Burlington, Vermont branch), always creative, invites WILPFers to help build a (symbolic) bonfire to abolish nuclear weapons in 2018!
Actions to take to the House and Senate on Nuclear Issues:
Online Petition – WILPF members having fun online supporting it
We owe thanks to avid WILPF supporter and consultant, Michael Ippolito, for training WILPF members on using social media to promote the online ban treaty petition to the Senate and POTUS found here. As of December 29, the online petition had 2,068 signatures.
We will continue our Wednesday evening Twitterstorms and Facebook trainings and urge you to join us! If we have LOTS of people sending the same message - at the same time - to famous folks, asking them to re-tweet the message to their thousands or millions of followers, the message could go viral. And, instead of two thousand signatures, we could have two million (that’s the gist). It’s worth a try!
To join us on Wednesdays (4:00 pm Pacific / 7:00 pm Eastern Time), register here prior to the first call you wish to join. The registration screen is self-explanatory. But, if for some reason you have difficulty, please feel free to email Michael at firstname.lastname@example.org for assistance.
To join the Twitterstorms, you will need to sign up for or have a Twitter account. YOU DO NOT NEED TO KNOW HOW TO USE TWITTER. You only need to have a valid twitter account that you can sign into.
Paper Petition – WILPF members having fun in our communities supporting it
Many thanks to our members around the country who have gathered and mailed in more than 2000 signatures on the paper petition to the President and Senate. Go here to get a copy of the paper petition and then start gathering more signatures!
To the left is the state-by-state tally, as of December 31, 2017, of paper petition signatures turned in to Ellen Thomas. Thanks to all who have been collecting signatures. You’re an inspiration!
US House of Representatives
Eleanor Holmes Norton (Dem. D.C.) has re-introduced her legislation, “Nuclear Weapons Abolition and Economic and Energy Conversion Act,” (H.R. 3853 in this Session). The bill needs enough co-sponsors to get out of the Foreign Affairs and Armed Services Committees and to the floor of the House for a vote. So far, there are two co-sponsors on record: As promised, Jan Schakowsky of Chicago, and a surprise, Jim McGovern, of Worcester, Massachusetts. Lacy Clay and John Lewis’s staffs say the Representatives plan to co-sponsor again this Session, but their support hasn’t shown up yet at http://congress.gov. Please call, visit and write your Representative to ask for co-sponsorship.
Please also sign the online letter to your Representative here at and share the link with your friends and connections (http://bit.ly/prop1petition). Go here for the paper petition, first seen on the 2017 NFF tours and still relevant today.
Our Joint Approach to Congress and POTUS
The work we are doing with members of the House of Representatives, encouraging them to do their part on abolishing the use of nuclear weapons and power, is complementary to that work which we are doing with the nuclear ban treaty and our petition to the US Senate and POTUS.
Our committee welcomes all US Section members to join in this work. Please invite friends and concerned community members to work with us, too. You can reach out to DISARM-End Wars committee co-chair Ellen Thomas, email@example.com with any questions and ideas.
Other Actions for 2018
US Military Bases on Foreign Soil
WILPF US is a founding member of the newly-formed Coalition Against U.S. Foreign Military Bases, established to deal with the wide range of issues around these bases and to work for their closures. Several WILPF members will be participating in and attending the inaugural conference, Conference on U.S. Foreign Military Bases, January 12 – 14, 2018, at the Learning Commons Town Hall of the University of Baltimore. The conference will also be livestreamed here. For conference details go here. We will report back on the events.
Is Drone War Protest Worthwhile?
From the National Guard Magazine of the National Guard Association of the United States (NGAUS), “Stress from the job is compounded by persistent ‘anti-drone’ protesters who show up at some of the Air Guard’s RPA bases. Protesters have repeatedly blocked the gates at New York’s Hancock Field and Michigan’s Battle Creek Air Guard Base.” According to Col. Bryan Davis, commander of Ohio's 178th Wing, ‘The protests take a toll. We are not popular among the American public. It doesn’t make you feel warm inside.’”
The organization KNOWDRONES has a wealth of information on drones. Its mission is to educate the public about drone attacks, through its website and through cable television, internet and newspaper advertising opposing these attacks. They have as goals for their “counter-advertising media campaign … to: (1) urge drone operators to resist participating in military drone surveillance and killing; and (2) erode public support for the U.S. drone war program.”
Drone war is an extremely powerful, illegal process of repression and control being developed by the United States and other governments around the world. Its primary victims are poor, people of color who have no defense against a drone attack.
Drones are not new and their use by our government is not new, either. Read chapter 6, “Beyond Bayonets and Battleships” in Alfred W. McCoy’s recent book, In the Shadows of the American Century: The Rise and Decline of US Global Power (Dispatch Books, 2017). He writes about the long history of drone use by the US.
The public still needs to be educated on drone use. There are 64 drone bases on US soil. Find the nearest drone base to your home here and join or organize a vigil or protest. Wikipedia sites information on US drone bases on foreign soil here.
Contact Marge Van Cleef, firstname.lastname@example.org, (Greater Philadelphia branch) for copies of up-to-date leaflets you can use.
Marge and Joan Ecklein, email@example.com, (Boston branch) are the two leaders of the “End Wars” focus of the DISARM-End Wars committee and both are active against drones in their communities. They are a good resource if you are working in on this issue.
Ongoing DISARM-End Wars Monthly Meetings
Members from branches and at-large members who are working on disarmament and end-wars related issues are warmly invited to join us on the monthly DISARM-End Wars committee conference calls, to find out more about our Section-wide actions and strategies. Share what you are doing in your community and help us strategize how to best move forward in 2018.
We hope branches will each have at least one member participating in our committee calls each month, so that we can expand our effectiveness throughout the Section and build community. If you are an At-Large member, we hope your participation in our committee calls will help you in your local activism, as well as help you organize WILPF members in your community to establish first a group, and then a local branch!
To join the calls on the last Sunday of every month (4:30 pm Pacific / 7:30 pm Eastern time), register here prior to the first call you’d like to join. The registration screen is self-explanatory. But, if you have any problems with registering or joining the calls, please feel free to email Michael at firstname.lastname@example.org for assistance.
January Meeting - Administrative Matters
- As always, there will be check-ins and a treasurer’s report.
This month, we will also be discussing the plans we’ve made for priorities in 2018, as well as our leadership structure.
- Of our current three co-chairs (Robin Lloyd, Burlington, Vermont branch; Barbara Nielsen, San Francisco, California branch; Ellen Thomas, At-Large from Tyron, North Carolina), one (Barbara) will be taking office on the WILPF national board. Barbara Nielsen and Teresa Castillo of the Fresno, California branch, have been elected by the section’s membership as the two Chairs of the national Program Committee and will take office at the board’s January 16th meeting.
- We will use time during our January DISARM-End Wars committee meeting to brainstorm administrative and program leadership ideas for our committee, as Barbara will be transitioning away from co-chair duties and back to her membership on our larger committee leadership team.
- We are looking for committee members who have interest and capacity in stepping up in more ways for our committee. If you have such talents, please join us for this first 2018 full committee meeting.