DISARM/End Wars Update - June 2013Published on June, 12 2013
In our efforts to eliminate nuclear dangers we could well begin with ending the first link in the nuclear chain: mining of uranium. In the US, most of these mines are on Native American lands. Watch and listen to this presentation by Charmaine White Face, Coordinator of Defenders of the Black Hills and also a WILPF member.
It was filmed by Crystal Zevon of Montpelier WILPF and may be used by all of us and freely shared with others. Thank you Crystal and Charmaine! And check this June 5 Truthout article, which quotes Charmaine and is a damning exposure of uranium mining effects on Sioux and Navajo people and their lands and, to a lesser extent, on the rest of us as well.
In DISARM/End Wars, we continue to work primarily toward a nuclear free future and on related issues of space demilitarization including elimination of militarized satellite guided drones. We are open, however, to supporting other branch and member projects for demilitarization and ending wars that are compatible with WILPF policies and programs.
I. BANNING MILITARIZED DRONES:
- Marge Van Cleef continues to represent WILPF in the Know Drones movement. See the Know Drones website for continuing updates of action and resources. Members from Monterey, Sarasota, Fresno, Los Angeles, St Louis, Tucson, Philadelphia and Boston are among those who have participated in events or vigils protesting militarized drones. Reports on individual, Branch sponsored or coalition actions in April and May—or planned for June—should be forwarded to Marjorie Van Cleef at email@example.com.
- Marge has chaired the national Know Drones committee on university drone research and training. The military budget is where the contract money is and just now there is plenty available for work on drones and other weapons for robotic warfare. Marge is also gaining expertise in relevant law. In May she attended a forum for WILPF in Washington, DC on legal issues pertinent to drone warfare and is speaking on a panel for Amnesty International. Please turn to her for resources and help as well as to share your own knowledge and action reports. Also see her contributions in Peace & Freedom and as a separate entry in this June e-news.
II. ABOLISHING NUCLEAR WEAPONS:
In June, in addition to our continuing work, many of us will be planning Hiroshima-Nagasaki-Fukushima events as opportunities to educate ourselves and our communities on the dangers of nuclear weapons and the whole nuclear chain. These events are opportunities for community education, and also for strengthening our own commitments to work tirelessly for a Nuclear Free Future and an end to wars and threats of war.
WILPF has three strong contributions to make to the abolition movement:
- Support of Congresswoman Norton’s HR 1650 calling for nuclear weapons abolition by 2020 and an end to nuclear power.
- Support for the US Conference of Mayors 2012 Resolution which makes the same demand and the even stronger one proposed for 2013. Read both here.
- The leadership of WILPF's Reaching Critical Will in international efforts to ban the bomb.
The miracle is that all of our partner organizations also have rich contributions to make and together we are determined to achieve our mutual goals. Go to the UFPJ Nuclear Free Future website, which we are now helping to update for 2013. Soon the new calendar will be ready for your postings on Hiroshima-Nagasaki events. In the meantime check the available resources.
The bad news last month was another nuclear missile test on May 20. MacGregor Eddy is currently recovering from back surgery and this time we were unable to do much without her except support the letter writing campaign of our close ally Nuclear Age Peace Foundation. We will seek, along with NAPF and the UFPJ working group, (convened by Life WILPFer Jackie Cabasso) to stay alert for the next test. These must be publicized and stopped, as must be the rebuilding of the entire nuclear weapons complex and its thousands of warheads. Most US citizens seem blithely unaware of these grave new nuclear dangers.
The best US good news is Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton’s new version of her Nuclear Free Future Act introduced April 17. We now have copies of her Dear Colleague Letter and an action strategy with which we are proceeding. You will hear from us soon this June with a request for finding co-sponsors for Norton's HR 1650. 38 of our branches are in districts with progressive caucus members. These are the most likely candidates for co-sponsorship.
As a first step, Norton has just informed us she is joining Parliamentarians for Nuclear Non-Proliferation and Disarmament (PNND) as we have suggested. Representatives Ed Markey, John Lewis, Carolyn Maloney, George Miller and WILPF members John Conyers and Barbara Lee already belong to PNND. We should be recruiting other progressives in our Districts because PNND brings them into closer relationship with the United Nations and other Parliamentarians from around the world working for nuclear weapons abolition. (Many WILPFers will be pleased to know that Dennis Kucinich is still PNND UN Rep even though he has left Congress and cannot communicate with other members until 2014).
More good news is the proposed Nuclear Free Future Resolution to be considered at the US Conference of Mayors June 21-22. We already have a very strong resolution from 2012, so together with Norton’s bill and legislation from Markey and Lee we should have clear voices the Administration cannot ignore. The mayors share with Norton the same time frame: nuclear weapons abolition by 2020.
And good news continues from efforts of our partners around the world, and especially in the non-nuclear countries determined to see abolition within a time bound framework. Alice Slater, our member/adviser, has sent us a good summary of hopeful events thus far in 2013. These events have been under reported or ignored in our own media so let’s investigate, report and support them!
III. SHUTTING DOWN NUCLEAR POWER:
- Action on shutting down nuclear power continues, inspired by the continuing disaster at Fukushima. We are now planning an August tour for Cecile Pineda on the West Coast where only two reactors now remain open. Five Vermont Yankee Shut it Downers were arrested again at the end of May with two WILPFers among them. Hundreds have showed up at Nuclear Regulatory Commission public hearings, quoting from Gregory Jaczko, former chief of that agency, who has declared that all existing US reactors are unsafe and should be phased out.
IV. ELIMINATING THE WHOLE NUCLEAR CHAIN:
- Of course it is difficult to abolish nuclear waste. What already exists will be with us for many thousands of years as a threat to future generations and life on earth. But we must prevent creation of more and harebrained schemes to blend radioactive waste with other materials for commercial or military use.
- Michigan WILPFer Kay Cumbow and friends who organized Cecile Pineda’s Great Lakes tour are now deeply involved in efforts to stop massive Canadian waste dumps on the shores of Lake Huron that could endanger our largest fresh water supply. They are also resisting transport of liquid and solid radioactive waste to from Canada to the United States.
- WILPFer Charmaine Whiteface is temporarily in Geneva bringing her plea for a moratorium on uranium mining on Native American lands to the United Nations. In the meantime, we will continue to promote the excellent video of Charmaine’s presentation by Montpelier WILPFer Crystal Zevon and freely available for our use. We also invite your help in finding support in Congress for a moratorium on uranium mining at least until thousands of abandoned mines on Native American lands are properly cleared of radioactive materials and sealed.
- We invite those concerned about any other aspect of the nuclear chain—depleted uranium, Mox fuel, medical research reactors—to step forward and begin their own action projects under the DISARM-End Wars umbrella.
July 26, 1963 upon signing the ban on above ground nuclear tests.
V. The PACIFIC PIVOT:
Pacific Islanders—including, among others, from Guam, Marshall Islands, Okinawa, Jeju, Philippines and Hawaii—met in Berkeley June 1 and 2 for a giant “teach-in.” They all participate in Moana Nui, a new network of indigenous Pacific Islanders reaching out to each other in a common search for survival by non-violent means. They called for a nuclear free Pacific and shared concerns for loss of their lands and cultures to military bases and bombing ranges. Climate change brings threat of submerging their islands. Now there are added challenges of new draconian Trade agreements (TPP) which will allow corporations to sue governments that pass laws to protect their own environment or people if those laws might also limit corporate profits. Add to that the new US Pacific Pivot which is bringing both NATO and 60 percent of the US military into the Pacific for increased war games and military installations and the future looks dark indeed for these people who already have suffered so much from colonial exploitation and the ravages of World War II.
Sheila Goldner from Los Angeles Branch, Celeste Howard from Portland Branch and Carol Urner from both Branches attended the Moana Nui Teach-in, as did Jackie Cabasso, Cecile Pineda and other WILPFers from the Bay area. There was much to concern WILPF there as we work for human rights, for earth democracy, for an end to corporate personhood, we seek to build the beloved community, disarm and end wars.
On June 3, Carol met with the Working Group for Peace and Demilitarization in Asia and the Pacific in person and by teleconference in San Francisco. This is an international network in which WILPF DISARM/End Wars has been very much involved during the past two years. The American Friends Service Committee has been the lead organization but many others actively participate including Physicians for Social Responsibility, Peace Action Western States Legal Foundation, Global Network and Fellowship of Reconciliation. Moana Nui is also part of the network and together we seek peaceful ways to counter the aggressive military and economic policies that threaten the peoples of the Pacific Rim, and all peoples everywhere.
VI. CONSIDERING A CALL TO CIVIL DISOBEDIENCE:
Hattie Nestel, inspired in part by the actions of Transform Now Plowshares but drawing also from her own experience, has, with the help of Martha Gagliardi, written a call to other WILPFers.
Ellen Barfield, another frequently arrested WILPFer, responded with an essay on civil resistance. Ellen finds that a better term since we are actually obeying higher laws – international treaties, the Nuremberg trials, humanitarian law, World Court decisions, moral conscience, core religious teachings or even our own US Constitution.
We have opened dialog which we expect to continue. We invite you to join us as we consider best paths to a Nuclear Free Future that must occur if life on earth is to continue. Many WILPFers have participated in civil disobedience and faced trial or jail terms for nonviolent actions like “crossing the line” or blocking entrance ways.
VII. CONTACTING THE TRANSFORM NOW PLOWSHARES PARTICIPANTS.
Ellen Barfield and Ellen Thomas have also sent us information from the Plowshares website on how to contact Megan, Michael and Gregory in jail, and on writing to the judge. Read more here.