US Mayors Call for Nuclear Weapons Abolition by 2020

THE CALL:

In June of 2012 the Mayors of US cities gathered in their annual U.S. Conference of Mayors and unanimously passed a strong resolution calling for nuclear weapons abolition by 2020.

The 2012 resolution can be read here. It calls for US leadership in obtaining abolition of nuclear weapons by 2020, a halt to funding for modernization of nuclear warheads and delivery systems (and directing funds saved to the needs of cities), withdrawal of all tactical US nuclear weapons from foreign soil and the immediate standing down of all nuclear forces on high-alert. Again, in June 2013, The mayors met and issued another resolution

In the resolution, the goal of the Vision 2020 Campaign by the Global Mayors for Peace movement led by the Mayors of Hiroshima and Nagasaki is also endorsed.

We want to ensure that this call from our nation’s Mayors is heard and heeded by our communities, our President and our Congress. 

We believe that the introduction of HR 1650 in the House of Representatives can become a major step toward making this call for abolition by 2020 heard. For the first time, there is a bill in Congress that calls openly for support of a nuclear weapons abolition treaty in our own life times and sets 2020 as the goal. 

ACTION: Contact your Mayor before Hiroshima and Nagasaki days

Is he or she one of the 1,305 members of the U.S. Conference of Mayors? Is your city one of the 197 US Mayors for Peace cities? (WILPFers have helped enlist mayors for the latter.) But whether or not they have joined either group, we need to communicate with our mayors and help build on these new breakthroughs for nuclear weapons abolition. It will be a good time to start now when so many of us are preparing for annual Hiroshima/Nagasaki day memorials.

Can you try to get an appointment with your mayor and then bring a small representative delegation to meet with him/her and explore his/her reaction to the Conference of Mayors resolution? Of course in larger cities it may be a real challenge to speak in person with your mayor, but start wherever you can: with a city council member or someone else who has access to the mayor, a staff person or a personal friend of the mayor.

If s/he is positive explore the possibility of your mayor speaking, even briefly, at your community Hiroshima/Nagasaki Day event. Will s/he issue a proclamation or highlight the call for abolition in some other positive way? You can also discuss HR 1650 and the added boost of having a bill in Congress that supports the same goals. If s/he is positive but your city is not yet a member of Mayor’s for Peace, get the information to him/her and encourage signing on to the campaign.

If s/he is negative, it is time to begin a longer term use of friendly persuasion. This would include sharing the Mayors’ Resolution, the bill and the concept of the Mayors for Peace Vision 2020 campaign with your wider community. 

You could also consider a petition to your Mayor and City Council urging support of such a resolution in support of nuclear weapons abolition by your own city. If you hold Hiroshima/Nagasaki memorial events that could be a very appropriate time. We need to  build strong local constituencies for beginning abolition negotiations NOW.

BACKGROUND ON THE US CONFERENCE OF MAYORS

The  U.S. Conference of Mayors adopted resolutions in 2004, 2006 and each year since, expressing strong support for Mayors for Peace, its 2020 Vision Campaign and its Cities Are Not Targets project. The 2010 and 2011 resolutions called for deep cuts in nuclear weapons spending and redirection of those funds to meet the needs of cities.

The 2013 annual meeting of the Conference of Mayors is took place June 21-24 in Las Vegas. Some mayors who are among the most powerful members of the organization have active WILPF Branches among their constituents, including Mayor Nutter of Philadelphia, who is president, and Mayor Kevin Johnson of Sacramento, who is a vice president.

According to the Wikipedia, the US Conference of Mayors is “the official non-partisan organization for cities with populations of 30,000 or more.” At present, it includes 1,308 cities with populations over 30,000. Membership includes mayors of most the largest US cities, including Seattle, San Francisco, Oakland, Los Angeles, Phoenix, Houston, Dallas, Little Rock, Akron, St Louis, Philadelphia, Baltimore, Boston, Atlanta, Chapel Hill, San Jose, Chicago and many dozens more. 

The Conference grew out of the depression in 1932 and the desperate need of Mayors for help in providing their citizens with relief for survival. The mayors, both Republicans and Democrats, built strong constituencies for FDR’s New Deal. Closer to our time, they have campaigned for single payer health care, actively pursued legislation to curb handgun violence, to affirm marriage equality for lesbians and gays, to outlaw bottled water, to take concrete steps in their own cities to stop global warming and to urge federal cuts in military spending and to transfer funds saved to cities for job creating infrastructure projects and other human needs. 

BACKGROUND ON US MAYORS FOR PEACE CITIES

While 1,308 US Mayors are currently members of the United States Conference of Mayors, a much lower number—197 US mayors—come from Mayors for Peace Cities. These are cities where the current mayor, or a former one, have signed on directly to the international Mayors for Peace Vision 2020 campaign

View the campaign 2013 progress report here.

Read the list of citieswhich have joined the Mayors for Peace movement through a current or past mayor. Is your city among them? (Once a mayor joins his/her city is listed permanently as a member of the Vision 2020 campaign. It will be removed from the rolls only if requested, and that has seldom, if ever, happened. However, it may be necessary to educate both our current mayors and our communities about the Vision 2020 campaign even if our cities are listed as members.)

If your city is not listed investigate how you can help your current mayor become a member and join the over 5,500 Mayors for Peace cities around the world in 155 countries.

Jackie Cabasso wslf@earthlink.net , who is a WILPF member and Executive Director of Western States Legal Foundation, is now also on the staff of Mayors for Peace 2020 Vision Campaign.

SO LET’S TALK WITH OUR MAYORS 

AND OUR COMMUNITIES

about the Mayors for Peace Campaign, the United States Conference of Mayors, the Mayors for Peace Cities and the importance of HR 1650. And let us make it known in our communities if ours is already a Mayor’s for Peace City, or could become one. May all of our communities become part of the process for nuclear abolition in our own lifetimes, with that process beginning not centuries in the future but NOW.