#12 - Nuclear Disarmament: AFWW Battleground #3 (April 2009)
A HEADS UP
Nuclear weapons and warDo you lead or belong to a group that could benefit by the elimination of war (well, yes, that does include just about everyone except the munitions industry, doesn't it)?
If so, AFWW urges you to encourage your group, and you personally, to find a way to energetically support President Obama's efforts to pursue nuclear disarmament. Getting rid of nukes is a key way-station in the campaign to abolish war itself, and nuclear disarmament is the theme of this newsletter.
"Give me a lever long enough and a fulcrum on which to place it, and I shall move the world." Archimedes of Syracuse 287-212 BCE
The lever to transform our cultures is the united, focused action by millions of determined and enlightened men and women who believe we humans can do better--who believe that we can certainly create nonviolent, just societies.
Our fulcrums are those well-chosen causes upon which we focus our shared determination to achieve change. Without common focus, the governing world system will benefit from the old principle of divide and conquer. Divided and going in a thousand different directions is, in fact, generally the state, as of 2009, of the transformation movement around the globe. To be maximally effective, we need to be united behind carefully chosen key causes. This is one of them.
Landmines. Cluster munitions. Nuclear weapons. These are three important fulcrums in our campaign to ultimately bring and end to war itself. They are battlegrounds. They are war activities on which we focus our efforts! And those who engage nonviolently in direct struggles to eliminate the weapons of war are peace warriors.
Now IS the time for us to apply maximum force to support the Obama effort to eliminate nuclear arsenals and nuclear weapons development!
Two key pathways to the abolition of warAFWW argues that two main strategies offer the potential to radically transform our dominator cultures, including the building of a future lacking the extraordinary insanity of war: Global Parity Government and Nonviolent Civil Disobedience.
Strategy 1: GLOBAL PARITY GOVERNMENT. By that is meant achieving genuine partnership between women and men in decision-making at all levels: in our homes, our communities, and our secular and religious organizations. Reaching roughly 50/50 male to female participation in everything: e.g., in city government, the U.S. Supreme Court, all state and federal governments worldwide, the International Criminal Court, the United Nations, the IMF and World Bank. Women are the natural allies of peace: they are biologically more inclined than are men to negotiate and to seek compromise. Nature has adapted women as a group in ways that men as a group have not been adapted, endowing women with built-in preferences to behave so as to foster social stability and avoid physical fighting (See Biological Differences). When we achieve the global empowerment women as full partners with men in deciding how to run our lives, it is quite possible, although not guaranteed, that war will wither and die a well-deserved death.
Strategy 2: NONVIOLENT CIVIL DISOBEDIENCE. This is most probably essential, a necessary requirement to get the attention of all current dominator systems and apply sufficient "soul force/people power" to effect deep transformation, as opposed to superficial and transitory change.
To be sure, empowering women is the key catalyst to speed up transformation and then ensure its persistence. Based on the historical record so far, however, AFWW takes the view that dominator systems of all forms (communist, socialist, capitalist, dictatorship, kingdom, etc.) are so deeply entrenched--that is, their use of violence to dominate their subjects and expand their influence, the money to be made by the elites, and the jobs provided for the subjects is such a long-practiced bad habit--that most likely these systems can not be transformed by good works alone ("Good works are necessary, but not sufficient. See the AFWW cornerstones for examples). It's possible that not even empowering women in parity governing will guarantee success.
History demonstrates that every dominator system we've lived under co-opted, destroyed, perverted, or absorbed all manner of well-intentioned efforts without making any fundamental or lasting change from domination and violence. The fate of the early Christians is perhaps the best-known example. More recently, the United Nations serves as testament to how best intentions, in this case to end war, are co-opted.
Ultimately, as difficult and unpleasant as it may be, to achieve radical social transformation to an unswerving embrace of the rule of law and humanitarian values will likely require us to confront war-fostering "aspects" of our societies, and then eliminate them, one-by-one. Each "aspect" is a battleground.
We are forging ahead. For example, Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Jodi Williams and the organization she works with, the International Campaign to Ban Land Mines, staked out and are winning on one battleground, viz. the manufacture and use of land mines. Learn more about Jody Williams.
Getting an international treaty banning antipersonnel landmines is a giant step in this ending-war campaign. It could be considered battleground #1. President Obama should see that the U.S. signs on.
A second battleground involves the manufacture and use of cluster bombs, those nasty little shiny things armies scatter over battlefields or just across open land that children later pick up, thinking they are perhaps a toy or something new and interesting ... and in the process have their hands or arms blown off. The Cluster Munitions Coalition is composed of roughly 300 organizations globally that work to promote the universal adherence to the Convention on Cluster Munitions. For more info visit StopClusterMunitions.com. Again, the U.S. needs to get on board.
For AFWW, the THIRD BATTLEGROUND, and the theme of this newsletter, is a campaign to end the development, manufacture, stockpiling, and God forbid, the deployment of NUCLEAR WEAPONS. With encouragement coming from the new Obama administration, it looks like the time to engage in this battle with all the force we can muster has arrived.
Examples of Peace Warriors: Movers and Shakers in the Anti-Nuclear Weapons Battleground
Obama on Nukes
U.S. President Speaks About Nuclear Arsenals
On 5 April, 2009, the isolated nation of North Korea launched a "test rocket" that had the world concerned that North Korea might eventually sell nuclear weapons technology or a delivery system to unstable, bellicose parties or nations that might use them, or threaten to use them as blackmail.
That same day in Prague, the US president pledged to ratify the nuclear test ban treaty, something the United States to date has refused to do, and to convene a global summit for eventual elimination of nuclear stockpiles. Speaking to a crowd estimated to be over 20 thousand, President Obama said "the US will take concrete steps toward a world without nuclear weapons." Many people of good will have protested these abominations from the day they were first used. Now, 64 years after the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, a powerful leader on the global stage has risen who offers profound hope.
The President conceded that this will be a difficult process, and it will take much time, but AFWW is persuaded that change could come astonishingly swiftly if all people and organizations with a vision for a better future energetically support the US President with all the means at their command: financial, political, and finally if "the system" refuses to cooperate and see reason, by using nonviolent civil disobedience.
To further the goal of a nuclear-free future, Ian Traynor of the UK Guardian reports that the President laid out several significant policy changes:
Eliminating Nukes: Members of Global Zero--World Leaders from the Right and Left--Take Up the Cause of Eliminating Nukes
It's almost as though an alignment of the stars is favoring this cause. Powerful and knowledgeable leaders from all sides of the political spectrum have recently arrived at the conclusion that the existence of nuclear weapons, and the technology to make and deliver them, constitutes an extraordinary danger to humanity, their use as an actual weapon is insane and profoundly immoral, and the expense of maintaining virtually useless massive arsenals is no longer justified ... is in fact an unacceptable hazard. Global Zero signatories include extraordinarily high profile leaders. A Short list would include: Muhammad Yunus, Anthony Zinni, Lawrence Bender, Sandy Berger, Lakhdar Brahimi, Richard Branson, Gro Harlem Brundtland, Chuck Hagel, Zbigniew Brzesinski, Richard Butler, Frank Carlucci, Jimmy Carter, Joseph Cirincione, Evgeny Velikhov, Lawrence Eagleburger, Mikhail Gorbachev, Lee Hamilton, Robert McFarlane, Queen Noor, Mary Robinson, Toshiyuki Takano and Jeffrey Skoll. The names of other signatories and information about Global Zero's goals can be found on their website. The website "Crooks and Liars" has a helpful review of the organization, its goals and its members. Crooks and Liars website
Calls For a Nuclear-Free World
Schultz, Perry, Kissinger and Nunn call for a Nuclear-Free WorldAn article by George P. Shultz, William J. Perry, Henry A. Kissinger, and Sam Nunn, all world-savvy leaders, was, entitled "Toward a Nuclear-free World." Published in the Wall Street Journal (Jan 15 2008), it has set the tone for the need to rid ourselves of this danger. Read the article online to see the reasons these men give for why the time has come to de-nuke the global community.
Pressure through Ploughshares
Joseph Cirincione, the President of Ploughshears Fund, is a Signatory with Global Zero - Founded in 1981, the Time for Ploughshears Fund to Exert Maximum Pressure Has Arrived
Ploughshares Fund is the largest grantmaking foundation in the U.S. dedicated exclusively to security and peace funding. They have worked to identify and support the smartest people with the best ideas for preventing the spread and use of nuclear weapons and building stability in regions where nuclear weapons may be factors.
Sally Lilienthal, an artist and a lifelong activist for human and civil rights, founded Ploughshares in her San Francisco living room in 1981, in the belief that the threat of nuclear war overshadowed everything else. She told an interviewer in 1996, "I thought that if a lot of people felt the same way I did but didn't know what to do about it, we might get together and search for new ways to get rid of the nuclear weapons that were threatening us all." She worked actively as Ploughshares Fund's president until her death in 2006 at the age of 87.
The Fund was structured to respond and adapt to emerging threats to global security, and indeed, has been at the forefront of supporting innovative responses to unforeseen challenges.
You or your group might want to infuse the fund with fresh money, the life-blood of any grant-making agency-a tithe of sorts. AFWW does not solicit funds for any organization, but you might want to check out the 5 reasons they list for why supporting the fund at this time can help accelerate anti-nuclear projects. The Ploughshares Fund
WAND: WAND Changed Their Name, but They are Still Anti-Nuke
Another organization founded in the early 1980's was WAND: Women's Action for Nuclear Disarmament. With the end of the cold war, the group became Women's Action for New Directions. They now dedicate their energies to redirect US federal budget priorities away from the military and toward human needs. They put a heavy emphasis in getting women into government as a means to influence budget priorities toward more projects that ensure human security rather than simply provide jobs. A search at their website will find articles, books and references on the costs of producing and maintaining nuclear stockpiles and other weapons of mass destruction and suggestions for how US military budgeting priorities can be shifted from reliance for our security on them. WAND
Wanted: Your Ideas on Nonproliferation
The James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies (CNS) at the Monterey Institute of International Studies strives to combat the spread of nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons to state and non-state actors by training the next generation of nonproliferation specialists and disseminating timely information based on cutting-edge research and analysis.
To spur new thinking, CNS and its journal, the Nonproliferation Review, sponsors an essay contest to identify and publish outstanding new scholarly papers and reports in the nonproliferation field. The deadline for submission in 2009 is on or before 15 May. The grand prize for a 10,000 word or less essay is $10,000.00 A thousand dollars/word!
This contest is open to persons worldwide, except for current faculty, staff, interns, and students of the Monterey Institute of International Studies, past winners of this contest, and anyone involved in reviewing or judging submissions. There is also a $1,000 prize for the best student essay. To be eligible for the student prize, an entrant must be enrolled at a college or university at the time of submission. A team of authors comprising one or more students and non-students is not eligible for the student prize.
* Students are eligible for the grand prize. Learn more at the CNS site
A Thousand Points of Light ... And You are One of Them
We're not starting from ground zero! We've been preparing for this push for many years. There are many anti-nuclear organizations. You can find links to some of them on Wikipedia. Or do your own web search. But find a way to be a part of winning this struggle.
At the very minimum, call your political representatives and tell them you want them to support this moral, humane, and smart movement until the goal is achieved-call them and register your views even if you know that at this moment they would disagree. They absolutely pay attention and keep a record of how many of their constituents feel strongly about what issues.
US Senators | US Congressmembers
Yes We Can
"I state clearly and with conviction America's commitment to seek the peace and security of a world without nuclear weapons. I'm not naive. This goal will not be reached quickly - perhaps not in my lifetime. It will take patience and persistence. But now we, too, must ignore the voices who tell us that the world cannot change. We have to insist, 'Yes, we can.'" ~ Barack Hussein Obama Prague, April 2009
NOW IS THE TIME! IF WE UNITE, WE CAN PROVE PRESIDENT OBAMA UNDUELY PESSIMISTIC WHEN HE SAID THAT WE COULD NOT RID OF THE WORLD OF NUKES IN HIS LIFETIME
A Future Without War
"I state clearly and with conviction America's commitment to seek the peace and security of a world without nuclear weapons ... we must ignore the voices who tell us that the world cannot change. We have to insist, 'Yes, we can."
- Barack Hussein Obama
Prague, April 2009A
"Charlie Wilson's War," starring Tom Hanks. This movie about our proxy war against the Russians in Afghanistan brings home the truth that if we take our eye off of the goal, if our vision is shortsighted and focused only on winning wars, we "blow the endgame."