Activists from the Defuse Nuclear War coalition on Sunday launched a week of action to demand the U.S. government take steps to reduce the existential threat of thermonuclear annihilation, including by reinstating arms control treaties, shutting down hair-trigger missiles, and engaging in “genuine diplomatic efforts to end the war in Ukraine.”
Defuse Nuclear War is organizing around 40 events across the United States. Demonstrations are planned in Baltimore, Boston, Philadelphia, Tucson, Fresno, and Salt Lake City, pickets are scheduled across Washington state, vigils are set to take place in Hawaii and California, activists plan to unfurl a banner at a Lockheed Martin facility in Pennsylvania, and an interfaith gathering will be held outside United Nations headquarters in New York.
“The U.S. has allowed far too many weapons treaties to lapse in recent years, and the Ukraine War threatens daily to plunge the world into nuclear war,” Defuse Nuclear War national campaign organizer Ryan Black said in a statement. “Our coalition of activists is demanding that the Biden administration seriously consider the consequences of their inaction in addressing this threat.”
Chris Nelson of the California group Chico Peace Alliance – which is planning a Monday march through the Chico State University campus and the city’s downtown – said:
The annual obscene “Defense” Authorization Act maintains and grows constant war infrastructure that can only be curtailed by the action of civilians. The revolving door in Congress for the arms contractors now makes representative government ineffective for arms control. Nuclear weapons are illegal under the International Treaty for the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons. It is up to us to make that normative and create effective pressure to get interim treaties reestablished.
The landmark treaty – which was signed in 2017 and went into effect in 2021 – has been signed by 97 nations.
Sean Arent of Physicians for Social Responsibility and Washington Against Nuclear Weapons – which is holding 12 demonstrations around the Evergreen State later this month – said that “Washington state is at the center of the atomic world, with more deployed nuclear weapons than anywhere else in the United States based out of the Kitsap-Bangor Trident nuclear submarine base.”
“The plutonium for some of the very first bombs were made at the ongoing disaster site known as Hanford, still radioactive to this day,” Arent continued. “It is past time that our members of Congress recognize this legacy and lead our country away from nuclear weapons.”
“We’re asking our members of Congress to support justice for communities impacted by these weapons like the Marshallese, support diplomatic negotiations towards arm reductions, and to fight tooth and nail to phase out – not enhance – our nuclear weapons arsenal in the impending National Defense Authorization Act,” Arent added. “The world is at stake.”
This year, the Bulletin of Atomic Scientisits’ Doomsday Clock – which tracks the world’s proximity to a possible nuclear war – was set to 90 seconds to midnight, the closest it has been to thermonuclear armageddon since it was created in 1947.
Brett Wilkins is is staff writer for Common Dreams. Based in San Francisco, his work covers issues of social justice, human rights and war and peace. This originally appeared at CommonDreams and is reprinted with the author’s permission.