ACTION ALERT: “Defuse Nuclear” Demos in 40 US Cities

October 16th, 2022 - by RootsAction /Progressive Hub & Julia Conley / Common Dreams

Tell Your Senators and Representative to
Eliminate ICBMs

RootsAction /Progressive Hub

(October 15, 2022) — More than 60 organizations have issued a joint statement calling for elimination of intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs).

“Rather than being any kind of deterrent, ICBMs are the opposite — a foreseeable catalyst for nuclear attack,” the statement points out. “ICBMs certainly waste billions of dollars, but what makes them unique is the threat that they pose to all of humanity.”

ACTION: As a constituent, you can exert vital pressure by clicking here to email your two Senators and Representative.
The Message:
As a constituent, I urge you to read the statement — “A Call to Eliminate ICBMs” — that has just been issued by more than 60 organizations.

Former Defense Secretary William Perry has called for closure of ICBMs to reduce the chances of nuclear war. The stakes could not be higher.

You can read the statement here.

I hope to hear from you soon about this crucial matter. Thank you.

Defuse Nuclear War Protests
Erupt In Cities Across the US

Julia Conley / Common Dreams

(October 15, 2022) — As new polling showed this week that Americans’ fear of nuclear war has steadily grown since Russia invaded Ukraine in February, anti-nuclear campaigners on Friday called on federal lawmakers to take action to mitigate those fears and ensure the US is doing all it can to deescalate tensions with other nuclear powers.

Anti-war groups including Peace Action and RootsAction organized picket lines at the offices of US senators and representatives in more than 40 cities across 20 states, calling on lawmakers to push for a ceasefire in Ukraine, the revival of anti-nuclear treaties the US has exited in recent years, and other legislative actions to prevent nuclear catastrophe.

“Anyone paying attention should be worried about the rising dangers of nuclear war, but what we really need is action,” Norman Solomon, co-founder of RootsAction, told Common Dreams. “Picket lines at so many congressional offices across the country convey that more and more constituents are fed up with the timidity of elected officials, who’ve refused to acknowledge the extent of the current grave dangers of nuclear war, much less speak out and take action to mitigate those dangers.”

The most recent polling released by Reuters/Ipsos on Monday showed that 58% of Americans fear the US is headed toward nuclear war.

The level of fear regarding a nuclear conflict is lower than it was in February and March 2022, shortly after Russian President Vladimir Putin invaded Ukraine. But experts said Friday the polling shows sustained fear about nuclear weapons that has been rare in the United States.

“The level of anxiety is something that I haven’t seen since the Cuban missile crisis,” Peter Kuznick, a history professor and director of the Nuclear Studies Institute at American University, told The Hill. “And that was short-lived. This has gone on for months now.”

Chris Jackson, senior vice president of Ipsos, told The Hill that he didn’t “recall any time in the last 20 years where we’ve seen this sort of level of concern about the potential for nuclear apocalypse.”

Putin threatened the use of nuclear weapons last month, saying the US set “a precedent” for using them when it dropped two atomic bombs on Japan in 1945 and adding that he would use “all available means” to defend Russia.

The New York Times reported this week that “senior American officials say they have seen no evidence that Mr. Putin is moving any of his nuclear assets,” but that they are also “far more concerned than they were at the start of the [Ukraine] conflict about the possibility of Mr. Putin deploying tactical nuclear weapons.”

Campaigners at “Defuse Nuclear War” picket lines on Friday called on members of Congress to allay those concerns by:

  • Adopting a “no first use” policy regarding nuclear weapons, to restrict when the president of the United States can consider a nuclear strike and signal that the weapons are for deterrence rather than the fighting of wars;
  • Pushing for the US to reenter the Anti-Ballistic Missile (ABM) Treaty, which it withdrew from in 2002, and the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty, which it left in in 2019;
  • Passing H.R. 1185, which calls on the president “to embrace the goals and provisions of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons and make nuclear disarmament the centerpiece of US national security policy;”
  • Redirecting military spending, which makes up half the country’s discretionary budget, to ensure Americans have “adequate healthcare, education, housing, and other basic needs” and that the US is taking far-reaching climate action; and
  • Pushing the Biden administration to take nuclear weapons off “hair-trigger alert,” which enables their rapid launch and “increases the chance of a launch in response to a false alarm,” according to Defuse Nuclear War organizers.

“We’re sick of members of Congress acting like spectators instead of initiating measures that the US government could take to reduce the terribly real risks of global annihilation,” Solomon told Common Dreams. “The absurdly muted response from members of Congress is intolerable—and it’s time to publicly hold their feet to fire.”

The power held by President Joe Biden, Putin, and the leaders of the world’s other seven nuclear powers is “unacceptable,” wrote Kevin Martin, president of Peace Action, in a column on Thursday.

“However,” he added, “the current crisis brings with it the opportunity to re-engage on nuclear disarmament issues at the grassroots level in order to show our government it needs to get serious about reducing, not exacerbating, the nuclear threat.”

In addition to Friday’s pickets, campaigners are organizing a Day of Action on Sunday, with supporters holding demonstrations, handing out fliers, and prominently displaying banners calling for a de-escalation of the nuclear threat.

ACTION ALERT: Divert at Least 10% of Pentagon Budget to Meet Human Needs

RootsAction Petition

“A nation that continues year after year to spend more money on military defense than on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual death.”
— Martin Luther King, Jr.

The US discretionary budget devotes more to the military than to everything else combined. This spending generates wars, rather than preventing them. It destroys the natural environment, enriches the wealthy, drains the economy, erodes civil liberties and government transparency, fuels bigotry, and is a major source of death, injury, and homelessness.

Last summer, the public told pollsters it favored moving 10 percent of military spending to human and environmental needs, but the US Congress voted down a proposal to do just that. Now President-elect Joe Biden is proposing massive spending packages, to be funded primarily through debt, with no mention of the military budget.

ACTION: Click here to ask your Representative and Senators to join the “Defense” Spending Reduction Caucus being created by Congress Members Barbara Lee and Mark Pocan, and to insist on immediately moving at least 10 percent of military funding to urgent projects (including all assistance required by every worker impacted by this shift).

Biden’s proposal to immediately spend $1.9 trillion on the pandemic and economy (as well as boosting the minimum wage to $15/hour) has a lot that’s good in it, though it could be made better in a number of ways. It could be significantly funded by increased taxes on the super-wealthy, something Biden campaigned on. It should also be funded by tax dollars redirected from the military budget.

Problems with borrowing the necessary money include:
(1) it costs more than it looks like, because of interest,
(2) it’s harder to pass through Congress,
(3) it further empowers the people who loan the money, and especially
(4) it creates a major lost opportunity to move funding out of places where it shouldn’t be into places where it should be. It also fuels the “big government” vs. “small government” debate, displacing the badly needed “what kind of government” debate.

Pandemic rescues, economic rescues, and Green New Deals should not fail to draw on the massive, counterproductive funding that goes each and every year into militarism. Nor should they fail to take advantage of the plans and scholarship that have for decades been poured into the project of conversion to peaceful industries.

ACTION: Click here to email your Senators and your Representative right away.

If you have time, add your own words to the email. If you have a bit more time, phone them as well.