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United for Peace and Justice
Nuclear Disarmament and Redefining Security Working Group

United for Peace and Justice

UFPJ Nuclear Disarmament and Redefining Security Working Group home page

Nuclear Disarmament Talking Points (pdf)

Nuclear weapons information and analysis


Western States Legal Foundation (WSLF) participates in the Nuclear Abolition/Redefining Security working group of United for Peace and Justice. The working group is convened by WSLF Executive Director Jacqueline Cabasso. She can be reached at webmaster(at)wslfweb.org

At the United for Peace and Justice national meeting in Chicago, June 6 and 7, 2003, an action priority was adopted by the several hundred person plenary as follows:

5) Nuclear Disarmament/Redefining Security

Nuclear disarmament must become a core issue on the global
peace movement's agenda. Through education, advocacy,
demonstration and coordinated civil society presence at
international disarmament forums, and by linking with other issue
constituencies, this campaign seeks to move beyond narrow
arms control approaches by building visible public support in the
U.S. for sweeping measures to eliminate nuclear weapons in the
U.S. as well as worldwide.
For the full list of UFPJ action priorities, see click here
The action priority was based on a proposal submitted by a "mini-plenary" on first strike and preemptive war, consisting of about 50 persons, that met on June 6. The mini-plenary had before it a number of proposals on nuclear weapons related issues, as well as on preemptive war. The mini-plenary directed the preparation of an integrated proposal, based primary on proposals submitted by Western States Legal Foundation and colleagues and by Tri-Valley CARES. The integrated proposal follows. It can be considered to be the working basis for UFPJ's work on the nuclear abolition action priority. Groups involved in the development of this proposal have formed a working group (Nuclear Disarmament/Redefining Security) on the nuclear abolition action priority. To subscribe to the listserv for this working group, send a blank email to ufpj-disarm-subscribe@yahoogroups.com.


The Bush administration continues to demand disarmament from other nations, while expanding U.S. programs designing and building weapons of mass destruction. As part of its broader effort to achieve global military dominance, the U.S. is working to make its enormous nuclear arsenal more useable in warfare. The continued possession of thousands of nuclear weapons by the existing nuclear weapons states, together with the U.S. policy of preventive war and its push to modernize its nuclear arsenal, provide arguments for other countries to develop nuclear weapons of their own. Nuclear weapons threaten everyone's security. They remain the most dangerous of all weapons, the only ones that can destroy civilization in a day. We need to redefine security in human and ecological rather than military terms: food, shelter, clean air and water, jobs, healthcare and education. This kind of security is universal.

Nuclear disarmament must become a core issue on the global peace movement's agenda. Through education, advocacy, demonstrations, and coordinated civil society presence at international disarmament fora, and by linking with other issue constituencies, this campaign seeks to move beyond narrow arms control approaches by building broad visible public support in the US for sweeping measures to eliminate nuclear weapons in the US as well as worldwide.

Major goals: This is the moment to demand the elimination of these genocidal, ecocidal, and suicidal weapons.

The re-legitimization of nuclear weapons by the world's first nuclear weapons state and the likely result, increasing nuclear proliferation, pose perhaps the gravest threat to international security. As illustrated in the runup to the Iraq war, the Bush Administration's declared threat of first use of nuclear weapons as part of its preemptive war doctrine, its announced plans to develop more "useable" nuclear weapons, and its blatant disregard for international law, have made visible the present and very real dangers of nuclear weapon use. In the interests of promoting human security, we call on the U.S. government to reaffirm and make good on its Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) obligations and commitments. We call on the U.S. to:
    • Declare unconditionally that it will not use nuclear weapons first;
    • Terminate its declared policy of preventive warfare as a response to WMD threats;
    • Together with Russia, take all nuclear weapons off hair-trigger alert;
    • Halt all efforts aimed at “improving" the military capabilities of its nuclear arsenal, including research ad development for low-yield nukes and the "robust nuclear earth penetrator”;
    • Terminate all funding for nuclear weapons research, development, testing and production;
    • Reaffirm the moratorium on nuclear testing, ratify the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty and close the Nevada Test Site;
    • Halt plans for upgrades to existing weapons production facilities and new facilities, including those for plutonium pit manufacturing and tritium;
    • Initiate sweeping, verifiable, and irreversible reductions in both strategic and tactical nuclear weapons and their delivery systems;
    • Initiate multilateral negotiations to eliminate nuclear weapons worldwide, within a verifiable and time bound framework;
    • Terminate development of ballistic missile defenses, including theater missile defenses, and initiate multilateral negotiations to eliminate ballistic missiles; and
    • Support initiatives and multilateral negotiations to ban weapons in outer space.

Major activities/tactics:

    • National actions from August 1-11, bracketing the anniversaries of the U.S. atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. These will include a week of actions at U.S. Strategic Command in Omaha, Nebraska, where military planners will be meeting to discuss the development of new or modified nuclear weapons for new nuclear warfighting strategies, and a mass demonstration at the Lawrence Livermore Laboratory in California, where nuclear warheads are designed.
    • Development and widespread distribution of education packets and materials for teach-ins (weekly teach-ins are being discussed for New York City);
    • Focus on work with high school students (e.g. Educators for Social Responsibility New York Metro) college and university students (e.g. Campaign to Demilitarize the University of California), and law students (e.g. Lawyers' Committee on Nuclear Policy law school speaking tour);
    • Municipal resolutions (work with international Mayors for Peace in a new campaign spearheaded by the Mayor of Hiroshima; go back to Nuclear Free Zone Cities and anti-war cities);
    • Citizen Weapons Inspections at local facilities around the country (organized in conjunction with the Abolition 2000 Global Network to Eliminate Nuclear Weapons);
    • Coordinated civil society presence at international disarmament fora, including the UN General Assembly disarmament talks in October 2003 and NPT Preparatory Committee meeting in New York, April 2004 (in conjunction with Abolition 2000 and Mayors for Peace);
    • Rallies (including a demonstration on September 11, when the Republican National Convention will be held in New York and during the Democratic Party National Convention);
    • Demonstration and teach-in at release of defense budget (Washington, DC, early spring 2004) (including dissemination of the Building a Women's Peace Agenda, a gendered analysis of global military expenditures);
    • Promoting relevant Congressional Resolutions (e.g. one to be introduced shortly by Lynn Woolsey (D-CA) listing essentially the same demands identified as campaign goals above);
    • Letter-writing campaign to local and national representatives and Presidential Candidates;
    • Support for nuclear abolition plank in political party platforms.
Main Messages:

The U.S. continues to design and develop the ultimate weapons of terror. We must mobilize now, or risk the U.S. using nuclear weapons in one of its “wars on terror.” Global disarmament starts at home; it is time to disarm America.

Why should UFPJ work on this? How does it directly challenge Bush's empire-building agenda?

The nuclear weapons establishment is one of the most powerful sets of institutions sustaining the U.S. quest for world military domination. In the midst of the U.S.-led perpetual war, the risks of nuclear catastrophe are increased and present a threat to all of us. People of the world need to work within one united movement against nuclear weapons. The countries that are being threatened with a nuclear attack by the U.S. (including North Korea, Iran, Syria) would likely be less tempted to seek weapons of mass destruction if this nuclear threat was eliminated. The empire cannot be built under existing international law; thus the Bush administration has threatened the system of international law by undermining the Non-Proliferation Treaty, ignoring the International Court of Justice opinion of 1996, rejecting the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (after signing it) and destroying the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty. The elimination of nuclear weapons, through verifiable multilateral negotiations, would reinvigorate the authority of international law, and infuse the global community with a sense of equity.

Which constituencies would this campaign help us bring into the movement or develop strategic alliances with?

Nuclear weapons are an equal opportunity destroyer. Polls have consistently shown that the world's people want nuclear abolition. If nuclear disarmament is in the forefront of the American peace movement's agenda, we will be able to build strategic alliances with nuclear disarmament groups around the world, as well as with environmentalists, human rights activists, anti-corporate globalization activists, parliamentarians, UN diplomats, and Mayors for Peace. Within the U.S., the economic and local environmental impacts of the nuclear enterprise offer natural bridges to low-income and directly affected communities, including Native populations and workers who suffer the brunt of the health and environmental impacts of the nuclear cycle.

How would this campaign strengthen our ability to win other parts of our agenda down the road?

The elimination of war cannot happen in the absence of the elimination of weapons- especially the most destructive. Peace and justice will remain unattainable so long as we lack the resources spent on armaments. The permanent cessation of nuclear testing and the sustainable and appropriate stewardship of nuclear waste would constitute major victories for the environmental movement. If the U.S. took leadership in the elimination of nuclear weapons, it would have the credibility to demand the same from others, including Israel, India, and Pakistan, nuclear-capable states that are not party to the NPT. The renouncement of nuclear weapons by Israel has the potential to be the catalyst for peace in that region.

List any key dates and locations related to this proposal:

August 1-3: Speak out at STRATCOM, Omaha, Nebraska
August 6: Hiroshima Day
August 9: Nagasaki Day, rally with Peace Boat in Central Park, NYC
August 10: Hands-Around-the-Lab demonstration at Livermore Labs, CA:
September 11: Republican National Convention, NYC
October, 2003: UN First Committee, NYC
April 2004: NPT PrepCom, NYC

The thrust of this proposal is to move away from the narrow, arms-control approach that has dominated U.S. politics since the end of the Cold War, and to instead incorporate an unambiguous demand for the elimination of all nuclear weapons into the new peace movement's broader agenda. A great deal of groundwork has been done in this area, especially in the international area, including through the Abolition 2000 Global Network to Eliminatr Nuclear Weapons, which has grown since 1995 to include over 2000 NGOs in more than 90 countries, but which is weak in the United States.

Global disarmament starts at home; it's time to disarm America!

Talking Points Nuclear Disarmament/Redefining Security Working Group United for Peace and Justice, prepared by Jacqueline Cabasso, Western States Legal Foundation and John Burroughs, Lawyers' Committee on Nuclear Policy (pdf file)

Organizations submitting the proposal:

Rhianna Tyson
Reaching Critical Will/Women's International League for Peace and Freedom
New York, NY

Jackie Cabasso and Andy Lichterman
Western States Legal Foundation
Oakland, CA

John Burroughs
Lawyers' Committee on Nuclear Policy
New York, NY

Alice Slater
Abolition 2000
New York, NY

Tara Dorabji, Marylia Kelley, Ilene Laland (delegate in attendance)
Tri-Valley Communities Against a Radioactive Environment (CAREs)
Livermore, CA

Joshua Cramer
Nebraskans for Peace

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