655 - 13th Street, Suite 201 Oakland, CA 94612
Phone: (510)839-5877 Fax: (510)839-5397
“You know you've accomplished something when a birthday rolls around and Barbara Lee, Dennis Kucinich and Daniel Ellsberg all show up for the party. That was the case on February 10, when the Western States Legal Foundation marked its 30th year as a nuclear watchdog. WSLF’s spirited ‘Half Life’ gala drew an energized gathering of activists that filled Oakland’s First Congregational Church from the pulpit to the furthest pews.”— Gar Smith, writing in the Berkeley Daily Planet, Feb. 14, 2013
July 26, 2013
Dear Western States Legal Foundation (WSLF) supporter,
This is how journalist Gar Smith opened his article, An Anti-nuclear Half-Life Celebration Rocks an East Bay Night, published in the Berkeley Daily Planet on Valentine’s Day. The article, with extensive quotes from the evening’s speeches and highlights from WSLF’s history, is well worth reading. You can read it in full at http://tinyurl.com/wslf30.
For those of you who were there, you know it was a fabulous evening. For those who weren’t able to come, you missed something really special! But you can view the full speeches by Barbara Lee, Daniel Ellsberg, Dennis Kucinich (and me) online at www.wslfweb.org. I’m really pleased to offer you the opportunity to order photos from this memorable event. If you were there, you might find great photos of yourself with friends, family members, or even with one of our celebrity guests! See http://www.wslfweb.org/halflifephotos.htm.
According to Gar Smith, “WSLF’s exploits and accomplishments are legendary.” But we’re not resting on our laurels. The issues we work on are as pressing as ever. The demands on our staff are as great as ever. We’re as busy as ever. And we’re depending on your financial support as much as ever. Please give as generously as you can.
Nearly a quarter of a century has passed since the end of the Cold War, yet an estimated 17,300 nuclear weapons, 94% of them in the possession of the United States and Russia, continue to pose an intolerable threat to humanity and all living things, and the threatened use of nuclear weapons ultimately underwrites U.S. and Russian national security policies. Nuclear tensions in the Middle East, Southeast Asia and on the Korean peninsula remind us that the potential for nuclear war is ever present.
Regrettably, a long awaited review of U.S. nuclear weapons policy, released in June, resulted in little worth celebrating. The U.S. plans to maintain all three legs of the so-called “strategic triad” of nuclear warhead delivery systems for the foreseeable future, and is modernizing all of its nuclear warheads and delivery systems, giving some of them new military capabilities.
During a time of continuing domestic economic hardship, these policies are reflected in the Administration’s fiscal year 2014 budget request. The $7.87 billion for National Nuclear Security Administration Nuclear Weapons Activities – in inflation-adjusted dollars, the highest amount ever — funds increases for nuclear weapon “life extension” programs that will result in upgrades to missile and bomber-based warheads. The Pentagon estimates that in all, in the coming years at least $10 billion will be spent updating the B61 nuclear bomb, making each bomb worth more than twice its weight in gold! And, in the wake of the ongoing Fukushima disaster, the Administration is continuing to promote the global expansion of nuclear power.
In the face of this nuclear juggernaut, WSLF is continuing its work at the local, national and international levels, to illuminate the centrality of the nuclear enterprise in military-industrial complexes and to foster collaborative networks based on shared values in order to build the people power that will be needed to change national priorities.
In April, Andy Lichterman, our Senior Research Analyst, John Burroughs, Executive Director of the Lawyers Committee on Nuclear Policy and WSLF Board member, and I went to Europe for the Abolition 2000 Global Network to Eliminate Nuclear Weapons Annual General Meeting in Edinburgh, Scotland. We met there to demonstrate international solidarity for the growing Scottish movement to “evict” Britain’s nuclear weapons, based at nearby Faslane. We adopted the “Faslane Declaration” calling on the UK to remove the nuclear weapons based in Scotland, abandon nuclear deterrence and join negotiations for global nuclear abolition. We also adopted a Call for a Global Ban on Uranium Mining. There were two special highlights: a public session in the Scottish Parliament, which I had the honor of emceeing; and a bus trip to Faslane, where we delivered the Faslane Declaration and symbolically blocked the gate. WSLF co-founded the Abolition 2000 in 1995. Andy, John and I went on to Geneva for a preparatory meeting for the 2015 Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty Review Conference. We were accredited to the official meetings as nongovernmental organization (NGO) observers, and made presentations at several side events.
I continue to serve as Mayors for Peace North American Coordinator, working with WSLF to promote Mayors for Peace in the U.S. We had a huge victory in June when the U.S. Conference of Mayors (USCM) unanimously adopted a bold new Mayors for Peace resolution Calling for U.S. Leadership in Global Elimination of Nuclear Weapons and Redirection of Military Spending to Domestic Needs. The USCM is the national association of America’s big cities. I urge you to read our press release summarizing the resolution, which includes a link to the full text and list of sponsoring mayors at http://tinyurl.com/mfprel.
Building out from the August 6th and 9th Hiroshima and Nagasaki anniversaries, United for Peace and Justice (UFPJ) has declared August Nuclear Free Future Month, providing an opportunity for groups opposed to nuclear weapons and power to spread their message and to stimulate recognition of the relationship between nuclear technologies and the broader crisis engendered by the deepening polarization of wealth and political power and by economic growth and technology choices that are ecologically unsustainable. WSLF serves on UFPJ’s Coordinating Committee and is the main coordinator of Nuclear Free Future Month. Visit www.nuclearfreefuture.org for action opportunities, a calendar of events, and lots of resources.
August 6 will mark the 68th anniversary of the U.S. atomic bombing of Hiroshima. Locally, WSLF is a core organizer of the annual Hiroshima commemoration, rally and protest at the Livermore Nuclear Weapons Lab. We are thrilled that Daniel Ellsberg is our keynote speaker! www.wslfweb.org/whatsnew.htm#livermore813 Unfortunately, I’ll miss this year’s Livermore event because I’ll be in Hiroshima, speaking at a rally there!
WSLF does all of this and so much more with only two full-time paid staffers and an incredible volunteer activist Board! Please help us keep up the good work by making a generous donation today. Your donation is tax-deductible to the full extent allowed by law. You can donate securely online at www.wslfweb.org. You can also send a check, payable to Western States Legal Foundation, to the address in the letterhead, above.
In closing, I quote again from Gar Smith’s article about our 30th anniversary gala:“The energy was high as people filed into the night waving to departing friends and shouting encouragements. Thanks to WSLF and the evening’s keynote speakers, we'd all been reminded of the demons we face. And we left primed to confront the Nuclear Dragon with renewed vigor.”
We can’t thank you enough for your loyal support!