Disarm! Dismantle the war economy.
Tragically, instead of leading the world away from wars, our nation is defying international law, undermining the United Nations, and stimulating a new global arms race.
But WILPF members can never give up. At the United Nations, U.S. WILPF works with Reaching Critical Will and the Geneva office to counter U.S. threats to the range of disarmament treaties negotiated during the dangerous years of the Cold War. Step-by-step, WILPF seeks to help governments move forward, gradually transforming into reality the visions set forth in the UN Charter, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and the UN treaty system.
The DISARM! committee continues to work directly on these issues and maintains WILPF web pages (accessible from the WILPF home page or at www.disarm.wilpf.org), loaded with information, resources, and action calendars.
The real work, however, is done by members and branches.
Dismantling the war economy and building an economy of peace remains a key objective. Progress in disarmament is nearly impossible while our economy remains dependent on weapons and war.
The Mil-Corp ConneXion Manual is a powerful tool for exposing and dismantling this war economy, educating our communities, and encouraging planning for and transformation to an economy of peace. By now every branch should have a resource copy. Boston, Philadelphia, and Twin Cities are currently using it as a study and action guide.
This year WILPF is working with War Resisters League and nearly forty other organizations to develop national and international networks of Mil-Corp watchers committed to dismantling the war economy. WILPF is updating materials for The Dirty Dozen: Partners in Mass Destruction to be available in printed copies and to download from multiple web sites.
Nuclear weapons abolition is again high on the WILPF 2007 agenda. Even without the horrors of nuclear war, these weapons endanger life and the planet. In an article in this issue (page 12) Pat Birnie of Tucson, Arizona, writes on behalf of WILPF's Save the Water campaign. She makes clear the dangers U.S. nuclear programs pose to our rivers and ground water. Linda Richards of Ashland, Oregon, shares the terrible price Indigenous peoples are paying for those same programs (page 10).
Polls show the vast majority of earth's people support abolition and find nuclear war unthinkable. Yet our government clings to nuclear weapons. Marge Van Cleef (Philadelphia) and Shirley Morrison (Seattle) remind us of existing horrors of Trident (page 16). Mil-Corp profiteers now promote a plan called Complex 2030. It advocates rebuilding the entire nuclear arsenal at billions (or trillions) of dollars in cost, with new warheads, new plutonium pit production, uranium mining, possible resumption of nuclear testing, and vast quantities of nuclear waste.
WILPF works to stop this insanity. Mary Day Kent, executive director of U.S. WILPF, submitted comments on Complex 2030 at the December 2006 Environmental Impact hearing in Washington, D.C. (Go to www.disarm.wilpf.org and see DISARM! Update for the statement and background information.) Complex 2030, of course, flagrantly defies the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and the World Court ruling that nuclear weapons are illegal.
On the positive side, however, the Blix Commission Report (see page 6) calls on the United States to lead the world toward abolition of nuclear weapons. Even Henry Kissinger, George Schultz, Sam Nunn, and William Perry now call for abolition. Join our WILPF work with Congress to win support from hawks and doves alike for the practical steps toward abolition already agreed to in 2000 by all nations party to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty as the only sane alternative.
Keeping Space for Peace continues to be another major WILPF goal, countering the openly proclaimed Pentagon plan to dominate space to control both nations and the solar system. For the past three years, WILPF has cosponsored Keep Space for Peace Week in October, along with Global Network Against Weapons and Nuclear Power in Space. Fifteen U.S. branches reported events during the week in 2006, and reports will be presented in May to UN agencies monitoring the Outer Space Treaty. MacGregor Eddy (Monterey) has developed a video and PowerPoint presentation for use in Branches, and DISARM! urges more Branches to join events in 2007.
WILPF DISARM! has cosponsored twice-yearly demonstrations at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California, a Space Command Center. These will continue, but in 2007 emphasis will shift to Offut Air Force Base in Omaha, Nebraska, where the Pentagon is now moving central control for the Space Command. Firing of weapons from ICBMs to cluster bombs (page 17) to guns will now be satellite-controlled from Offut.
Join in continuing resistance to Congressional appropriations for space based weapons, missile defense, and further space based militarization. Let's work with Reaching Critical Will and our Geneva UN office for Prevention of an Arms Race in Outer Space (PAROS).
Boston Branch has been deeply involved resisting a biodefense/bioweapons lab there, and members share their experiences in this issue (page 8). San Francisco and Berkeley branches have joined resistance to military biolabs at Lawrence Livermore. Branches in Philadelphia, Baltimore, Portland, Seattle, Minneapolis, Madison, and Cambridge are also near biodefense or bioweapons labs that feed into military research. Check the Mil-Corp Manual for the biolab nearest you and get to work!
(To download the paper presented by Boston WILPF to UN delegates in Geneva and get more information on the Bioweapons treaty, go to DISARM! Update at www.disarm.wilpf.org.)
Current U.S. programs arouse suspicion, undermine the treaty, and could stimulate a new bioweapons arms race. However, diplomats and NGOs at the Bioweapons Treaty Conference this year were determined to move ahead toward transparency, universal adherence, and an eventual inspection regime, despite U.S. rejection of the inspection protocol in 2000.
It is with the same determination that we in WILPF continue working for a world without war in all our many committees and campaigns. We know many other organizations and individuals throughout the world share our visions and our goals. We cannot give up, and we must continue to build institutions of peace, as we seek an end to war.
An overview by Carol Urner, Chair of the DISARM! Committee
RELATED ARTICLE: Taking Action For Peace
PORTLAND WILPF MEMBERS Mary Bolton and Elizabeth Linder (below) vigil with the Portland Branch weekly on disarmament and other WILPF issues. Other Portlanders, including veterans, who share WILPF goals, often join the vigils. During Keep Space for Peace Week, Barbara Drageaux and Pat Hollingsworth (right) participated in one of seven Portland Branch events, which included space activist/singer Holly Gwinn Graham, bringing their message to university students and visits to members of Congress.
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|Publication:||Peace and Freedom|
|Date:||Mar 22, 2007|
|Previous Article:||Disarmament: time for rededication.|
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