Peace campaigners from the United States and around the world are teaming up to encourage candidates in the US mid-term elections to commit to nuclear disarmament, improved firearms regulation, climate protection, international diplomacy and the cutting of military budgets to release resources for areas of human and environmental need.
Key aims of this cooperative campaign are to slash the colossal nuclear weapons budget, secure a commitment by election candidates not to receive any financial support from arms manufactures or the fossil fuel industry in their election campaigns, and to move cities, governments and banks around the world to withdraw all investments in nuclear weapons corporations.
The initiative is being led by PeacePledge.World, a US coalition focused on promoting peace and demilitarization within the United States, and by Move the Nuclear Weapons Money, a global coalition to shift nuclear weapons budgets and investments to meet such civilian needs as health care, education, housing, mass transportation, renewable energy, and ending poverty.
Key aspects of this peace campaign are a Legislators’ Peace Pledge which current office holders and candidates for the 2018 US city, state and federal elections are encouraged to sign, and Count the Nuclear Weapons Money, an action in New York from May 10-16 to count out the $1 trillion nuclear weapons budget for the next ten years and to highlight areas in which these funds could instead be invested.
‘We dare to envision and build a world at peace,’ says Raymond Barglow a spokesperson from PeacePledge.World. ‘Such a world would resolve international conflict through diplomacy and mutual understanding, stop wasting valuable resources on war-preparation and waging war, treat all people with respect and find nonviolent solutions to conflicts and security threats.’
‘Legislators have a responsibility to ensure their governments choose diplomacy instead of nuclear destruction,’ says State Senator Nan Grogan Orrock (GA-US) President of the Women Legislators’ Lobby of WAND (Women’s Action for New Directions) and an endorser of the pledge. ‘The reckless spending on nuclear weapons, combined with leaders with their ‘fingers on the nuclear button’, threatens the security of current and future generations and diverts greatly needed public funds that could instead contribute to a peaceful, secure, and sustainable world.’
PeacePledge.World engages youth with their legislators and candidates for office in order to bring about policy change.
‘Young people have a particular interest in dealing with dangers like climate change and perpetual war, even though it has been previous generations that have created these problems,’ says David Goncharuk, member of the Peace Pledge Youth Committee. ‘Youth have also taken the lead to advance sensible firearms policies to protect us all. Many young people today are committed to peace not only as vision for the world we want to see but also in the way we live our daily lives. That’s why we’ve composed a “Youth Pledge” that we’re asking people of my generation to sign.
‘Youth are also taking a lead in today’s nuclear abolition initiatives, including Move the Nuclear Weapons Money and support for the UN High-Level Conference on Nuclear Disarmament’, says Marzhan Nurzhan, convener of the Abolition 2000 Global Youth Network. ‘We have sent nearly every President/Prime Minister and Foreign Minister in the world a Youth appeal to world leaders that encourages them to advocate and act for nuclear risk-reduction and disarmament at the UN High Level Conference. We are also engaging youth in the Move the Nuclear Weapons Money campaign, involving them as actual and honorary counters in the May 10-16 action.’
Count the Nuclear Weapons Money
Sports stars, religious leaders, artists, musicians, teachers, civil society leaders and others are joining with legislators, youth and nuclear abolition campaigners in New York for Count the Nuclear Weapons Money.
‘Over seven days and nights in New York we will count out $1 trillion in one million notes each of $1 million value,’ said Gene Seidman, Project Manager for Count the Nuclear Weapons Money. ‘And we will highlight what legislators and civil society can do to stop this colossal waste of money, and reallocate the funds to end poverty, protect the climate, promote peace, improve our infrastructure and build a stronger economy.’ The money symbolism we are using on this occasion illustrates the stark choice that faces humanity.
‘Legislators in the US and around the world are starting to take action on this issue,’ says Alyn Ware, Global Coordinator for Parliamentarians for Nuclear Nonproliferation and Disarmament. ‘Legislators overseas have moved some governments to end public fund investments in nuclear weapons. In the United States, Senator Markey and Congressman Blumenauer have introduced draft legislation (the SANE Act) to slash the US nuclear weapons budget by at least $100 billion over the next decade.’
‘It is time we inserted some desperately-needed sanity into America’s budget priorities,’ said Senator Markey. ‘As President Trump proposes devastating cuts to Medicare, food assistance, and Head Start, it makes no sense to spend hundreds of billions of dollars on new nuclear weapons that undermine deterrence and make Americans less safe. We should fund education, not annihilation.’
‘Cities and candidates for local office, also have a role,’ says Jackie Cabasso, US coordinator for Mayors for Peace. ‘Elected officials have a duty to prevent violence in their cities – whether that violence be from handguns or the possibility of a nuclear attack. As such, the US Conference of Mayors has adopted resolutions promoting diplomacy, supporting nuclear disarmament, and calling for the nuclear weapons budget to be slashed in order to provide funds for human need.’
- Invite your US legislators and election candidates to sign the Legislators’ Peace Pledge;
- Invite youth to sign the Youth Pledge for Peace;
- Join us in New York from May 10-16 to Count the Nuclear Weapons Money;
- Call on your city to end any investments in nuclear weapons corporations (see Move the Nuclear Weapons Money legislation for examples from other US cities);
- Call on your federal legislator to support the SANE Act.