Nuclear Free World Committee


The Nuclear Free World Committee, formerly Peace Action of Central New York, works to fulfill a vision of a world free from the threat of war and nuclear weapons, where resources are directed to human and environmental needs. We are an affiliate of Peace Action, the nation's largest grassroots peace and justice organization.

 

'NO NUKES' graphic with roses

On Aug 6, 2021, we will hold a banner drop at 8:00 a.m. to commemorate the 76th anniversary of the bombing of Hiroshima, Japan.  We seek to remind people of the horrors of nuclear war and engage the public in the Back from the Brink Campaign and other actions to prevent nuclear weapons from ever being used again. We are in a climate and health crisis, yet the U.S. is expected to spend $44 billion dollars in 2021 on these same weapons of mass extinction. 

On August 9, 2021, we will hold a 10am vigil at the State Office Building at 333 E. Washington St. in Syracuse. We remember those lost and share commitment and action to shift our nations priorities from weapons of mass extinction to health care and environment. We urge our state legislators to sign on to a letter to pressure federal representatives to promote nuclear abolition. The letter is available at https://preventnuclearwar.org/us-officials-letter/. 

In the past year, action opposing nuclear weapons has been taking off. See the past events below and join current action by contacting the Nuclear Free World Committee at drswords@gmail.com. Put "nuclear free" in the subject line.

 

The Nuclear Free World Committee (NFW) has had a busy January! Following the ratification of 51 countries, the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW) went into effect on January 22.  We held a press conference that day to celebrate the historic moment, further the understanding of the threat of nuclear weapons, and call for their elimination. We were joined by:

  • Vincent Intondi, Professor of History and Director of the Institute for Race, Justice, and Civic Engagement at Montgomery College in Takoma Park, Maryland. He is the author of the book, "African Americans Against the Bomb: Nuclear Weapons, Colonialism, and the Black Freedom Movement" 
  • Joe Driscoll, Syracuse Common Councilor for district 5, who brought the Back from the Brink resolution to the Common Council (which was passed last August)
  • Yusuf Abdul-Qadir, Senior Strategist for Racial Justice at the NY Civil Liberties Union. Yusuf is an activist & scholar working at the intersections of climate/environmental justice, racial equity and emerging technology.
  • Jim Anderson, President of Peace Action New York State and Vice Chair of National Peace Action 

Speakers addressed the implications of the treaty, the social and economic consequences of nuclear weapons, and how we can push for positive change under the Biden administration. View the recording of the event here.  

Learn more about the treaty here.

 

Throughout the month, NFW joined other anti-nuclear activists and scholars to discuss the treaty:

  • Nuclear Free World Committee organizer Diane Swords spoke with Jim Anderson, co-chair of national Peace Action, and Vincent Intondi, author of African Americans Against the Bomb, on George Kilpatrick's Inspiration for the Nation. In discussing the treaty, they echo the question that Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King asked: “What will be the ultimate value of having established social justice in a context where all people, Negro and White, are merely free to face destruction by Stontium-90 or atomic war?” They call for an intersectional campaign addressing these issues together. View here.
  • Diane Swords interviewed Dr. Ira Helfand, co-chair of Physicians for Social Responsibility (PSR)’s Nuclear Weapons Abolition Committee and co-president of PSR’s global federation, International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War (IPPNW) - view here. 
  • Diane Swords interviewed Dr. Joseph Gerson, President of the Campaign for Peace, Disarmament and Common Security and author of With Hiroshima Eyes and Empire and the Bomb - view here.
  • SPC Staff Organizer Michaela Czerkies joined Vicki Ross and Marie Schuster of the Western NY Peace Center and Kings Bay Plowshares activist Mark Colville on Talking Peace to discuss the TPNW’s entry into effect, the Kings Bay Plowshares action of April 2018, the Back from the Brink campaign, and how these all connect to strengthen the global movement for nuclear abolition - view here.

Recent events make shockingly clear how dangerously close we are to nuclear confrontation. Even the use of a tiny fraction of the 15,000 nuclear weapons in existence today would cause worldwide climate disruption and global famine. A large-scale nuclear war could lead to our eventual extinction as a species.

The TPNW is the first legally binding international agreement to comprehensively prohibit nuclear weapons with the eventual goal of total elimination of these weapons. So far the treaty has been rejected by the nuclear armed and allied states so it will not be binding on them. However, it serves as a strong political statement by non-nuclear states. The TPNW will also lead non-nuclear state parties to strengthen efforts to abolish nuclear weapons and to address the humanitarian and environmental impact of the nuclear arms race. The treaty exerts pressure on international companies who have produced nuclear weapons components across the globe by banning them in the signatory countries. It is also expected that financial institutions will face increased calls to divest from nuclear weapons now that they are prohibited by international law.

August 2020 marked the 75th anniversaries of the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945. On Thursday, August 6, we gathered on the steps of Syracuse City Hall to hear stories of people directly affected by nuclear weapons, testing, and misspent budget priorities; honor the activism over the years that has produced safeguards against nuclear war, and learn how we can build on our progress with the Back from the Brink campaign to eliminate nuclear weapons.

Mayor Ben Walsh of Syracuse announced his endorsement of the Back from the Brink campaign, and Syracuse Common Councilor Joe Driscoll announced the forthcoming introduction of a Common Council resolution to endorse the campaign as well.

View the video of our Hiroshima Day 75th anniversary commemoration event here.

 

Hiroshima Day commemoration at Syracuse City Hall on Aug 6, 2020

 

One of the last projects local activist Peter Swords worked on was a video with Rashid Mamun and Don Hughes. A little over 8 minutes long, it was part of a world wide internet eventt. You can watch here and share with your organization: https://youtu.be/Gfvo4EiE0I023

Back from the Brink: The Call to Prevent Nuclear War is a national grassroots initiative seeking to fundamentally change U.S. nuclear weapons policy and lead us away from the dangerous path we are on. The Call lays out five common-sense steps that the United States should take to reform its nuclear policy. We are asking individuals and organizations around the country to endorse The Call and build support for the U.S. government to adopt it as its highest national security priority. Join the effort and help build a safer world for our children to inherit.

We call on the United States to lead a global effort to prevent nuclear war by:

  1. Renouncing the option of using nuclear weapons first

  2. Ending the sole, unchecked authority of any U.S. president to launch a nuclear attack

  3. Taking U.S. nuclear weapons off hair-trigger alert

  4. Cancelling the plan to replace its entire nuclear arsenal with enhanced weapons

  5. Actively pursuing a verifiable agreement among nuclear-armed states to eliminate their nuclear arsenals

Many local faith groups and community organizations in Syracuse have endorsed the Back From the Brink campaign call:
  1. Syracuse Peace Council
  2. Nuclear Free World Committee of the Syracuse Peace Council
  3. All Saints Catholic Church
  4. Alliance for a Green Economy (AGREE)
  5. Beyond War and Militarism, a joint committee of the Syracuse Peace Council and CNY Solidarity Coalition
  6. CNY National Organization for Women
  7. CNY Poor People's Campaign
  8. CNY Solidarity Coalition
  9. Eastwood Rotary
  10. Indivisible 13224
  11. May Memorial Unitarian Universalist
  12. St. Lucy's Catholic Church
  13. University United Methodist Church
  14. Veterans for Peace Chapter 51
  15. Syracuse Community Choir
  16. Syracuse Cultural Workers
Want to be the next local organization to endorse the call? Would you like a presentation to your group about the Back from the Brink campaign? Get in touch! Contact michaela@peacecouncil.net .
Action steps for ensuring we never again see a nuclear weapons disaster:
  • Contact your congressional representatives to urge the Biden  Administration to immediately start negotiating an extension of the NEW Start Nuclear Arms Treaty.  This last remaining nuclear arms treaty between he U.S. and Russia is set to expire in February of 2021. See a sample letter here.


The Nuclear Free World Committee and the Syracuse Peace Council are also members of the Alliance for a Green Economy (AGREE), which, among other campaigns, leads a statewide effort to shut down nuclear power plants and replace them with environmentally safer and greener energy sources, a 100% renewable energy supply.

Media

Watch video of our press conference to turn in 1000 signatures on the Markey-Lieu petition.
Read our
press release on the awarding of the Nobel Peace Prize to ICAN (International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons).

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