Can Speaker Corey Johnson Do the Right Thing for the City and Humanity? Part 2

09.06.2021 - New York City - Anthony Donovan

Can Speaker Corey Johnson Do the Right Thing for the City and Humanity? Part 2
New York City Hall joint committee hearing on Nuclear Ban and Divestment on January 29, 2020 (Image by Davd Andersson)

On voting day, June 22nd, we’d want a Comptroller, a Mayor and a Council to herald and expand these values and this model in our town.

Are nuclear weapons a worthy priority during this crisis time of Covid?  Of course!  This remains not only an imminent life and death issue, but ignoring it deliberately obscures the much needed priority funds for our city’s  needs.  NYC residents taxes alone are paying billions to the secretive weapon industry.   It remains an issue immersed in common sense.   It’s a critical movement that when successful will have a prodigious, positive effect in our city, nation, and in the world.  It will stop the sheer waste.

Resolution 0976-2019 can only help awaken, guide and educate our Representatives.  It exemplifies genuine leadership in challenging times, and invests in insuring our future.  It not only afflicts the horrific deceptions of the industry, but exemplifies solidarity with all humanity.   It stands up to the insidious deep racism of the industry, and would be a key in our responsibility to prevent irreversible beyond catastrophic destruction.  It aligns with another worthy Council Resolution that calls for moving our money and mindset from sheer militarism, to more pragmatic and ethical solutions and outcomes, Resolution 747-A.

The January 28th, 2020, fully packed City Hall Public Hearing on Danny Dromm Res. 0976 proved a NYC once again ready to lead the push back on a completely runaway nuclear arms race, a race this time that the corporate main stream media purposely ignores, keeping citizens largely unawares.

Leadership rightfully calls not only for divestment but supporting a long overdue, historic Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons.

Just one of the thousands of nuclear devices on hair trigger alert will in minutes turn all, all we love, value, all we know, all of us, to ash.   As President Eisenhower in 1960 famously put a verb to the industry, “theft”, this “theft” of incalculable resources, skill sets and monies occurs while we struggle to help small businesses survive, pay for Covid response and medical care, plead for fair housing, for good education, for needed infrastructure, for rising to our dire climate/environmental challenge, and the many urgent political/social reforms calling us.

My districts Council Member, one of the first to sign on to this resolution is CM Carlina Rivera.   When asked months ago, she would say, “Yes, let’s call a vote!  This is a no brainer.”

The link to the resolution and hearing contains the video recording of oral testimonies, and the .pdf file of all the written submissions:

https://legistar.council.nyc.gov/LegislationDetail.aspx?ID=3996240&GUID=4AF9FC30-DFB8-45BC-B03F-2A6B534FC349

This past February 11th, on WNYC’s Brian Lehrer Show, Speaker Johnson paradoxically responded to a callers question and encouragement to move on this measure:   “I do support it [the resolution] 100 %,  … [but] it becomes a little strange when the New York City Council is weighing in on international issues….   In this moment of Covid, we have really been focussed on what’s been happening here in NYC….   I just think the question is … does this set a precedent for us to keep moving on resolutions that are outside the jurisdiction of a local legislative body…. ”

The Brian Lehrer team was contacted a few times to please follow-up on Corey’s promise on the show to speak with Danny.  None have directly responded.

As to Corey’s answer, let us set aside the question of whether the annihilation of human life on earth is a local or international issue.   The truth is at the time of that February call, a quick review indeed found some sixteen NY City Hall other measures involving “international issues” during the time of Covid.

The city of New York has a long and proud history of “weighing in on international issues.”  One related action that instructs us was the Council calling for divesting from companies doing business in South Africa—as the New York City Employees’ Retirement System did in 1984—and was an essential element in the fall of the apartheid regime.  Fossil fuel divestment which Scott Stringer finds opportune to hang his hat on, is also a global issue.

The city’s legislative body has introduced and passed well over a dozen resolutions over the decades specifically on the grave dangers and waste of needed resources of the nuclear arms race.

From 1963 to 1990 alone, our City led the nations moral agenda with 15 NYC resolutions calling for the end of the nuclear arms race.  They called the “enemy parties” to negotiate instead, to pull back from this acute danger and the spending of our treasure.   When President John F. Kennedy broke the ice in the Cold War calling for the first nuclear weapon Test Ban Treaty, NYC Council did not hesitate a moment to support it with a resolution.  His ban was to be the first step toward total disarmament.   All the nations were present in the UN General Assembly that Sept 1963 as the representatives erupted in rare spontaneous applause when JFK spoke of it.   The people have always been ready.

Back to Part 1   –    Go to Part 3

Categories: North America, Peace and Disarmament, Politics
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