Today we have yet a new Treaty by nations tired of nuclear weapon states persistent delays, misinformation, and violations of agreements. The NYC Council back then repeatedly steered us back to focusing on the dire needs of the city and nation rather than the false claims of the nuclear weapons industry. This is the choice leadership can, and needs to make again. As JFK summoned, “We can. We Must.”
Truly let us rekindle and uphold the tireless dedication and work of millions of citizens, thousands of diplomats, and organizations through the several decades. Let us stop the silencing. It’s wrong, and irresponsible, as is our governments barreling ahead to renew the means of our ultimate destruction.
Naturally, human life will end for each of us, but we always have the choice to listen to “our better angels”, when we stop to listen. For a legacy of life for the magnificent possibilities of future generations, this is one of the rare times we are very mistaken to say, “Relax, it’s not like it’s the end of the world.”
The U.S. Congress still looks to NYC for leadership and legitimacy. There is a good reason U.S. Representative Eleanor Holmes Norton submitted impassioned testimony supporting resolution 0976-2019 to NY City Hall, standing up to the current nuclear arms race. Perhaps Council Speaker Johnson isn’t aware that Rep. Holmes Norton had entered a bill in the Congress which calls for us all to champion this same Nuclear Ban Treaty, and as well, focus our resources on addressing climate and our other vital challenges. Perhaps he and the unnamed few influencing him are unaware that our NYC U.S. Rep. Carolyn Maloney is signed on in support to Eleanor’s bill.
Mr. Speaker perhaps have a chat with U.S. Rep. Maloney about why when she was a NYC Council Member herself in the 1980s she thought NYC had an obligation to speak up on international issues that affected us all. Please ask her why she signed and voted for a number of NYC Council Resolutions demanding an end to the nuclear arms race between the Soviet Union and the U.S., calling for parties to negotiate, and again, for the saved money to be used instead for the city’s very real priorities.
We need not re-invent any wheels. Speaker Johnson you can read the history/herstory of our great New Yorker’s with this issue; Dorothy Day, Norman Cousins, Bayard Rustin, Eleanor Roosevelt, Adlai Stevenson to mention a few standing tall in the 1940s and 50s. Yes, New Yorkers already clearly voted with our feet, every profession and level of society present and accounted for on the streets; all races, genders, socio-economic status, from unions to veterans, from teachers to MDs and scientists, to our diverse religious leaders, old and young, all standing up for life, demanding our Representatives get to work to end to the arms race’s MAD destruction. Allow that perpetual demand for life to echo to you today. Honor the many thousands of us who marched in NYC’s streets during the second half of the 1970’s, leading up to the June 1982 anti-nuclear weapons march with over a million filling every corner of the city, and surrounding the “nuclear club” UN Missions.
As per former President Mikhail Gorbachev of the Soviet Union, these citizen outpourings in our streets are what inspired him to reach out to President Ronald Reagan, despite Reagans repeated name calling the USSR the Evil Empire. Mikhail Gorbachev, who at 90 yrs is still mightily advocating for us to come together and rid our nuclear weapons. He happens to have a young relative, Michael Gorbachev, a longtime resident of NYC, who testified in City Hall on the importance of this resolution.
Gorbachev in his Memoirs, wrote about the moment in 1986 in Reykjavik when he and Pres. Reagan sat across from one another overlooking the ocean, their teams working hard…”Both negotiating teams and the media realized this was a unique opportunity to break out of the vicious circle of the nuclear arms race. BUT, the moment we had seemingly reached an agreement, some INVISIBLE force SUDDENLY stayed the hand of the President of the United States.”
He and we came more clearly to recognize this hidden force was and remains the insidious military industrial congressional university complex paid for by you and me. Speaker Johnson, Comptroller Stringer, ask yourselves, is this still the origin of the same force that has stayed your hand today? Will you break free?
NYC has named the newest Staten Island Ferry the Dorothy Day, to arrive in our fair harbor upon completion. Do they know how many times Ms. Day was arrested protesting outside NY City Hall against the nuclear weapon insanity? Another New Yorker, Martha Hennessy, in the footsteps of her grandmother Dorothy Day, has been in Federal Prison for non violent civil disobedience. She along with 6 Catholic Workers colleagues chose April 4th, 2018 to enter our nuclear weapons submarine base in Georgia, specifically on this 50th anniversary of his tragic assassination with a large banner of the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. willing to risk their own lives, to pay the price of facing a thoroughly skewed legal system for this topic, and imprisonment. They ring out as well the prophetic call to awaken. They also carried onto the base a timeline of the laws and principals that our Representatives violate daily, and the book The Doomsday Machine by Daniel Ellsberg. This one submarine base alone has the capacity to extinguish all human life many times over.
There was a reason Dr. King traveled here to New York City in 1967 to deliver his courageous indictment again linking militarism, racism and poverty. There was a clear reason one of America’s highest guiding voices specifically called out nuclear weapons. We all benefit from a refresher listen to that mighty April 4th, 1967 clarion call. Over his last years he encouraged, “The time is always right, to do what is right.” Speaker Johnson, we have less than three weeks now to do the right thing. Simply allow a vote, and lend us some of your “100 % support” for it.
Let us re-mind ourselves, re-inspire and listen to another vital All-American voice showing us how to end the nuclear madness, and move the world ahead together; President John F. Kennedy’s address at American University, June 1963. To learn of the very brave work he was doing behind the scenes for us all, to serve that which we are called to continue today, it is full heartedly recommended to read James Douglass’s definitive achievement, JFK and the Unspeakable.
Filling your mailbox with advertisements, Comptroller Scott Stringer is highlighting that he has accomplished for us the divestment of fossil fuels (Let’s credit the mighty efforts of activists leading him every step of the way). As mentioned Resolution 0976 is a much easier financial ask.
When approached respectfully with a request for divestment of nuclear weapons corporations from these same pension funds, and reminded of Danny Dromm’s letter, Scott snapped, “I’m not going to think about that until I’m finished with fossil fuels!” It was explained that one compliments and goes with the other, and reminded him it was a significantly smaller ask. In terms of our real climate crisis, the two challenges remain inseparable. All our climate goals and efforts are for naught if there is even one small nuclear weapon exchange between any smaller countries, a cyber attack, or an accidental computer malfunctioning (there have been many very close calls undisclosed to the public). One of todays warheads is many multiple times more destructive than Hiroshima.
Readers of Pressenza are now long acquainted that for four years 155 nations gathered to put their heads together about the real Humanitarian Consequences of Nuclear Weapons. The majority of the world got extremely frustrated with the many decades of the nuclear weapon states violating their obligations, foregoing their responsibilities, ignoring their several treaties, the Nuremberg Principles, as well as the First Article of the UN Charter itself. These nuclear weapon nations continue to digress. The past 4 years in particular they publicly point fingers, blame the other, take no responsibility for their part of this purposeful delaying, and hurl names across the table. Diplomacy 101 vanished. Each spread misleading propaganda, and are building the unspeakable arms anew despite the vast majority of citizens knowing a more trusting and peaceful world is possible, free of such constant omnicidal threat. An accident or purposeful launch will waken us from their “magical thinking”, but then it’s simply too late for us all. The world’s citizens and 122 nations presently says No to this madness, and Yes to facing our real challenges and joys of Life.
The industry relies on the nuclear deterrence theory for its revenue flow. It’s clear the theory remains extremely flawed, naive and increasingly dangerous. The cover up of facts and extreme cost is maintained by “deterrence” leading us to an ever increasingly ominous precipice.
In the final Conference, 122 nations worked day and night for months. On July 7th, 2017 they adopted what many said was not possible, the historic reckoning, The Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW). That “Ban Treaty” continues to go through the careful ratification process in those nations and on January 21st, 2021, went “into effect”, becoming international law.
Contrary to propaganda, our nation, and all nuclear weapon states were always welcome to, and invited into this process whenever they felt ready. they still are. Instead we not only ignored the treaty, actively tried to block it, but spread pronounced misinformation about it, echoed by mainstream media. Weapons states falsely state the Treaty interferes with the work of disarmament and other legal accomplishments. Nothing could be further from the truth.
Your own individual investigation of facts is most welcome. Participatory democracy. There are plenty of organizations to get to the truth, the reality. Among others, for the purposes of this NY voter audience, the City Council hearing and vast testimony is publicly available (linked above).
When such good common sense embraced by a majority is discarded and the citizen efforts put before our representatives ignored, these representatives should not be elected. Protecting hidden economic/political interest over the welfare of the city is not a quality we can afford in a City Comptroller, nor in any politician.
Each of the Mayoral candidates could separate themselves by announcing they will not only support the City Council on Resolution 0976, but will join the Mayors for Peace. Currently over 8000 Mayors around the globe have gathered against war and nuclear weapons in particular.
It’s high time again for brave, wise leaders to re-emerge and truth tell. Let this town in which Wall Street does our business ring out to those that represent us in the halls of Congress to stop contributing to the vicious cycle of today’s nuclear arms race.
Let them know that we know our safety and security lies in the leadership, the positive process of The Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons.
Speaker Johnson, Finance Chair Dromm, NYC Council will you vote on Reso 0976-2019?
Douglass’s book JFK and the Unspeakable, opens with a revealing question from President John F. Kennedy;
“You believe in redemption, don’t you?”
Video of the public hearing on 01/28/2020