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

 

Watch the recorded livestream of our recent Celebration + Action: One Year of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons: https://www.facebook.com/100064916373087/videos/301737188580977 held on Friday, January 21 at 12:00 pm at the Federal Building in downtown Syracuse.


The TPNW is a historic achievement in the global movement to abolish nuclear weapons, making it illegal under international law for participating nations to “develop, test, produce, manufacture, otherwise acquire, possess, or stockpile nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices.” Pursuing nuclear abolition through an international treaty such as the TPNW is a key point of the Back from the Brink campaign to prevent nuclear war (preventnuclearwar.org). Back from the Brink has been endorsed by 19 community and faith organizations in the CNY, as well as local, state, and county legislators. (https://www.peacecouncil.net/programs/nuclear-free-world-committee). 

 

Representatives of some of the local endorsing organizations briefly spoke of the treaty’s importance and the need for our elected leaders to both endorse the treaty publicly and work for a nuclear-free world. We called on Congress to support U.S. engagement with the TPNW.

 

BACKGROUND: The TPNW went into force on January 22, 2021.

(https://www.icanw.org/about_the_treaty_to_prohibit_nuclear_weapons).

By choosing to ratify the treaty, fifty-six nations around the globe are prohibited from developing, testing, producing, manufacturing, transferring, possessing, stockpiling, using, or threatening to use nuclear weapons. The treaty also prohibits these nations from assisting, encouraging, or inducing anyone to engage in any of those activities. In addition, these nations must not allow nuclear weapons to be stationed or deployed on their territory. Unfortunately, none of the nuclear-armed states, including the U.S. have joined the treaty. The TPNW puts pressure on nuclear-armed states to move toward nuclear disarmament by making it harder to finance, produce or station nuclear weapons across the globe. We are calling on the U.S. to lead the international community in a process that will result in the worldwide prohibition of nuclear weapons.

 

Take Action:

Petition local legislators to sign a letter to President Biden and Congress to support Back from the Brink. You can sign here:

https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSf0bhFbw_DXCZQz3L4a_O82hRskpcZz0PbkkRXwHNSGl4y7OQ/viewform

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. Episcopal Diocese of CNY
  11. Indivisible 13224
  12. May Memorial Unitarian Universalist
  13. St. Lucy's Catholic Church
  14. University United Methodist Church
  15. Veterans for Peace Chapter 51
  16. Syracuse Community Choir
  17. Syracuse Cultural Workers
  18. Plymouth Congregational Church
  19. Peace Action Le Moyne

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 drswords@gmail.com or michaela@peacecouncil.net.

CNY Elected Officials who have endorsed Back from the Brink:

  • City of Syracuse Mayor Ben Walsh
  • Syracuse Common Council
  • County legislators Mary Kuhn, Bill Kinne; former county legislator Vernon Williams
  • State Senators Rachel May, and John Mannion
  • State Assemblywoman Pamela Hunter

To get involved: contact the Nuclear Free World Committee by emailing drswords@gmail.com, and put "Nuclear free" in the subject line.


Our work in 2021:

On Aug 6, 2021, we held a banner drop 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 held a vigil at the State Office Building at 333 E. Washington St. in Syracuse to 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/.

January 22, 2021: Following the ratification of 51 countries, the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW) went into effect.  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.

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.

Resources on the TPNW:

  • Our January 22, 2021 press conference celebrating the entry into force of the Treaty for the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons featured legislators and nuclear experts. View the recording of the event here.  
  • 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.

Our work in 2020:

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

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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