January 22, 2021
Maybe art is the way through. Music? Check out the latest song from Emma’s Revolution, “On a Day in January.” Poetry? Listen once again to our amazing Poet Laureate Amanda Gorman at Wednesday’s inauguration. Or maybe the way through is still good, old-fashioned activism–with art to give us courage.
Today we celebrate a major success of nuclear weapons activists, one that has taken decades, is critically important, and has been ignored by major media outlets in the U.S. and undermined by the U.S. government: the UN Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons enters into force!
The Treaty has been signed by 86 countries and fully ratified by 51. It prohibits nations from developing, testing, producing, manufacturing, transferring, possessing, stockpiling, using or threatening to use nuclear weapons, or allowing nuclear weapons to be stationed on their territory. It is legally binding on those nations that ratify it.
But, you ask, how can that matter if those countries that possess nuclear weapons—like our own—do not sign the treaty? Our work is not over, of course. But here are some of the expected effects of the treaty, based on historical experience with treaties that have banned other specific weapons, like chemical and biological ones:
(1) It strengthens the global taboo against the use and possession of nuclear weapons;
(2) It ultimately makes the resources for producing nuclear weapons more difficult to obtain;
(3) Arms companies will find it more difficult to maintain their respectability and to obtain funds to work on these weapons.
Help us celebrate this great victory. Here are three things you can do:
- Contact Johns Hopkins University (JHU): On July 18, 2017, JHU’s Applied Physics Laboratory, a U.S. Navy-affiliated research center, received a seven-year, $92 million contract to continue its systems engineering and research and development services for the Air Force Nuclear Weapons Center. Urge JHU to renounce nuclear weapons contracts. Contact the president, Ron Daniels, at (410) 516-8068 or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Johns Hopkins has played a terrific role in the COVID-19 pandemic–something we expect of this great institution–but profiting off immoral and illegal weapons sullies its reputation and directly contradicts its public health mission. Tell Dr. Daniels to reject all nuclear weapons contracts.
- Tell your representatives in Congress that they must advocate for the U.S. to sign and ratify the treaty.
- Find out more: MD Peace Action is cosponsoring what will be a fabulous zoom conference on all things nuclear tomorrow. Jan. 23. It’s free, packed with great speakers and interesting breakouts, and you don’t want to miss it. Register now!
So, drink a toast to the treaty, and then let’s get back to work!
Jean Athey: Maryland Peace Action
We were happy to see that two of Maryland’s representatives were among the 29 Democrats who signed the Pocan/Lee letter: Rep. Jamie Raskin and Rep. John Sarbanes. We urge you to thank them! Maryland’s other 6 representatives need to hear from all of us that increased military spending is not acceptable, that the Pentagon budget needs to be cut—a lot! Click here to contact your representative in the U.S. House.
Thank you for your support. We hope you and your loved ones remain safe during this challenging time.