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Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament,  International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons, Global Zero, and Black Lives Matter- the reinvigorated anti-nuclear movement

Fresh effort to ban the bomb as new generation bids for nuclear-free world,

Today’s disarmament activists are applying a new set of tactics to respond to threats including those from Putin in Ukraine

Guardian Julian Borger in Washington, Thu 10 Nov 2022

As nuclear dangers gather momentum three decades after the cold war, a disarmament movement is rising to meet them, with a new generation of activists.

In the late 50s and early 60s, and then again in the early 80s, when the US and the Soviet Union were pointing their missiles at each other in Europe, there were mass street protests against governments making plans for global annihilation.

The Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND) was born in the UK and staged large-scale marches to the heart of the British nuclear weapons establishment at Aldermaston. More than four decades ago, a million Americans converged on New York’s Central Park to call a halt to the arms race and a nuclear freeze. At the end of 1982, more than 30,000 women formed a human chain around the Greenham Common air force base as an act of resistance to the deployment of US cruise missiles there. In October 1983, CND staged the biggest march through London the city had ever seen.

With Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine, and his repeated threats that he would use nuclear weapons if his regime felt in peril, the danger is every bit as real as it was during the Cuban missile crisis or the missile standoff in Europe. This time, there have not been any mass protests but there has been a popular response that has found other channels to express itself.

At the vanguard of the new movement is the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (Ican), which successfully canvassed support for a Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW) at the UN general assembly, leading to its adoption in 2017.

Since then, more than 90 countries have signed the treaty and 68 have ratified it. It has not stopped the US and Russia from upgrading their arsenals and China from pursuing plans to become a third leading nuclear weapons power, but Beatrice Fihn, Ican’s executive director, said the ultimate aim was something more enduring: the delegitimization of nuclear weapons around the world.

“It makes it harder to see what is happening as you’re maybe not seeing so many people out on the streets,” said Fihn, who accepted the 2017 Nobel peace prize on Ican’s behalf. But she added: “The movement is very much here, and we’re definitely growing and building.”

While continuing the work of CND and the nuclear freeze movement, Ican and its 652 partner organisations around the world are seeking inspiration from other forms of civil society action, including the campaigns to ban landmines and cluster munitions, which sought to lay down new norms, and redraw the red lines of what is acceptable on the international stage.

“We’re trying to undo the brainwashing of accepting nuclear weapons as normal,” Fihn said. The movement’s greatest source of leverage, she argued, was the need of nuclear weapons for legitimacy.

“We see that with Russia right now. They’re fighting hard to re-establish legitimacy around the nuclear weapons and their security council seat and around the narrative of this war. And to me, it’s a sign that they are vulnerable.”

Kate Hudson, CND’s general secretary, says new membership has surged since Russia’s all-out invasion of Ukraine was unleashed.

“Activism is there in a big way, but it’s taking new forms, and it’s more fluid than previously: the way people understand and act on the links between issues, politically and in campaigning terms,” Hudson said.

The nuclear disarmament movement is no longer in a silo of its own, she argued, as it shares common concerns for those fighting to stop climate crisis, or to uphold social justice in a world where governments are spending huge amounts on nuclear stockpiles while the poorest people in their society are cold and hungry.

The Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement is now framing nuclear disarmament as a social justice issue for many newly recruited activists, making it a far more diverse field……………………………………

Mari Faines, partner for mobilisation in the Global Zero disarmament advocacy group, said BLM prompted her to see more clearly the “correlation between the systems of policing and militarism”, and the overlap between the nuclear weapons complex, social justice struggles and other existential threats.

Hurley is experimenting with new ways to talk about geopolitical threats. While working on her art degree, she writes a column on the Inkstick website, and her latest was about what the US and China might learn from the enemies-to-lovers trope in romantic fiction.

“You cannot fear-monger your way to a mass movement,” Molly Hurley said, arguing that what has been perceived as apathy within her generation was really a “coping mechanism for hopelessness”. The solution, she argued, was to offer some grounds for hope.

“There are things that we can do and we need to make clear all these feasible, very concrete steps that can be taken.”

November 11, 2022 - Posted by | 2 WORLD, opposition to nuclear

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