WE have to ‘make the Treaty work’–on banning nukes

abolish nukes (2)

Ann Suellentrop, of the PeaceWorks-KC Board of Directors, gave this talk March 7 to the online PeaceWorks-KC Annual Meeting.

The historic Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons became International Law 6 weeks ago on January 22 after 50 countries ratified it within their own countries.  The Ban Treaty recently added 2 countries, Comoros and the Philippines, for a total of 54 countries.  As more and more countries ratify, it is up to us from the grassroots to make the Treaty work, to promote it.  We have to put the WORK in PeaceWorks!

We must speak up for the Treaty, because there are over 13,400 nuclear weapons in current arsenals, many on hair-trigger alert.  They are the most inhumane and indiscriminate weapons ever created, and the threat is real and growing.  They can end life as we know it in a half-hour’s time.  Just ask the people of Hawai’i who during a false alarm a couple of years ago were calling their loved ones to say good-bye from their bathtubs.  Emerging technologies in the fields of offensive cyber capabilities, artificial intelligence, and autonomous technologies will have a significant impact on military behavior.  These technologies add another layer of risk to an already unacceptable level of risk of nuclear weapons use.  We do NOT want to see a nuclear weapon that can decide on its own to launch itself!

Now is not the time to sit back and relax and think the Treaty will do all the work, especially here in the U.S.  It is so important that we educate, publicize, organize and build enthusiasm for the Treaty.  We must end them before they end us.

There are several ways we can boost the Treaty, and no step is too small.  President Biden could sign the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons tomorrow if he wanted to.  We, the grassroots, must make him want to do it.  We must build the political will, the critical mass, by our phone calls, emails, letters, rallies and protests.  Here are some campaigns to get involved in:

Mayors for Peace was started in 1982 by the mayors of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and we can urge our mayors to join. See mayorsforpeace.org.

Cities are the main targets of nuclear weapons.  We can fight back by demanding that our city councils join the ICAN cities campaign (International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons).

We can also ask individual elected officials at all levels to sign the Parliamentarian Pledge.

We can persuade our city councils to pass a Back from the Brink resolution which seeks to change U.S. nuclear weapons policy.  It has 5 parts to it:

Renouncing the option of using nuclear weapons first,

Ending the sole, unchecked authority of any US president to launch a nuclear attack,

Taking U.S. nuclear weapons off hair-trigger alert,

Cancelling the plan to replace its entire nuclear arsenal with enhanced weapons, and

Actively pursuing a verifiable agreement among nuclear-armed states to eliminate their nuclear arsenals.

Almost 50 U.S. universities are involved in research and design of US nuclear weapons, largely in secret and in contradiction of their mission statements.  There are 10 schools of mass destruction that cooperate with the National Security Campus in Kansas City, Mo.  We can inform university professors and students if their university is involved with nuclear weapons and encourage them to oppose this. To find out more detailed information, go to icanw.org,

Divestment campaign can influence the multinational corporations that make nuclear weapons.  Code Pink is leading this effort, and Bad Honeywell is aimed at this company that manages Kansas City’s plant. See badhoneywell.org.

It is possible to call customer service at your bank and request their investment policy to check if they financially support nuclear weapons.  You can also check your 401K and pensions investments, and if they support nuclear weapons, you could register your complaint with them.

Of course, we are not against the workers at the plant; we just want to change the work they do from something harmful to things that are life-giving.  A good resource for conversion ideas is Warhead to Windmills: How to Pay for a Green New Deal.  You can read this online at NuclearBan.US. Scientists tell us we only have about 10 years left to avert climate catastrophe.  We need to take the trillions of dollars we waste on nukes, the scientific minds, and the skilled labor and use those to solve the climate crisis.

This year, because of the pandemic, we will all have the opportunity to participate in the Alliance for Nuclear Accountability’s DC Days.  Usually it costs about a $1,000 dollars to travel to DC and pay for the training, lodging and meals, but this year it is absolutely free.  There will be a few ANA folks actually conducting the meeting with congressional representatives, senators, aides and administration offices.  But there will be unlimited numbers who can observe the lobbying.  The zoom trainings will begin in April to prepare us, and the actual meetings will occur during April and May.  This will also be much less stressful than trying to cram all that into 4 days as we usually do.  So I encourage you to let me know if you want to be involved.  We can take what we learn and do our own zoom meetings with our elected officials.

And, to end my talk, I’ll just mention I’ve heard rumors there may be a huge mobilization in June 2022, to mark the anniversary of the million people who marched for the abolition of nuclear weapons in Central Park in June 1982.  Perhaps that will cap off the PeaceWorks-KC “Peace Is the Way” Walk that we are planning from the McConnell AFB in Wichita to the National Security Campus in Kansas City.

So speak up, write letters to the editor, go to protests, join together with others in whatever issue interests you.  Because the power of love will always win over the power of violence.  Let’s give a cheer for what is leading us in the Way of Peace! I’ll give the call and you give the response, ok?

The Power of Love,

The Power of Truth,

The Power of Parents’ love for their children,

The Power of Justice,

The Power of Soul,

The Power of GrandParents’ love for the children,

The Power of Nonviolence,

The Power of Love for all,


Man hanging origame peace cranes.