Friday, November 16, 2018

Maryland Anti-Nuclear Weapons Groups Host a Conference "Two Minutes to Midnight: What We Can Do to Prevent Nuclear War"

Prevent Nuclear War/Maryland, 325 E. 25th Street, Baltimore, MD 21218    

Maryland Anti-Nuclear Weapons Groups Host a Conference "Two Minutes to Midnight:  What We Can Do to Prevent Nuclear War"


CONTACT: Max Obuszewski at 727-256-5789 or 410-323-1607 or mobuszewski2001 at Comcast dot net

WHO:   Chesapeake Physicians for Social Responsibility [CPSR] has long been concerned about the issue of nuclear weapons, and has called for the elimination of all nuclear weapons arsenals.  In 2017, after a CPSR-organized workshop, a new group was formed -- Prevent Nuclear War/Maryland.  This organization has been working to reduce the threat of nuclear war by organizing a groundswell of Maryland citizens and organizations to support the national Back From the Brink Call to Prevent Nuclear War and other such activities at the local, state and federal levels of government.

WHAT: Members of Prevent Nuclear War/Maryland decided to organize with CPSR a conference Two Minutes to Midnight: What We Can Do to Prevent Nuclear War.   The Goucher College Peace Studies Program welcomed the opportunity to host the conference using the Human Rights and Nonviolence Fund created and endowed by the late Professor Joe Morton.  The conference has been endorsed by many Maryland organizations, as well as several national groups.  Activists, students, experts, and concerned citizens will examine how to collaborate in Maryland on strategies Marylanders can use to lessen the threat of nuclear weapons.  The long-range goal would be to get involved in the elimination of nuclear weapons

Plenary speakers include the following: Daryl G. Kimball—Executive Director, Arms Control Association, Ira Helfand, former co- president, International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War, Vincent Intondi, Montgomery College professor and author of  “African Americans Against the Bomb,” and Ray Acheson, Director, Reaching Critical Will/Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom. A series of workshops will examine what Marylanders can do--in Congress, in the General Assembly, and in local communities.  Each participant will be given an Activist Menu, a list of tasks, and urged to check off what s/he might undertake. The conference is designed to provide the tools needed to take action on what could be considered the most urgent issue facing all of us.

WHEN:  Saturday, November 17, 2018 from 10 AM to 4 PM

WHERE:  Goucher College's Kelley Lecture Hall,  1021 Dulaney Valley Road, Baltimore, MD 21204

WHY: The conference comes at a time when tensions between the U.S and Iran are escalating, nuclear war with North Korea remains at the whim of one man, a new and extremely expensive nuclear arms race has begun, and the Trump administration has put forward a set of policies that greatly increases the likelihood of a civilization-destroying nuclear war. It is for these reasons that the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists earlier this year set the Doomsday Clock to two minutes to midnight, warning us of how serious this existential threat to human life has become.  Because of these concerns, many Maryland and national groups have co-sponsored the conference-- Maryland Peace Action Network, Arms Control Association, Women’s Action for New Directions, Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom, National Lawyers’ Guild/MD, Progressive Democrats of America/MD, Institute for Race, Justice, and Civic Engagement, Bethesda Friends Meeting, Popular Resistance, and many others.

 Even if these horrible weapons are not detonated, they are causing environmental damage and are a theft from the poor.  Over the next 30 years, the U.S. intends to spend $1.7 trillion to refurbish its nuclear arsenal and create lower-yield weapons which could increase the likelihood they may be used.  The cost to taxpayers is horrendous: Baltimoreans averaged $175 per capita in 2017 for a ‘nuclear weapons war tax’ paying a collective $107.5 million in federal taxes toward the cost of producing, deploying and maintaining nuclear weapons. Marylanders as a whole averaged $244 per capita, with the state collectively paying an estimated $1.45 billion in 2017 federal taxes toward our country’s cost of nuclear weapons. Also note that refurbishing the U.S. nuclear arsenal could tempt Russia and China to engage in a new arms race.
 Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr. said “A nation that continues year after year to spend more money on military defense [sic] than on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual doom.” Why not instead invest these resources on human needs, striving for a future in which our efforts towards building a stronger society are no longer diminished by our efforts to mutually assure our own destruction? 

 This conference is an indication that a long-dormant anti-nuclear movement is now gaining strength.  Much solace was provided on July 7, 2017 when the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW) was adopted by 122 countries at the United Nations. While the United States was not a signatory, our government must be pressured, as the best way to reduce the risk of nuclear war will require the abolition of nuclear weapons.
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