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April 18, 2014

Bulletin #189: Summer disarmament intensive in New Mexico (see also Bulletin 188)

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Dear friends and colleagues –

We decided to hold this Bulletin to a single topic.  For issue updates and more see the next one. 

In our last Bulletin we announced that we were accepting applications for our residential intensive program this summer, “Humanity at the Crossroads: Disarmament, Human Security, and Environmental Sustainability.”  We reveal a few more program details below.  Keep reading. 

We’ve received a couple of inquiries from capable, mature people from other continents, as well as two welcome offers of short-term help from a veteran analyst in an allied organization, and a pioneering journalist and author.  We do not yet have enough qualified applicants to make this program a “go.”  There are young people with expressed interest who just cannot afford a “revenue-neutral” summer (no matter personally profitable in other ways and for the world).  That, unfortunately, is the best financial deal the Study Group can offer. 
You may be able to help in one of these ways:

  • Consider joining us.  The first step: write Trish; send a resume or curriculum vitae.  We’ll get back to you quickly and should be able to supply more program details – some of which depend in part on who is coming.  See also below.  This program is not at all just for college and graduate students.

  • Distribute these announcements (i.e. this Bulletin and the previous one) to your students, friends, and family, and promote them.

  • If you live in Albuquerque or Santa Fe, and you think you might want to help support the program in some way, please call (505-265-1200) or write.  There are all sorts of ways to help, depending on where you are and what you want to do.  One of the purposes of this program is to build bridges between the rapidly-growing international disarmament movement and our local communities.  Local participation is vital and will help determine the content of the program.

  • Some of you might be able to help support the program financially, either personally or through contacts you might have.  We know of no U.S. foundation which might support a program such as this, aimed as it is at practical steps toward nuclear disarmament and dramatically different U.S. foreign and domestic policies, and located where it is in New Mexico.  Perhaps you think otherwise.  If so let’s talk about that; we’re all ears.  Meanwhile we will support this program from within our household, our organization, and our communities. 

Now, a few more details about what we hope to accomplish this summer.  First of all, we are working with our non-governmental organization (NGO) partners around the world in the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons ((ICAN), along with others, to support the formulation of, and step-by-step accession to, a treaty to ban the possession and use of nuclear weapons.  Many states already support creation of such a treaty.  Some of us hope to attend the next international meeting of these states, currently slated for Vienna in the fall.  Some who join the summer intensive may be able to assist the Study Group’s mission in Vienna as well.

The Study Group is planning on hosting an international gathering of disarmament activists and others in New Mexico in the summer of 2015.  This summer’s work will help lay the groundwork for that larger event.  We need certain informational broadsides and background materials completed which will be of great value not just in the international setting but also for the news media, in Congress, and in local organizing.  As mentioned in Bulletin 188, there are aspects of our present common situation which are too seldom understood or brought forward or communicated (let alone effectively so) – “open secrets” regarding humanity’s converging crises that demand a dramatic turnabout in national security policy.   Nuclear weapons discourse has largely stalled in the U.S. for a variety of reasons, not least of which is the intellectual sterility and paralysis that has set in as the main leaders and funders in the field grow older.  We know now that nuclear disarmament is an essential, urgent part of the national security transformation needed for our very survival.  This is very poorly understood by even the most erudite here in the U.S., so dominant is our imperial thinking.
You might be interested in the following note we got the other day from a veteran New Zealand activist who is active with ICAN.

This [the summer intensive] is a most important and inspiring initiative. I feel strongly that American Peace activists need to show real courage and leadership in their own country to awaken the public to the growing global momentum to abolish nuclear weapons. To bring the focus back to the places where the nuclear weapons are produced is vital and to take responsibility to now proceed to mobilise public political will to close these weapons systems down through the focus of our collective intelligence is essential.

It is especially galling to realise how many of our most brilliant scientific technological minds are in economic servitude to this bizarre, barbaric form of profit-driven production within the military-industrial complex. I do hope you have the means to make a concerted promotion effort throughout the USA to bring together 1,000s of anti-nuclear activists to make an impact on the politicians, media and collective mind…

With your help, we can make that impact. 

Therefore, if you know of a person who might be interested, or a place where that announcement should be sent, don’t wait – act.  Better still, why not come yourself?  There is great leverage here, in this organization and this place, but much of it lies latent because we are short-staffed and short-funded, and our New Mexico communities where our members are beset with problems, most of which are more intense than in other U.S. states.  For example, the Annie E. Casey Foundation annual “Kids Count” report states that New Mexico is the absolute worst U.S. state to raise a child.  Such is the political legacy of nuclear weapons research and development.  You will be working behind the Nuclear Curtain. 
Every person who comes will make a significant contribution.  We will be working together in the program, and with our members, to make sure of that.  Our communities here are blessed with hard-working, smart activists of good heart, and there is sound timber in the local journalism community.  We have many friends in the nuclear disarmament movement in this country and abroad who stand ready to help as well.  In our judgment, a concerted effort at this time will bring great dividends. 


Greg and Trish, for the Study Group

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