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DAY OF REMEMBRANCE AND ACTION
It Started Here – Let’s Stop It Here!
On Saturday, August 6, 2005, the Los Alamos Study Group and endorsing organizations will commemorate the 60th anniversary of the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombings with an all-day conference and teach-in at Ashley Pond Park in Los Alamos.
The day’s events will begin at 10:00 am and continue all day at Ashley Pond Park and in adjacent public buildings. You may want to come earlier for the Pax Christi demonstration; check the calendar for this and other related events occurring in the same time frame.
In the morning there will be welcomes, introductions of participating groups, speakers and musicians, and the first of our main speakers. At noon we will all take part in a symbolic pageant with thousands of sunﬂowers, the international emblem of nuclear disarmament. (Sunﬂowers became the symbol of disarmament after they were ritually sown into the earth at a Russian missile silo destroyed after the Cold War.) We’ll have lunch in the park and at local restaurants. After lunch there will be more music and two solid workshops on nuclear history and on positive economic and social alternatives for New Mexico. These will be indoors; we have reserved seating for about 600 people for these two workshops, which will repeat so everyone can attend both. We’ll break for dinner, then return to the park to set hundreds of candle lanterns aﬂoat on the pond.
Watch this space as we add speakers, performers, and artistic presentations to the ones already “in the works.”
LEAD UP EVENTS
Prior to August 6 we and allied organizations will host a series of educational, artistic, and community-building public events, announced by email and at our calendar. Make sure you give us your email address or check our web site often! Let us know if you want to help with these very important events.
WHY LOS ALAMOS? WHY NOW?
Los Alamos designed and assembled the bombs that destroyed Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Sixty years later, Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) is the largest facility for so-called weapons of mass destruction (WMD) in the world in dollar terms. Sandia National Laboratories, just 60 miles away, is next in size. These institutions are anything but static; in the past decade, LANL's nuclear weapons budget more than tripled over average Cold War levels, after correcting for inflation. Almost half (49%) of U.S. nuclear weapons spending now occurs in New Mexico, where WMD are the second largest source of income (after oil and gas extraction). More actual nuclear weapons are kept here (in Albuquerque, about 2,500) than any other single place in the world. New Mexico arguably has the most influential (Pete Domenici) and most enthusiastic (Heather Wilson) proponents of nuclear weapons in Congress, and lobbyists from this state's two labs carry their self-promoting nuclear agenda into every nook and cranny of government. For all these reasons, New Mexico is without question the world capital for nuclear weapons.
In making completely new nuclear weapons, fabricating the plutonium cores (pits) is the most difficult step. LANL is the only site in the U.S. that does this, a role slated to greatly expand over the next decade or more years. We want to make this mission impossible.
LANL also has the largest active nuclear disposal site in the Southwest, where millions of drums and boxes of nuclear waste are to be permanently disposed over the coming decades. There is no permit involved or external regulation of any kind.
Politically and demographically speaking, New Mexico is a small state. Here far more than in, say, Washington, DC the voices of citizens, experts, and moral authorities count for a great deal. On-the-ground organizing efforts, continuing public and media education, and respected policy analysis will multiply the value of your August 6 investment.
This nation is now engaged in a bloody war of occupation which had caused the deaths of at least 100,000 people by September 2004 and possibly twice this number, according to a careful Johns Hopkins study. U.S. military units are now operating in and above Iran as well in preparation for possible attacks. All this and more is being done in the name of counterproliferation. Yet right here in New Mexico, nuclear weapons are almost a way of life for thousands of people. New Mexico's nuclear labs provide a uniquely persuasive platform from which to condemn the hypocritical folly of U.S. security policy.
It is important to speak out now because this year is a pivotal, make-or-break year for controlling nuclear nonproliferation. The Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT) is under tremendous pressure from several fronts, with U.S. intransigence undercutting most fruitful dialogue. U.S. noncompliance is deeper and more systemic than can be blamed any single administration, party, or iteration of doctrine, and LANL is its most physically symbolic manifestation. The NPT signatories will be meeting in May in New York for formal review of the treaty, to what effect cannot be predicted. We hope for a vigorous public debate this year.
Although the outcome of these efforts is not in our hands, we do need, and we are working in several ways to create, a political breakthrough this year on nuclear disarmament, leading toward a sane security policy.
PROMOTING A POLITICAL CULTURE BASED ON THE DIGNITY OF THE HUMAN PERSON
At this event we will commemorate the 60th anniversary of the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombings. We also seek to make visible a portion of the very strong support which polls show is now present in the United States and around the world for nuclear disarmament ( 84% in one large recent poll). We want to bridge issues; regionally, we hope to build bridges between organizations as well. In this we aim to assist in the gradual emergence of a political culture based on the dignity of the human person, as opposed to an ever more pervasive politics of fear, hate, greed, and war.
Any such political movement and platform must include from the outset the vigorous rejection of weapons of mass destruction as instruments of state power.
The public purposes of this event as well as the organizing effort involved in it are intimately tied to The Call for Nuclear Disarmament. We are just beginning "The Call" campaign but it has already been endorsed by some 200 regional businesses, organizations, and political leaders. We will soon publicly link this small but growing groundswell with what are literally dozens of related international efforts, in effect globalizing resistance in New Mexico.
In "The Call" we ask for new security priorities: affordable health care for everyone, better education, renewable energy, and economic opportunity for those who have none. We call for investment in people and families, in our economy and environment, instead of in preparation for war -- especially nuclear war. Please join us.
We are working in solidarity with organizations hosting similar and parallel events at other U.S. nuclear weapons facilities, including Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California, the Nevada Test Site, the Y-12 Plant in Oak Ridge, Tennessee, and the Pantex nuclear weapons plant in Amarillo, Texas. We are also working very closely with a worldwide network of scholars, activists, and civic leaders who are mobilizing this year to stop nuclear proliferation and restart the stalled disarmament process.
THE TONE OF THE AUGUST 6 EVENT
In this event, we will be ﬁrm on the basic questions of nuclear weapons and disarmament, which are moral and legal in nature as well as matters of policy. We will develop and present positive alternatives to current (in)security policies and positive alternatives for economic and social development in New Mexico. We will not be personally confrontational and we will be nonviolent in both word and deed. We ask that all participating and endorsing organizations agree to this core principle of nonviolence and to the broad policy goals of the event as stated in "The Call." We also hope the event will be physically beautiful and are already working to that end.
Humanity now faces an unprecedented combination of challenges involving climate, security, poverty, environment, energy, and health. We understand that we need a breakthrough -- that we need new thinking, inspired career choices, and a deeper personal commitment to be part of the solution. If our social and political commitment to nuclear weapons and all they imply remains intact, no breakthrough will be possible, and the torch of humanity may dim or even fall. Especially in New Mexico, we will regress unless and until we are able to free ourselves from the stranglehold of militarization and embrace policies which are just, humane, secure, and sustainable.
Participating organizations will be able to powerfully express their desire for nuclear disarmament and their rejection of the militarism deforming U.S. society today while promoting their own important political and social causes.
Beneﬁts to participating groups include:
If you would like to lend ﬁnancial support to Hiroshima 60 Years, the lead up events, or other programs, we would very much appreciate your help. You can use our secure credit card portal, send a tax-deductible check to the Los Alamos Study Group, 2901 Summit Place NE, Albuquerque, NM 87106, or call us at any time. The Study Group is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit educational organization.
To endorse this event, to help get the word out or otherwise help in its development, please contact the Study Group or email Outreach Coordinator Claire Long. We look forward to working with you!