2001 World Conference against A & H Bombs-Hiroshima
August 6, 2001

Panel Discussion: Peace Movement


Jackie Cabasso, Abolition 2000 Global Network/ Western States Legal Foundation, U.S.A.
Joseph Gerson, American Friends Service Committee, U.S.A.
Jean Lambert, Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament/Green Party, U.K.
Pierre Villard, French Peace Movement
Sri Raman, Indian Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament

Question:

The world movement demanding the abolition of nuclear weapons made the nuclear weapons states promise the elimination of their nuclear arsenals.

Looking to the next NPT Review Conference, efforts are already underway to press for the implementation of the items agreed upon by the nuclear weapons states, including the abolition of nuclear weapons.

At the same time, we believe it crucial to build a momentum in the UN General Assembly and other negotiation bodies, as well as in the nuclear weapons countries, to get the process of abolishing nuclear weapons actually started. The "Declaration of the International Meeting" is proposing to all the Governments that stand for the abolition of nuclear weapons, including the New Agenda Group and the Non-Aligned Movement, that they work to build an overwhelming majority at the UN General Assembly to adopt a resolution demanding an immediate start of negotiations on an international treaty for a total ban on nuclear weapons. What would be your response to this suggestion?

Also, peace movements have an important role to play in pressing the Governments especially in the nuclear powers to abandon the nuclear deterrence policy and fulfill their promise. I would also like to hear your view on how to promote this task.

Jackie Cabasso:

Thank you very much. It's a great honor and privilege to speak to you today. And on this special day, I want to begin by offering my personal apology to you as an American citizen for the heinous atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki by my government. Although I was not yet born at that time, I have worked my entire adult life for the elimination of nuclear weapons. I believe that those bombing were not only immoral but also illegal and nothing could have justified them.

I also bring you greetings the peace movement in the United States. Today, their demonstrations and commemorations all over the country and in my region at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory there is a rally and non-violent direct action for peace on earth and in space. "Remember Hiroshima!" it says, and you can see that the symbol is Sadako's paper cranes that you are so familiar with. This is truly a universal symbol.

Now to get to the questions at hand, of course the Abolition 2000 Global Network to Eliminate Nuclear Weapons which was founded in 1995 calls as its first demand to initiate immediately and conclude negotiations on a nuclear weapons abolition convention that requires phased elimination of all nuclear weapons within a time-bound framework with provisions for effective verification and enforcement. This primary demand was reaffirmed at the Abolition 2000 meeting in Nagasaki in November 2000. And Abolition 2000 has grown to include well over 2000 NGOs in more than 95 countries making this demand. So the proposal that Mr. Taka has presented to us is completely consistent with what we are already asking for and the question is, "Should we be trying to get all of the world's Governments on board with this position -- in a UN resolution.

Now I want to point out that that there at least for current UN resolutions which deal with elements of this proposal and those are the New Agenda Coalition resolution which calls for implementing the 13 steps that that were agreed at last year's NPT Review Conference but does not include include a time-bound framework. There is a proposal by a Myanmer which is widely supported by the Non-Aligned Movement countries which does call for the time-bound framework but without specifics. There is Japan's resolution which in some ways is even stronger than the New Agenda Coalition proposal in that it calls for time-bound framework for the CTBT and the Fissile Material Cut-off. However it fails to address other significant elements of the 13 steps. And then finally there is the Malaysian resolution, which welcomes the conclusion of the International Court of Justice Advisory opinion on the illegality of nuclear weapons and calls for immediate commencement of negotiations leading towards early adoption of a nuclear weapons convention. But I would point out that the phase "leading towards" does not mean actual negotiations.

So you see we have a whole selection, whole menu of efforts that are underway, and I think that the proposal here is to pull together the strongest aspects of all of these manus to have one super resolution supported by all of the governments together instead of in separate groupings.

Now, of course this is a good idea on its face. Let me just point out a couple of considerations however. One is that some analysts say that there is an advantage to the New Agenda Coalition resolution because this year the United States, the United Kingdom and China actually voted for it. Now I am not convinced that this means it's a good thing, because there is no evidence whatsoever to suggest that those were good-faith votes. So perhaps the advantage of a stronger resolution which the United States in particular would not vote for would-be to contribute towards the global isolation of the United States, which is becoming isolated in many other arenas of international relations.

And negative factor that I must point out is that your perspective on the importance of UN resolutions depends on what country you're living in. And for most countries the United Nations is a revered institution and these resolutions are very important. But I'm sorry to said that in the United States, most members of the Congress don't even know about these UN resolutions. There is a huge gap between the United Nations in New York and the United States Federal Government in Washington, D.C. So one of our jobs in the United States is to try to raise awareness of the United Nations and these resolutions both to the people and to our government. I have some ideas about further cooperation among our groups, but I'll hold those for later in the discussion. Thank you very much.

Joseph Gerson:

Let it begin by joining with Jackie in terms of speaking of a horror of what has been done in the name of the U.S. people. And worse, that the U.S. continues to prepare to initiate a first-strike nuclear warfare as the cornerstone of its policy. We are talking about a very very profound evil that has to be resisted.

And like Jackie, I am at least somewhat pleased to be able to report that where I come from, people in many communities are both commemorating the past and today holding demonstrations and panels, candlelight vigils with a focus on resisting Bush's administration's race to abrogate treaties and to consolidate its global power through nuclear terrorism. There is resistance happening in the United States.

I think, in the United States in the last couple of months, there is a growing awareness that's the U.S. is becoming more isolated from the rest of the world. And there is a growing debate in the United States about this. So I think that anything that can be done at the level of the United Nations or elsewhere -- I would even include boycotting U.S. products like Walt Disney and other products -- isolate the United States and send a powerful message to the American people: What the Government is doing is simply unacceptable.

For the Japanese people, I think, you have a special very real responsibility. With the Koizumi Government, you have a government which is moving more and more to align itself with United States working hand-in-hand as its global partner.

And you have a growing militarization in the society, with his threatening with textbooks and his threatened visit to Yasukini (Shrine). If the United States is to be isolated and its nuclear policy is broken, you have to change your government. You have to end your government's complicity and support.

The last thing to say with the time remains, is that while we work with Governments and there are some exceptional Governments, the real power lies with the people. And we find our power in both our imagination and more important in our will.

If we come to Hiroshima and Nagasaki and Bikini and to places in the United States which have been pointed by nuclear powers, nuclear programs, we are horrified. We have to resist that with all of our will. It means not to be lazy. It means to struggle with the same courage of the Hibakusha. It means to use your imagination in a culturally appropriate way. When George Bush went to Sweden the people showed their disdain for him by writing "Bush Go Home!" on their rear ends -- on their asses. And when he came they drop their pants and said, "Go home".

That showed how much they couldn't stand this evil man and they sent a powerful message to the United States where their picture was on the front page of the New York Times. That was the message to all the American people.

Jean Lambert:

Thank you very much. I too, like the others bring greetings from peace activists in the U.K., and and from some of us in the European Parliament who consider ourselves peace activitists.

I think when we are talking about the promises made by certain governments, we would say, looking at it from the British point of view, that our government had its fingers crossed behind its back when it made the promise, which, as all our children in the playground know in the U.K., mean that you don't mean that promise. But it looks good. It's what you are supposed to say.

So I think we have a very difficult job for those of us in the states which have nuclear capability and nuclear weapons. But I think the first message for all of us is that at the moment as has been said, a lot of the treaties underpinning the sort of nuclear containment at the moment, are under threat. And we have a job to strengthen our government's perspective on those treaties to make sure that our governments are lobbying for those treaties to be maintained. That's the first thing we can all do.

When I look at the U.K., I'm aware that I'm hearing in my ear much of what I've heard from the Japanese here. When you criticize your government and say it's too much with the Americans, so as mine. Mr. Blair, our prime minister, wants to maintain what he views as a historical special relationship with the United States. For us that relationship means, the United States ask, and the British government says yes. So they're likely to agree to the use of our early warning station at Farlingdales to be part of the international missile defense system.

And the second thing we need to be doing in all our countries is to make sure that none of the building blocks for that missile defense system can be put into place. Whether that's laboratory testing or computer models, whether it's use of early warning systems or whatever. But I think it's also important for you people to understand that Mr. Blair sees himself as a bridge between the United States and Europe. Because at the moment within the European Union, we're developing what's called a "Common Foreign and Security Policy". And it's not clear at the moment how this will develop. But the European Union contains two nuclear states, the U.K. and France. So we have an important job to do within the European Union to make sure that the policy develops as a non-nuclear policy. And that we have within the Union three neutral states. So it's our responsibility and we'd like you to help in nurturing those neutral states, saying to them how important it is that Ireland, Austria and Sweden remain neutral and that they don't give a cent to another nuclear block by the back door.

And I think, too, when we look at how we combat the growing nuclearlization of the world, we need to use the feeling that there is now against globalization, against the development of the World Trade Organization and the suspicion that there is a big business. We have to follow the money. Who are the companies that will be making profits from the new missile defense system? We need again to cooperate between us, where is that money going, how is it being spent, which governments are being funded by those companies.

And lastly, I think we need to offer as well for those governments and Non-Aligned states, the neutral states and the nuclear states a new vision. Because there's another important date coming up as well in 2002 we are looking at what is called the Rio +10 Summit in Johannesburg, which will be looking at how far has world come in the last 10 years in protecting its environment, in dealing with poverty, encouraging development -- the whole sustainability questions. And we need to be asking our governments how can they claim to be sustainable, if they are prepared to support nuclear weapons in their own countries, or prepared to be in alliances with countries which possess nuclear weapons. And that the countries like India and Pakistan who were their most recent to have nuclear weapons, I think we should be urging them to be the first to disarm, and to become world leaders in sustainability, because our security in the future is global, not national. Thank you.

Pierre Villard:

Konnichiwa. I would like to give you greetings of the French peace activists. I welcome the fact that the Peace forces succeeded in having nuclear weapons states promise the elimination of their arsenals. But for the moment we must see that the same states who made their promises donft fulfill them. So first, I would like to say that we must be worried and we must not wait for the realization of their promises. So itfs right to say that we must not wait the next NPT Review Conference. Many efforts have been undertaken to press nuclear weapons states. We must make it difficult for them to breach the treaties. That is why itfs so important to develop active solidarity between peace forces all around the world. And the French Peace Movement thinks that we must start the debate and the action to demand the abolition of nuclear weapons and a treaty for a complete ban of these weapons.

In September this year, in New York for the CTBT review conference, we have to make sure we can stop intentions to resume nuclear testing. This means we should emphasize the need to close down all nuclear tests sites. All of them could be closed without waiting the NPT conference. Remember, by the pressure of public opinion France had to close the French site testing in the Pacific without any international conference. It can be the same for all the nuclear states.

Kofi Annan the Secretary General of the United Nations, proposed in 2000 to hold an international conference on the dangers of nuclear weapons. The French Peace Movement thinks that we should do our utmost to support such a proposal in order to make sure this conference will occur. We should also give a stronger support to the convention on nuclear weapons as drafted by many international NGOs.

About the second part of the question, itfs manifest that Peace movements have an important role to play in pressing the governments. Especially the peace movements in the nuclear states with regards to their own governments.

So what do we do in France ? In France our action aims at urging the French government to take initiative for a conference about the convention on the abolition of nuclear weapons and to stop modernizing the nuclear arsenal as planned in the up-coming five-year program. This is why we started a mobilization and conscience-raising campaign. Last year in our gImagine a Peaceful Planeth campaign, one hundred and fifty youths from many parts of France were able to the United Nations during the last disarmament week as peace messengers of UNESCO Manifesto 2000.

This year we have started a new campaign called gLetfs open up the avenue of Peaceh. This new campaign gets us to demonstrate in front of French nuclear sites. In last April we demonstrated in front of the gLasermegajouleh the French simulation test site. In May the Nuclear Disarmament Days were organized by the French coordination of Abolition 2000, and it decided a campaign against the fourth French nuclear submarine. It's very important. Yesterday a camp for elimination of nuclear weapons began in the west of France, in Brittany. And we actively prepare for the thirteenth of October - chosen for the International Action Day against Space Militarisation. Bruce Gagnon - the international coordinator against space war - is coming to France in November for meetings against Missiles Defense and new star wars.

Sri Raman:

Friends, I am a bit ashamed that I should be here today as a representative of a nuclear weapon state. It's a great pity that India, my country, the land of Gautama Buddha and Mahatma Gandhi and other leaders of similar statute should have been reduced to the past. But I am also proud and honored to represent the peace movement of India and identify myself with the world peace movement here.

As for the suggestion given in this forum to me, the suggestion for negotiations for an international treaty for a total ban on nuclear weapons, I and the movement I represent, the Coalition for Nuclear Disarmament and Peace, cannot but endorse it very strongly. The first reason is very fundamental and basic. There cannot be any such things as partial nuclear disarmament. The idea of a partial nuclear disarmament is a bit ridiculous. Common sense very often gets lost in diplomacy and negotiations and this is an instance. Even if the United States of America were to reduce the number of its weapons from 12,000 to 3000, it will still have enough nuclear weapons to destroy world many times over. Supposing you are drowning someone by holding his head under water, you cannot tell him "I was holding your head under three feet of water so far, now I am holding it under two feet of water". The idea of a partial nuclear disarmament is something like that. It can make sense only if it is a step toward total nuclear disarmament.

Besides, is the treaty like necessary also because the other treaties -- Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT), etc. are known to be inadequate. There's no doubt that the USA and N5 should be forced to honor their commitment under these treaties. But the fact remains these are all inadequate. The NPT is not only called discriminatory, and the CTBT is supposed to be incomplete -- even in the conference this point is repeatedly made. There are certain kind of testing not banned by that . And as for the nuclear arms reduction, we know that even such an aggressive program like the National Missile Defense or Theatre Missile Defense program of the United States are justified on the ground that they will make a deep cut in the nuclear arsenals of the USA. For these reasons we support these ideas.

As for the second question, yes of course it is the peace movements that had played the major role in bringing about this kind of a treaty. It is they that have forced, as the xxxx xxxxxxx very first sentence, it is a world movement demanding the abolition of nuclear weapons that has made these nuclear weapons states promise at least, the elimination of nuclear arsenals. Now we must force them to keep their promise. There is also another specific reason. In the NPT Review Conference, it was recommended that the nuclear weapons states should refashion their security policies is such a way that the nuclear weapons don't play a big role in them. This is something that the peace movements of individual countries all can accomplish, by building a strong enough public opinion and by influencing political opinion through their personalities and people, etc.

In India we have this task, strangely enough for the state that is xxxxxx only nuclear capable, not even nuclear weapon state. They have rushed to welcome the NMD of the USA, and by implications, the TMD program.

We're building one strong opinion about it. There is yet another way in which the peace movements in different countries can help this objective. That is by promoting peace in the different areas. In India, we are trying to achieve this by promoting peace between India and Pakistan by bringing the people of these two countries together. XXXXXXXX ultimately eliminate the argument for nuclear weaponization. Thank you very much.


To the 2001 Wolrd Conference against A & H Bombs