Peace and Planet Statement to delegations to the NPT Review Conference

May 19, 2015

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The Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty Review Conference (NPT RevCon) is scheduled to adjourn at the end of this week. There are serious questions about what, if anything, the conference will commit to in terms of concrete next steps toward global nuclear weapons abolition, as the treaty requires.

Here is a statement to the governmental delegates to the Rev Con from Peace and Planet, the terrific mobilization Peace Action helped lead just before the RevCon convened, and Global Wave.

Dear Ambassador [name],

With less than one week to go in the month-long deliberations of governments at the Non-Proliferation Treaty Review Conference in New York, Global Wave 2015 and Peace and Planet call on non-nuclear governments to stay strong on the nuclear disarmament language in the draft outcome document.

You have overwhelming support for this from civil society around the world – as was demonstrated by the Peace and Planet rally and conference in New York, the 7 million strong petition we presented to the President of the NPT Review Conference, and the Global Wave actions which took all around the world including in all of the nuclear-weapon States and many of the nuclear umbrella States. See Peace and Planet presentation to the NPT Review Conference, May 1, 2015.

As you know, the NPT 2015 draft disarmament section has some important language calling on nuclear weapon States to take immediate steps to reduce nuclear stockpiles (operative para 5), end modernisation of nuclear weapons (op 6), reducing or eliminating the role of nuclear weapons (op 7), and remove of all nuclear weapons from high alert levels (op 9). The draft also calls on States to engage in an inclusive process within the United Nations to explore and develop the legal framework to achieve and maintain a nuclear weapon free world.

This language is already a compromise from the civil society call for States Parties to the NPT to agree to commence negotiations for the prohibition and complete elimination of nuclear weapons, supported by over 350 organisations in 45 countries. We hope that the draft does not get watered down any further, and that our global actions can help non-nuclear governments like yours to remain strong.

We also support the Mayors for Peace appeal to reinstate language calling on world leaders to visit Hiroshima and Nagasaki to learn first-hand about the devastating humanitarian impact of the use of nuclear weapons.

Last Friday, Global Wave 2015 and the Peace and Planet organised a presentation at the United Nations to promote our nuclear abolition call to the NPT. At the event we showed videos and photos from Global Wave actions around the world.

In addition, during the opening days of the NPT conference we tweeted photos and videos of Global Wave actions from specific countries as the foreign ministers and other representatives of those countries spoke, demonstrating public opinion from their countries in favour of nuclear abolition.

There have been many other events and actions in support.

UNFOLD ZERO, a partner campaign to Peace and Planet, held a side-event last Thursday, outlining the ways in which the abolition of nuclear weapons can be, and is being, facilitated and supported through various UN bodies and initiatives. These include promotion of a nuclear weapons convention by the UN General Assembly and the UN Secretary-General, putting legal pressure on the nuclear weapon States through the International Court of Justice, hosting deliberations and negotiations through a UN General Assembly process, deciding to hold a high-level conference on nuclear disarmament (similar to a UN Summit), criminalising nuclear weapons through the International Criminal Court, and building public engagement and support through the International Day for the Total Elimination of Nuclear Weapons.

All of the above gives support to the language in the NPT draft outcome document on using the United Nations system and other approaches to ensure the participation of all key countries (including nuclear-armed States) in a nuclear abolition process.

Global Wave and Peace and Planet will continue to be active beyond the 2015 NPT Review Conference to build civil society action for a nuclear-weapon-free world. We look forward to cooperation to facilitate this goal.

Yours sincerely

Alyn Ware

Rimma Velikanova

Global Wave Joint Coordinators

 

Jackie Cabasso

Joseph Gerson

Kevin Martin

Peace and Planet Joint Coordinators

 

 

http://www.peaceandplanet.org

http://www.globalwave2015.org


Mobilization Brings Eight Million Demands for Nuclear Abolition to U.N.

May 12, 2015

petsPeace Action just completed a series of successful events around the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) Review Conference at the United Nations.  We helped organize an international conference attended by over 700 nuclear abolition activists, a rally, march and peace festival where Mayor Kazumi Matsui, of Hiroshima, Jackie Cabasso, Joseph Gerson and Kevin Martin, co-conveners of the Peace and Planet Mobilization, and Hiroshi Taka, a Director of the Japan Council against A-& H Bombs, presented the eight million petition signatures to U.N. High Representative for Disarmament Affairs, Angela Kane and Ambassador Taous Feroukhi, the President of the NPT Review Conference.

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 The Peace and Planet conference was endorsed by more than 300 organizations in 20 countries. More than a dozen nations sent official delegations, with roughly 1,000 activists traveling from Japan.  The rally included speeches by Yuko Nakamura, a Hiroshima A-bomb survivor; Tony de Brum, Foreign Minister of the Marshall Islands, which is suing the nuclear-armed nations in the International Court of Justice; Daniel Ellsberg, Pentagon Papers whistleblower and former senior nuclear war planner; and Rev. Osagyefo Sekou one of the leading clergy for racial justice in Ferguson, Missouri. It was attended by 80 A-bomb survivors from Japan and Korea, members of the German, Japanese and European parliaments, and peace, justice and environmental leaders from across the U.S. and around the world.

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Conference organizer Sofia Wolman (above top), Peace Action of New York State (PANYS) President Jim Anderson (above center), Peace Action Fund of New York State Board Chair, Sally Jones (directly above) and the entire PANYS team did a tremendous job throughout the entire 3 days of events.

 

 


Important House letter supporting diplomacy with Iran

May 11, 2015

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Peace Action Hails 150 Reps Letter to Obama Supporting Iran Diplomacy
Washington, DC — May 7, 2015 — In reaction to the letter organized by Reps. Jan Schakowsky (D-IL), Lloyd Doggett (D-TX) and David Price (D-NC) praising the Obama administration’s diplomacy work with Iran on its nuclear program, Peace Action, the largest peace group in the U.S. released the following statement by its political and policy director, Paul Kawika Martin who has worked on the Iran issue for over eight years and had the rare opportunity to spend time in the country:
This House letter to the President shows the overwhelming support in Congress for diplomacy with Iran and to finalize an agreement that verifiably thwarts Iran from building a crude nuclear weapon.  Most in Congress realize there are no better options than reaching a strong accord with Iran on its nuclear program.
Clearly Reps. Jan Schakowsky (D-IL), Lloyd Doggett (D-TX) and David Price (D-NC) and the other 147 signers of the letter understand that successful diplomacy with Iran on its nuclear program will make Americans safer.
Now the Senate should take some advice from the House and ditch the unhelpful Corker bill and wait until a final agreement is reached before taking legislative action.
Though 150 signatures are significant by representing over a third in the House, many in Congress want to see a final agreement before making their views known.  Once a strong final accord is reached with Iran, support in Congress will grow.  A vote to approve or disapprove the agreement will likely be close but nowhere near enough to override an Obama veto.  There are likely a handful of Republicans that would join those on this letter by Democrats.
Even in this more conservative House, this is the largest public support of diplomacy with Iran to date.  It shows the importance of supporting the administration’s efforts to reach a final deal with Iran on its nuclear program.
Peace Action affiliates across the nation generated calls, letters and emails to Representatives urging them to sign on to the letter and will continue to pressure Congress until a final agreement is reached and implemented.
###
Founded in 1957, Peace Action (formerly SANE/Freeze), the United States’ largest peace and disarmament organization, with over 100,000 paid members and nearly 100 chapters in 36 states, works to abolish nuclear weapons, promote government spending priorities that support human needs, encourage real security through international cooperation and human rights and support nonmilitary solutions to the conflicts with Afghanistan and Iran. The public may learn more and take action at http://www.Peace- Action.org. For more up-to-date peace insider information, follow Peace Action’s political director on Twitter. http://twitter.com/PaulKawika
Notes to Editors:
The text and signers of the letter here:
May 7, 2015
The President
The White House
Washington, D.C. 20500
Dear Mr. President:
As negotiations over Iran’s nuclear program continue, we urge you to stay on course, building on the recently announced political framework and continuing to work toward a strong and verifiable agreement between the P5+1 countries and Iran that will prevent Iran from having a nuclear weapon.  We commend you and your negotiating team, as well as our coalition partners, for the significant progress made thus far.
This issue is above politics. The stakes are too great, and the alternatives are too dire. We must exhaust every avenue toward a verifiable, enforceable, diplomatic solution in order to prevent a nuclear-armed Iran.  If the United States were to abandon negotiations or cause their collapse, not only would we fail to peacefully prevent a nuclear-armed Iran, we would make that outcome more likely.  The multilateral sanctions regime that brought Iran to the table would likely collapse, and the Iranian regime would likely decide to accelerate its nuclear program, unrestricted and unmonitored.  Such developments could lead us to war.
War itself will not make us safe.  A U.S. or Israeli military strike may set back Iranian nuclear development by two or three years at best – a significantly shorter timespan than that covered by a P5+1 negotiated agreement.  We must pursue diplomatic means to their fullest and allow the negotiations to run their course – especially now that the parties have announced a strong framework – and continue working to craft a robust and verifiable Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action by June 30.
We must allow our negotiating team the space and time necessary to build on the progress made in the political framework and turn it into a long-term, verifiable agreement.  If we do not succeed, Congress will remain at-the-ready to act and present you with additional options to ensure that Iran is prevented from acquiring a nuclear weapon
Thank you for your resolve in preventing a nuclear-armed Iran.  We look forward to continuing our shared work on this important matter.
Sincerely,
Jan Schakowsky                  Lloyd Doggett                     David E. Price
Member of Congress           Member of Congress           Member of Congress
###
1)    List of signers in alpha order
 
1
Adams, Alma
2
Aguilar
3
Ashford
4
Bass
5
Beatty
6
Becerra
7
Bera
8
Beyer
9
Bishop, S.
10
Blumenauer
11
Bonamici
12
Bordallo
13
Brady
14
Brown, Corrine
15
Brownley
16
Bustos
17
Butterfield
18
Capps
19
Capuano
20
Cardenas
21
Carney
22
Carson
23
Cartwright
24
Castor
25
Castro
26
Chu
27
Cicilline
28
Clark, Katherine
29
Clarke, Yvette
30
Clay
31
Cleaver
32
Clyburn
33
Cohen
34
Connolly
35
Conyers
36
Courtney
37
Cummings
38
Davis, D. 
39
Davis, S. 
40
DeFazio
41
DeGette
42
DeLauro
43
DelBene
44
DeSaulnier
45
Dingell
46
Doggett
47
Doyle
48
Duckworth
49
Edwards
50
Ellison
51
Eshoo
52
Esty
53
Farr
54
Fattah
55
Foster
56
Fudge
57
Gallego
58
Garamendi
59
Green, Al
60
Grijalva
61
Gutierrez
62
Hahn
63
Heck
64
Higgins
65
Hinojosa
66
Honda
67
Huffman
68
Jackson Lee
69
Jeffries
70
Johnson, E.B. 
71
Johnson, H. 
72
Kaptur
73
Keating
74
Kelly
75
Kennedy
76
Kildee
77
Kind, Ron
78
Kuster
79
Langevin
80
Larsen
81
Larson
82
Lawrence
83
Lee
84
Lewis
85
Lieu
86
Loebsack
87
Lofgren
88
Lowenthal
89
Lujan
90
Lujan Grisham
91
Lynch
92
Maloney, S
93
Matsui
94
McCollum
95
McDermott
96
McGovern
97
McNerney
98
Meeks
99
Moore
100
Moulton
101
Napolitano
102
Neal
103
Nolan
104
Norton
105
O’Rourke
106
Payne
107
Pelosi
108
Perlmutter
109
Pierluisi
110
Pingree
111
Plaskett
112
Pocan
113
Polis
114
Price
115
Rangel
116
Richmond
117
Roybal-Allard
118
Ruiz
119
Ruppersberger
120
Rush
121
Ryan, Tim
122
Sablan
123
Sanchez, Linda
124
Sanchez, Loretta
125
Schakowsky
126
Scott, Bobby
127
Scott, David
128
Serrano
129
Sewell
130
Slaughter
131
Smith, Adam
132
Speier
133
Swalwell
134
Takai
135
Takano
136
Thompson, B.
137
Thompson, M.
138
Tonko
139
Torres
140
Tsongas
141
Van Hollen
142
Veasey
143
Velazquez
144
Visclosky
145
Walz
146
Waters
147
Watson Coleman
148
Welch
149
Wilson
150
Yarmuth
 


Continuing the Peace and Planet Momentum!

May 7, 2015

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As the NPT Review Conference continues in New York, Peace Action and our allies continue to monitor the debates and proposals by participating governments (the Reaching Critical Will project of the 100 year old Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom is a good resource on NPT happenings), but we are also looking to future collaborations under the Peace and Planet banner to connect peace and nuclear disarmament issues to economic, racial and climate justice concerns.

Here is an early proposal for future work, and also a report on our events. Comments welcome as always.

May 1, 2015

PROPOSAL FOR THE CREATION/CONTINUATION OF AN ABOLITON 2000 PEACE & PLANET CAMPAIGN

This is a hastily written proposal urging that the 2015 Abolition 2000 Annual General Meeting authorize the creation/continuation of a Peace & Planet Campaign as a project of Abolition 2000. As described below, the international planning group for the 2015 NPT Review, initiated at the 2014 A-2000 annual general meeting fulfilled its mandate, in the course of which it took important steps in building a more issue-integrated international movement, created expectations, and forged relationships which can be the foundation for longer-term movement building for nuclear weapons abolition and related issues. As the press has reported, “Peace and Planet showed the commitment of international civil society to peace and disarmament, as thousands of people from around the world gathered in New York on the eve of the NPT RevCon,”

The 2014 Mandate

The 2014 A-2000 annual general meeting charged co-conveners Joseph Gerson (AFSC,) Jackie Cabasso (WSLF, UFPJ & Mayors for Peace,) and Judith LeBlanc (Peace Action) who was later replaced by Kevin Martin of Peace Action to- based on criteria established at the A-2000 AGM – create an international coordinating committee to implement the following

a. Organizing an inclusive* international Nuclear Weapons Abolition conference on the eve of the Review Conference

b. Organizing an inclusive mass rally and march on the eve of the Review Conference to demand nuclear weapons abolition, peace and justice – including reducing military spending and the funding of essential human needs

c. Organizing an inclusive peace festival at the conclusion of the rally and march

d. Facilitating organizing by the rising generation of young nuclear abolitionists

e. Facilitating delivery of millions of Japanese petition signatures urging negotiations without delay for a nuclear weapons abolition convention

f. Facilitating the organization of an international interfaith service on the eve of the Review Conference

g. Facilitating the visits of Hibakusha and international peace activists to communities in the United States to encourage nuclear weapons abolition organizing.

h. Explore addition nonviolent actions, bold and otherwise, that can reinforce our demand for nuclear disarmament

i. Engage the climate change and other movements, and make outreach to the rising generation of activists a priority.

Summary of Implementation

1 . An International Planning Group comprise of representatives from 11 international organizations and 42 organizations based in 12 countries was created. Efforts were made to create a diverse planning group. It issued our Call to Action on Step. 26, 2014, the first International Day for the Total Elimination of Nuclear Weapons urging the 2015 NPT Review Conference to mandate the

commencement of the “good faith” negotiations required by Article VI of the NPT. Recognizing the need overcome the siloing of our and other movements in order to build more issue integrated movement the Call urged “all people who hope to build a fair, democratic, ecologically sustainable and peaceful future to join us. A petition based on the Call to Action was developed (used mainly by groups in the US,)

Numerous in person and conference call meetings of the International Planning Group’s coordinating and advisory committees, subcommittees and working groups were held to plan what became the Peace & Planet Mobilization. Short-term staff were hired by AFSC, UFPJ and Peace Action to help implement the mobilization.

2. A unique dimension of the Peace & Planet mobilization was its engagement with related peace, economic and social justice and environmental movements. To greater and lesser degrees they were represented on the coordinating and advisory committees, gave input into the shape and content of our events, held Peace & Planet events of their own and assisted in outreach and implementation. While the depth of these new relationships should not be overstated, they do provide an additional new foundation for our organizing and campaigning. With care and reciprocity, they can be built on for the longer-term.

3. Early on, both to engage younger activists and for general mobilization, we put a high priority on social media. In addition to creating our Peace & Planet web page and Facebook page, we initiated a “Fact Countdown”, sending out a compelling fact or quotation that addressed each of our five themes (nuclear weapons abolition, peace, moving the money, environmental sustainability and racial justice/opposing police militarization.) A social media subcommittee, comprised almost entirely of young activists helped to build the mobilization via twitter, Instagram and Facebook. The AFSC also created a remarkably 2 ½ minute video which focused on the role of young people in the nuclear disarmament and other movements which was circulated widely via social media.

4. An International Conference for a Nuclear-Free, Peaceful, Just and Sustainable World was held at the Cooper Union in New York City, April 24-25, with about 600 participants. Plenary speakers included: Angela Kane, Taniguchi Sumiteru, Setsuko Thurlow (Japanese Hibakusha) Daniel Ellsberg, Prof. Zia Mian, Walden Bello, Jo Comerford Manuel Pino, Rev. Osagyefo Sekou (Ferguson) Yoshiko Kira (Diet member from Japan,) Tony de Brum (Marshall Islands Foreign Minister) Mayor Thore Vesby, Mayors for Peace Vice President, Bill Kidd (Scottish Assembly,) Shin Jin Tae, Reiner Braun, Thomas de Toledo, Michael McPherson, Kyoko Nishikawa and Sofia Wolman. The conference also included 44 workshops, organized by the groups that proposed them, held at the Cooper Union, Pace University, and Hunter College. All plenaries were live streamed and recorded, as were two of the workshops. An evaluation will be conducted, but oral feedback was that the conference was exceptional.

5. Mark C. Johnson took the lead in organizing an International Interfaith Convocation, which was held at the Church Center for the United Nations, with standing room only in the 600 seat chapel. Those who participated have talked about how beautiful, compelling and inspiring the convocation was. Nearly all of the convocation participants later participated in the International rally, march and festival.

6. After overcoming considerable resistance from the NYPD and Parks Dept., involving months of negotiations and with the help of the ACLU an international rally was held at Union Square North on April 26. The Square was completely filled, with estimates running between 7,500 (Co-Conveners) and 10,000 (Gensuikyo) participants. The rally included more than 1,000 Japanese activists, including 80 Hibakusha. Speakers and performers included Tetsu Kitagawa, Leslie Cagan Nakamura Yuko (a Hibakusha,) Manny Pino, MEC Jean Lambert, Rev. Osagyefo Sekou, Rev. Dr. Herbert Daughtry Megacith, Reiner Braun, Judith LeBlanc, Walden Bello, Dan Ellsberg, Thomas de Toledo, Mayor Matsui of Hiroshima, Bikers for Peace Thore Naerland.

An emotional and visual highly of the rally was the launching of the Global Peace Wave Action by Rimma Velikanova of the Basel Peace Office and Karipbek Kuyokov, a second generation Kazakh nuclear weapon test victim.

7. The march from Union Square North to Dag Hammarskjold Plaza was led by about eight Hibakusha in wheel chairs, who – along with other Hibakusha – traversed the entire distance. Spirits were high, even as German participants remarked on the heavy police presence which reflected a lack of full democratic rights and freedom.

8. The Festival at Dag Hammarskjold was more impressive than in 2010. We overcame intense opposition from the NY Parks Dept. to hold it. 35 organizations had literature tables. The high point was the presentation of nearly 8 million petition signatures by Gensuikyo, Mayors for Peace and Peace and Planet to High Representative for Disarmament Kane and NPT Review President Ambassador Feroukhi. The presentation was swarmed by media as has been a focal point of media reports about the mobilization. Unlike 2010, great attention was given to arranging Festival musicians and performers, and it carried people’s attention to the end.

9. Under the leadership of Alyn Ware, the Global Peace Wave, launched at the NY rally went westward, by time zone, with more than 100 actions around the world, arriving back at the UN 24 hours later for the opening of the NPT Review Conference. The Global Wave provided organizations and activists in more than 20 countries the opportunity focus movement and media attention on the Review Conference and our demand for the Conference to mandate the commencement of negotiations for the complete elimination of nuclear weapons. These events – such as kite flying for Peace & Planet – in the Philippines and the ringing of the bells in the Bethlehem Christmas church provided a means for local organizations to build their movements.

10. A number of Peace & Planet-related organizations arranged for Hibakusha talks in schools and other venues in New York, Boston, Washington, D.C., Chicago, San Francisco and Nevada, as well as in Peace & Planet events. Thousands of high school students were thus reached with lessons about Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the human consequences of nuclear weapons, the continuing dangers of nuclear weapons and nuclear war, and the imperative of working for a nuclear-free world.

11. Among the other activities feeding in to the Peace and Planet Mobilization were three walks (from Oak Ridge, Tennessee, New England and California,) a Bike for Peace/Mayors for Peace ride from

Washington, DC to New York, and a Shadows and Ashes civil disobedience action at the U.S. Mission to the U.N. organized by the War Resisters League.

11. Media: See attached initial summary of media coverage of the Peace & Planet activities

Our Proposal

The Review Conference has just completed its first week, so its outcome is anything but certain. Given the resistance of the nuclear powers to fulfilling their Article VI obligations and the new era of confrontation and other forces that are fueling new nuclear arms races, the prospects for the Review Conference are less than rosy, and we do not expect our demand that the Review Conference mandate the commencement of the good faith negotiations will be me. It should come as no surprise that our struggle for nuclear weapons abolition (as well as for peace, justice and environmental sustainability) will be for the long term.

In this context we seek A-2000 approval for the creation of a Peace & Planet Campaign. As with this year’s mobilization, it will work to help build an issue-integrated movement to maximize the power of the nuclear weapons abolition, peace, justice and environmental movements. Among the next steps will be:

1) Collecting and posting documentation of the Peace & Planet Mobilization events, including media report, texts of speeches, photos and videos on the Peace & Planet website

2) Conducting an evaluation of the 2015 Peace & Planet Mobilization

3) Launching “Peace & Planet Summer” covering the period from the end of the NPT Review Conference to the 70th anniversaries of Hiroshima and Nagasaki

4) Organizing a Peace & Planet workshop at the US Social Forum

5) Continuation of the Peace & Planet social media campaign

6) Continued development of relationships across issue areas, including encouraging reciprocity among our movements

7) Convening a strategy consultation with international partners during the World Conference against A- & H- Bombs in Hiroshima or Nagasaki

8) Organizing a strategy development meeting with coordinating and advisory committee members and key allies in the Fall of 2015

9) Implementation of strategy developed in the Fall of 2015

This is a preliminary outline. We welcome additional ideas coming out of today’s meeting and going forward.

Submitted by Joseph Gerson, AFSC, Kevin Martin, Peace Action, and Jackie Cabasso, Western States Legal Foundation.


Call Your Rep. Today to Support Diplomacy with Iran! 202-224-3121

April 21, 2015

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It can be argued that the Senate Foreign Relations Committee last week passed legislation that might make it harder for the international community to reach a final agreement with Iran on its nuclear program.
Dozens of Representatives on the other side of the Capitol are taking a much more positive step to support the historic framework reached with Iran on its nuclear program.

Reps. Jan Schakowsky (D-IL), Lloyd Doggett (D-TX), and David Price (D-NC) are getting other members to sign a letter that supports diplomacy with Iran over war.

Call your Rep. today at 202-224-3121 and ask them if they have signed the Schakowsky letter that supports the current negotiations with Iran.  If they have, thank them. If not urge them to do so soon before the letter is sent. 
This letter is important as it shown support in Congress for the historic framework reached by the international community and Iran that will keep it from making a nuclear weapon if it chose to do so.  The details and final technical points still need to be negotiated and a final accord signed by the June 30th deadline.

Opponents of the deal fail to provide a better alternative.  We could break off negotiations, but that would put Iran in a place where it could make the materials need for a crude nuclear bomb within weeks.  We could push for more sanctions.  The U.S. has almost maxed out on its sanctions and there isn’t the appetite for more sanctions from other countries.  And the greatest folly would be to use military intervention that would only set Iran back a few years and push them to definitively obtain a nuclear warhead as soon as possible.

Dial your Rep. now at 202-224-3121 and make sure they have signed the Schakowsky letter that supports diplomacy with Iran.  If they have, thank them.  If not urge them to do so soon before the letter is sent.

We’re on the verge of a historic breakthrough for peace. As the letter states: “This issue is above politics. The stakes are too great, and the alternatives are too dire.”

Please call today!

Humbly for Peace,

Paul Kawika Martin
Political Director
Peace Action

P.S. Call your Rep. today at 202-224-3121 and ask them if they have signed the Schakowsky letter that supports the current negotiations with Iran.  If they have, thank them.  If not urge them to do so soon before the letter is sent.  Then, forward this important email to your friends, family and colleagues.


Thoughts on the way forward for the Iran nuclear deal

April 16, 2015

Geneseo chapter

-Kevin Martin, Executive Director

Starting with a great statement by journalist Robert Parry:

“The April 2 framework agreement with Iran represents more than just a diplomatic deal to prevent nuclear proliferation in the Middle East. It marks a crossroad that offers a possible path for the American Republic to regain its footing and turn away from endless war.”

Now some musings about our message focus and framing moving forward:

1. While we need to continue arguing the merits of a nuclear deal with Iran from various angles, I think it’s time to be a bit assumptive, play some offense, and help create an air of inevitability, which can help us dig in more on the politics, which are clearly going to be more important than the policy. The argument goes something like this:

“Like it or not, a nuclear deal with Iran is extremely likely to happen. Iran, the Obama Administration, P5+1 and international community has invested too much for it to fall apart at this point. Just about the only way a deal could get scuttled is by the U.S. Congress.  How could that happen? Who would benefit, or perhaps better asked as in whose interests would killing the deal be?

Most Republicans want to kill anything that has Obama’s name on it out of blind partisan loathing. No news flash there. But we shouldn’t let them off the hook. When push comes to shove, to they really want to undermine the President of the United States for their partisan gain, or for their perceived notion of the interests of Israel or Saudi Arabia? I don’t see the harm in raising those questions, not likely to move them, but to help isolate them if they don’t budge.

The key to supporting or upholding a deal (in case there is the need for the President to veto any deal-killing legislation passed by Congress) will be Democrats, even more likely liberal/progressive Dems, some who have been either silent, insufficiently supportive of the Administration’s diplomacy, or outright opponents of a deal. Some are frankly disingenuous, saying they want peace and support diplomacy while advocating completely unrealistic conditions for a deal (Alan Grayson stands out right now). Some are, acknowledged or not, “pro-Israel hawks” or at least highly susceptible to AIPAC et al pressure. They’ll have to be smoked out – do they support the president of their party, and what their base wants, what the world wants, or what AIPAC wants? If the latter, they are helping make a war more likely.

Here is a pretty good analysis going more deeply into some of the political questions, both domestic and international:

http://www.opednews.com/articles/The-Iran-Deal-Who-is-agai-by-Steven-Jonas-Iran_Iran-Arms-Industry_Iran-Embargo_Iran-Russia-Alliance-150415-150.html

2. Back to the policy, which reinforces our message on the politics (I think)

We might want to consider broadening our messaging to address re-balancing regional concerns and U.S. policy so it’s not all about Saudi Arabia and Israel, and the possibility of a new, transformed, positive relationship between the American and Iranian peoples (perhaps phrased like that, rather than between governments).

The latter is fairly self-evident I think, emphasizing that a deal on the nuclear issue could open up all kinds of economic and social benefits to the peoples of the two countries. It’s positive, peaceful, visionary. We should also emphasize the sanctions mostly hurt ordinary Iranians, not the mullahs or oligarchs. I don’t think we’ve gone far enough in “humanizing” the Iranian people, which I know seems simplistic but the level of demonization of an entire country for decades is tough to overcome.

The former is harder, maybe out of our reach. Certainly many elites and Members of Congress advocate Iran remaining in the penalty box forever, regardless of what happens with the nuclear program, and want U.S. policy to continue to privilege Saudi/Gulf states and Israeli interests indefinitely. I doubt they’d see it this way, but Obama, Kerry and co. have actually gone pretty far in bucking that elite consensus with the Iran negotiations.

Perhaps the way to frame this is to get the U.S. on the right side of inevitability. Iran is going to get out of the penalty box, we may become isolated from our allies if we hew to a hard line. Iran is going to play a key role in the region, there are already common interests between the U.S. and Iran, Saudi Arabia and Israel are not going to dominate considerations of US policy in the region forever. There may well be a democratic revolution in Iran in the next decade so let’s be on good terms with the Iranian people, and a deal on nukes is the first step in all of this.

As the sign above says, Peace Demands Action, so we need to stay very engaged as the Congressional deliberations and international negotiations proceed.

I’d love to hear others’ thoughts, criticisms, alternative suggestions.


Judithpalooza! Honoring a long distance runner for peace and justice

April 15, 2015
Palestinian Ambassador Riyad Mansour and Judith Le Blanc, Peace Action

Palestinian Ambassador Riyad Mansour and Judith Le Blanc, former National Field Director, Peace Action

Thank You Party and fund appeal honoring Judith Le Blanc, former National Field Director, Peace Action

Monday, April 27, 5:30 pm to 8:00 pm

Turtle Bay Tavern

987 2nd Ave, New York, NY 10022
between 52 and 53 Streets, a short walk from the United Nations

Our esteemed and beloved colleague, friend, and peace and justice force of nature, Judith Le Blanc, has left Peace Action after serving six wonderful years and moving to the Alliance for a Just Society to work on a new project to create a national American Indian leadership network.

Let’s join together and celebrate Judith’s amazing contributions to our collective work by coming together in her honor. Whith many of us will be in New York for the Peace and Planet Mobilization and the NPT Review sessions, there is no better time to have a party for Judith!

Please join us. But, if you cannot attend, please consider a contribution to help us carry on the work of Judith who organized around the country on behalf of Peace Action for a sustainable, just, peaceful and nuclear-free world.

Sponsored by Peace Action Education Fund and Peace Action Fund of New York State.

Click here to help honor Judith and support Peace Action’s ongoing work.

Humbly for Peace,

Kevin Martin
Executive Director
Peace Action


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