Civil Society and Nuclear Disarmament

 In anti-nuclear movement, democracy, Global Activism, Nuclear Weapons, Obama, Peace Action, social movements

The United Nations Institute for Disarmament Research’s (UNIDIR)  journal Disarmament Forum published an issue late last year devoted to views on civil society and nuclear disarmament. Peace Action national board member (and peace movement historian and author) Larry Wittner was among the leading activists and scholars contributing articles to the journal. Larry’s article, titled Where is the nuclear abolition movement today?, leads off the discussion with a very good “state of the movement” analysis. The other articles, featuring policy analysis and movement strategy pieces, are thought-provoking as well, and certainly worth a read by those of us working to abolish nuclear weapons worldwide.

My take on the rich material in the journal is that it paints an accurate picture of a relatively small but determined movement struggling (in the good sense of that word) to gain traction for progress beyond the modest arms reduction and non-proliferation measures of the last few years, while also relating to the broader context of global, and especially U.S., militarism.

Two contradictions are particularly evident — the global public consensus in favor of nuclear abolition is, as we know, having little sway with the U.S. and other nuclear states (as nuclear disarmament has broad public support but low salience or priority status for voters and even many activists), and the “rhetoric vs. reality” issue of the Obama Administration’s words (inspiring) being undercut by its actions (modest or even disappointing in the case of its commitment to nuclear weapons complex “modernization”).

The various articles are available on the UNIDIR website, and you can also order the journal there as well. Please feel free to comment on the articles here on this blog, and to circulate this link.

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