As the threat of nuclear war triggers anxiety not seen since the Cold War, peace groups and those committed to the elimination of nuclear weapons are entering the public debate with renewed calls for dialogue and a reduction in nuclear arsenals in both North Korea and the US. Meanwhile, anti-nuclear civil disobedience is ramping up.
On September 6, six nuclear resisters were found guilty of trespass after crossing the marked property of Naval Base Kitsap earlier this year. Charley Smith — a resident of Eugene, Oregon, and a member of the Catholic Worker movement — carried a copy of the Nuremberg Principles when he crossed the line, as did the others. Many of those active in the Catholic Worker movement, which was founded in 1933 during the Great Depression, have been jailed for acts of protest against war, social injustice, racism and unfair labor practices. Asked to explain the Nuremberg Principles by the judge, Smith replied, “Very simply, if we remain silent or do not challenge the evils of society, we are complicit in those evils just as much as those giving the orders to commit crimes against peace, war crimes or crimes against humanity.” Alexandria Addesso, the youngest of the defendants, said nuclear disarmament was a “right to life issue” for her and her generation. She noted there were many threats to her generation — from climate change to economic inequity — adding, “I might not have 10, 20 or 30 years of life ahead of me, and I want to work with my peers to end the threat of nuclear annihilation.”
Meanwhile, other activists have taken a different approach.
Showing the Public the Reality of the Threat of Nuclear Weapons
In Washington State, where Naval Base Kitsap is home port for the largest concentration of deployed nuclear weapons in the US, peace groups and those calling for nuclear…