Atomic Pulse

State and Local Politics Go Nuclear

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Guest post by Emma Claire Foley, Global Zero

With the power to launch catastrophic
nuclear attacks limited to a few very powerful men (and one woman), nuclear
weapons seem like an unlikely target for grassroots organizing. But it’s just
that imbalance, along with growing unease with the international political
climate around nuclear weapons, that is feeding efforts at the state and local
level to push for limits on the way the United States’ nuclear arsenal can be
used.

Activists across the country are pressing citizens
and local lawmakers to engage on nuclear issues, and they have already seen
results:

  • California
    legislators have introduced bills urging Congress to pass “no-first use”
    legislation, committing the United States to never use nuclear weapons first in
    a conflict.
  • California
    and Minnesota legislators are considering bills urging the United States to
    voluntarily commit to honor the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons,
    which was signed by 122 non-nuclear countries in July 2017.
  • Vermont, Georgia, Massachusetts,
    and
    Illinois are all considering
    resolutions calling for “checks and balances” on the President’s authority to
    launch a nuclear strike.

Other states are considering similar
measures, and city councils across the country are looking at what they can do
to communicate their constituents’ concern about nuclear weapons.
 

Significantly, each of the state
resolutions calling for checks on presidential launch authority cite the
catastrophic damage that a nuclear attack would do to the state, and nearly all
provide estimates for the number of casualties likely from a nuclear attack on
a metro area in their state.

There are numerous resources available for
those who want to bring the fight for a safer nuclear order to their own
communities. Students and anyone under 35 can consider joining the
Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty Organization youth group,
which organizes events and training sessions focused on non-proliferation and
the promotion of the existing ban on testing nuclear weapons.
Beyond the
Bomb
, an organization working to rid the world
of nuclear weapons, offers
resources and support
to would-be local organizers

NTI’s
Atomic Pulse
blog periodically includes posts from guest authors. The views expressed are
their own and do not necessarily reflect those of NTI, its Board of Directors
or the institutions with which they are associated.

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