Seattle June 11, 2018: Anti-nuclear activists called for the abolition of nuclear weapons in Seattle on the eve of the historic US-North Korea summit.
Activists from Ground Zero Center for Nonviolent Action began their summer campaign against nuclear weapons by holding banners over Interstate 5 during the morning rush hour.
The two banners read “ABOLISH NUCLEAR WEAPONS” and “RESIST TRIDENT—NO NEW NUKES.”
The action took place on the eve of the historic summit between the United States and North Korea to bring attention to the very real danger of nuclear weapons and the need for the US to lead efforts toward disarmament.
While the US has been calling for the complete denuclearization of North Korea, it continues to modernize and upgrade its nuclear weapons and delivery systems. It has declared, along with some other nuclear weapon states, that it will never sign the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW), also known as the Ban Treaty.
Eight of the US Navy’s fourteen Trident ballistic missile submarines are based just 20 miles west of Seattle at Naval Base Kitsap-Bangor. The Navy is currently moving forward with plans to replace the existing fleet, and the Pentagon is developing a low-yield version of the W-76 thermonuclear warhead deployed on the Trident II D-5 missile.
Ground Zero Communications Coordinator Leonard Eiger said, “If the US is serious about denuclearizing the Korean Peninsula, it should begin by at very least signing and ratifying the Ban Treaty. Only then can it begin to negotiate, in good faith, with North Korea regarding its nuclear weapons.
The Ground Zero Center engages the community and educates the public about the threat nuclear weapons pose to our families. Contacts: Rodney Brunelle, (425) 485-7030, firstname.lastname@example.org or Leonard Eiger, (425) 445-2190, email@example.com
In 1982, members of Ground Zero Center surrounded the USS Ohio with a mini-flotilla of boats and put up a small, spirited display of nonviolent opposition to the first nuclear submarine in the Puget Sound.
Among the supporters of the Hood Canal action was no less a personage than Archbishop of Seattle, Raymond Hunthausen, who deliberately withheld half his income tax that year to protest the growing Trident mobile nuclear missile program based in his own backyard. Hunthausen famously described the Trident nuclear system as the “Auschwitz of Puget Sound” – in which he compared the unacceptable suffering that countless civilians would face in a nuclear attack to the Nazi concentration camp that resulted in the deaths of many millions of innocents during WWII.
Since then, public consciousness about nuclear weapons has dissipated and the antinuclear movement has struggled for visibility and engagement. There has not been a mass social movement against nuclear weapons since the 1980s. This is not to say that antinuclear activism has gone away.
Now President Trump is talking about restarting nuclear testing and building new nuclear weapons and has just scuttled the Iran deal that served to monitor and constrain Iran’s nuclear program.
Fortunately, a renewed awareness of the threat of nuclear annihilation seems to be growing, as we saw with the July 2017 UN Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, adopted by 122 nations — and with the winning of the 2017 Nobel Peace Prize by ICAN, the International Committee to Abolish Nuclear Weapons. .
Nuclear war would end civilization as we know it. The use of nuclear weapons is a violation of international law and basic morality. Nuclear weapons should simply be eliminated. This is not a naive, utopian dream. It is the core belief and objective of the vast majority of countries in the world. One hundred twenty-two countries voted for the adoption of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons.
—Excerpted from the Ground Zero leaflet for June 2018