Thousands march to UN for nuclear disarmament


NEW YORK - The 2010 Review Conference for the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) began at the United Nations building Monday, following a weekend of activity here by peace activists from around the globe.

Peace groups organized an International Conference for a Nuclear-Free Peaceful, Just and Sustainable World April 30 through May 1 at historic Riverside Church. UN General Secretary Ban Ki-moon addressed the gathering of anti-nuke activists, calling on them to "keep it up."

On Sunday, May 2, on the eve of the UN meeting, 15,000 protestors marched from Times Square to the United Nations calling for the abolition of all nuclear weapons.

Led by Mayor Tadatoshi Akiba of Hiroshima, Japan, dozens of other mayors from around the world and a delegation of over 100 hibakusha (survivors of the U.S. nuclear bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945), the marchers hailed from more than 30 countries.

Protestors marched with colorful signs, creative costumes and lively music and drumming. Marchers included veterans, students, environmental activists, Buddhist monks, elected officials, young children and seniors. Two thousand participants traveled here from Japan for the march and rally. Japan is the only country in the world to have suffered a direct nuclear weapon attack.

Hundreds of organizations participating included Peace Action of the US, the Mouvement de la Paix of France, the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament of the UK, Veterans for Peace and Gensuikyo - the Japanese Council Against Atomic and Hydrogen Bombs -to name a few.

"Together we can abolish nuclear weapons by 2020," said Mayor Akiba, who is also president of the international Mayors for Peace organization, during the opening rally Sunday. "We can do it. Yes, we can!"

Michael Kinnamon, general secretary of the National Council of Churches, also spoke to the crowd. "To use nuclear weapons against a nation that has nuclear weapons would be suicidal," he said. "To use nuclear weapons against a country that does not would be immoral. And they would be no use at all against terrorism. So why do we have them?"

Many trade union federations from around the world participated in the march including the Japanese National Confederation of Trade Unions (ZENROREN) and the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC), whose national-level member federations (including the AFL-CIO) represent 176 million workers. Rank-and-file members of the Japanese Federation of Prefectural and Municipal Workers from Osaka, Kyoto, Tokyo and other cities, French railway workers, Japanese teachers, the United Electrical Workers Union (UE) of the U.S. and many other trade unionists also marched.

 "Trade unions represent the workers of the world. And workers are the victims of war," Kristin Blom, campaigns officer of the ITUC, told the People's World. "We want a just transition from military industry to peaceful, meaningful production. It has been done before and it can be done again"

On Tuesday, May 4, organizations will be delivering to the UN nearly 7 million petitions calling for the immediate banning of nuclear weapons.

The ministerial-level NPT conference has been held every five years since 1970. Representatives of the 189 signatory countries will meet throughout the month of May to discuss unilateral and multilateral initiatives aimed at fulfilling the NPT's goals of non-proliferation and total nuclear disarmament.

Photo and video: PW/Libero Della Piana


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  • Of all the events which foreshadow the 29th Convention of the CPUSA,near month's end,this article's content-Peace is the most significant.
    Judith Le Blanc and Kevin Martin's article on April 29,in PW,Three days that could change the world-This weekend in New York City! and this article,Thousands march to UN for nuclear disarmament,along with the interview from Political Affairs Magazine-Building a New Peace Movement to which I make an important comment-only because I justifiably refer to the astonishing peace contributions of W.E.B. Du Bois(Du Bois was a founder of the UN)-comparing him to Lenin and Marx as peace maker.
    All American Communists who seek to be world peace contributors,who do not know Du Bois's In Battle for Peace,for example,are severely disadvantaged.
    Many historians will argue,that the significant activities of Du Bois in the late 40s helped put tremendous pressure on imperialism to both concede to civil and human rights,and increase repression on liberation organizations,both in the U. S. and abroad.
    It is an age-old problem of oppression and wrong that more oppression and wrong are the responses to irrepressible human liberty.To this,our Du Bois would answer as was his wont-"The price of freedom is less than the cost of slavery." Peace seekers like Du Bois,Harriet Tubman and Moses can never be held responsible for the fact that power corrupts humanity and humanity's perceived absolute power corrupts absolutely.
    Peace seekers Robeson,Flynn,Davis,Du Bois,Jackson,Winston,Green,Lightfoot,Hall and many more were repressed in the '50s and '60s and we have yet not recovered our political,social and cultural vitality-but we shall. We shall only do this pursuing the white gleam of peace,in the van of organizations like ZENROREN,ITUC,UE,National Council of Churches,Peace Action,UFPJ,Mouvement de la Paix of France,Mayors for Peace,Gensuikyo,hibakusha,Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament of the UK and
    many,many more individuals and organizations in our communities.
    As the conveners of the historic Nuclear Free and Just World Confab at Riverside Church return to their localities,let them be reinvigorated in peace to fight for it,to state with the great W.E.B Du Bois-"Peace will be my applause."

    Posted by E.E.W. Clay, 05/05/2010 1:25am (5 years ago)

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