American Friends Service Committee
Patrica Watson, Editor
Sara Burke, Assistant Editor
Pat Farren, Founding Editor
2161 Massachusetts Ave.
Peacework has been published monthly since 1972, intended to serve as a source of dependable information to those who strive for peace and justice and are committed to furthering the nonviolent social change necessary to achieve them. Rooted in Quaker values and informed by AFSC experience and initiatives, Peacework offers a forum for organizers, fostering coalition-building and teaching the methods and strategies that work in the global and local community. Peacework seeks to serve as an incubator for social transformation, introducing a younger generation to a deeper analysis of problems and issues, reminding and re-inspiring long-term activists, encouraging the generations to listen to each other, and creating space for the voices of the disenfranchised.
Views expressed are those of the authors, not necessarily of the AFSC.
Vermont Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons to Focus on Congressional Elections
Joseph Gainza is the Coordinator of the American Friends Service Committee's Vermont office.
The Vermont Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons plans to raise abolition as an issue in the upcoming election campaigns for the US Senate and House. The Campaign's successful town meeting effort, which will continue in March 2001, has established that Vermonters, when they have the opportunity, will vote for abolition.
While most of the forty-nine towns which have voted for the article did so by voice vote, in the towns where paper ballots are counted we see an interesting trend. In Burlington, 75% of those voting voted for the article; in Montpelier, 74%; in Middlebury, 76%. Besides being remarkably consistent, these numbers closely reflect the results of national surveys gauging public sentiment about nuclear weapons abolition. Following these town meeting victories, the Vermont House of Representatives and Senate voted for a similar resolution, the Senate voting unanimously. It is clear that the people of Vermont and our representatives want to see Vermont's congressional delegation working hard for a nuclear weapons abolition treaty. The Vermont experience is showing that sentiment for abolition is expressed as votes when people are given the opportunity.
With Senator James Jeffords, Vermont's junior US senator, and Congressman Bernie Sanders running for re-election in November, the abolition campaign is gearing up to raise the issue of abolition at every public event where the candidates speak. Already, both candidates for the Democratic Party nomination have gone on record as favoring abolition.
We plan to expand our postcard project, in which people from around the state send Vermont's congressional delegation postcards calling on them to work now for an abolition treaty. Additionally a newspaper ad campaign will detail the reasons why nuclear weapons must be abolished, the present opportunities for doing so, and how Vermont voters and our state representatives have called for a treaty. The ad will also call on the Congressional candidates to declare themselves as favoring abolition, and call on those who are elected to make the abolition of nuclear weapons one of their highest priorities in Washington.
With Republican presidential hopeful George W. Bush calling for
a reduction in the US nuclear stockpile, even as his promotion
of a national missile defense system contradicts his proposal,
questions about the need for these weapons are sure to be part
of the presidential campaign. This development provides abolitionists
a rare opportunity to make the abolition of nuclear weapons a
campaign issue in every state race for Congress.