Here’s how it all began: I had learned that Northampton, Massachusetts, had passed a resolution calling for the United States to prevent nuclear war. I found it marvelous that this town with a population of less than 30,000 had the nerve to believe they could pressure the most powerful government in the world to stop the most powerful weapons in the world. I thought to myself: If a town could do that, why couldn’t other local governments?
I knew that my Minnesota State Senator, Scott Dibble, was as interested in a peaceful world as I am, so I decided to write to him about introducing such a resolution in the state senate. As soon as the new state legislature went into session in January, he did just that. Senators John Marty and Sandy Pappas have joined him as co-sponsors of S.F. 84, “a resolution calling for the United States to ‘pull back from the brink’ and prevent nuclear war”.
Now since this transpired, I have heard that resolutions are being introduced in other states and local governments. Could we be seeing the return of a major ban the bomb movement—now needed more than ever—within the U.S.? There is also a second resolution in the Minnesota Senate (S.F. 344), with a companion in the house (H.F. 460), the latter sponsored by Representative Rena Moran: “A resolution urging adoption of new nuclear weapons policies.” The Senate resolutions are similar and contain excellent language, including the need to prevent a first strike by the U.S.
Daniel Ellsberg, renowned for whistleblowing the Pentagon’s nuclear plans during the Vietnam War, is the author of a recent book, The Doomsday Machine, Confessions of a Nuclear War Planner. He states that the nuclear “strategy of the U.S. for the past sixty-five years has not been a matter of deterrence of nuclear attack on the United States, but rather the illusionary one of improving first-strike capabilities.” The U.S. needs to stop engaging in the fantasy of anyone surviving an aggressive nuclear war and instead lead the way toward peace.
I believe that we can abolish nuclear weapons. Like the people of Northampton, Massachusetts, we just need to have faith in ourselves – or, as some might say – a lot of nerve. And, I think we’re seeing that we just may have that.
Polly Mann is a co-founder of Women Against Military Madness and regular contributor to this newsletter.
The two antinuclear resolutions in the Minnesota Senate are S.F. 84 sponsored by Senators Dibble, Marty, Pappas, and Rest. and S.F. 344 sponsored by Torres Ray, Pappas, and Marty.
As of February, both were referred to the State Government Finance and Policy and Elections Committee chaired by Senator Kiffmeyer.
The House resolution H.F. 460, sponsored by Rep. Moran, was referred to Government Operations Committee. You can find texts (under Bill Search & Status), committee members, and your MN representatives at leg.state.mn.us.
Ask Sen. Kiffmeyer to move both S.F. 84 and S.F. 344 out of committee so that they can be heard on the floor of the Senate: email@example.com or phone: 651-296-5655 Ask Rep. Mike Freiberg to move H.F. 460 out of committee so that it can be heard on the floor of the House: firstname.lastname@example.org or phone 651-296-4176