Here’s to Sanity and Abolition Efforts in the New Year

New Year’s Eve Greetings Friends of Ground Zero Center for Nonviolent Action,

One year is nearly over and another about to begin, and this is NOT a plea for donations. This is a different kind of request. I want you to read on and join us in building the world we know is possible, yet may seem so far off. Yes, it takes money. Yet, it takes so much more than that. As we have learned from the wisdom of Standing Rock, we need to “support, educate, protect, collaborate, unify, occupy and protest” and much more.

The horrible seeds of humanity’s destruction that were sown so many decades ago have been nurtured since then by the keepers of the bomb. Today, the keepers of the bomb continue to design and build a new generation of these devices of nuclear extinction. The US government is moving ahead with all speed, slated to spend $1 trillion over 30 years, to rebuild that devil’s progeny of the Cold War, which, along with Russia, is driving a new arms race that can only drive the Doomsday Clock even closer to Midnight. Is it not ironic that the two powers that drove the world to the brink during the Cold War are once again planting the new and improved seeds of humanity’s destruction? Is this not some form of insanity? The most recent comments by President-elect Trump and President Putin make it crystal clear that those who we elect (and I use that term with great reservation) have far less wisdom (and perhaps sanity as well) than they claim.

As President Obama leaves The White House, he also leaves a legacy we would never have expected following his now infamous Prague speech. It is tragic that the Nobel Peace Prize winner did not summon the courage of whatever convictions he retained to stand strong against the demands of Congress (and the Military-Industrial Complex) and instead build a bridge to Putin, negotiating a number of steps that would have ramped back the nuclear danger. Instead, he has facilitated what is inarguably a new arms race and Cold War that is moving ahead at an alarmingly increasing pace.

It is unconscionable that such a small number of nations, led by the US and Russia, have held, and continue to hold, the rest of the world under the threat of nuclear annihilation. Our task, then, is clear – to deepen our resistance to nuclear weapons and seeking their total abolition! A monumental, yet absolutely critical goal. Nothing less than ZERO will ensure the safety and survival of future generations. And THAT will require embracing a new paradigm, far different than that which has driven the nuclear age to this point. It is a paradigm of mutual security rather one of mutually assured destruction.

At Ground Zero Center we are already moving into 2017 with plans to reach out, educate and motivate others to act for change. Read on to find out what’s happening in our (nuclear-armed) corner of the world (also known as “the largest concentration of deployed nuclear weapons in the U.S.”).

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The January 2017 Ground Zero Newsletter is off to the presses, and the electronic edition is ready to read right now. It is full of articles, including a feature on Leafleting (that has a long history at GZ), a reflection on her experience at Standing Rock by a GZ member, a focus on war tax resistance, and much more. Click here to read it.

Spotlight on Ground Zero People

web1_161220-ISJ-SpotlightHalls_1Anne and Dave Hall, longtime GZ members, are featured in a recent article in The Islands’ Weekly. Spotlight on Lopezians: The Halls provides rich insights into the Halls’ long history of activism, and their personal and collective evolution to their current work in the world. Their story is a tribute to what, I believe, keeps so many of us going – a hope for the future. Anne is quoted at the end or the story as saying, “When I think about the world those children will inherit,” Anne said, “that’s enough to keep me going.” Amen to that! Click here to read the full article.

MLK Bangor action

Ground Zero Center for Nonviolent Action will host a vigil and nonviolent direct action at the Bangor Trident submarine base honoring the legacy of nonviolence (and vision) of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. on Saturday, January 14th.

The Ground Zero Stewardship Council will have its monthly meeting beginning around 11:00 AM; all are welcome to join us for the meeting. We will have an opening circle around 1:00 PM in preparation to leave for the Bangor Main Gate, about a 15 minute walk.

We have signs and banners that we will bring along for the vigil. Just bring your nonviolent spirit, and join us as we continue to bear witness to the insanity of the continued existence of nuclear weapons and Trident’s central role in US nuclear weapons policy (and the threat of nuclear annihilation).

Email info@gzcenter or gznonviolencenews@gmail.com with your questions.

MLK Seattle Celebration

People will gather at Garfield High School on January 16th to honor the Martin Luther King, Jr’s legacy at the MLK Seattle Celebration. This year’s event, under the theme Stop the Hate: Come Together, will include workshops, rallies, a march and opportunity fair.

The 2016b MLK Seattle March from Garfield High School to the Federal Building.

The 2016b MLK Seattle March from Garfield High School to the Federal Building.

Ground Zero Center will present a workshop titled Nuclear Weapons: Forgotten But Not Gone: Overcoming the Threat they Pose to Humanity. Our workshop will ask: how do we nonviolently challenge current U.S. plans to spend a trillion dollars rebuilding the entire U.S. nuclear arsenal? How do we redirect these resources to eliminating poverty, overcoming racism, and meeting the challenge of climate justice? After a 20 minute power point presentation/slide show, we will engage in Q&A about what workshop participants have been doing, plans currently underway, and new ways we might deal with the nuclear issues that continue to confront us.

The March from Garfield High School to the 2nd. Ave. Federal Building will start about 12:30. All are encouraged to assemble with us in front of Garfield H.S. (23rd. & E. Jefferson) beginning just before noon. We will have large banners and signs, and leaflets to hand out.

Learn more at mlkseattle.org.

PLC 2017

The Pacific Life Community 2017 gathering takes place from March 5th through March 7th at Port Orchard, Washington. This year’s theme is “The Passion of Resistance” — encompassing both the joy and pain that comes from struggling against the status quo — and will feature a retrospective on the remarkable life work of Raymond G. Hunthausen, archbishop of Seattle from 1975-1981. Archbishop Hunthausen gained national attention when he became the first US bishop to urge tax resistance as a way to oppose the nuclear weapons buildup. Click here to learn more about this year’s PLC gathering.

Pacific Life Community at Bangor in 2009

Pacific Life Community at Bangor in 2009

Earth Day: Save the Date and Save the Planet

On Friday April 21, 2017 Ground Zero and allies will paddle, walk, and speak out against nuclear weapons and the destruction of our planet! We will gather in Seattle demanding that the Trillions of US Citizen Tax Dollars dedicated to destroying our Planet be redirected to healing her and serving human needs. Save the date and join us. More details will be available soon at gzcenter.org/event/save-our-planet/.

UN to launch negotiations in 2017 on a treaty prohibiting nuclear weapons

First, I must correct President-elect Trump who recently Tweeted that “The United States must greatly strengthen its nuclear capability until such time as the world comes to its senses regarding nukes.” In reality, it is a minority of nations that have not yet come to their senses on this subject, and the US ranks at the top of this list. A majority of nations – 113 countries in the UN General Assembly to be exact – approved a historic resolution to launch negotiations in 2017 on a treaty prohibiting nuclear weapons.

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The nuclear-armed nations have stonewalled efforts toward disarmament for decades, and it is time to say ENOUGH! The multilateral negotiations that will begin in late March 2017 will produce a treaty that will likely include prohibitions on use, development, production, acquisition, stockpiling, retention and transfer, as well as assistance, encouragement or inducement of anyone to engage in any of these prohibited activities. The new treaty will not eliminate nuclear weapons overnight, but will place nuclear weapons on the same legal footing as other weapons of mass destruction like chemical and biological weapons.

A majority of UN member states view the ban treaty approach as the most viable and promising pathway forward. Of course, it already appears that at least some nuclear weapon states, such as the US, may not attend the negotiations, and this is unacceptable. We, as citizen activists, will need to bring the strongest possible pressure to bear on our government to fulfill its moral, ethical and legal obligations, and support these negotiations. Stay up-to-date and get involved at the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN): icanw.org

Command and Control airs January 10th

Command and Control: An American Experience Documentary, directed by Robert Kenner and based on the best-selling book by Eric Schlosser, will be broadcast on PBS affiliated stations nationwide. Many of us attended a special screening in Seattle; this is a documentary everyone must see. Check your local PBS station for air times.

And On Into 2017…

The longer I do this work the more I come to understand what I believe to be a form of insanity that has taken hold of those who have developed the weapons, the policies and the mechanisms that will, one day, so long as nuclear weapons exist, end civilization as we know it. And yet, there is always the nagging question, “How can such huge numbers of people go to work everyday planning and preparing for the inevitable destruction of humanity?”

In his book, Raids on the Unspeakable, the Trappist monk, Christian mystic and activist Thomas Merton wrote an essay titled, A Devout Meditation in Memory of Adolph Eichmann. He opened by saying that one of the things he found most disturbing about the Eichmann trial was that a psychiatrist examined him and found him “perfectly” sane. Had Eichmann (and the rest of the Nazis) been psychotic, it would have been easier for Merton to understand the horrific acts they conducted on a daily basis. But no; they were all quite sane, and that is the scary part. Here is how Merton put it (selected excerpts):

The sanity of Eichmann is disturbing. We equate sanity with a sense of justice, with humaneness, with prudence, with the capacity to love and understand other people. We rely on the sane people of the world to preserve it from barbarism, madness, destruction. And now it begins to dawn on us that it is precisely the sane ones who are the most dangerous.

It is the sane ones, the well-adapted ones, who can without qualms and without nausea aim the missile, and press the buttons that will initiate the great festival of destruction that they, the sane ones, have prepared… They will be obeying sane orders that have come sanely down the chain of command. And because of their sanity they will have no qualms at all.

The ones who coolly estimate how many millions of victims can he considered expendable in a nuclear war, I presume they do all right with the Rorschach ink blots too. On the other hand, you will probably find that the pacifists and the ban-the-bomb people are, quite seriously, just as we read in Time, a little crazy.

As we take our first steps into the New Year, may we “crazy” abolitionists move forward together with a renewed sense of purpose, inspired by the actions of all the crazy people who came before us and those who continue to do so. And may this coming year be the Year of the Ban!

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Join us at gzcenter.org, at our NO To NEW TRIDENT Campaign notnt.org, and at our Facebook pages: Ground Zero Center for Nonviolent Action and NO To NEW TRIDENT. Subscribe or unsubscribe to our email newsletters by sending an email to gznonviolencenews@gmail.com.

PEACE to All in the New Year,

Leonard (on behalf of all of us at Ground Zero Center)

Posted in Events and Actions, Uncategorized.