MASSACHUSETTS’ PEACE ADVOCATES

 

 

Lily Bohlke – Commonwealth News Service

BOSTON — With a United Nations treaty banning nuclear weapons now in place, Massachusetts advocates for peace, including Sen. Ed Markey, D-Mass., are laying out their hopes for the future of nuclear-weapons policy.

Not a single nation with nuclear weapons ratified the international agreement, although more than 50 non-nuclear states did.

Markey said nuclear powers such as the U.S. are unlikely to surrender their arsenals and join the treaty any time soon.

“But even if we can see that nuclear weapons will not disappear overnight, we can at least work on measures that ensure that Hiroshima and Nagasaki will never be repeated,” Markey urged.

Markey stated he plans to reintroduce a bill in the Senate that would require a congressional declaration of war before the president can authorize a nuclear-weapons launch, as well as urging President Joe Biden and the Senate to make cuts to defense spending on nuclear-weapons.

He added he wants any savings redirected to efforts to vaccinate every American against COVID-19.

Rev. Dr. William Barber, co-chair of the Poor People’s Campaign, said our current military budget of $800 billion dwarfs the roughly $200 billion allocated for education, jobs and housing combined.

He noted it’s more than the military budgets of China, Russia, North Korea, Iran and Iraq combined.

“The pandemic exposed the fissures of poverty, racism and how bad our public-health systems really are,” Barber asserted. “Federal funding for emergency preparedness and health care has been on the decline for 15 years, while the military budget keeps going up, up, up, up.”

Barber also pointed to research that found $1 billion in military spending creates roughly 11,200 jobs, while the same amount of money would create 26,000 jobs if it were invested in education, 16,000 jobs if it were put into clean energy, and 17,000 jobs in health care.