Facebook Livestream video of event:
Fayetteville Peace Rally for Nuclear Abolition Speech
By Abel Tomlinson
Hello everybody, and thank you for coming!
We’re gathered here today to Celebrate Momentous Progress for the Nuclear Weapons Abolition Movement and to call for Peace!
Most significantly, 122 nations have now adopted the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons at the United Nations! This is a poignant moment considering the very first U.N. resolution was a call for nuclear disarmament and a nuclear-free world.
This historic achievement for Peace deserves the highest of praise! Let’s give it up to the many leaders that made this happen!
Its important to acknowledge real leadership is being demonstrated because this landmark treaty was approved under intense pressure from nuclear armed nations. Yet, the fierce resistance by nuclear nations is a testament to its true power.
Secondly, we’re gathered here today to celebrate the 2017 Nobel Peace Prize award to the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN). The Nobel Committee chose ICAN “for its work to draw attention to the catastrophic humanitarian consequences of any use of nuclear weapons and for its ground-breaking efforts to achieve a treaty-based prohibition of such weapons.”
Let’s give it up to the Nobel Prize committee for this decision, and the countless ICAN activists that worked so hard to make this a reality!
This Treaty and ICAN’s Nobel Prize have now given the Nuclear Weapons Abolition Movement momentum, wind in the sails for the peace movement.
So, what’s next?
None of the nuclear armed nations support the treaty, and appear determined to fiercely cling to their soon-to-be illegal arsenals. What now becomes most critical, is raising awareness, progressing public opinion, and pressuring representatives. Over 80% of Americans want a nuclear weapon free world, so we must demand real representation. (Mention Mahoney/Ryerse campaigns etc)
In terms of raising awareness, we must also face uncomfortable truths.
Previously, we made progress toward nuclear disarmament with the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty, which the U.S. signed. Nuclear stockpiles were reduced, and many nations agreed not to build them.
However, we took a leap backwards with allthree War on Terror Administrations, which all violated the NPT. Fear of terrorism from 9-11 is being used as a tool to “justify” not only erosion of our Constitutional rights domestically, but has given “justification” to violate international treaties.
First, the Bush Administration labeled Iraq, Iran & North Korea, the Axis of Evil. Then, the Administration lied about Iraq’s WMD and connections to 9-11 to justify a war, which U.N. Secretary General Kofi Anan said was “illegal.” Indeed, it was a War of Aggression, the Supreme International War Crime (Nuremburg Charter).
As a sidenote: this war cost trillions, killed over 1 million, and tilled the soil and planted seeds for ISIS and civil war. Indeed, an analysis of State Dept statistics found terrorism increased 6,500% since the WOT began. Our drone bombings and wars across the Middle East are doing the exact opposite of what politicians claim they’re for. We’re manufacturing terrorism.
Furthermore, three War on Terror Administrations have all violated NPT by threatening First Strike nuclear attack. All three have said “All Options are On the Table” toward Iran or North Korea. To many these euphemisms are misunderstood, but for those that study foreign policy, this is a well known threat of nuclear attack, and breaches NPT. Trump has now made these violations more honest by eliminating the euphemism, openly threatening nuclear “fire and fury like the world has never seen.”
Threats of offensive nuclear attack as a tool of foreign policy was unheard of before these 3, and they make Ronald Reagan look like a peacenik, who once said “A nuclear war cannot be won and must never be fought.”Stop and think about the cruel, sick irony: we’re saying to Iran and North Korea, We think you’re a danger because you’re trying to build nuclear weapons, so we’re going to attack you with nuclear weapons. Mind-boggling nonsense. The reality is that its not about defense, but power, hegemony and empire, which we’ll return to.
Despite the U.S. having enough warheads to destroy the world multiple times, the previous administration further breached the central NPT provision of disarmament by approving $1 trillion “modernization” of the nuclear arsenal. Trump not only agreed to continue this violation, but a recent NBC report stated he would like to expand the arsenal 10-fold.As Moyers & Company pointed out:”Isn’t it rather odd that America’s largest single public expenditure scheduled for the coming decades…received no attention in the…presidential debates?”
Why does the United States need to spend a $1 trillion on new nuclear bombs when we already have 7,000 warheads, enough to cause extinction many times over. Secondarily, why is it politicians so divided on domestic issues, can always find unity in spending trillions upon trillions for endless wars?
It was similar in the Roman Republic. One faction offered more benefits to Roman citizens, while the other faction was more purely just for the richest few. However, both factions were united in maintaining the Roman Empire.
This is the massive elephant in the room. Mainstream media rarely allows us to understand this issue of empire. Reputable academic critics of empire like Noam Chomsky, Howard Zinn or Chalmers Johnson are not permitted to speak in mainstream media. These issues are not brought up in presidential debates, just like the $1 trillion arsenal upgrade.
Some of you may be thinking, we’re not an empire. That sounds crazy. I could tell you about the 800 to 1,000 foreign military bases encircling our planet, but instead I want to offer more compelling testimony.
Google Smedley Butler, a highly decorated Marine Corps General. Read his short book “War is a Racket” online. General Butler described the nature of U.S. Empire well, and from a point of view few experience:
He said, “I spent thirty-three years and four months in active military service as a member of this country’s most agile military force, the Marine Corps. I served in all commissioned ranks from Second Lieutenant to Major-General. And during that period, I spent most of my time being a high class muscle-man for Big Business, for Wall Street and for the Bankers. In short, I was a racketeer, a gangster for capitalism.
I helped make Mexico, especially Tampico, safe for American oil interests in 1914. I helped make Haiti and Cuba a decent place for the National City Bank boys to collect revenues in. I helped in the raping of half a dozen Central American republics for the benefits of Wall Street. The record of racketeering is long. I helped purify Nicaragua for the international banking house of Brown Brothers in 1909-1912. I brought light to the Dominican Republic for American sugar interests in 1916. In China I helped to see to it that Standard Oil went its way unmolested.
During those years, I had, as the boys in the back room would say, a swell racket. Looking back on it, I feel that I could have given Al Capone a few hints. The best he could do was to operate his racket in three districts. I operated on three continents.”
So you see, the nature of American Empire is not like standard colonialism. Standard Colonialism of the British, French or Spanish Empires consisted in militaries taking over lands of weaker peoples to steal their resources, and making explicit claims of ownership. In our form of Empire, we don’t say we explicitly own other nations, but exercise other forms of control. We send in militaries for corporate interests and install puppet governments.
Puppet governments must agree to our corporate imperialist agenda. If they attempt to cut their puppet strings, that’s precisely when we apply economic constraints to control them, or we overthrow their governments by clandestine coups or outright invasion. Then, we ensure a more favorable government is installed, whether an explicit dictator or pseudo-democracy.
Remember that the next time a politician lies about fighting for “freedom and democracy”.If America was sincere about wanting democracy for everyone else, we wouldn’t have overthrown multiple democracies, and installed multiple brutal dictators. The prototypical example is Chile in the 1970s. We destroyed one of the most advanced South American democracies with Allende, and installed one of the most brutal dictators in South American history with Pinochet.
You may be thinking, why does he keep talking about empire instead of nuclear weapons. Well, this event is also a call for a Greater Peace Movement. We need comprehensive understanding, so we can create comprehensive solutions. Banning nuclear weapons is one of the biggest pieces of the peace puzzle, but we need to find all the pieces if we want to assemble deep, lasting peace.
We mustn’t make the mistake of thinking the Nuclear Ban treaty is enough. I’ll quote physicist and peace Superhero Joseph Rotblat’s Nobel Peace Prize speech to make this point. (Strangest Dream)
Rotblat said, “I’ve argued we must eliminate nuclear weapons. While this would remove the immediate threat, it will not provide permanent security. Nuclear weapons cannot be disinvented…Even in a nuclear-weapon-free world, should any of the great powers become involved in a military confrontation, they (could) rebuild their arsenals…the danger of the ultimate catastrophe would still (exist).
The only way to prevent it is to abolish war altogether. We must learn to resolve…disputes by means other than military confrontation (and) will require developing a new loyalty…to mankind…We have to become world citizens…Prospects for…this new loyalty are now better (because) fantastic advances in…modern (communication) techniques…enable us to learn instantly (about events) in every part of the globe…Technology is driving us together (and) we are becoming like one family.”
It is easy to be pessimistic and think these problems are too big, the system is too corrupt, and peace is impossible. Yet, that is precisely what people told me years back when I started working on drug law reform. Numerous people said Arkansas is too backward to ever legalize medical cannabis. We proved them wrong. Surely, many people also once thought nuclear weapons would never be banned, yet here we are. We now have great reason for inspiration and great hope for peace.
We must imagine the possibility of peace, and resist despair.
Dr. Martin Luther King said it best, “I refuse to accept despair (or) the idea that man is mere flotsom and jetsom in the river of life, unable to influence the unfolding events which surround him. I refuse to accept the view that mankind is so tragically bound to the starless midnight of racism and war that the bright daybreak of peace and brotherhood can never become a reality.
I refuse to accept the cynical notion that nation after nation must spiral down a militaristic stairway into the hell of thermonuclear destruction. I believe that unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word.”