Nuclear Abolition & Promoting Peaceful Policy
Decades after the Cold War and the Non-Proliferation Treaty, the world’s nuclear stockpiles remain at dangerously high levels. Of the 14,575 estimated nuclear weapons in the world, the United States and Russia have 92% of the world’s nuclear arsenal. An estimated 1,800 of these nuclear weapons are on hair-trigger alert. Meanwhile, global military spending is at an all-time high while governments fail to respond to a rapidly-escalating climate crisis. As the United States continues to increase military spending, fails to meet obligations set out in the Non-Proliferation Treaty, refuses to sign the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, and fails to take meaningful action to address climate change, it is more important than ever to hold the government accountable.
To address problems like war, nuclear threats, poverty, climate change, and terrorism, the U.S. needs to work cooperatively with our global community. Peace Action New York State believes that diplomacy and collaboration are the only way forward. We are lobbying our representatives and organizing in our communities to demand U.S. policy that prioritizes human needs over militarism and affirms the human rights and dignity of all people.
Reduce the Military Budget
Military spending eats up more than half of the discretionary budget — the part of the national budget for which Congress appropriates money each year, as opposed to mandatory spending. We spend more on our military than we do on all other programs combined, and Congress signs off on this every single year. At least once per year, Peace Action New York State joins in national Peace Action Lobby Days to lobby our elected representatives on important peace issues, including urging them to oppose military budget increases included in the annual National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) which is usually debated during the Summer and into early Fall. Peace Action New York State collaborates with the NYC “Move the Money” Campaign to promote the passage of a Move the Money Resolution in NY City Council. The Resolution would call upon the federal government and its legislators to move significant funds away from the military budget to fund human needs and services, and would call for in-depth public hearings to be conducted on the dollar amounts that the City needs but that get diverted to the Pentagon. Additionally, Long Island Alliance for Peaceful Alternatives, an affiliated ally of PANYS, participates in a Long Island “Move the Money” Campaign to demand that Long Island representatives support a 10% cut in the federal military budget to reinvest those funds into our communities.
Promote Diplomacy & Cooperation as Cornerstones of U.S. Foreign Policy
Strained relations between the world's major economic powers is driving a rapid and dangerous escalation in military spending worldwide. Not only does this increase the dangers posed by a potential conflict between nuclear-armed states, but it also diverts our global resources away from addressing the existential threat of our lifetime: climate change. These twin existential threats of nuclear war and climate destruction are inextricably linked, as both pose grave risks to our planet and to our survival PANYS collaborates with allied peace organizations to promote peaceful U.S. foreign policy that is centered on diplomacy and cooperation, rather than military competition and threats of force. In recent years, this has included collaborating with the Campaign for Peace, Disarmament, and Common Security in building strategies to counter emerging tensions between the U.S. and China, as well as collaborating with U.S. and international peace groups to encourage a ceasefire and diplomatic negotiations to end Russia's illegal war in Ukraine, in addition to supporting the rights of conscientious objectors on all sides of the conflict. PANYS is also part of the Korea Peace Now NY/NJ group and works together with Women Cross DMZ and other peace partners to advocate for a formal peace treaty to end the Korean War – currently the longest-standing US conflict – and achieve a lasting peace on the Korean Peninsula. Negotiating a formal peace treaty is a crucial step toward denuclearizing the Peninsula and would also improve access to humanitarian aid for millions of North Koreans. PANYS members lobby their representatives to support bills and resolutions that support these objectives. We also commemorate Korean War Armistice Day each year on July 27th by participating in demonstrations and commemorative events.
Oppose Nuclear Escalation & Weapons Upgrades
Peace Action New York State opposes U.S. nuclear triad modernization plans which are estimated to cost nearly $2 trillion by 2046. As part of these plans, the U.S. plans to replace its current arsenal of intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) with an entirely new missile force known as the Ground-Based Strategic Deterrent (GBSD) --- a.k.a. the "Money Pit Missile." The Pentagon is also developing a new class of submarine-launched ballistic missiles (SLBMs) and submarines, as well as a new class of strategic bombers and air-launched cruise missiles (ALCMs). These plans stand in direct opposition to our commitment under the NPT to work toward nuclear disarmament, and create pressure on other nuclear-armed states to upgrade and expand their own arsenals. Peace Action New York State works to mobilize our statewide network and pressure Congress to oppose wasteful and escalatory nuclear weapons spending. The U.S. must invest its resources in addressing human needs such as hunger, housing, pandemic preparedness, and the climate crisis --- not in developing yet more nuclear weapons that can never be used.
Respond to Emerging Crises & End U.S. Complicity in Violent Conflicts
From providing military aid to oppressive regimes to enforcing dangerous sanctions that deepen human suffering across the globe, the United States' involvement in various global conflicts has often fallen short of our professed national ideals of uplifting human rights and democracy. To respond to rapidly-evolving crises, PANYS mobilizes our statewide member network to lobby elected representatives and urge them to support legislation and policies that promote peace and minimize human suffering. In recent years, this has included: --- Demanding an end to U.S. complicity in the oppression and displacement of Palestinian families via its ongoing military aid to Israel; --- Demanding an end to U.S. arms sales and support for the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen's civil war; --- Demanding an end to U.S. military operations in Syria, Afghanistan, and Iraq, and lobbying for the repeal of the 2001 and 2003 Authorizations for Use of Military Force (AUMF's); --- Opposing dangerous sanctions that create and worsen humanitarian crises, including in Afghanistan, Iran, and more.
Urge the U.S. to Join the TPNW & Uphold Its Obligations under Current Nuclear Treaties
Every January, PANYS/PAFNYS join with a coalition of organizations to support the goals of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW) and to urge the United States to join the treaty. The TPNW includes a comprehensive set of prohibitions on participating in any nuclear weapon activities, including developing, testing, producing, acquiring, possessing, stockpiling, using, or threatening to use nuclear weapons, and obligates them to provide assistance and environmental remediation for individuals and areas affected by prior nuclear weapons use and testing. Since the Treaty's entry into force on January 22, 2021, PANYS/PAFNYS have helped organize and participated in the "Roses to Missions" project annually in January to deliver our collective gratitude to the states parties of the TPNW, presenting roses and "Thank You" certificates to the missions of those who have newly ratified the treaty. PANYS/PAFNYS also join our allied organizations in anniversary events and demonstrations at the United Nations in New York City to demand that the United States join the treaty. In addition to urging the U.S. to join the TPNW, Peace Action New York State urges the U.S. to uphold its obligations under current arms control treaties such as the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT), which requires all states parties commit to pursuing complete disarmament. After more than 50 years, the U.S. must commit to fulfilling its promise to disarm instead of planning for more upgrades to its nuclear arsenal. We also acknowledge that current arms treaties don't go far enough --- yet another reason for us to continue urging nuclear-armed states to join the TPNW.
Support Local & Grassroots Campaigns to Oppose Nuclear Weapons & Demand Justice for Affected Communities
Peace Action New York State participates in the "Back from the Brink" Campaign to demand legislation that reduces the threat of nuclear weapons and provides resources for the communities affected by them. In recent years, this has included lobbying our representatives to support the House Resolution to Embrace the Goals and Provisions of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (H. Res. 77 of 2023) as well as the People Over Pentagon Act (H.R. 1134 of 2023) seeking to cut the Pentagon budget. In 2021, PANYS celebrated alongside our allies at NYCAN when New York City adopted Resolution 976 declaring the city a nuclear-weapons-free zone, calling on the U.S. government to join the TPNW, and calling upon the NYC Comptroller to instruct the pension funds of public employees to divest from companies involved in the production and maintenance of nuclear weapons. We also commend the Syracuse Peace Council, a community chapter of PANYS, for their work in getting the city of Syracuse to declare August 6th "Back from the Brink Day" and announce the city's support for the global effort to prevent nuclear war.
Commemorate the Atomic Bombings of
Hiroshima & Nagasaki
Every year, the Peace Action New York State network joins in global commemorations of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. On August 6th, 1945, the United States dropped the first atomic bomb on the Japanese city of Hiroshima, killing 80,000 people immediately and another 60,000 in the aftermath due to radiation and injuries — roughly 40% of the city’s pre-bomb population. On August 9th, the US dropped the second bomb on Nagasaki, killing 40,000 people immediately and another 34,000 in the aftermath. Those who survived the blasts are known as Hibakusha. Hibakusha suffered from the damaging effects of radiation (such as cancer), lifelong trauma, and the stigma of being a survivor. Thanks to the courage of the Hibakusha in sharing their voices, the world will never forget these atrocities. The Peace Action New York State network joins in commemorating these events, and in demanding justice all communities affected by nuclear weapons, including Downwinders and indigenous communities displaced and harmed by nuclear weapons testing. In recent years, Peace Action New York State has also been represented at the annual World Conference Against A&H Bombs in Japan, where we were proud to show solidarity with nuclear weapons survivors and the international peace community.