News Release

25 Years After Historic Protest: Nuclear Weapons and Power Today


Lead organizer of the June 12, 1982, Central Park protest, Cagan is now national coordinator of United for Peace and Justice. She said today: “The march from the UN to Central Park was probably the largest single protest in U.S. history, with the police saying it was 750,000 people. New York City was shut down for the day. Today, 25 years later, the world is no safer, no more free of dangers of a nuclear catastrophe. The U.S. government’s nuclear hypocrisy has not led to peace, but has fed perpetual conflict. While Washington takes us to war claiming to be searching for weapons of mass destruction, they are now about to produce a new generation of nuclear weapons.”
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Cabasso is executive director of the Western States Legal Foundation and contributor to the just-released book Nuclear Disorder or Cooperative Security? U.S. Weapons of Terror, the Global Proliferation Crisis and Paths to Peace. She said today: “It was shocking that several presidential candidates in the recent GOP debate talked almost casually about using nuclear weapons against Iran, but there was no public outcry. The massive June 12, 1982, anti-nuclear demonstration in New York City was part of a coordinated day of protests around the world, organized in response to the U.S. deployment of nuclear missiles in Western Europe. In California, thousands of people nonviolently blockaded the Lawrence Livermore nuclear weapons lab, and 1,500 were arrested.

“When the Cold War abruptly ended with the collapse of the Soviet Union, people everywhere breathed a huge sigh of relief, believing that they had escaped a nuclear holocaust and putting nuclear weapons out of their minds. Yet, the nuclear juggernaut rolled on, as militarists in the Pentagon and scientists at the nuclear weapons labs conjured up new justifications to project the nuclear weapons enterprise into the future. Today, the U.S. still has about 10,000 nuclear weapons and is designing new ones. The annual nuclear weapons budget is one-third higher now — in real terms — than it was during the Cold War. We need to rekindle the intense international concern about nuclear weapons of 25 years ago that probably helped us survive.”
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Wasserman is a founder of the grassroots “No Nukes” movement and author of the recent book SOLARTOPIA! Our Green-Powered Earth, A.D. 2030. He said today: “The 25th anniversary of the biggest anti-nuclear gathering in U.S. history comes with the attempt to revive atomic power. When one million people gathered in Central Park in 1982, they meant to call a halt to the spread of both nuclear weapons and the nuclear power plants that created the materials to build those weapons. The march was remarkably successful, in that it helped continue the movement to keep atomic power plants from spreading. It also focused new energy on keeping Ronald Reagan from using nuclear weapons in an ‘Evil Empire’ standoff with the Soviet Union.

“In the wake of the 9/11/2001 terror attacks, every reactor is a pre-deployed weapon of nuclear mass destruction. The plants are unsafe, unreliable, unneeded and untenable. It is absurd to think that this old, failed technology would have a place in a world which must be powered by green technology. Instead, we need to shut these plants and leap with both feet into a renewable ‘Solartopian’ future.”
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For more information, contact at the Institute for Public Accuracy:
Sam Husseini, (202) 347-0020; or David Zupan, (541) 484-9167