Constituting a Continuing National Nuclear Disarmament Coordinating Committee (NDCC)
January 23, 2021: “Reducing the Threat of Nuclear War: Investment in Minds Not Missiles”
May 2021: “Related”: No First Use of Nuclear Weapons Conference
January 29, 2022: Reducing the Threat of Nuclear War Conference
- MIT Origins of the “Reducing the Threat of Nuclear War” Conferences:
The Manhattan Project alumni that relocated to MIT after the end of WWII represented the group that believed dropping the bomb was a mistake. They included Bernard Feld, Vicki Weisskopf, Herman Feshbach, and Phillip Morrison, and later Henry Kendall, Kostia Tsipis and Aron Bernstein and Randy Forsberg.
The group had the support of MIT President Jerome Weisner, who as President Kennedy’s science advisor, supported the development 1963 of the first nuclear weapons treaty with the USSR.
Bernard Feld was the founding editor of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists. Henry Kendall founded the Union of Concerned Scientists. The Nuclear Weapons Freeze campaign proposal was developed at MIT by a group that included Philip Morrison, Randy Forsberg and Kosta Tsipis.
The origin of the current “Reducing the Threat of Nuclear War” Conferences were the nuclear disarmament Forums hosted by the MIT Physics Department with critical support from the MIT Episcopal Chaplaincy (“Technology and Culture Forum”; now “Radius”).
By 2015 Aron Bernstein, Max Tegmark, and Jonathan King were the only members still active on the MIT faculty. The Conference had already morphed from a technical arms control conference to a much broader nuclear disarmament advocacy conference. We began to recruit outside nuclear disarmament advocacy organizations into the Conference organizing; These included AFSC, WAND, WILPF, Greater Boston PSR, Future of Life Institute and Mass Peace Action. More recently the Coalition for Peace, Disarmament and Common Security, Institute for Peoples Engagement, and the MA Poor People’ Campaign came aboard.
Each year for some years we have reconvened a Coordinating Committee to organize the Conference and Program. Many of the members participated in the biweekly MAPA Nuclear Disarmament Working Group meetings (representing their own organizations) so that some Program business gets done in that venue. Mass Peace Action also provides valuable logistical support, as does the MIT Technology and Culture Forum, the Institute for People’s Engagement, the MIT Faculty Newsletter, and until recently the MIT Dept of Biology.
The Conference date was generally chosen to fit the MIT spring academic schedule, on a Saturday so classrooms were available, but in a week with students on campus. The issue of what was happening in the nation and in the world was secondary.
In the past year the last remaining members of the physicist’s group, Aron Bernstein and Kosta Tsipis passed away, and Jonathan King is Emeritus. In addition, the virtual conference mode, has decreased the need for a multiple classroom venue, and therefore the need to follow academic schedules.
- Constitute a Continuing Nuclear Disarmament Coordinating Committee:
2021 seems time to constitute the Nuclear Disarmament Coordinating Committee as on ongoing Committee, capable of organizing future conferences according to a broader calendar than the MIT student calendar. It’s appropriate to constitute the initial Nuclear Disarmament Coordinating Committee from those who have already participated.
At present the CC (below) is a committee of individuals, though some members will have their organization’s approval. At present, with limited formal structure, there is no problem having more than one Rep from a participating organization.
The next project of the NDCC will be supporting and promoting the second No First Use conference, this Coordinating Committee could provide valuable support. Other discussions are under way with the Poor People’s Campaign and with Our Revolution on holding Forums that addressed exorbitant cost of proposed nuclear weapons upgrades, in the context of their platforms for increased civilian and domestic investment.
(Steering Committee: Jonathan King, Patricia Weinmann, Savina Martin, Jean Athey, Jim Anderson)
To contact NDCC write to Jonathan King at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Members: National Nuclear Disarmament Coordinating Committee:
(as of February, 2021)
(Alphabetical- Organizations for identification only):
Jim Anderson (Peace Action of New York State);
Jean Athey (Maryland Peace Action);
Anna Baker (Greater Boston Physicians for Social Responsibility);
Medea Benjamin, Jodie Evans, Carley Towne (CODEPINK);
Prof. Ed Bertschinger (MIT Department of Physics);
David Borris (Chicago Area Peace Action);
Jackie Cabasso (Mayors for Peace; United for Peace and Justice; Western States Legal Foundation);
Larry Cohen (Chair, Our Revolution);
Dr. Glen Dubois (Chesapeake Physicians for Social Responsibility);
Joan Ecklein (WILPF Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom);
Martin Fleck (Physicians for Social Responsibility);
Steve Gallant (Mass Peace Action);
Shailly Gupta Barnes (Kairos Center/Repairers of the Breach NYC);
Joseph Gerson (Campaign For Peace, Disarmament And Common Security);
Subrata Ghoshroy (MIT Science, Technology and Society);
Prof. Gary Goldstein (Tufts Univ. and Peace Action Education Fund);
William Hartung (Center for International Policy);
Cole Harrison (Mass Peace Action);
Dr. Ira Helfand (Physicians for Social Responsibility);
John Isaacs, Hon. John Tierney (Council for a Livable World);
Prof. Jonathan King “-Chair” (MIT and Mass Peace Action);
Rev. Savina Martin “-Co-Chair” (MA Poor Peoples Campaign);
Susan Mirsky (Newton Dialogues on Peace and War and Mass Peace Action);
Prof. Robert Redwine “-Co-Chair” (MIT and Nuclear Weapons Education Project);
Jerald Ross (CPDCS and Mass Peace Action);
Prof. Elaine Scarry (Mass Peace Action and CPCDS);
Sayre Sheldon (WAND-Women’s Action for New Directions);
David Swanson (World Beyond War);
Patricia Weinmann “-Co-Chair” (MIT Technology and Culture forum/Radius).