Physicians for Social Responsibility: The Madison Common Council Voted Unanimously in Favor of “Back from the Brink” Nuclear Disarmament-Divestment Resolution

By Wispolitics, October 7, 2023

WBW Note: Cities like Charlottesville that have divested from all weapons have therefore also divested from nuclear weapons.

Madison, WI – Madison is now the third largest city in the US to limit investments in and contracts with nuclear weapon producers. It is the 76th US municipality to call on the US to take us “back from the brink” of nuclear war by working with other nuclear states to reach a multilateral, verifiable agreement to eliminate nuclear weapons and by:

  • Renouncing the option of using nuclear weapons first.
  • Ending the president’s sole, unchecked authority to launch a nuclear attack. -Taking 450 plus U.S. nuclear weapons off hair-trigger alert.
  • Canceling Department of Defense plans to replace the entire U.S. arsenal with enhanced weapons.

Since Presidents Reagan and Gorbachev met in 1986, the number of nuclear weapons in the world has decreased from 60,000 to 13,000. But nuclear weapons have spread from five nations in 1965 to nine nations today. Climate change resulting in droughts is leading to mass migration and conflicts over water access. The US and Russia are engaged in a new nuclear arms race and

China, with 400 weapons, is trying to catch up. Russia has threatened to use tactical nuclear weapons in Ukraine, some larger than the bombs dropped in 1945 on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. North Korea has threatened a nuclear attack if the US places nuclear bombers or submarines in South Korea.

After the United Nations Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons was adopted in 2017, Americans began a grassroots “Back from the Brink” campaign to convince US leaders to take nuclear disarmament seriously and join the Treaty.

“What we do can make a difference”, says Ann Behrmann, MD. “The nuclear freeze movement of the 1980’s led to a complete change in President Reagan’s thinking and to talks with President Gorbachev.”

The Madison Resolution also limits investments in and contracts with the world’s major nuclear weapons producers, making Madison the first city in the Midwest to do so. Oakland, CA, Berkeley, CA and Takoma Park, MD have been limiting investments and contracts since the 1990’s. In the last several years, other US cities have followed, including NYC, NY, Cambridge, MA, Corvallis, OR and Santa Barbara CA.

“Madison was one of the first American cities to declare itself a nuclear free zone in 1983. With this Resolution, Madison builds on its legacy and makes a financial commitment that matches its long-standing opposition to nuclear weapons”, says Paula Rogge, MD.

The Madison, WI Back from the Brink resolution was co-sponsored by 350 Madison, Dane County Chapter of United Nations Association, First Unitarian Society Social Justice Ministry, Four Lakes Green Party, Friends Meeting of Madison, Interfaith Peace Working Group, Madison Mennonite Church, Our Wisconsin Revolution, Physicians for Social Responsibility – Wisconsin, Prairie Unitarian Universalist Society Social Action Committee, Progressive Dane, Raging Grannies of Madison-Dane County, General Synod of the United Church of Christ, Veterans for Peace – Chapter 25, Wisconsin Network for Peace, Justice and Sustainability, Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom – Madison, and World BEYOND War – Madison Chapter. 


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