NUCLEAR FREEZE INITIATIVES
Over the years many non-binding initiatives have occurred in
virtually all jurisdictions with initiative procedures. From
1979-82, for example, the Bi-National Freeze initiative appeared
on the ballots in 25 states. It won in 59 out of 62 municipal ballots, and
in all but one of the statewide ballots on which it appeared
(Arizona, a defeat of 51% to 49%). Nationally 63% of the voters
passed the initiative. It was apparent that the overwhelming
majority were in favor of first freezing current levels of
nuclear weapons, followed by elimination. As a result, Congress
passed its eighth "sense of the Congress" resolution, 287-149
(May 4, 1983), concurring with the idea of eliminating nuclear
Similarly, nuclear-free-zone initiatives mushroomed across the
This is not just a national movement. Japan's
nuclear-free Kobe was the first nuclear-free port in the world,
perhaps an inspiration leading its Pacific neighbor, New Zealand,
to declare ALL its ports nuclear-weapons-free in the 1980's.
These are hopeful signs. Yet, thousands of nuclear
weapons still exist. The same legislators who
concurred with the elimination of nuclear weapons continue voting
to keep them. Similarly, since the detonation of Little Boy over
Hiroshima, while in office all eleven presidents have publicly
proclaimed their desires to eliminate them. Treaties have been
signed, with carefully staged ceremony, and rising anti-nuclear
advocates were uneasily appeased. But those treaties were little
better than publicity stunts. START I, II and III will leave enough
ultra-modern nuclear weapons in the superpower arsenals at
treaties' end (the year 2007) to obliterate life on the planet
half a dozen times. As if once weren't enough. And who
knows how many countries will have joined the nuclear club by
Without binding legislation, all the federal government need
plead is "national security," and those nuclear-missile-laden
trucks will keep right on rumbling down the federal highways,
perhaps through your town.
(Nukewatch has excellent maps which show the oh-
so-discreetly-marked trucks' travel route, as well as where the
missile silos are scattered throughout the United States.)
Without binding national legislation, nuclear free zones might be
little more than symbolic.
The success of the nuclear-free zone (NFZ) movement in the U.S.
proves that nuclear disarmament is an extremely popular idea.
The experience gained in bringing nuclear-free-zone initiatives
to the voters will be useful in seeking more binding legislation.