Proposition One


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 weapons.

Similarly, nuclear-free-zone initiatives mushroomed across the land.

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 then?

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.