John Steinbach World Conference Against A & H Bombs Speech, 2018

Dear Sisters and Brothers:

On behalf of the Hiroshima Nagasaki Peace Committee of the National Capital Area, I bring heartfelt greetings and solidarity to the World Conference Against A & H Bombs. For the past 37 years our committee has worked to abolish nuclear weapons and nuclear power. We have sent numerous delegates, including youth delegates, to the World Conference. In return, we welcomed Gensuikyo Delegations to the United States. As we work together to establish a nuclear-free future, we look forward to continuing and further strengthening our grassroots collaboration.

Since 1983 our committee has partnered with Nihon Hidankyo to bring the testimony of the Hibakusha to the Washington, DC area. Each August we welcome a delegation of A-bomb survivors and organize public events. We support all radiation survivors. From St. George, Utah to Semipalatinsk and from Chernobyl to the Marshall Islands, our Committee has welcomed radiation survivors worldwide.

Looking back over the past seventy-three years, our movement to abolish nuclear weapons achieved many victories. After Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the world has not seen the direct use of nuclear weapons. Since the height of the cold war, the number of nuclear weapons has been reduced from over 70,000 to approximately 15,000. In 2017, the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons was passed at the United Nations. For these and other victories the global anti-nuclear movement, especially the Hibakusha, deserves the credit. Despite this, the world remains precariously balanced on the knife edge of nuclear annihilation.

Since the abrogation of the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty by the U.S. in 2002, NATO dramatically expanded eastward and destabilizing anti-missile systems are deployed along Russia’s border. Meanwhile, the United States, under Obama, initiated an unprecedented trillion-dollar nuclear weapons buildup, a program being significantly expanded under Trump. In response, Russia began its own, more modest, nuclear buildup. Alarmingly, this nuclear stand-off is occurring during a time of extraordinary international instability and precipitously escalating hostilities between the nuclear powers. Because of this and other global crises such as climate change and increased competition for dwindling natural resources, in 2018 The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists moved the hands of the Doomsday Clock to two minutes to midnight, the closest since 1953.

Numerous international polls show strong support for nuclear disarmament. It is our urgent task to translate this support into an inexorable popular movement capable of compelling the nuclear powers to meet their obligation to disarm under Article VI of the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT).

Today, our key organizing challenge is to resolve internal differences in order to unite our movement for the crucial struggle ahead. Our priority is to make the public aware that the nuclear threat is real and escalating. Our best strategy for abolishing nuclear weapons is to link demands for a nuclear free world with broader demands to reverse the unjust social, economic, environmental, and military policies that fuel the nuclear impasse.

The annual remembrance of Hiroshima and Nagasaki is a time to come together and recommit ourselves to establish a just peace, oppose militarism, and abolish nuclear weapons.

Sisters and brothers, as we return to our homes let us rededicate ourselves to our unfinished work. Until we rid the world of the scourge of nuclear weapons and the threat of nuclear catastrophe, our job remains unfinished. We solemnly pledge to continue to work together in unity until nuclear weapons are forever abolished.

Nor More Hiroshima! No More Nagasaki! No More Hibakusha!

In October of 1982 while protesting the initial deployment of the USS Ohio, the first Trident submarine, I wrote the following song I’d like to share:

A Warning Wakeup Call
Our struggle must continue for the job has just begun.
Our sacred planet now is facing thermonuclear Annihilation.

Chorus: Hiroshima-Nagasaki were a warning wake-up call,
So, let’s resist the war-makers and to the struggle give our all.

Making Peace is never easy, for the call to war is strong.
Peace through strength may be their motto, but an unjust peace is wrong.

Nuclear madness death machine makes mockery of life.
With every breath we take, against it we will fight.

Fukushima Daiichi- radiation far and wide.
TEPCO Power said no problem, but we all know they lied.

Our work for peace and justice is a job that’s never done.
Black, Brown and White we are together for our struggle it is one.

Our struggle must continue for the job has just begun.
Our sacred planet now is facing Ecological Annihilation.


Abolish Nuclear Weapons