Social Justice Calendar of Western Massachusetts

Loading Events

« All Events

  • This event has passed.

Reducing the Threat of Nuclear War: Invest in Minds not Missiles

January 23 @ 9:45 am - 5:00 pm

2021 National Conference

Reducing the Threat of Nuclear War: Invest in Minds not Missiles”

Though the Coronavirus has devastated the economy, it has not had any braking effect on the Presidential and Congressional push for spending more of our tax dollars on military and nuclear weapons development programs. Thus, we will have to find ways to continue to collaborate and cooperate in the development of a social movement strong enough to reverse the new nuclear arms race.

The public health response to a new human virus such as the Coronavirus depends on the robustness and efficiency of the healthcare system. Though our healthcare professionals are now working 24/7 the ability to respond would be greatly enhanced if instead of a patch work of privately owned or run hospital systems and insurance plans, the US had a unitary national health care system, as called for by Bernie Sanders.

The ability to respond to a new virus depends on the existence of a sophisticated scientific infrastructure, including structural biology laboratories  such as X-ray diffraction and cryo-electron microscopy, high speed nucleic acid sequencing machines, and substantial computing and supercomputing facilities. The ones we haven place represent prior federal investments through the National Institutes of Health, National Science Foundation and Dept. of Energy.  All of President Trump’s proposed federal budgets have included substantial cuts in these agencies, in order to fund Pentagon accounts and weapons contractors. That issue is one of our themes in calling for “Invest in Minds not Missiles”.

Attendance is free but registration is required.  Register to attend.

Conference Program

9:45 am: Welcome and Introduction Jonathan King

10:00 am: Current Dangers:

            The Threat of Nuclear Winter – Alan Robock

First Strike Risks – Prof. Elaine Scarry (Harvard University).

Dangers of an Inadvertent Launch – Prof. Max Tegmark (MIT, Future of Life Institute).

The Pervasive influence of the Nuclear Weapons/industrial complex – William Hartung (Center for International Policy).


11:00 am: Economic. Social and Political  Costs -Chair, Rosemary Kean (Mass Peace Action)

The Immorality of Nuclear Weapons –Rev. Liz Theoharis (Kairos Institute/Poor People’s Campaign);

The Pentagon Budget – Subrata Ghoshroy (MIT).

Destabilization from Nuclear Weapons Upgrades-Erica Fein (Win Without War)

Undermining of Pandemic R&D – Prof. Jonathan King  (MIT & Mass Peace Action).

12:00:  Lunch Break

12:45 – 1:45:  Breakout Sessions (details below); A.  The Military/Industrial ComplexB.  Back from the Brink Campaign: C.  No Resumption of Testing: D. No First Use Campaign: E.  Demilitarizing Police: F.  Climate and War/Green New DealG.  Divesting from Nuclear Weapons ManufactureH. Bringing War & Peace into Electoral Campaigns:  I.   New Cold War and Asia/Pacific issues: J. Ban Treaty & Other Treaties;  K. Moral Budget for Massachusetts: L. Vaccines Not SubmarinesM. Campus Organizing:   Investing in Minds Not Missiles;

2:00 pm: Paths Forward – Chair, Jim Anderson (Peace Action of New York State).

Peacefully Engaging Iran  Medea Benjamin (CodePINK)

Back from the Brink Campaign – Denise Duffield  (Physicians for Social Responsibility)

A Moral Budget for America – Savina Martin (Mass Poor People’s Campaign).

State Legislative Initiatives – Senator Jamie Eldridge


3:00pm Congressional  Initiatives

Senator Edward J. Markey (Invited)

Chair, Cole Harrison (Mass Peace Action).

U.S. Representative Ayanna Pressley (invited);

Chair, Savina Martin (Poor People’s Campaign).

4:00: Next Steps: Chair Andrea Burns (Mass Peace Action/Our Revolution)

–       Rejecting Militarism and the War Economy – Rev. William Barber (Poor Peoples Campaign) .

–       Promoting Progressive Candidates – Larry Cohen or Nina Turner (Our Revolution)

–       Broadening the Base of the Peace Movement – Jodie Evans (CodePINK);

5:00 pm: Adjourn.

List of Breakout Sessions


  1. The Military/Industrial ComplexHeidi Peltier (Boston University)and Subrata Ghoshroy (MIT) Co-chairs:  Bill HartungRichard Krushnic (Mass Peace Action). 
  2. Back from the Brink Campaign: Kea Van der Ziel (Greater Boston Physicians for Social Responsibility);Jeff Hoey (NJ Peace Action)Jean Athey (MD Peace Action); Denise Duffield (Los Angeles PSR).
  3. No Resumption of Testing: Prof. Sheldon Krimsky, Chair, (Tufts University); Daniel Holz (University of Chicago); Prof. Max Tegmark (MIT and Future of Life Institute);  Sir Richard Roberts (New England Biolabs)
  4. No First Use Campaign: Steve Gallant (Mass Peace Action); Elaine Scarry(Harvard University; Peace Action); Susan Mirsky (Newton Dialogues on Peace and War); Arnie Alpert (NH AFSC).
  5. Demilitarizing PoliceKeith Harvey (AFSC); Rosemary Kean (Mass Peace Action); Quinton Zondervan (Cambridge City Council); Ed Aguilar (PA Peace Action).
  6. Climate and War/Green New DealJohn MacDougall (350 Massachusetts); Nick Rabb (Sunrise Boston); Rosalie Anders (Massachusetts Peace Action Education Fund).
  7. Divesting from Nuclear Weapons Manufacture: Chair Carley Towns (CodePink); David Swanson(World Beyond War); Dennis Carlone (Cambridge City Councilor); Paul Shannon (AFSC).
  8. Bringing War & Peace into Electoral Campaigns: Steve Powell (Mass Peace Action); and Maryellen Kurkulos (Fall Fiver MA); Sayre Sheldon (WAND) ; Tony Palomba (Watertown Citizens for Environmental Safety); Judy Elliott (NH Peace Action);
  9. New Cold War and Asia/Pacific issuesJoseph Gerson(Campaign for Peace, Disarmament and Common Security); John Ratliff (Mass Peace Action);  Jim Walsh (MIT).
  10. Ban Treaty & Other Treaties – Timmon Wallis & Vicki Elson (Ban Treaty.US); Jerald Ross (MAPA and CPDCS); Eileen Kurkowski & Joan Ecklein (WILPF);
  11. Moral Budget for Massachusetts: Chair : Andrea Burns (Mass Peace Action); Dr. Bob McMaster (Veterans for Peace); Lee Farris (Cambridge Residents Alliance); Savina Martin (PPC); Lindsay Koshgarian (IPS) .
  12. Vaccines Not SubmarinesAmar Ahmad Chair (Mass Peace Action); Carlene Vagelos (Mass Public Health Association; Dr. Joia Mukherjee (Harvard Medical School); Prof. Catherine Royer (Worcester Polytechnic Institute
  13. Campus Organizing: Investing in Minds Not Missiles: Eust Eustis, Chair (IPPNW) Chair: Emily Rubino (PANYS); Representative OF PHENOM; Matthew Ricci (Brown Students Against War); MIT Students Against WarHarvard for Bernie.  

Attendance is free but registration is required.  Register to attend.


January 23
9:45 am - 5:00 pm



To submit an event via email, email
If you have any suggestions, questions, or problems with this calendar, please email us or call us at (413) 584-8975