Local peace groups come together to support legislation to reconsider investments in weapons, nuclear arsenal
Supporters: Looming Russian threat demonstrates how powerful weapons threaten safety of all
STATE HOUSE – The outrage over Russia’s attack on Ukraine has been virtually universal among the world’s democracies.
But world leaders have struggled to halt the invasion, given Vladimir Putin’s access to his nation’s powerful nuclear arsenal.
Saying the situation clearly illustrates how the existence of such weapons makes the world less safe, Rep. David Morales and Sen. Tiara Mack today joined a host of peace and nonviolence organizations in calling for passage of their bills to reconsider investments in weapons and nuclear armament.
The bills would require the State Investment Commission to issue a report detailing the extent to which the state pension fund is invested in military weapons manufacturing (2022-H 7482, 2022-S 2589) and encourage the federal government to pursue nuclear disarmament for the United States and worldwide (2022-H 7518 , 2022-S 2423).
“Weapons of mass destruction are not making the world safer. As we can see, in the hands of a tyrant, they enable tyranny. They put all the people of the world in danger, particularly innocent civilians with scarce resources,” said Representative Morales (D-Dist. 7, Providence). “We are confident there is widespread support among working people for peace, and yet our government spends billions maintaining powerful weapons. In democracies, we have the right and the obligation to stand up and say that’s not the will of the people, and that’s the powerful message behind these bills.”
Said Senator Mack (D-Dist. 6, Providence), “A nation’s power is not measured by the level of destruction its arsenal can inflict. It’s in the sort of life its people enjoy. Our country would be so much stronger if we spent more money eliminating poverty and investing in education and housing rather than in creating and maintaining weapons to prove our might and our ability to annihilate other nations. To truly be a leader among nations, the United States should move the world toward nuclear disarmament, and usher in a new era of peace and real prosperity.”
Under the first bill, which is supported by state Treasurer Seth Magaziner, the State Investment Commission, which oversees the state employees’ retirement fund, would have six months from the date of the bill’s passage to identify all military weapon manufacturers in which the pension fund owns direct or indirect holdings and file a list of any such holdings with the attorney general, the House of Representatives and the Senate.
The other bill is a resolution urging the federal government to spearhead a global effort to prevent nuclear war by renouncing the option of using nuclear weapons in a “first strike,” ending the president’s sole authority to launch a nuclear attack, taking nuclear weapons off hair-trigger alert, canceling any plan to replace or modernize its nuclear arsenal with enhanced nuclear weapons, and actively pursuing a verifiable agreement among nuclear armed states to eliminate their nuclear arsenal.
Both bills are supported by a dozen local and national organizations that includes Just Peace RI, Pax Christi Rhode Island, Rhode Island Poor People’s Campaign, East Bay Citizens for Peace, Sister of Mercy of the Americas Justice Team, Black Lives Matter Rhode Island PAC, No Endless War or Excessive Militarism RI, Action Corps RI, Rhode Island Anti-War Committee, Friends Committee on National Legislation Providence RI Advocacy Team, and Direct Action for Rights and Equality (DARE), CODEPINK, Brown War Watch, The ANSWER (Act Now to Stop War and End Racism) Coalition, Providence Democratic Socialists of America and Westerly Area Peace and Justice.
“As peace advocates, we very much appreciate the bold leadership of Representative David Morales, Senator Tiara Mack, and every cosponsor of these bills. This is a historic moment of advocacy because it is not often that you see local officials take legislative action to promote peace and transparency. We look forward to seeing other commitments made at the State House that will reflect Rhode Islanders’ values of transparency and a world less threatened by nuclear war,” said organizers from Just Peace RI.