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No one demonstration or series of actions can make the needed changes, but when our communities are in motion together, we can alter the public discourse and change policy. Equally important, we are stronger, more effective, and more anchored in the realities of people’s lives when we articulate and act on the connections between struggles.
Abolishing nuclear weapons will require ending militarism in its many forms: from global wars to militarized policing here at home; from bloated military budgets to a culture of militarism to the easy access to the guns that are killing people every day. All of this must be anchored in the struggles for racial and economic justice and in urgent action to stop the devastation of climate change. The good news is that so many younger organizers are grounded in that comprehensive perspective.
It is a big agenda, but abandoning any of it will weaken our work. Let us use the memory of June 12, 1982, to strengthen the ongoing movement for nuclear disarmament and to bring more energy to the other movements of today. As we honor what we’ve achieved, let us look back for insights into how we can more powerfully create the change so desperately needed.
Leslie Cagan is an American activist, writer, and socialist organizer involved with the peace and social justice movements. Leslie Cagan served as the coordinator of the June 12, 1982, mobilization. She is the former national coordinator of United for Peace and Justice, the former cochair of Committees of Correspondence for Democracy and Socialism, and the former chair of Pacifica Radio.