2017 MIT Reducing the Threat of Nuclear War


Spring Conference at MIT, Saturday, May 6, 2017

 “Reducing the Threat of Nuclear War”

Responding to the continuing risk of nuclear war or accident, this conference is intended to advocate and organize toward reducing the danger of nuclear war. It is not an academic conference, but rather one that addresses the political and economic realities, and attempts to stimulate and inform the kinds of social movement needed to change national policy. Locating it at MIT builds on the long tradition of support for nuclear disarmament by MIT faculty including Vicki Weisskopf, Philip Morrison, Herman Feshbach, Randall Forsberg, Bernard Feld, Henry Kendall, Vera Kistiakowsky, Kosta Tsipis, Aron Bernstein and George Rathjens. This year we also mark the 50th anniversary of MLK Jr.’s historic “Beyond Vietnam” speech at Riverside Church.

8:45 am. Registration and Coffee.                      

9:15 am. Welcome from City of Cambridge: Mayor Denise Simmons

9:30 am. Program for the Day: Prof. Jonathan King (MIT, Peace Action)

9:45 am. Session I.  The Need for Nuclear Disarmament

- Costs and Profits from Nuclear Weapons Manufacture - William Hartung (Center for International Policy)

- Reasons to Reject the Trillion Dollar Nuclear Weapons Escalation- Joseph Cirincione (Ploughshares Fund)

- Nuclear Weapons Undermine Democracy - Prof. Elaine Scarry (Harvard University)

10:45 am. Session II. Destabilizing Factors:

Chair: Prof. Frank Von Hippel (Princeton University)

            - Dangers of Hair Trigger Alert - Lisbeth Gronlund (Union of Concerned Scientists).

             - Nuclear Modernization vs. National SecurityProf. Aron Bernstein (MIT, Council for a Livable World)

            - Accidents and Unexpected eventsProf. Max Tegmark (MIT, Future of Life Institute)

12:00 pm. Lunch Workshops (Listed page 3)

Afternoon Sessions in Bldg. 26-100

2:00 pm.  Session III. Economic and Social Consequences of Excessive Weapons Spending:

Chair: Prof. Melissa Nobles (MIT):

- Unsustainable Costs of Nuclear Weapons – Erica Fein (WAND)

- Build Housing Not Bombs - Rev. Paul Robeson Ford (Union Baptist Church)

- Invest in Minds Not Missiles - Prof. Jonathan King (MIT, Mass Peace Action)

- A  People’s Budget for People’s Needs – State Representative Mike Connolly

3:00 pm. Session IV. Current Prospects for Progress:

Chair: John Tierney, (former US Representative, Council for a Livable World, Center for Arms

            Control & Non-proliferation)

     - House Steps Toward Nuclear DisarmamentU. S.  Representative Barbara Lee

     - Maintaining the Iran Nuclear AgreementProf. Ernie Moniz, (MIT, former Secretary of Energy)

4:00 pm.  Session V. Organizing to Reduce the Threat

Chair: Jim Anderson (President, Peace Action New York State);  

-Divesting from Nuclear Weapons Investments - Susi Snyder (Don’t Bank on the Bomb)

-Taxpayers Information and Transparency ActsState Reps Denise Provost/Mike Connolly

-Mobilizing the Scientific CommunityProf. Max Tegmark (MIT, Future of Life Institute)

-A National Nuclear Disarmament Organizing Network 2017 -2018Program Committee.

5:00 pm. Adjourn.

Program Committee:  Prof. Aron Bernstein (MIT, Council for a Livable), Joseph Gerson (AFSC), Subrata Ghoshroy (MIT), Prof. Gary Goldstein (Tufts University), Cole Harrison (Mass Peace Action), Jonathan King (MIT and Mass Peace Action), Guntram Mueller (Mass Peace Action), State Rep. Denise Provost; John Ratliff (Mass Peace Action, Mass Senior Action), Prof. Elaine Scarry (Harvard University), Prof.Max Tegmark (MIT, Future of Life Institute), Patricia Weinmann (MIT Radius).

Sponsored by MIT Radius (the former Technology and Culture Forum), Massachusetts Peace Action, the Future of Life Institute  and the American Friends Service Committee. 

Conference Workshops (rooms listed after title):

a) Campus Organizing  (Rm. 36-144) - Chair: Kate Alexander (Peace Action New York State); Caitlin Forbes (Mass Peace Action); Haleigh Copley-Cunningham (Tufts U); Matthew Hahm (Boston College); Lucas Perry (Don’t Bank on the Bomb, Future of Life Institute); Luisa Kenausis (MIT Nuclear Weapons Matter).

b) Bringing nuclear weapons into physics and history course curricula (Rm. 36-372) - Chair: Frank Davis (past President of TERC); Prof. Gary Goldstein (Tufts University); Prof. Aron Bernstein (MIT); Prof. Vincent Intondi (American University); Ray Matsumiya (Oleander Initiative, University of the Middle East Project). 

c) Dangerous Conflicts (Rm. 36-156) – Chair: Erica Fein (Women’s Action for New Directions); Jim Walsh (MT Security Studies Program); John Tierney (former US Representative, Council for a Livable World); Lisbeth Gronlund (Union of Concerned Scientists).

d) Municipal and State Initiatives (Rm. 34-303) – Chair: Cole Harrison (Mass Peace Action); Rep. Denise Provost (Mass State Legislature); Councilor Dennis Carlone (Cambridge City Councillor and Architect/Urban Designer); Jared Hicks (Our Revolution); Prof. Ceasar McDowell (MIT Urban Studies).

e) Peace with Justice: People’s Budget and Related Campaigns to Shift Federal budget Priorities (Rm. 34-304) – Chair: Andrea Miller (People Demanding Action); Rep. Mike Connolly (Mass State Legislature); Paul Shannon (AFSC); Madelyn Hoffman (NJPA); Arnie Alpert (New Hampshire AFSC); William Hartung (Center for International Policy).

f) Reducing Nuclear Weapons through Treaties and Negotiation (Rm. 36-155) – Chair: Prof. Nazli Choucri (MIT); David Wright (Union of Concerned Scientists); Kevin Martin (National Peace Action); Shelagh Foreman (Mass Peace Action); Michel DeGraff (MIT Haiti Project).

g) Strengthening the Connection between Averting Climate Change and Averting Nuclear War (Rm. 36-153) – Chair: Prof. Frank Von Hippel (Princeton University); Josue Lopez (Fossil Free MIT); Rosalie Anders (Mass Peace Action); Juliet Schor (Boston College).

h) Working with Communities of Faith (Rm. 38-166) – Chair: Rev. Thea Keith-Lucas (MIT Radius); Rev. Herb Taylor (Harvard-Epworth United Methodist Church); Pat Ferrone (Mass Pax Christi); Rev. Paul Robeson Ford (Union Baptist Church); Christie Dennis (Mass Peace Action).

--From Martin Luther King Jr.’s speech at Riverside Church April 4th, 1967:

"A true revolution of values will lay hand on the world order and say of war, “This way of settling differences is not just.” This business of burning human beings with napalm, of filling our nation’s homes with orphans and widows, of injecting poisonous drugs of hate into the veins of peoples normally humane, of sending men home from dark and bloody battlefields physically handicapped and psychologically deranged, cannot be reconciled with wisdom, justice, and love. A nation that continues year after year to spend more money on military defense than on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual death.”