Proposition One is a grassroots movement for disarmament of nuclear weapons and
the conversion of nuclear and other arms industries to provide for human and environmental needs.

The concept was proven viable by the victory of DC Initiative 37.
The bill
has continuously been introduced in Congress since 1994.
Now we are asking you to replicate the Voter Initiative Campaign across the entire country.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

About the tour....

Hi!  It's time to bring you up to date.

We've returned from an amazing journey of 24,000 miles of talking to people about the need and right to vote on whether or not we should continue to possess, research, build, maintain, store, or otherwise support the continuing existence of nuclear weapons (which cost US citizens over $52 billion in 2009, and over $7 trillion since the 1940's).

In four months we toured in 22 states, talking up Nuclear Disarmament at over 30 sites including five downtown libraries, umpteen churches of various denominations, seven peace centers, multiple community centers, six universities, two youth conferences (Think Outside the Bomb in Albuquerque, NM, and Powershift at UNC Chapel Hill, NC), three casinos, several restaurants and coffee shops, the Venice Beach boardwalk, outdoor festivals in Idaho and Montana, and one Augusta, GA, sports bar where we were on a live radio show.   We were also on radio in Kansas City, MO, and both radio and TV in Portland, OR.

We learned in Missouri that the Progressive (Green) Party of Missouri voted to endorse Proposition One, and Midge Potts, who is running for Senator of Missouri, joined us in Columbia and is now working in Washington, DC.

In Kansas City, Missouri, a video was posted online at where Ann Suellentrop of Alliance for Nuclear Accountability speaks about the local efforts to shut down the Honeywell nuclear weapons facility, which produces 85% of US nuclear weapons (the non-nuclear components). The plant has polluted the two rivers which converge nearby with toxic chemicals.  This would be a great pilot project for conversion (see  If local workers begin to trust that they won't lose their jobs, just be retrained while the factory is being rebuilt to produce truly clean energy systems, then there should be a lot more enthusiasm, and if it works in Kansas City, it will give hope to others in the military-industrial complex who fear losing their jobs. Ann and the amazingly creative community in Kansas City are terrific allies. 

During our tour we visited most parts of our nuclear weapons complex, including the two National Weapons Development Labs in Livermore, CA, and Los Alamos, NM; the Trinity test site at Alamogordo, NM; the Nevada Test Site north of Las Vegas, NV, and the Pantex facility in Amarillo, TX, a key place where nuclear weapons are actually dismantled, and the plutonium pits stored in the thousands. 

We saw the massive cleanup sites at Hanford, WA, the Idaho National Labs, and Rocky Flats in Golden, CO, which is only 12 miles uphill and upwind of downtown Denver.  We wonder what the Denver cancer rates are, and weren't surprised Rocky Flats was one of the first nuclear weapons facilities closed (in part thanks to the extreme diligence of Rocky Mountain Peace & Justice Center in Boulder). 

We checked out eight different reactor sites, including the nation's largest, Palo Verde, near Phoenix, AZ, which is the only nuclear power plant in the US which is not on a major river, lake, or the coast, and gets the water for the cooling stations from liquid waste pumped miles across the desert from local communities.  A clever idea, but the pipeline is incredibly vulnerable.

We saw a gaseous diffusion uranium enrichment plant in Paducah, Kentucky, and a geiger counter assembly plant on a commune in Tennessee.

We saw unmanned drones landing at Creech Air Force Base (next to the Nevada Test Site), and vigiled most of the night outside a test launch at Vandenberg Air Force Bace on the southern California coast. 

On August 6, Hiroshima Day, we paid our respects at a WWII era Japanese internment camp, south of Palmer, AZ, and on August 9, Nagasaki Day, we enjoyed the performance and support of WILPF's Raging Grannies in Tucson, AZ.

We joined several different anti-war protests in Oakland and Hollywood, CA, Albuquerque, NM, Carson City, NV, and a Health Care rally in Phoenix, AZ.

We distributed over 200 copies of two videos, "Proposition One: Peace Through Reason" and "The Strangest Dream," and dozens of copies of Arjun Makhijani's seminal book, "Carbon Free, Nuclear Free," and over 500 copies of three fliers. 

We are hoping that we will be able to continue the tour until election day 2010 and perhaps beyond.

Our current plans are to
1) participate in Alliance for Nuclear Accountability actions in Washington, DC and the retreat following DC Days,
2) support a walk/tour during April from Washington, DC to New York City (through Maryland, Pennsylvania, New Jersey), to join the Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT) actions the first week in May,
3) tour New England after the NPT,
4) tour the northern and midwestern states,
5) return if invited to communities which want to put nuclear disarmament on the ballot.
6) Ellen hopes to tour Florida after the "Alternative New Year" at St. Mary's, Georgia, where she's been invited to speak on New Year's Day 2010.

We need help.  Clearly we can't arrange the events where we'll be speaking.  We need volunteers in Florida, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Ohio, New Jersey, New York, Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Vermont, Maine, Illinois, Michigan, Wisconsin, Minnesota, North and South Dakota, etc. who will host an event.

We've spent $10,000 so far, mostly on gas.  Not bad for 24,000 miles, four people and a dog over four months. If we're going to go any further, we'll need some backers.

Please contact us at or Proposition One Committee, PO Box 27217, Washington, DC 20038 if you want to help, in any way you can.

Hope to hear from you!

Ellen Thomas

Jay talks about Aiken and Augusta

The trip's over?  Not yet!

Road weary, after rolling through the theme park cities of Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg, Tennessee, (Dollywood was just up the road), we climbed through the sunset in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park (the seventh and last park of the trip), and finally coasted down the homestretch through Cherokee, past Asheville, and into Tryon, North Carolina, with only one night to rest at Ellen's mountain home before heading out again.

The next morning, after unpacking the van and detaching the trailer, Jay and Ellen were headed to Aiken, South Carolina -- the closest town to the largest remaining pillar of the US Nuclear Weapons Complex -- the Savannah River Site (SRS).  This is the government's preferred location for all sorts of diabolical schemes, like MOX fuel transported from all over the country for "reprocessing."  See for lots of information on MOX and Savannah River.

We were hosted by David Matos of Aiken Peace, who arranged events in both Aiken SC and Augusta GA. David has been organizing with his Unitarian Universalist Church congregation for several years, as well as the "Alternative New Year" at the Trident nuclear weapons base in St. Mary's, Georgia.

We spoke to a small group in the sanctuary, and fielded questions from several people who had family members who worked at SRS, one of whom is working there currently.  As always we were struck by the compassion and commitment of the group we met -- especially those ladies who had been conducting weekly vigils against the ongoing Iraq/Afghanistan wars, deep in the heart of conservative country, for the past five years.  They told us some good news, though--that back when the war(s) had started, their street corner vigiling brought jeers and raised middle fingers, but now they were mostly greeted with smiles and peace signs.  Another testament to the power of consistent and peaceful public witness.

Kindly hosted by David in his home in Aiken, we got up the next morning and drove to the Savannah River Site.  It's easy to find, just pick up Atomic Road in North Augusta and take it south.  After you pass the little berg of Jackson, you'll know you're in the right place when you see the signs that say, "NO STOPPING NEXT 17 MILES."

Feel at home yet?  Don't worry, there's one exception.  About 10 miles down there's a little Historical Marker for the deceased town of Ellenton, SC -- which the government picked up and moved in 1950 when they decided to establish the Site.  Now there's New Ellenton (just north of SRS, on the way back to Aiken), but if you want to pay your respects to where old Ellenton was, you'll have to pick yourself up a US Govt. issue security clearance.

Without that clearance there's not much to see along that road. . .mostly tall timber and a few well-guarded entry points, presumably to busy installations well out of sight.  Apparently the mutant wildlife only comes out at night. . .we sure didn't see any.  We did see, however, a large billboard explaining how many new jobs were added thanks to the Economic Stimulus Package. . .  Leave no radioactive industry behind!  Having seen quite enough (well -- nowhere near enough, but already too much), we left before local security could come and give us the old Department of Energy hassle.

Next stop: back north across the Savannah River into Augusta, Georgia, where we were due for a 1 pm interview on an AM talk radio show at a local sports bar.  For the record, I have never seen so many TVs in one room.  Maybe our host, Anthony Esposita, will still be there, digging into local issues like public transit hikes and nuclear disarmament activist visits to town.  He was quite cordial with us, though talking a bit more than listening, but he announced our event (at the downtown Augusta library that night) several times, and, hey, it was amazing to see so many TVs. . .  (Of course we are scouring the web for available downloads for your listening pleasure, but otherwise Ellen & Jay's first stint on AM talk radio may have been lost to posterity.)

We went downtown to scout the evening library location (meeting a very friendly and helpful lady at the tourism bureau/Augusta history center), then headed south again to see the local nuclear plant.  This one, called Plant Vogtle (with a silent "t", like VOH-gul), is 20 miles south of town and right across the river from SRS.  You can see the enormous twin cooling towers in the distance from the Augusta beltway, but it's a half-hour drive to reach them, and not much to see once you get there (again, those with security clearances probably have better luck).  We arrived, took our snaps, and high-tailed it back to Augusta to meet our new friends at the library.

Our last event of the 2009 Summer Tour had about as big an audience as the first (back in the Sautee-Nacoochee Valley in May, in North Georgia, just about 90 minutes away!), and once again we probably learned as much from them as they did from us.  Again, these folks were the arch-dedicated, bearing repeated witness to peace in their hometowns, deep in conservative country.  It doesn't look like Georgia is going to have any initiatives or referenda against nuclear weapons any time soon. . .but it's great to know that people like David Matos and his friends are active, and we hope they visit us at the Peace House the next time they are in Washington, DC.

We thought about staying the night again in Aiken, but then figured that -- after 23,800 miles -- what's another 150?  So Ellen Thomas pointed us north to Tryon and around midnight we arrived safe, ready to sleeeep, review the tour, and plan for the next leg(s) of the Proposition One in 2010 Campaign!

Thanks for joining us for part of the journey--we hope to see you in person soon!

Jay Marx