Working locally to get your town/city to become Treaty Aligned by disconnecting from the nuclear weapons industry. This may mean lobbying for a non-binding resolution in support of the Nuclear Ban Treaty, setting up a local committee or commission (unless one already exists) to look into what it would mean for your town or city to disconnect from the nuclear weapons industry, and finally getting a legally-binding ordinance that officially disconnects your town or city, as far as legally possible, from investments, contracts, and other connections with the nuclear weapons industry.
There are 220 towns, cities, counties and Native American nations across the United States which declared themselves Nuclear Free Zones (NFZs) in the 1980s. Some of the local ordinances and city codes that established these zones were largely symbolic, but many had real teeth and included fines and other sanctions for violations. Sample ordinances and city codes are located here.
Many of these existing NFZs are already Aligned with the Nuclear Ban Treaty. Others may want to revise their existing legislation to be better aligned with the Treaty.
In addition to NFZs, there are 211 cities in the United States who have signed the Mayors for Peace (MfP) covenant. This commits the mayor to “make every effort…to achieve the total abolition of nuclear weapons…” These mayors may choose to appoint a Mayoral Commission to oversee Treaty Compliance for their city.
In towns and cities which have neither a NFZ status nor a MfP connection, it will probably be necessary to first build public support for Treaty Alignment. This will be easiest in smaller towns which have a Town Meeting (common in New England) and such a proposal can be put on the agenda. In larger towns and cities, a more concerted effort may be needed: public meetings, a petition, local media coverage, letters to the City Council or Select Board, and Treaty Alignment campaigns at lower levels within the town/city, for example at schools, places of worship, workplaces, civic organizations, clubs, etc.
At all levels of local government, the basic 3-step process is the same:
Step #1: DECIDE to go ahead with the process of disconnecting from the nuclear weapons industry and become Treaty Aligned.
Step #2: DISCONNECT your city’s investments, purchases, services, and activities from the companies making nuclear weapons to the extent they are able. This will likely mean setting up a Treaty Alignment Committee of some kind to oversee the process.
A “Treaty Aligned” town or city:
- Has no public investments in any of the 26 companies that make nuclear weapons.
- Does not purchase products or services from any of those companies.
- Prohibits all other nuclear weapons-related activities, so far as they are ale, within their jurisdiction or control.
Step #3: DECLARE Alignment with the Treaty with binding legislation to bring the jurisdiction into Alignment with the Treaty. Make your commitment public and encourage other towns and cities – and your state – to also become Treaty Aligned.