An alliance of more than 2,000 nongovernmental organizations in 95 countries, Abolition 2000 was established in April 1995 by Global Resource Action Center for the Environment president Alice Slater. One of its key founding members was David Krieger, founder of the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation. From its inception, Abolition 2000’s mission was to help achieve, for the sake of “our common security,” the “definite and unconditional abolition of nuclear weapons” from the earth by the turn of the century. When it subsequently became apparent that this target date would not be met, the organization settled on what it deemed a more pragmatic timetable: the year 2020.
Abolition 2000’s founding declaration calls for prompt “negotiations on a nuclear weapons abolition convention that requires the phased elimination … within a timebound framework”; “an unconditional pledge [by all nations] not to use or threaten to use nuclear weapons”; the drafting of “a truly comprehensive test ban treaty … [to be signed] by all states”; a prohibition against “the military and commercial production and reprocessing of all weapons-usable radioactive materials”; the creation of “additional nuclear weapons-free zones”; and the formation of an international energy agency to promote the development of “sustainable and environmentally safe energy sources.”
In 1997, Abolition 2000 adopted the Moorea Declaration, a signally vague statement of solidarity with unnamed “colonized and indigenous peoples” victimized by the “environmental degradation and human suffering that is the legacy of fifty-two years of nuclear weapons usage, testing, and production.”
Four years later Abolition 2000 adopted the Saffron Walden Declaration, which condemned not only America’s “immoral and illegal quest for global domination,” but also its “drive to weaponize and nuclearize space.” In a broad indictment of globalization, the Declaration identified the West’s “unsustainable levels of consumption” of “world resources” as the primary cause of a “rising tide of discontent at the economic inequity and lack of social justice among the vast majority of the earth’s people.”
Abolition 2000 has traditionally looked with less favor on the nuclear arsenals of the U.S. than on those of America’s enemies. In 2003, for instance, two Abolition 2000 leaders were among the signatories to a letter—addressed to the highest-level political leaders of the United States and several other countries—rejecting any “attempts to use force, sanctions, threats of sanctions, [or] regime change” in dealing with the nuclear aspirations of Communist North Korea. Asserting that America’s large nuclear arsenal invariably caused other nations to perceive the U.S. as an imperialist aggressor, the letter justified North Korea’s “understandable” desire “to defend itself” by developing its own nuclear capabilities.
In 2002-03, parallel reasoning informed Abolition 2000’s opposition to America’s preparation for war against Iraq’s Baathist regime, which was widely believed to be engaged in an illicit nuclear weapons program. Omitting any mention of Saddam Hussein‘s past campaigns of mass murder, the coalition instead was “gravely concerned … that the U.S. would again use nuclear weapons,” as it had previously done in 1945. “Even if Iraq is found to possess WMDs or their components, the U.S. approach is wrong,” said Abolition 2000, contending that such weapons “cannot and should not be eliminated through the use of force.”
Moreover, Abolition 2000 characterized America’s policy towards Iraq as “selective and hypocritical,” in light of the fact that “the U.S. continues to support Israel, which has nuclear weapons as well as a long record of noncompliance with U.N. Security Council resolutions, and which has occupied Palestine for decades.”
In September 2004, Abolition 2000 concentrated its energies on “Boycott Bush,” a grassroots organizing effort to boycott U.S. products as a means of protesting America’s alleged violations of “international law.”
Today, Abolition 2000 features the following active Working Groups (WGs):
Among Abolition 2000’s U.S.-based member groups are the 8th Day Center for Justice, Activist San Diego, the Alliance for Justice, the American Friends Service Committee, Americans for Democratic Action, the Catholic Worker, the Center for Constitutional Rights, Church Women United, Coalition of Women for Peace, Code Pink, the Compton Foundation, Earth Action, the Earth Day Network, the Earth Island Institute, Food Not Bombs, Friends of the Earth, Global Green USA, the Global Resource Action Center for the Environment, Greenpeace USA, the International Action Center, the Lawyers Committee on Nuclear Policy, the League of Women Voters, Mercy International, the National Lawyers Guild, the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation, Pax Christi International, Pax Christi USA, Peace Action, Physicians for Social Responsibility, Psychologists for Social Responsibility, Public Citizen, the Rainforest Action Network, the Sierra Club, the Traprock Peace Center, the United Nations, the U.S. Peace Council, Veterans for Peace, Vietnam Veterans Against the War, the War and Peace Foundation, the War Resisters League, Women Against Military Madness, Women’s Action for New Directions, and the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom. For a complete list of Abolition 2000’s member groups, click here.
Abolition 2000 itself belongs to the United for Peace and Justice anti-war coalition. The Seventh Generation Fund, the EarthWays Foundation, and the Lifebridge Foundation have awarded grants to Abolition 2000.