The Nuclear Ban Treaty Collaborative intends to do exactly what its name implies—facilitate collaboration among groups and individuals who are want to use the Treaty to achieve the abolition of nuclear weapons.
The Collaborative formed in March 2021 after the success of efforts to mark the entry into force of the Ban Treaty in January 2021.
How it happened
In September of 2020, it became apparent that the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons was approaching its fiftieth ratification—a moment that would trigger the entry into force of the treaty 90 days later.
A conversation among members of the Alliance for Nuclear Accountability sparked an idea: what if we had a banner that would be displayed at every nuclear weapons production site in the country? ANA’s board determined to create a banner and provide one to each of its members who would agree to participate in the effort.
In a subsequent conversation with the staff of the Nuclear Resister, Felice Cohen-Joppa asked, “Why only weapons sites? Why not military bases or other places?”
That triggered a query to Nukewatch in Wisconsin—given that Nukewatch, the Nuclear Resister, and the Oak Ridge Environmental Peace Alliance had been forced by covid-19 to abandon plans for an international conference in May 2020—did Nukewatch have the capacity to help with plans to make the entry into force a larger moment? They did.
So Nukewatch, the Nuclear Resister and OREPA began having weekly planning calls. We were motivated in part by our desire to honor the memory of Sr. Ardeth Platte, and indefatigable champion of nuclear abolition and the Ban Treaty who died in her sleep just before Honduras deposited its ratification with the United Nations on October 24.
The Nuclear Resister, Nukewatch, OREPA and ANA scheduled a series of zoom meeting to organize for January 22, 2021 and with the support of ICAN and ReThink Media, a portfolio of resources was prepared — a template for a banner that could be downloaded by anyone, posters, fact sheets, media resources, and many other resources were prepared. We also created a Facebook group called Nuclear Ban Treaty EIF so that people could easily share ideas and plans. ICAN prepared a map that allowed people to post their events so they could be found.
Even before January 22 arrived, photos began appearing on the Facebook group page, and by the evening of January 22 it was apparent that the historic moment—the day the Ban Treaty entered into force—had been celebrated from coast to coast in more than 100 actions at military bases, historic sites, weapons facilities, town halls, university campuses, corporate headquarters, financial institutions, congressional offices, at the White House and the Pentagon, and along streets in cities and towns across the country. You can see a video capturing some of those places here:
In debriefing the effort, the planners found themselves wondering if the moment could be transformed into a movement. A follow-up zoom was announced, and when it happened in February, there was clear interest in continuing to use the Ban Treaty as a tool to move the needle toward nuclear abolition.
The people on the zoom selected areas of interest that became Working Groups. The Working Groups started meeting in March 2021, and a Coordinating Committee, formed with representatives of each Working Group, was established to, well, try to coordinate…
By mid-summer, there were four active Working Groups, with two others suspended for lack of leadership capacity. The four active Working Groups are: Schools of Mass Destruction, Localities and Legislators, Affected Communities and Allies, and Days of Action. You can learn more about each of them, the work they are doing, and how you can get involved by exploring other pages on this web site.
The Nuclear Ban Treaty Collaborative is intentionally not a new organization. It has no staff, has raised no money, has no office.
It is a collaborative; the energy and the power are decentralized.
It is made up of organizations and individuals that are working on many facets of the nuclear challenge — what to do about nuclear waste, challenging the nuclear power industry, other nuclear weapons policy issues. But following the genius of ICAN’s model of organizing to get the TPNW developed and passed in the first place, the Ban Treaty Collaborative tries to maintain a very tight focus on the Ban Treaty, and work that has as its ultimate goal, getting the United States to sign, ratify and implement the Treaty.
The work of the Collaborative is done by the Working Groups that meet monthly, so if you want to be involved, you need to plug into one of the Working Groups. We say that with this one caveat—these are not lurking groups, they are working groups; if you join one, please be an active participant.
There is no formal process for becoming part of this Collaborative. You just step up and sign up.
We also welcome, appreciate, and celebrate the work being done by people across the country who are partners in this work even if they aren’t formally participating in a Working Group or on our listserv. We hope always to collaborate in a spirit of mutual appreciation.