Northampton honored for work against nuclear weapons

  • Jeff Napolitano, executive director of The Resistance Center for Peace and Justice, and Susan Lantz are seen prior to Lantz's presentation of a certificate marking Northampton's alignment with the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, Thursday, June 20, 2019. STAFF PHOTO/Bera Dunauf

Staff Writer
Published: 6/21/2019 12:03:56 AM
Modified: 6/21/2019 12:03:46 AM

NORTHAMPTON — Thursday’s City Council meeting saw Mayor David Narkewicz accept a certificate marking the city’s alignment with the 2017 Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons.

The certificate was presented by Susan Lantz and was awarded by NuclearBan.US, which is a chapter of the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons. The certificate acknowledges the city’s efforts to extricate itself from the nuclear weapons industry and to promote this activity to other communities.

“It’s part of a longer effort,” Narkewicz said after the meeting.

Narkewicz signed an executive order to not contract with companies involved in the manufacture of nuclear weapons, to the extent practicable and permitted by law, in September of last year. It also said that the city will avoid investments in companies that manufacture nuclear weapons, to the extent practicable and permitted by law, and marks Sept. 26 as Nuclear Ban Day in Northampton.

The council also passed a resolution in 2017 calling on the United States to sign the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons. To date, neither the U.S. nor any other nuclear-armed nation has signed the treaty, but 70 nations have done so.

Additionally, the mayor sent letters to CEOs of companies identified with the manufacture of nuclear weapons to let them know about the city’s policy.

“Would have loved to have been a fly on the wall when they opened them,” Narkewicz said.

He said the city is also looking to pursue a home-rule petition with its state representatives to allow the city to legally not do business with companies involved in the manufacture or maintenance of nuclear weapons. It’s also involved in extricating its investments from such companies, although the mayor said that they represent less than 1 percent of the city’s investments.

The mayor and the City Council were also given copies of the report “Warheads to Windmills: How to Pay for a Green New Deal,” from NuclearBan.US. Jeff Napolitano, executive director of The Resistance Center for Peace and Justice, said the report claims that if the United States were to withdraw funding from nuclear weapons, the savings could pay for the Green New Deal.

“We are in the process of revamping our nuclear weapons arsenal,” Napolitano said after the meeting, referring to the United States.

Napolitano said the revamp will cost the country $1.7 trillion over the next three decades.

At the meeting, Napolitano said the report is being simultaneously launched in Washington by Northampton’s congressman, Rep. Jim McGovern, D-Worcester. He also said that Rep. Barbara Lee, D-Calif., guaranteed the delegation that met with supporters of the report that she would make sure it got to Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., the lead sponsor of the Green New Deal in the U.S. House.

Lantz said that giving up nuclear weapons wouldn’t just free up the money but it would free up “the brain power” as well.

“Those jobs in that deadly field could be transported into life-sustaining jobs in the Green New Deal,” she said.

Bera Dunau can be reached at bdunau@gazettenet.com.


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