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US/Canada Unite vs. Cruise

Beth Richards — November 1983

Countering the accusation that Canadian peace activists who oppose the cruise tests are ‘anti-American’, U.S. disarmament groups are setting out to prove the opposite. Already over 100 national, regional and local peace groups in North America have endorsed the call for “Refuse the Cruise” Canada-U.S. Solidarity Days on December 2-3. “On that Friday and Saturday,” the call declared, “people all over North America will be joining in a united show of opposition to any tests of cruise missiles and all preparations for nuclear war. We urge individuals arid organisations working for peace to plan local protests — of any size — on one or both of those days.”

In the United States community-based peace groups are organising civil disobedience vigils and blockades at weapons production plants, federal buildings, military installations and other appropriate sites. Many of those actions will be centred at the 26 U.S. sites where parts of the air-launched cruise missile are manufactured.

December 2 marks the anniversary of the world’s first controlled, self-sustaining nuclear chain reaction that occurred in 1942 at the University of Chicago. More important, December 1983 marks the beginning of the Euro-missile deployment and represents a dangerous turning point in the race toward nuclear war.

The People’s Test Ban is the main organising body for the U.S. solidarity actions. Their newspaper publicizing December 2-3 preparations stresses the destabilising nature of cruise missiles.

“Designed not for ‘deterrence’ but for war-fighting, the cruise missile represents a major leap toward global suicide. A total of 3,000 air-launched cruise missiles are scheduled for the U.S. strategic arsenal, independent of NATO.” The deadly accuracy, sophisticated guidance system and small size of the cruise were listed as evidence that it is an unverifiable, hence destabilizing weapon. But the People’s Test Ban newspaper also pointed out the missile’s utility in waging war in Central America or the Middle East, as the cruise is designed to carry conventional as well as nuclear bombs.

Testing of the air-launched cruise in Canada is scheduled to begin sometime after Christmas, in effect selling the precedent for further complicity in the arms race. Once the cruise is tested, Cabinet will be discussing the testing of new and more devastating weapon systems. To counter that threat, U.S. and Canadian peace groups are setting their own precedent. Recognising that international unity is essential to peace, the December 2-3 Days of Solidarity provide a crucial opportunity.

Copies of the endorsement call are available by writing to “Refuse the Cruise,” CANDIS, 10 Trinity Sq., Toronto, M5G 1BI. For copies of the special publication, “Fulfilling the Nuremberg Obligation” contact People’s Test Ban, P.O. Box 42430, Portland, Oregon, 97242. Further information on December 2-3 events in Canada can also be obtained from CANDIS at xxx-xxxx.

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