Berkeley’s Nuclear Free Act is inspiration

Written in response to The Daily Californian’s Oct. 18 editorial about Berkeley’s Nuclear Free Act:

On Aug. 6, 2005, I joined then-Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi and 55,000 others at Peace Memorial Park in Hiroshima, site of the atomic bombing 60 years before. That devastating bomb was a tiny fraction of the nuclear arsenal threatening the world today. It’s not in the daily news, so it’s “out of sight, out of mind” for too many people; but if you care about any of the threats to the world today — global warming, economic crises, wars — the reality is that the nuclear threat still dwarfs them all.

Japanese peace activists take great inspiration from Berkeley, including our Nuclear Free Act. It’s not just an anachronism of another era — it’s an inspiration for the current generation of activists in many places around the world, who have not forgotten the threat.

During a visit to Nagasaki, I was asked to meet with survivors of the 1945 atomic bombing. They earnestly hope to see the end of nuclear weapons during their remaining years of life. If you want to stomp on the hearts of these gentle elders, repeal the Nuclear Free Berkeley Act. If you have an ounce of humanity, leave it in place.

Having previously served on the Peace and Justice Commission for seven years, including three as chairperson, I can tell you the act doesn’t really harm Berkeley at all; that argument is all smoke and mirrors.

— Steve Freedkin,
Berkeley resident