Council for a Livable World

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The Council for a Livable World was founded in 1962 by nuclear physicist Leo Szilard and other scientists who pioneered the development of atomic weapons and immediately became concerned about their use and spread. It is a Washington, D.C.-based non-profit advocacy organization dedicated to reducing the danger of nuclear weapons and increasing national security.[1]

About

The Council for a Livable World was originally headquartered at 100 Maryland Avenue, N.E., Washington, D.C. When Slizard formed the group in 1962, he declared that the purpose of the group was "to combat the menace of nuclear war." Their major method was to promote U.S. disarmament concessions to the USSR and "non-intervention" against Soviet aggression. Szilard further called for the establishment of a "U.N. Peace Court" at a 1961 Pugwash meeting in Vermont, which would have the power to pass a death sentence on any U.S. citizen or official it deemed guilty of violating "peace" and urged it have power to deputize any and all Americans to execute its sentences. The Council claims to have over 40,000 supporters who contribute to the fund to get progressive candidates into office.[2] In 1982, the lobbying tactics of the Council included conducting meetings with newspaper editorial boards and Congressional District Office meetings in key states including New York, Illinois and Florida.[3] The CLW's present stance is much lower in profile.

The CLW's February 1982 fund-raising appeal commenced with a letter entitled, "The Reagan Administration is launching a massive escalation of the nuclear arms race", signed by George Kistiakowsky, chief science adviser to President Eisenhower. The letter stated that the CLW's chief targets were the MX missile and B-1 bomber, and stated, "We're on Capitol Hill every day, working to reestablish arms control talks, fighting the proliferation of nuclear weapons, lobbying for nuclear arms control agreements." CLW also targeted U.S. chemical weapons funding and campaigning for across-the-board defense cuts, with a "media blitz" slated for late May when the Senate would be considering the chemical weapons issue.[3]

Mission

The stated mission of the Council is found on their website,

"Our mission is to advocate for sensible national security policies and to help elect congressional candidates who support them."

Achievements

Notable achievements to which the Council supported candidates who were elected have contributed include:[4]

  • Ratifying the Chemical Weapons Convention and Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces, Conventional Forces in Europe, and Strategic Arms Reduction (START) treaty
  • Establishing a U.S. nuclear testing moratorium in 1992
  • Limiting the deployment of the MX missile and B-2 bomber
  • Blocking deployment of National Missile Defense by the Clinton administration
  • Eliminating funding for the nuclear "Bunker Buster" and "Reliable Replacement Warhead"

Nuclear Weapons Freeze

The CLW Education Fund's tax-exempt status was being used to cover contributions to finance the Nuclear Weapons Freeze Campaign based out of the National Clearinghouse, 4144 Lindell Blvd., Suite 404, St. Louis, MO 631OS, pending its own tax-exemption.[3]

Affiliation with Physicians for Social Responsibility

On May 2, 1982, the Council joined with Physicians for Social Responsibility in co-sponsoring a conference on the medical effects of nuclear war. The conference was held in Washington, D.C.[3]

Personnel

Board

As at March 12, 2010, the following served on the Board:[5]

Officers

Board of Directors

As at 1982, the following served on the Board of Directors:[3]

As at March 12, 2010, the following served on the Board of Directors:[5]

National Advisory Board

Staff

As at March 12, 2010, the following were staff of the Council:[6]

Supported Candidates

2010 Candidates

The following are the Senate candidates the Council supported in 2010:[7]

Congressional candidates the Council is supporting in 2010:

2008 Candidates

The Council raised over $1.1 million for supporting progressive candidates for the 2008 election.[2]

Senate Victories

House Victories

Senators Elected Since 1962

Since 1962, the Council has helped elect the following 118 U.S. arms control candidates to the U.S. Senate:[2]

Alabama

Alaska

Arizona

Arkansas

California

Colorado

Connecticut

Delaware

Georgia

Hawaii

Idaho

Illinois

Indiana

Iowa

Kansas

Kentucky

Maine

Maryland

Massachusetts

Michigan

Minnesota

Missouri

Montana

Nebraska

Nevada

New Hampshire

New Jersey

New Mexico

New York

North Dakota

Ohio

Oregon

Pennsylvania

Rhode Island

South Dakota

Tennessee

Texas

Utah

Vermont

Washington

West Virginia

Wisconsin

Wyoming

Representatives Elected Since 1962

Since 1962, the Council has helped elect the following 199 U.S. arms control candidates to the U.S. House of Representatives:[2]

Arizona

California

Colorado

Connecticut

Florida

Georgia

Hawaii

Idaho

Illinois

Indiana

Iowa

Kansas

Kentucky

Maine

Maryland

Massachusetts

Michigan

Minnesota

Mississippi

Missouri

Montana

Nebraska

Nevada

New Hampshire

New Jersey

New Mexico

New York

North Carolina

North Dakota

Ohio

Oregon

Pennsylvania

South Carolina

South Dakota

Texas

Utah

Vermont

Virginia

Washington

West Virginia

Wisconsin

Rhode Island

PeacePAC

PeacePAC was founded in 1981 by Roman Catholic priest, Father Robert Drinan, "a tireless advocate for issues of peace and justice". Since its founding, PeacePAC has endorsed and helped elect 199 candidates to the House of Representatives. In the 2008 election cycle PeacePAC endorsed 31 candidates and raised over $600,000. PeacePAC identifies the most competitive progressive candidates throughout the country, puts them through a rigorous selection process, rallies financial and political support for its endorsees, and keeps them informed on arms control and other national security issues once elected.[8]

Board of Directors

As at March 15, 2010, the following served on the Board of Directors for PeacePAC:[5]

On Feb. 4, 2010, the Council for a Livable World announced that David Bonior would be succeeding Patricia Schroeder as the next chair of PeacePAC, the organization’s arm that endorses candidates for the U.S. House of Representatives. At the time Bonior commented,

“I am honored to be selected as the next chairman of PeacePAC. I look forward to working with the experts on the committee’s Board of Directors to endorse and help elect strong, progressive candidates in the 2010 elections.”[8]

50th Anniversary

On June 6, 2012, Council for a Livable World, along with its sister organizations Center for Arms Control and Non-Proliferation and Council for a Livable World’s PeacePAC, celebrated the 50th Anniversary of their founding by Leo Szilard in 1962.

An evening celebration was held at the Newseum in Washington, D.C. Congressman Barney Frank acted as the Master of Ceremonies and, in the process, received a lifetime achievement award from former Rep. Tom Downey, a member of the Council’s Board of Directors. The Robert F. Drinan Peace and Human Award was presented to former Representative and PeacePAC Chairman David Bonior and the late Edith Wilkie, a longtime advocate and leader for peace and justice.

There were also speeches and toasts by Senator Al Franken (D-MN), Representative Shelley Berkley, former Representative and PeacePAC chairman Tom Andrews (D-ME), former Cabinet Secretary Norman Mineta and Communications Workers of America President Larry Cohen.

The speakers told warm stories about the honorees and each other: Rep. Frank talked about Mineta’s rise from incarceration as a Japanese-American during World War II and former Rep. David Bonior (D-MI) mentioned Edie Wilkie’s great work on Latin American issues and so many other heroic efforts. David Bonior was also presented with a cake and attendees enthusiastically sang to him to honor his birthday that day.

Videos were shown in which Vice President Joe Biden and Massachusetts Senate candidate Elizabeth Warren celebrated the organization’s 50 years although they were not able to attend in person.

Over 225 people attended to celebrate the Council’s legacy of working to advocate for sensible national security policies and helping to elect congressional candidates who support those policies.

Other notables included Hawaii Senate candidate Mazie Hirono (D), Rep. Pete Stark (D-CA), former Sen. Tim Wirth (D-CO) and former Rep. Jim Moody (D-WI).

Fifty years ago, nuclear physicist Leo Szilard founded the Council for a Livable World to deliver “the sweet voice of reason” about nuclear weapons to Congress, the White House and the American public. In his constant quest for a method to safeguard peace, Szilard realized: In order to influence American foreign policy, one must change the composition of Congress. This insight was the seed that grew into the Council for a Livable World.

Since 1962, the Council has helped to elect 120 U.S. Senators and 203 Members of the U.S. House of Representatives.

Six sitting Senators joined CLW in an afternoon national security forum in the U.S. Capitol to speak on the issues Council has been working on for 50 years. Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Sen. Jack Reed (D-RI), Sen. John Kerry (D-MA), Sen. Tom Udall (D-NM), Sen. Carl Levin (D-MI) and Sen. Ben Cardin (D-MD) all spoke eloquently on these pressing issues.

Additionally, prior to the celebration, Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR) inserted a statement in the Congressional Record congratulating Council on our 50th Anniversary stating:

In a time when our country continues to face a host of global threats, it is important that we recognize the vital work that the Council for a Livable World carries out each and every day to mitigate these threats, and to make our world a more peaceful, a more livable place.
The Council for a Livable World is honored and humbled by everyone who joined in the 50th Anniversary Celebration. Thank you to all those who attended the events and to the many supporters who generously contributed to our work. The event exceeded all of our expectations and we are excited and determined as we look forward to another 50 years working on arms control and non-proliferation.[9]

Drinan Award

The Father Robert F. Drinan National Peace and Human Rights Award was established in 2006. The award is annually presented by the Center for Arms Control and Non-Proliferation and Council for a Livable World to individuals who exemplify the late Father Drinan's commitment to peace and human justice.

The award broadly focuses on U.S. politics, political science, physical science, biology, peace studies, and peace and human rights activism.

External Links

References