September 26th was the International Day for the Total Elimination of Nuclear Weapons. In Chicago, where Voices for Creative Nonviolence is based, activists held the third of three COVID-era “Car Caravans” for nuclear disarmament, travelling through the city from Voices’ own rapidly gentrifying Uptown neighborhood to the statue on Chicago’s South Side which marks the fateful site of Earth’s first sustained nuclear chain reaction. Cars bore banners reading “End U.S. Nukes Before They End Us,” “Still Here? Dumb Luck” “Not China, not Russia, not Iran: the World Fears U.S.” along with more explicitly antinuclear messages.
Stalwart in building the event were groups including Chicago Area Peace Action, CODEPINK, Chicago Committee against War and Racism, and the Gay Liberation Network, whose documentary of the previous month’s caravan was just released and will soon find thousands of broadcast viewers in repeat airings on a local station. That caravan was carried out on the 75th anniversary of the atomic bombing of Nagasaki, and speakers were torn between the wish to commemorate the U.S.’ shockingly racist WWII bombardments of Japanese cities, and the fact that today’s thermonuclear weapons are incommensurably more devastating than those bombs, with a Hiroshima-model fission bomb of course included in the design of each thermonuclear weapon as a mere detonator. Given their power which includes the power to trigger nuclear winter through even a limited exchange, these weapons’ first-ever use will be uncommemorated: it will end all races and all cities.