SWARTHMORE COLLEGE PEACE COLLECTION
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Anti-nuclear power Demonstration: Philadelphia Electric
Movement for a New Society Records, 1971-1988 (DG 154)
Movement for a New Society began in 1971 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania as a national network of activists committed to building a nonviolent revolution. While Movement for a New Society was always an activist organization, it was also a co-housing and/or communal society. Additional MNS groups were active in the St. Paul, Minnesota and Boston, Massachusetts areas. Movement for a New Society ceased operation in 1988.
This collection contains several folders of material used in the planning and teaching of workshops and educational trainings both on nuclear power and more specifically General Electric and nuclear war. Movement for a New Society often worked by having smaller collectives carry out mini or macro analyses on issues. There are several folders with the resultant reports on energy issues, which usually include suggested reading lists or material, analysis of research, and strategies for action. The most unique pieces of this collection are binders kept by founding member Bill Moyer in which he kept journals, notes, literature, meeting minutes, and all other pertinent materials during work he did in the 1970s against nuclear power in the Philadelphia area. Amidst the dozens of pages of handwritten notes in each binder are mentions of his advocacy for solar power and other renewable energies, his fear of both unsafe core meltdowns and nuclear waste transportation accidents, and his concerns about environmental deterioration. A closer look at the detailed but chaotic binders could yield ample early environmental justifications for the antinuclear movement.
Relevant boxes: Box 2; Box 6 (no series or accession number, B50)
National Action/Research on the Military-Industrial Complex (NARMIC) began in 1969 as a project of the American Friends Service Committee. NARMIC staff carried out research on the production and distribution of U.S. military technology and weaponry, U.S. military and economic policies, U.S. military buildups in foreign countries, defense contractors, and U.S. exports of high technology.
One linear foot of the collection is dedicated to the topic of chemical and biological warfare. Amongst this material are both primary research into the use of these weapons on military bases and also correspondence with civilians affected by their close proximity to bases and power plants. The organization investigated both military and civilian uses of nuclear energy for a slide show entitled “Atoms for War – Atoms for Peace.” The archived material pertaining to that endeavor includes drafts, publicity, and critiques of the project. In a letter written to defend the holistic approach of the venture, one of the men involved, John Lamperti, wrote “the nuclear waste problem, for example, comes from both weapons and power reactors, and so do lots of other environmental problems such as mine tailings, which don’t care whether the uranium mining which produced them was for weapons or power.” One other interesting investigation included in this collection was the redefinitioning of “biological weapons” and “chemical weapons” around the same time that President Nixon avowed to ban “biological” warfare.
Relevant boxes: Series A, Box 4; Series A, Box 9; Series A, Box 10, Series A, Box 13
New Society Publisher Records, 1990-1996 (DG 189)
New Society Publishers was a cooperative business based in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. It was founded by members of Movement for a New Society in the late 1980s. New Society Publishers produced books on peace, social justice, and ecological topics. NSP books on ecology were theoretical and practical, offering information on how to live in harmony with the environment. Some of the titles published by NSP included: Close to home: women reconnect ecology, health, and development worldwide; Toxic struggles: the theory and practice of environmental justice; Living with the land: communities restoring the earth; Green business: hope or hoax; and Economics as if the earth really mattered: A catalyst guide to socially conscious investing. .The Philadelphia based NSP closed in December 1996. The business transferred to new owners in British Columbia, Canada. The new company retained the name New Society Publishers and refocused NSP is no longer connected to the original cooperative business founded by Movement for a New Society. NSP Records held by the SCPC cover only the period when the business published works on peace, social justice, and the environment, through 1995.
Relevant materials: Various boxes contain correspondence with NSP authors; materials about environmental organizations and issues. See Boxes 4, 5, 7, 14,18-32. Also see on line catalog for published book titles (Keyword search: New Society Publishers).
Peace Action Records, 1986 - (DG 151)
The Peace Action was formed in 1987 as a merger of SANE, Inc., SANE Education Fund (DG 58), and the Nuclear Freeze Campaign. The original name of the group was SANE/Freeze, and it was later changed to Peace Action. (The records of the Nuclear Freeze Campaign are located at the University of Missouri, St. Louis). The goals and work of the merged organization may be seen through meeting minutes, correspondence, program files, press clippings and other publicity, statements and communications with Congress and other leaders, as well as publications and resources in other formats.
The collection is extensive and covers publications, programmatic files, outreach, and reference material. The later accessions which are readily available onsite contain relevant material on Peace Voter campaigns as well as the educational funds of SANE and Peace Action. Peace Action would unite education and lobbying with advertising campaigns that educated the public on nuclear issues and also informed them of their political representatives’ stances on those issues. Advertisements for National Day of Action in September of 1999 informed citizens in all states with Republican Senators of upcoming press conferences on the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty and evoked mushroom cloud imagery to draw attention to the dangers of nuclear testing. The Peace Action files onsite also include details of members of the organization assuming leadership positions in the anti-nuclear movement outside of the organization, itself. Burt Glass, for example, helped to plan the CTB strategy summit in 1994 and his planning notes and drafts of strategy can be found within Accession 02A-015. Commonly, whenever the planning or educational material describes reasons for test ban treaties they discuss environmental protection as an important result.
Relevant boxes: Acc. 01A-013: Box 2; Acc. 02A-015: Boxes 11-12
Physicians for Social Responsiblity Records, 1962 - date (DG 175)
Founded in 1961 in Cambridge, Massachusetts, by a group of physicians. PSR is an organization, and association of doctors concerned with the challenge of the nuclear age: "man's scientific knowledge now provides an unprecedented opportunity for medical and social advance; yet thermonuclear war poses a supreme threat to the health and survival of mankind." Since prevention is the only effective remedy, and therapy, these physicians are attempting to explore a new area of preventive medicine: the prevention of nuclear war. Their aims are to "provide for the medical community the scientific data on which political decisions must in part be based; to alert physicians to the dangerous implication of the arms race; to involve physicians in serious exploration of peaceful alternatives..."
SANE, Inc. Records, 1957-1987(DG 058)
The National Committee for a Sane Nuclear Policy was initiated in 1957 to consider how to halt atmospheric nuclear testing and bring an end to the Cold War. In the early to mid 1960s SANE became a leading organization opposing the war in southeast Asia. By the late 1970s and the end of the Vietnam War, SANE returned to its original focus, promoting nuclear disarmament. In 1987 the organization merged with Nuclear Weapons Freeze Campaign to become SANE/FREEZE, and later Peace Action.
The files on the National Committee to Stop the MX offer information that SANE collected and prepared regarding the environmental hazards of war. SANE staff studied the prepared environmental assessments which analyzed the locations of potential sites for nuclear plants or weapons. Afterwards they corresponded with those in charge of producing the reports in attempts to broach concerns and challenges they found with the statements. Correspondence with like-minded groups, such as the Sierra Club reveal hopes that allied activism would benefit the anti-nuclear movement. The leadership of both organizations responded to the acknowledged hazards mentioned in the Environment Impact statement released by the Air Force Ballistic Missile Office. SANE also published their own advertisements and reports on nuclear energy, often reaching out to scientists and other professionals. One campaign titled “No Contamination without Representation” was published with a list of over fifty prominent Americans who supported SANE’s antinuclear efforts.
Relevant boxes: Series K (National Campaign to Stop the MX); Series K, Box 9; Series K, Box 41-44 (Environmental Technical Reports); Series A, Box 13; Series A, Box 20-21b; Series B-1, Box 4; Series B-4, Box 31
Nuclear Bombs Can Destroy All Life
In War [15.5" x 23" document;
SANE, Inc.Records (DG 058)]
Dr. Spock Is Worried [15" x 23"
document; SANE, Inc.Records (DG 058)]
Now It's Up to the Senate. . . And You! [11" x 17" document; SANE, Inc.Records (DG 058)]
Sarah Seeds Collected Records, 1990s (CDG-A)
Sarah Seeds is an environmental activist who has donated her personal collection of informational material describing the environmental problems in the Cove and Mallard areas of Central Idaho. The collection contains Seeds' personal newsletters written about her involvement in blockades and other nonviolent protests. Much of Seeds’ writing details her work in the Cove/Mallard area against logging which could destroy the last of several types of trees in the area. Seeds and other protestors primarily passively blocked the road being built through the wilderness which would have assisted the loggers. She also took part in similar blockades at the Nevada Test site in 1997. The environmental activists in Idaho also documented any work on roads or logging because the loggers sometimes exceeded the amount of area they were supposed to clear and failed to record these illegalities. Seeds’ personal accounts document her acts of environmental activism ranging from her motivations to to her nonviolent actions, experience with police interference, and subsequent hearings and trials.
SHAD Alliance Records, 1978-1983(DG 142)
What are the Dangers of Nuclear Power? [8.5" x 11"
color scan; SHAD Alliance Records (DG 142)]
The SHAD Alliance (Sound-Hudson Against Atomic Development) was a coalition of more than 20 local groups of people in southern New York State who were concerned about nuclear proliferation, low-level radiation, the nuclear fuel cycle, and the possibility of nuclear accidents. It was a "grassroots" alliance whose members and supporters took action by means of demonstrations, civil disobedience, educational forums, and leafleting. Nonviolence was always emphasized, and safe energy alternatives were promoted.
The SHAD Alliance firmly opposed any use of nuclear energy and so they enacted a standing Alternative Energy Committee to stay abreast of environmentally clean options. The organization declared itself an anti-nuclear group with an additional commitment to nonviolence. This is different from the many organizations featured in the Peace Collection that are primarily opposed to the violence of nuclear war and secondarily concerned with the environmental effects. North Manhattan SHAD’s proposal for governance distinguishes their own anti-nuclear movement from the anti-war movement, but credits the latter by saying “the anti-nuclear movement itself owes its origins to the anti-war disarmament movement, this is no accident – war is, after all, the ultimate environmental threat.” The group's commitment to environmental priorities is also evident in the organization’s periodical, New Rising Sun, which is described as a “no-nuke and ecological newsletter.” In addition to leaflets, fliers, and fact sheets that detail the alliance’s beliefs and commitments, the collection houses material on members’ involvement in protests to shut down reactors.
Relevant boxes: Box 1; Box 2
WIN Magazine; WIN Magazine Records, 1968-1984 (DG 077)
WIN Magazine, started by the New York Workshop in Nonviolence, was published from January 1966 until October 1983. It soon came under the sponsorship of the Committee for Nonviolent Action (CNVA) and later the War Resisters League. In the earliest years of publication the magazine produced content primarily focused on nonviolence and peace. Issues contained articles and poetry promoting an array of pacifist causes including disarmament, draft resistance, war tax refusal, civil rights, and women’s liberation.
Promotions for two special Ecology issues of WIN magazine in 1970 signified a new emphasis on environmental protection and whole articles on the adverse environmental effects of nuclear power and war became quite common. May 1970’s Ecology Issue questioned among many other things, the potential dangers of simply testing anti-ballistic missiles (ABMs). Allen Berube listed “contamination of air, sea, water, and groundwater as possible but apparently acceptable side-effects” of underground testing of a two megaton ABM. ‘Nuke Notes,’ a monthly column detailing events, action, and strategies for the anti-nuclear movement consistently informed readers of national and international uses of nuclear power, and often explained the health and environmental hazards by citing scientists’ reports and studies.
Relevant: issues of WIN Magazine in SCPC retired periodicals collection.
Women Strike for Peace Records, 1961-1990s (DG 115)
Women Strike for Peace began in 1961 as a one-day protest against nuclear weapons, in Washington, DC. and other parts of the U.S. WSP organizers and supporters were especially concerned about the effects of radiation and fall-out on the health of children. This nation-wide grass-roots organization was most active during the Vietnamese Conflict, when it operated draft counseling and amnesty programs, and additionally lobbied against the continuation of the war.
The records for Women Strike for Peace are broken up into several series. Especially pertinent material to the study of environmental motivations within peace activism can be found in Series A,2 (Literature); A,4 (Peace Action Files); and D,1 (Washington, D.C.), although additional material can undoubtedly be found elsewhere. Among the folders of literature are many examples of Women Strike for Peace both informing the public about the hazards of radioactive fallout and praising the earth and its environments in hopes of convincing humanity to value it above dangerous weapons. Women Strike for Peace followed the developments and uses of chemical and biological weapons and a folder of correspondence and memos on their dangers can be found in the Peace Action Files. The files kept from WSP’s Washington D.C. branch deal most directly with the Department of Defense and so much of the information pertains to the nuclear arms race and MX missile. These folders contain handwritten notes regarding Environmental Impact Statements, as well as position papers, memos, articles and some correspondence pertaining to the environmental consequences of many weapons. WSP organized many innovative campaign strategies, including sending their children's baby teeth (containing traces of Stronium-90) to Congress as evidence of the health risks of nuclear fall out.
Relevant Boxes: Series A,2, Box 1; Series A,4, Box 4; Series D,1, Box 3; Series D,1, Box 6
Stop the Arms Race; Start With a Test Ban! [2.0"
button; Women's International League for Peace and Freedom, U.S. Section Records (DG 043)]
Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom, U.S. Section Records, 1919-date (DG 043)
The United States' Section of the Women's International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF) was established in J1919, replacing the Woman's Peace Party as the official arm of the WILPF in the United States. Its aim was to "promote methods for the attainment of that peace between nations which is based on justice and good will and to cooperate with women from other countries who are working for the same ends."
Much of the material detailing WILPF’s work with environmental issues can be found in the collection’s Program and Action files: series H,6. In the 1960s and 1970s WILPF organizers worked to investigate and inform their membership on radiation pollution. Their National Science Committee in 1971 produced a pamphlet “Radiation Pollution: what every WILPFer should know” but at that point primarily focused on the consequences of what they called the war-oriented atom. They later formed several campaigns that called for general disarmament. A Campaign to Stop All Nuclear Testing began in 1984, which used petitions and advertisement campaigns to inform and act against the harmful effects of underground testing. Nuclear Abolition Sisters, a campaign done by a special WILPF project called Women Insist on Nuclear Disarmament (WIND) produced fact sheets, encouraged lobbying, and even held events in schools and communities in order to increase the public’s awareness of the benefits of disarmament. Whether they talked against the potentially hazardous Cassini Space Probe or in support of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty that President Clinton passed onto the Senate, the materials in the WILPF collection show a consideration for the effects of nuclear testing and weapons on land, water, and air. More recent campaigns of WILPF include racism and the environment, and the connections between water resources, human rights, and conflict throughout the world.
Relevant Boxes: Series H,6: Box 1; Box 7; Box 10
For more information, contact Wendy Chmielewski, Curator, at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 610-328-8557.
Created by Jean Turner (Archival Intern, Swarthmore College Peace Collection), August 2011.