Wednesday, May 23, 2007

At Cheadle Hall Camp Site, UCSB Hunger Strikers to Announce Major Campaign Breakthroughs, End of Their Fast

May 23, 2007

Ellen McClure, 2nd-year student: (858) 663-9326
Maia Kazaks, 3rd year student: (805) 284-2342
Andrew Culp, hunger strike technical advisor: (816) 522-0255

WHAT: Press Conference
WHEN: 12 p.m.
WHERE: In front of Cheadle Hall, UCSB
WHO: “No More Nukes In Our Name” Hunger Strikers

Only a few days after collectively breaking their fast, the UCSB contingent of the multi-campus “No Nukes In Our Name!” hunger strikers will hold a press conference to announce the multiple breakthrough successes that resulted from this recent bold act of civil resistance. They will also announce some of the next steps in their campaign to demilitarize the University of California.

Among the hunger strikers’ announcements will be that they have secured meetings with members of the UC Board of Regents to discuss UC nuclear weapons lab severance, a June 8th UCSB faculty senate resolution to support some of the goals of the hunger strike, and the repercussions – politically and judicially -- of their direct action at the May 17th UC Regents meeting at UC San Francisco. Thirteen people were arrested at the meeting, including 10 UC students.

“In the three years I’ve been involved in the campaign to sever the UC’s nuclear weapons ties, this is the first time I’ve seen the students put the UC Regents publicly on the defensive regarding their role as weapons lab managers,” said Will Parrish, a UC Santa Cruz alumnus and hunger striker who fasted for 11 days. “Not only that, but support for the campaign has grown immensely, among all sectors of the UC community – students, staff, faculty, and alumni. Though the hunger strike did not achieve its ultimate goal of UC weapons lab severance, we have achieved some major breakthroughs, and we are poised to achieve even bigger ones very soon, as a result of the momentum the hunger strike has created.”

Maia Kazaks, a hunger striker and third-year UCSB Environmental Studies major, said: "These recent steps have been really powerful. But we have to keep educating and keep expanding our foundation of support. This will ultimately lead not only to a nuclear-free university, but a more peaceful world."

Many of the supporters who were critical to the success of the hunger strike, including UCSB faculty members and staff, will be on hand at the press conference. After its conclusion, the hunger strikers and their supporters who camped in front of Cheadle Hall will disassemble their tent community, which is in its 15th day as of this writing.

Monday, May 21, 2007

More Media Round-Up

* KPFA Evening News, 5/18 (second half of show)
* KPFK World Focus Radio, 5/20 (starts 30 minutes in)
* Indybay (a few clerical errors - I punched this out way too quickly. :))
* Goleta Valley Voice

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Media roundup

If we missed anything leave a comment!

Friday, May 18, 2007

Regents Meeting Photos

For the full set, visit:

For full-rez requests: aculp [at]

Photos from Regents Meeting

Thursday, May 17, 2007

The Regents Meeting

The regents’ meeting began at 8 with an announcement. Because so many people had signed up to speak during the public comments period the regents elected to extend the time alloted from 20 minutes to a full half hour. Despite the extra 10 minutes not even close to everyone had the opportunity to have their voice heard. A number of the hunger strikers – for whom this was the ninth day without food – spoke out, as well as many supporters, including Jackie Cabasso of the Western States Legal Foundation, Professor Charles Schwartz of UC Berkeley and representatives from Physicians for Social Responsibility.

The comments were amazing to listen to. They exhibited the students’ depth of understanding of the issue with their detailed critic of RRW. They attacked the regents for continuing to choose to involve the university in the immoral nuclear weapons’ business. They conveyed the broad community support for severance. And, most importantly, they spoke of the passion and commitment of the students. One hunger striker reminded the regents that “We are not starving for fun”. Another described his aching body and then explained that the ache in his heart every time he thought about the University’s role in the creation of nuclear weapons was far greater. As he spoke the students – spontaneously – all held up peace signs.

After the public comments period everyone left the hall and gathered outside on the grass in a giant circle. One by one, going around the circle, everyone spoke. Unlike inside, there was time for everyone. Students expressed their joy of being part of this group that was fighting to steer the university towards a new, conscientious, path. They reminded each other that they – the students – were the real university; and, that they held the power to bring about a better future.

Next came the nitty-gritty, the planning. Everyone bunched up close together and, through consensus, decided how to proceed should the regents ignore the demands of their constituents and choose to continue with their regular business: the nuclear weapons business.

The group filtered back into the meeting around eleven. At first we were told that there weren’t enough seats but eventually everyone was allowed inside. We listened to the tail end of a presentation by the faculty senate which explained that the only way to maintain the quality and character of the university was increased state funding. Many in the audience were dismayed that the regents seemed unaccepting of this news.

Finally, the Committee on Oversight of the Department of Energy Laboratories convened. It was quickly clear that the regents did not intend to even acknowledge the moral quagmire they drag the university into, let alone resolving it by severing ties with the weapons labs. A group of hunger strikers stood up and demanded the regents respond to their demands. Regent Norman Pattiz assured the group that the regents had heard their message and that “[The regents] need to go forward with the business of the university.” Up on the screen was the first slide of a presentation entitled “Report on the National Nuclear Security Administration Vision for the Nuclear Weapons Complex of 2030” – i.e. the plan to revamp the nuclear weapons complex in order to restart production and create new nuclear weapons, the first of which (RRW-1) is already being designed at the Livermore lab.

The hunger strikers made it clear that so long as the regents chose “to go forward with the business of the university” when that business was creating new nuclear weapons and refused to even discuss the matter, the hunger strikers and their supporters were going to continue to demand accountability and moral responsibility from their university.

The regents brushed off the protest by saying it was not through proper channels. They seemed to think they were not responsible for nuclear weapons in any way. Someone shouted out to the regents “what would you do?” Pattiz told the hunger strikers “I hope you will go and have some lunch.” A chant of “Give Peace a Chance” was taken up by the crowd. Intermittently people would shout out things such as: “You don’t need to be a subsidiary to Bechtel.” “Listen to your students.” “The University’s business is the nuke business” “Don’t build new nukes.” Most of the chanters were still sitting peacefully in their seats, hoping the regents would at least discuss their role in nuclear complex and consider the demand for severance. Instead the regents eventually left and called in the police to clear the room. After the police announcement all, but thirteen, of the hunger strikers and their supporters left the room. The thirteen that remained locked arms and waited to be arrested.

Outside the room the energy continued with chants of “Whose university? Our university!” and “UC Nuclear Free!” as well as informal teach ins and in depth discussions of the issue. Liaisons kept in close touch with the police and a representative of the regents to keep track of the arrestees. The regents eventually resumed their meeting, but now without any public to witness it. The students moved outside the building, making themselves, and especially the hunger strikers, available to the media. A car was quickly dispatched to pick up the arrestees who were being cited and released at a nearby jail.

The hunger strikers and their supporters took some time to talk amongst themselves on the lawn behind the building. The mood was jubilant because they knew they had just exercised their power as students. But, it was also serious because the threat of nuclear weapons remains, the university continues to be part of that threat and there is still much organizing and work to be done. As everyone dispersed to return to their communities and campuses one hunger striker remarked, “I was really ready to go into the meeting, and I’ll be ready for the next one in July.”

For the record: The discussion item the regents were about to go into when students and supporters disrupted the meeting was entitled:

Report On The National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) Vision for the Nuclear Weapons Complex of 2030

The official description of the item runs as follows (emphasis added):

Mr. Glenn Mara, Principal Associate Director for Weapons Programs, Los Alamos National Laboratory, will provide a summary of this key NNSA initiative in which both LANL and LLNL are integrally involved.

Thank You

Thank you to the hunger striker's for their commitment.
Thank you to the supporters for making it possible.
Thank you for all your letters, warm wishes and prayers for making it all worth it.

Headline from Democracy Now...

"Univ. of California Students Protest School's Ties to Nuclear Weapons Industry
A group of University of California students on a hunger strike are planning to protest today outside the University of California Board of Regents meeting. The students started their hunger strike over a week ago to protest the university's close ties to the nation's nuclear weapons industry. The University recently won a contract to manage the Los Alamos and Lawrence Livermore nuclear laboratories. "

I'm posting this in the library of UCSF's Mission Bay Campus. This morning more than 100 students and supporters spoke before the UC Regents during public comment. Conspicuously absent were more than half of the Regents, their chairs empty. Much of the DOE Lab Oversight Committee's members were also absent.

The students spoke in favor of lab severance with several hunger strikers taking a turn to address the board. Professor Charles Schwartz of UC Berkeley endorsed the student's action, as did several representatives of Physicians for Social Responsibility and Jackie Cabasso of Western States Legal Foundation.

Solidarity Action from New Mexico

Submitted by marcus patrick blaise page of Trinity Nuclear Abolitionists (the Veg-O vehicle moving company of Albuquerque NM).

Three weeks ago, hearing about the impending hunger strike, I was inspired to do something to help out the people in the state where I live. I began by quitting eating the day after May Day, sticking only to liquids (all sorts of liquids, including a few bottles of salad dressing per week). Step Two was to glean some of the words from your blog to make a short letter for two audiences. The letter is for both to the general public here in New Mexico and the employees at LANL who would most immediately be affected if the Regents would finally do the right thing (pull out of LANL management). Step three was my drive up the hill today to the management office in Los Alamos this afternoon.

I visited the Los Alamos Nuclear Security company office at about 1:30pm to ask how the 5 employees of LANS would feel about the UC quitting LANS & LANL. The very friendly and helpful LANS employee asked me how realistic of an option is the Regent's decision to quit LANL. I said, “It's a long-shot,” but worth the effort of asking and fasting. Completely unaware of the hunger strike, she was confident that even if we get what we want, their jobs would continue. We both agreed that the relationship between UC & LANL is “a feather in the cap” for both entities. She also indicated that even though her former employer (directly the UC
itself prior to the change in contract) now shares the money for the contract with three other entities, the entire pot of money grew, so the UC didn't lose much, if anything. She wished me luck in these idealistic endeavors, informing me that she'd been there when she was younger too.

I then proceeded to inquire with the UCSD Engineering Institute one floor down regarding the relationship between LANS & the existence of their program. They were less helpful, less friendly, and actually prevented me from exploring the building further. (UCSB is specifically named on the building along with UCSD, and i'm still curious for direct experience of their office there.) I'm glad that three employees became aware of this group action in California before the security guard escorted me out of the building, making sure to let me know that i had “done nothing wrong” and where I could hang out (without incurring security violations).

It's now been two weeks of my liquid diet and I'm very appreciative of all the efforts you all are making in this important personal and political movement for nuclear abolition. Thanx for the inspiration!

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

UC Regents Meeting is Tomorrow!

Please come if you possibly can to our rally at 10 a.m.! Details follow...

No More Nukes In Our Name! – Rally to Support the UC Student Hunger Strikers and Solidarity Fasters!
** Thursday ** May 17 ** 10:00 AM **
UC San Francisco Mission Bay

Join the UC student hunger strikers and the hunger strikers’ support network as we take our demand for University of California nuclear weapons lab withdrawal directly to the UC Regents! The UC’s nuclear weapons lab management affects all people. We are calling on all people who support peace, nuclear disarmament, social justice, and a livable future to join in on this mobilization!

The rally will feature art, music, and speeches by the hunger strikers. The support of activists throughout the Bay Area is critical to making this action a success! Please bring your energy, your insights, and your enthusiasm for creating a better world.

Hunger Striker Demand

We call on the University of California Board of Regents to withdraw fully and immediately from their contracts to manage the Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) and Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory on the grounds that the Reliable Replacement Warhead program and LANL’s ongoing preparations to conduct plutonium pit manufacturing both clearly violate Article VI of the 1970 Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.

Schedule for the Day

The whole world will be watching (Regents meetings are heavily-attended by local and national press) as we take creative measures to get our demands met. We will take part in the public comment period at 8 a.m. The rally is at 10 a.m. outside of the Regents meeting facility. And we invite you to stay for the Regents’ session to discuss their management of the nuclear weapons labs at 11:45!

Meeting Location

The meeting takes place at UC San Francisco. Here is the address:

1675 Owens Street, San Francisco
UCSF-Mission Bay Community Center

Here is a Google Maps link.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Letter to Berkeley chancellor

Dear Mr. Chancellor Birgeneau,

We are a group of Berkeley students and alumni who are fasting this week on campus in solidarity with the UC “No More Nukes in Our Name” hunger-strikers in UC Santa Barbara. As citizens of the World, we are asking that the UC stop designing, engineering, and manufacturing nuclear bombs. Our aim is to call on the Regents to pass a resolution at their meeting on May 17th to sever ties to the nuclear complex.

We hope that you share our distress about the next generation of nuclear weapons. While we are grateful for what Berkeley has given us for our individual endeavors, we are deeply concerned about what the future may hold for the survival of the human species on this planet. As you know, UC employees designed every nuclear warhead in the US arsenal. These include the B61-11 "bunker busters" currently deployed in the Persian Gulf, with which the US government is threatening Iran. Now, LLNL is designing a new hydrogen bomb (officially, the first new US nuclear weapon since the end of the Cold War) and LANL will start manufacturing nuclear warhead components in 2008.

There has never been a more critical time for the UC Regents to take a principled stand against the US’ nuclear weapons programs. They can withdraw their management of the Los Alamos and Livermore labs, which are the keystone institutions in the US nuclear weapons complex. They could cast the UC's enormous political and intellectual weight on the side of international law and morality, and seize this opportunity to work toward nuclear disarmament. To do otherwise is to continue to provide a false veneer of “academic legitimacy” to the creation and maintenance of weapons that poison communities and endanger the entire World’s magnificent biodiversity.

This clear US government statement that it will continue to rely on nuclear weapons for the foreseeable future sends the wrong message to nations intent on acquiring nuclear weapons. If the United States declares that nuclear weapons are important for its national security, why shouldn't other nations acquire them for their own security? If that happens, everyone's insecurity will be increased. In its heightened level of awareness, the global community is no longer willing to accept unsubstantiated talk and double standards, but demands that authority walk the talk and teach through example rather than words.

UC students have a long history of organizing and taking action on this issue. The multi-campus Coalition to Demilitarize the UC has worked on several fronts to sever the UC's nuclear ties, including writing letters, generating petitions and speaking at Regents meetings. Student governments at multiple campuses, including UC Berkeley, have passed resolutions opposing the UC's ties to the weapon labs, and more are considering similar resolutions.

In light of the immense urgency of the World’s nuclear situation, and the sacrifice we are making these 9 days, we ask you to please write a letter to the Regents endorsing full and complete severance from the nuclear labs. We hope that you will add your strong and engaged voice.

If you are unwilling or unable to do this, we request that you use your leadership abilities to convene a campus-wide dialogue about the aim of education, and the purpose of the national laboratories. In this dialogue, we hope the community will consider and explore whether or not those purposes are compatible.

We will be sitting on campus every day between now and the Regents meeting on May 17th. We would love to discuss these ideas further with you and we’d like to hear your response to our request, so please contact us if you can.

Jason Ahmadi, Amanda Cocking, Chelsea Collonge, Natalie Gaouke, Matt Gillam, Lexa Grayner, Jerlina Love, Michael Schuck, Francisco Ramos Stierle, Marisa Schneidman

The good things in life

Thanks to Sam Marks at UCSB for pointing out this fascinating, must-see video is now on YouTube – a Los Alamos National Laboratory explaining “Why Nuclear Weapons Are Important.”

Monday, May 14, 2007

An Open Letter to UC Faculty

Re: An Open Letter to the Faculty of the University of California
It’s time to re-think UC’s management of Los Alamos and Livermore nuclear weapons labs

Dear faculty member,

As you know our University of California co-manages the Lawrence Livermore (LLNL) and Los Alamos National Laboratories (LANL) for the US government. UC has done so since these labs were established. You are also no doubt aware of the mission of these laboratories: national security. Therefore it might surprise you to learn that several dozen UC students and community members have initiated a hunger strike in opposition to UC management of these labs. The students have pledged to go without solid food until the UC Regents withdraw from their contracts to operate LLNL and LANL. As a supporter of the hunger strikers I have taken upon the task of informing you that their goal is to push the Regents to fully sever ties with the nuclear weapons complex and that the hunger strikers are seeking your support. Before I return to the hunger strikers, however, let me address some aspects of UC’s nuclear labs you may not be up to speed on.

UC is not the best manager for this mission

The mission of LLNL and LANL is changing. LLNL just succeeded in designing a new nuclear weapon, called the Reliable Replacement Warhead (RRW). Los Alamos is, as you read this, preparing the manufacturing infrastructure for the production of plutonium bomb pits, the core component of the bomb. In other words, these labs are leading an effort to design and build a whole new generation of nuclear warheads under direction of the National Nuclear Security Administration. Furthermore, there is a scoping process underway for the US nuclear weapons complex, called “Complex 2030,” which would pour many billions of dollars into the US nuclear weapons infrastructure far into the future.

Surprisingly, this is occurring in the absence of anything approaching a national consensus on the need for a new nuclear weapons program or the need for a capacity to produce weapons en masse. National defense is certainly a priority, but do new nuclear weapons equal true security? The Navy and Air Force have stated on several occasions that they see no pressing need for a new weapons design added to the arsenals, especially given our adherence to the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty. Members of the US Congress are understandably weary of dedicating many billions (RRW and pit production will take many billions of dollars over the span of several decades) to these efforts. The environmental costs from nuclear weapons manufacturing and deployment are inevitably going to be high. The American people are unequivocal about their support for a gradual move toward a vastly smaller nuclear weapons arsenal and engagement with other nations on treaties toward disarmament (there are numerous scientific polls demonstrating this popular opinion). Finally, the international community is increasingly worried about these developments in the US. Various other nations see US nuclear weapons policies, and RRW and pit productions advancement in particular, as hypocritical and contrary to global security.

As a signatory of the 1970 Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), the United States is obligated to working in good faith toward the cessation of the arms race and toward nuclear disarmament. As the preeminent nuclear power the US could lead the way toward large-scale nuclear disarmament, if the political will were present. One recent study on the RRW program released by the American Association for the Advancement of Science states that the program will “[lead] to concerns among friends and allies about the possible adverse nonproliferation impacts of U.S. nuclear policy and posture. In particular, unless explicit and credible efforts to counter those assumptions are made, some countries could view an RRW program as contrary to both the spirit and letter of the NPT.” In fact, many nations and NGOs already view the US as violating this treaty, and a powerful legal case can be made for this. RRW and pit production, the two driving programs of US nuclear weapons proliferation – which UC is being dictated to carry out – are by no means inevitable, and with your support can be defeated.
There is an alternative to RRW, pit production and “Complex 2030”: to not commit billions to these programs, not pursue new nuclear weapons, and to promote nuclear disarmament on whatever practical scales possible. California and its university can be a major power in choosing and executing this option. Just as our state shows great leadership in legislating environmental standards and shifting the national discourse on other critical issues like higher education, law enforcement and health and safety, so too can California contribute in an unparalleled way to our future national security.

How? Currently UC management of LANL and LLNL only fulfills a couple purposes for the labs. Perhaps the most instrumental is that it creates a pipeline for UC-trained scientists to work at the labs. We really do produce the best science for the mission, even when the mission is wrong. The second, and possibly most important function of UC management is that it provides university’s stellar reputation to the mission of nuclear weapons design and manufacturing. After all, it is often assumed that if the UC is doing it, it must be good for the state and nation.

UC has been forced to take a sideline role in the national labs after the recent competitions for their contracts. Bechtel Corporation is now the entity calling the shots at these facilities, as it is in truth the leading corporation in the limited liability partnerships formed with UC to operate LANL and LLNL. As such, the UC does not really manage the labs. Rather, the UC Regents help to select the executive officers who manage the labs. But in no way does the university – its faculty, students or majority of administrators – exert any substantive influence or oversight of the labs. The single most important fact is that in its capacity as manger of the labs, the UC has zero say whether the labs pursue RRW and pit production. Such a situation, combined with the new weapons mission means that it is time for UC to withdraw from LANL and LLNL. The single most positive impact our state’s university can have in this context is to withdraw from the laboratories, and to do so based on the grounds that the RRW program and preparations for plutonium pit production are violations of the NPT, that they endanger our national security, and will waste billions of our tax dollars. To put it simply, the direction that the nuclear weapons complex is headed in is not in the interest of the people of California and the nation, nor is it in the interests of the vast majority of the UC’s students, staff and faculty. It’s time for a principled stand.

The student hunger strike and your role?

The student-led hunger strike calling for severance from the weapons labs has been initiated by more than 40 students at UC Santa Barbara, UC Santa Cruz, UC Berkeley, and now a professor at UC San Francisco. Many of the students and community members have dedicated themselves to going without solid food until the Regents withdraw from the labs. You can learn more about their campaign here: Their stand is a principled one based on facts, deep analysis and moral clarity. However, it is a stand that can only succeed if persons in positions of power express support and do what they can to ensure their success.

If you believe, like us, that current US nuclear weapons policies are counterproductive then we ask that you support our ultimate goal in any capacity you can. If you believe, as we do, that given UC’s now marginal but legitimizing (read “rubber stamping”) role in laboratory management, that the best thing our University can do at this point is to withdraw from the labs and reject the missions they are pursuing, then please join us. Or, if you believe that the mission at these labs now demands faculty input, regardless of your stance on UC’s management role, please get involved.

While we do not know the most effective means by which you could support us, we have several ideas:

1. Discuss this issue with your students. Dialogue is important, especially given the wide range of opinions and serious lack of information around this issue.
2. Draft, introduce or support a resolution in the Faculty Senate either (1) supporting the hunger strike and calling for severance from LANL and LLNL, or (2) Questioning RRW and pit production at the labs and therefore bringing the Faculty’s intellectual authority to bear on this critical and timely issue.
3. Make a public statement in support of the UC student hunger strike for lab severance.
4. Make a public statement in opposition to RRW, pit production and Complex 2030.
5. Contact the UC Regents and your campus administrators and inform them about our position, demand, and reasoning.
6. Join the hunger strike.


Darwin BondGraham
Graduate student, UC Santa Barbara
Member, Associated Students DOE Laboratory Oversight Committee (DOELOC)

The Big 100, Letters of Support

Congratulations! At 1:43 PST our web form delivered its 100th email to the Regents. There have been over 32 letters of support to the strikers as well. Here are some snippets...

"I am so proud to know this collection of people who are putting their bodies on the line. This is a momentous step. This is history."

"I have recently been diagnosed with cancer of the thyroid. It is a disease with the only known cause being radiation exposure...The Regents must end their involvement in the wanton development of these dangerous weapons. Even if they are never used, the weapons are killing people by environmental poisoning."

"I saw the online news about your hungerstriking. I was very much impressed that you act so sincerely and powerfully for nucear abolition. I live close to Hiroshima and work there with Hibakusha people. We all have the same goal. We are proud of you."

"As your spirits soar with joy, as they join with truth and beauty, be sure to put your light under a barrel as you want your oppressors to see suffering. Show them the suffering that war and killing and domination brings. Save the light for the future. What you are doing will change you forever. You are visiting an island of purity and abiding love which will live in your hearts forever.

When I fasted, a friend sent me this quotation which I have never forgotten ~ Apache Chief Magnus Colorado said, “Only people with empty heads feast while their hearts are heavy with grief.”"

"On behalf of the French NGO "Action of Citizens for the total Dismantling of Nukes", I congratulate you for your courageous initiative. We support your action. We spread the information on it...In the name of ACDN, I wrote to the Regents."

"Frankly I am ashamed to be associated with the great CAL as an institution over this matter.
In fact I was disappointed that our daughter chose this unuversity for this reason.
How can FIAT LUX be the motto when we have the destructive darkness of continuing work with nuclear weaponry ?? University as an institution needs to make a change regarding this and inject ethics into the reasoning for this change.
You are the bridge to change and I salute that!"

"I just tpoke to the regents' secretary and learned that approx 100 people who are in solidarity with you will be speaking out on Thursday.
BRAVO For the light you are spreading!"

"I am writting from Mexico city.
Keep up the struggle, what you are doing is a lesson for everyone around the world.
Your courage is refreshing and confronting."

"I am a french girl and I would like to support you. Your act is mervellous and necessary. I will give your message to my friends.
I am also against civil and military nuclear. We have to do our best for a best future for the new generation and our life too!
Resist, it's create!
We are right and never give up because we are not alone! Good luck. In France (a nuclear country) I think at you."

UCSB Staff & Faculty Solidarity Rally Tomorrow!

I received this e-mail in my Inbox today, which marks a major breakthrough for the hunger strike not only at UCSB, but at all the other locations!

----- Forwarded message from -----
Date: Mon, 14 May 2007 10:16:54 -0800
From: John Foran <*e-mail deleted*>
Reply-To: John Foran <*e-mail deleted*>
Subject: [socforum] UCSB Staff and Faculty Rally TUESDAY MAY 15th 12 noon
To: *e-mail deleted*


UCSB staff and faculty will rally to protest nuclear weapons development by
the University of California at the Lawrence Livermore and Los Alamos Labs.

TUESDAY May 15th 12 noon
Outside Cheadle Hall, UCSB

Please come and learn what the student hunger strikers are asking the UC
Regents to do, and why they are engaging in a hunger strike.

The students leave on Wednesday to attend the UC Regents meeting in San
Francisco on Thursday May 17.


Sunday, May 13, 2007

I'm amazed at the amount of compassion and love that everyone vibed towards Suman yesterday as she received nourishment at the Goleta Valley Cottage Hospital. Earlier that day, before she started to get sick, she went shopping for new pots and pans for our co-op, volunteered at the natural history museum and was clawed by a red tail hawk, and baby sat a precious little one downtown. She's doing well now, hanging out and drinking diluted juices and playing guitar. Thanks, everyone for your support and please please take it easy. The collective energy we're generating can be more powerful and sustaining than any meal, any tank of gas, or any nuclear lab. We'll unleash it on the regents soon enough. In the mean time, go slow and hold hands with someone you love.

Teach-in at UCSB on nuke labs

The hunger strikers in front of Cheadle have created awareness: Now practically every UC student at UCSB, UCSC, Berkeley and UCSF knows that our university operates 2 nuclear weapons labs.

But what do these labs really do? Are they building new nuclear weapons? How much waste/pollution do they create? What role does UC play in US nuclear weapons programs? What are the international laws governing nuclear weapons? Isn't it better to have UC manage the labs than a private corporation?

These and many more questions will be answered at this teach-in by the AS Student DOE Lab Oversight Committee.

8:30 pm at the Tent City, in front of Cheadle Hall on the UCSB campus, Tuesday May 15.

Bring five friends.

Z-Net Article: "University of Mass Destruction"

Check out this article on Z Net today, which is a concise description of the importance of UC weapons lab severance and the rationale for our hunger strike.

Day Five, going strong

It's day five of the hunger strike and I feel clear-headed, optimistic and for the most part not too hungry (hooray!)- though the energy can be fickle at times. The day started off well with sunshine and the Beatles greeting our tent city in front of Cheadle Hall here at UCSB and an interview on a local Air America show. Both of the show's hosts were very supportive and extend their support and gratitude to all of the hunger strikers.
Yesterday there were many friendly faces that stopped by the tent community including two young girls who made signs and chalk art with the messages "nasty nukes," "nukes are stinky," and "nukes are evil." They even wanted to camp out with us. It was refreshing to see how passionate children were about what we are doing and how clear the issue is to them as opposed to many grown adults.
The letters of support flooding in from across the globe are certainly keeping the morale up amongst the hunger strikers - keep them coming! It helps to be constantly reminded at the global scope of what we are doing. Not only does nuclear abolition concern all humanity but these steps towards ending American imperialism by stopping the production of new nuclear weapons are something extremely necessary to foster a healthy global society.
Thanks for supporting us on our attempts to act NOW as opposed to the common rhetoric of "not yet" or not as drastic.
And to all of the hunger strikers and hard working supporters - stay strong, I am honored to be in this with you.
No Nukes. No Wars. peace.

good natured fun coming your way! stop by!

sent on facebook as

Day 5 of the Fast Fiesta

"Join hunger strikers and supporters tomorrow (Sunday) from 12:00-5:00PM across from Campbell Hall for a fun filled afternoon of art, music, and expression.

Try the plutonium pit toss, bowl for regents, or just learn more about our ongoing campaign against the UC's role in the engineering, testing and manufacturing of nuclear weapons.

Don't be shy, we're too weak from fasting to be frightening.

Bring a drum or guitar, art supplies, friends, and any donations of water or juice you can spare! See you there!"


Saturday, May 12, 2007

I can feel my colon turning into a semicolon.

Friday, May 11, 2007

Photos from Berkeley

More media (right near the end)


There's a new link in the sidebar:

Four great ways to support the strike. Share the link far and wide!

Message of Support from Abolition 2000 Caucus at International Non-Proliferation Treaty Meeting

[Abolition 2000 is the largest global network of nuclear disarmament organizations - more information is available at]


The Abolition 2000 caucus, gathered in Vienna, Austria for the first Preparatory Committee meeting of the States Parties to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) for the 2010 NPT Review Conference, sends our greetings, solidarity and support to the hunger strikers at University of California campuses. For the past two weeks, NGO (non-governmental organization) representatives from the United States, the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Japan, Italy, Austria, Australia, Belgium, Belarus, Switzerland, Ireland, Canada, Greece, Costa Rica and other countries have been calling on the governments gathered here to make good on their obligation under Article VI of the NPT to negotiate in good faith the total elimination of nuclear weapons, and we are cautiously encouraged by some of the results. (See today’s press release, attached.)

We were excited to learn of your hunger strike, and publicized it to the government delegates and NGOs attending the PrepCom through an article published in the daily NGO newsletter, “News in Review” (see The large youth delegation from BANg (Ban All Nuclear Weapons generation) pledged to spread the news of your hunger strike through their European network.

We wholeheartedly support your demand that the University of California Regents stop providing a fig leaf of academic respectability to the creation of the world’s most toxic and deadly weapons, and instead use their position of political leverage to spur the United States toward genuine nuclear disarmament, in conformity with its obligation under Article VI of the NPT, as well as democratization and demilitarization.

Finally, we urge you to drink your juice! Love and peace!!

On behalf of the Abolition 2000 caucus in Vienna, Jackie Cabasso

Further Media Coverage

The Contra Costa Times:
Hunger Strike Held at UC Sites

The Santa Barbara Independent: What an Education

KPFK Evening News Segment (segment begins at 5:30 into the program)

spread the love; stop the nukes

Hello All--
I'm heading up to Davis for the famed Whole Earth Festival this weekend. I am taking with me a message, a desire and and empty stomach. I'll be staying with my parents, so I will have support and care, but I will be thinking about my fellow strikers at home and our persistence! I will try to organize a few hardy souls who may also come down to the Regents meeting next Thursday.

In other news, I'm surprised how little I've felt my hunger. I have been consuming only liquids- v8 juice, lime/lemonade, teas, and water of course- yet only when I was surrounded by tasty treats or biking leisurely past Woodstock's pizza did I feel the twinge in my belly. I expect that will soon change. Perhaps this weekend I will find a new delicious beverage to enjoy in place of food.

Last night we had a great internal teach-in and I feel more hopeful than ever. My knowledge gives me strength. Whatever comes of this will only help our cause, whether it is our ultimate goal: the cessation of wars or if it is simply an unease permeating the Regents and their uninspiring, unlawful, undemocratic actions. Awareness is such an important step. The meeting last night was very important to me. Thank you to all who came and learned and shared.

Be strong,

Video from SB

Video from the kick off rally at UC Santa Barbara.

Thank you Jodie A. for putting it up and thank you to the hunger strikers and all the supporters for your actions and for staying strong.

Thursday, May 10, 2007


Those who call for nuclear holocaust generally seem to be those who have the most at stake in terms of material and economic possessions. Why is it then, that they claim to want nuclear capabilities which will only lead to their own self destruction? Tell me Mr. Nuclear Weapons Scientist, who will be around to tell of your "great achievements" when all life has been extinguished on earth and only amoebas and micro-organisms are around to breathe the toxic air? The contradictions inherent in the rabid capitalist accumulation of our nation and its push for all-out nuclear war seem to underline the irrationality of the United States military and economic policies, as it roots for amassing the most power and surplus it can to feed our unsustainable war machine, while at the same time ensuring an unstable, bullying and offensive presence in the world that wil surely lead to another world war, likely with those nuclear weapons we claim to be necessary to US Homeland Secuirty.

These realizations only further my resolve to starve, starve, starve until the people begin to realize the insanity of their government's policies. Although I am very hungry, tired, and frustrated at the ignorance of the masses, I am fully conifdent we can persuade a large majority of people to rise up with us and demand a legitimate policy that encompasses ideas of direct democracy, diplomacy, peace, and mutual support.

I hope everyone everywhere who is involved in the action is doing well and know that I am sending my love and support to you all. Don't forget the power we have, let alone the historical instances when people have changed the course of the world. We are doing it as we speak.

Let us continue to stand up for life and help remind people that if they care about any of our lives, then they should ask themselves why they might not care about every human's life. Life is precious, and that preciousness is never taken away, even if you are a different color, nationality, political leaning, religious believer, or a peace activist. GO LIFE!

Love and peace,
Carleigh O'Donnell, UCSB striker

Here are some pictures from UCSB's May 9th kickoff of the hunger strike.

Cricket Clarke addresses the rally under UCSB's Storke Tower.

Hunger strike supporter Andrew Culp hands paper cranes to the UCSB administrators who were waiting for us at Cheadle Hall.

Hunger strike supporter Darwin BondGraham reads the strikers' demand to the administration and supporters.

Hunger striker Kay Cuajunco signs the demand.

Hunger striker Ellen McClure signs the demand.

After all the strikers signed, the demand was handed over the the UCSB administration. Several days prior in a meeting between the strikers and the administration, UCSB Chancellor Henry Yang promised to personally hand the demand over to the UC Regents.

You guys are all awesome

Hey all you hungry people,

I just wanted to spread the love and remind everone of you guys how awesome you are and the things you are doing. I am fasting here at Cal and have only had the chance to meet Will, but I know the rest of you are all as great as he is. I have a feeling the next couple of days are going to be hard for all of us, but just remember how super all of you guys are and know that you have more than enough strength to handle this trial.

Peace and Love,

Press Roundup II

Here's a roundup of the latest articles and media about the hunger strike:

Students Go On Hunger Strike (UCSB Daily Nexus)
Hunger Strike Against Weapons (SF Chronicle)
Can Hunger Stop Nukes (City on a Hill Press - UCSC)
UCSB Students Threaten Hunger Strike (KSBY)

Sample Letter to The Regents

[To all those reading: Please send a letter such as this to the UC Regents encouraging them to vote on a resolution to sever their nuclear ties on May 17th!]

To whom it may concern,

I am writing to urge you, as a member of the University of California Board of Regents, to help introduce a resolution at your May 17th meeting calling for full and immediate severance from the Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) and Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL), on the grounds that the Reliable Replacement Warhead program and LANL’s ongoing preparations to conduct plutonium pit manufacturing both clearly violate Article VI of the 1970 Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.

As you likely already know, as many as 30 UC students, alumni, and faculty are currently on a long-term fast to call attention to this timely issue. Some have pledged to go without solid food until you meet their demand. I fully support them in taking this drastic approach, which is entirely appropriate given the scale of the problem of university weapons lab management.

Far from supporting “national security” through its management of LANL and LLNL, the UC is helping to foster extremely dangerous programs that threaten not only the security of people living in the United States, but that of all other life on earth. By designing the new Reliable Replacement Warhead hydrogen bomb, as per the order of the US Nuclear Weapons Council, LLNL is involved in sending a clear message to the international community that the United States intends to maintain a vast nuclear weapons arsenal for the indefinite future, despite its legal obligation to disarm. By preparing to manufacture plutonium pits, LANL is responsible for the most pivotal step in the process of manufacturing new nuclear warheads, one which stands to pollute the natural environment of New Mexico.

There has never been a more critical time for the UC Regents to take a principled stand against the US’ nuclear weapons programs. You are in a very powerful position to do so: You can withdraw management of the keystone institutions in the US nuclear weapons complex. In doing so, you can cast the UC's enormous political and intellectual weight on the side of international law and morality, and make a clear statement of opposition to these dangerous programs. To do otherwise is to continue to provide a veneer of academic legitimacy to the creation and maintenance of weapons that poison communities and endanger the entire world.

The Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty was designed to eliminate nuclear weapons. This treaty is now incarnate in the Constitution of the United States. The University of California’s unfortunate affiliation with nuclear weapons laboratories engaged in illegal and unconstitutional activity is a blot on the university and represents precisely the opposite of the UC’s stated motto, “Let There Be Light.”

Thank you for taking the time to read this letter. Again, I strongly urge you to help introduce a resolution to vote on severance from the laboratories at your upcoming meeting.

[your name]
[your affiliation]

Regents Contact Information

1111 Franklin St., 12th floor
Oakland, CA 94607
tel (510) 987-9220
fax (510) 987-9224 (for petitions, letters)

Regents Office/Secretary Email (she shares our correspondence with the
Regents at the meeting):

OR The addresses of the individuals in the DOE Oversight committee are below:

Norman Pattiz
Westwood One
8965 Lindglade Street
Culver City, CA 90232
(310) 840-4201

Peter Preuss
The Preuss Foundation, Inc.
2223 Avenida de la Playa #220
La Jolla, CA 92037
(858) 454-0200

John J. Moores
JMI Services, Inc.
12680 High Bluff Dr., Suite 200
San Diego, CA 92130
(858) 259-2500

George Marcus
The Marcus & Millichap Company
777 California St.
Palo Alto, CA 94304
(650) 494-1400

Stephen Schreiner
Alumni Regent
(Vice President of the Alumni
Associations of UC)
Solomon Ward Seidenwurm & Smith LLP
401 B Street, Suite 120
San Diego, CA 92101
(619) 231-0303

Bruce D. Varner
3750 University Avenue
Suite 610
Riverside, CA 92501
(951) 274-7777

Arnold Schwarzenegger
Governor of California
State Capitol
Sacramento, CA 95814
(916) 445-2841

Robert C. Dynes
President of the University
1111 Franklin St., 12th Floor
Oakland, CA 94607-5200
(510) 987-9074

Richard C. Blum
Office of the Secretary
1111 Franklin Street, 12th floor
Oakland, CA 94607
(510) 987-9220

Gerald L. Parsky
Aurora Capital Partners
10877 Wilshire Blvd.
Suite 2100
Los Angeles, CA 90024
(310) 551-0101

Advisory member:
John B. Oakley
Chair, Academic Senate
University of California
1111 Franklin St., 12th Floor
Oakland, CA 94607-5200
(510) 987-9303

AND the Student, Faculty, and Alumni Regents

MarĂ­a Ledesma
2005A Moore Hall
Box 951521
Los Angeles, CA 90095
(310) 206-4416

Jefferson Coombs
Alumni Regent
(President of the Alumni Associations of UC)
340 Main Street, 3rd floor
Venice, CA 90291
(310) 907-17401

John B. Oakley
Chair, Academic Senate
University of California
1111 Franklin St., 12th Floor
Oakland, CA 94607-5200
(510) 987-9303

Michael Brown
Vice Chair , Academic Senate University of California
1111 Franklin St., 12th Floor
Oakland, CA 94607-5200
(510) 987-0711


Tuesday night, with mist creeping through Isla Vista and an incomplete essay open before me, I began to doubt my all juice diet. With my back already aching, I wondered how long I could last drinking only water.

Today, none of that seemed to matter. Students, faculty, and the community assembled above Storke Plaza. Some of the strongest, most compassionate individuals I have ever met spoke their minds to the cheering crowd through a sky-raised megaphone. A statement of solidarity was read. I cried, and I saw others crying, and we took comfort in one another.

Then we marched, chanting, and delivered our demand. We set up our encampment, our community, on the grass outside Cheadle Hall, by the bushes with the wild bunnies.

We've moved in and we're serious and we're hungry. Our provisions will last us well through next week. We aren't moving. My back is still aching but it doesn't worry me. The outpour of support will sustain us; the hunger strike is already a victory. Our message is spreading over everyone, like the mist last night in IV.

Our Demand

Today, students and alumni at UCSB issued the following demand to The Regents, by way of UCSB administrators (Chancellor Henry T. Yang has promised to deliver our demand personally on our behalf this coming Monday):

Demand issued by the UC “No More Nukes In Our Name” Hunger Strikers

We call on the University of California Board of Regents to withdraw fully and immediately from their contracts to manage the Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) and Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory on the grounds that the Reliable Replacement Warhead program and LANL’s ongoing preparations to conduct plutonium pit manufacturing both clearly violate Article VI of the 1970 Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.

Wednesday, May 9, 2007


41. XLI. Forty-one strikers and fasters state-wide. I'm amazed. I'm ecstatic. We are beautiful and we are powerful. At the teach-in today kicking off the hunger strike for UCSC, I saw faces I hadn't seen in meetings for months or longer, others I'd seen at protests but never at meetings, and still a few more that I'd never seen before in my life. People are coming out of the woodwork (for a few, even literally... this is Santa Cruz) to support or join this action. People know that this is big, that this is going to accomplish something, and they're excited. It's making me learn not to doubt myself as an organizer and not to expect everything to fall on myself -- all an organizer needs to do is provide people with the information they need to care and the opportunity to get involved and allow for awesome things to happen. People have the information, and they care -- they're pissed off. And they have the opportunity, and goddamnit, they're involved.

Forty-one. Quarante-un. . . . . _ . _ _ .

UC Weapons Labs: Myths & Realities

“With the greatest weapons come the greatest lies,” the author and social psychology professor Joel Kovel has written. Myths and falsehoods have grown up around every aspect of the nuclear weapons enterprise. Through its role as nuclear weapons lab manager, the UC has only added to this web of mystification; in fact, the UC’s role as weapons lab manager is itself the subject of a great deal of confusion.

Myth: “The UC is a more open and democratic manager than a private corporation would be.”

Those who tout this perspective usually seem to consider the UC to be, on the whole, a benevolent institution -- one committed to intellectual freedom, open scientific inquiry, and democracy.

With respect to the weapons labs, nothing could be further from the truth. The UC Regents are a profoundly anti-democratic body. This is true in general, and it is true of their approach to nuclear weapons lab management in particular. During the past 63 years, the Regents have stonewalled every single effort on the part of students, faculty, staff, and community members to contribute even the slightest margin of input into the weapons labs’ policies and programs, without exception.

One of countless examples is as follows. In 1970, Berkeley Physics Professor Charles Schwartz began a campaign to obtain the right to present a single lecture at the Livermore Lab. Schwartz' intention was to present an alternative viewpoint to lab employees, who were entirely shuttered away from any dissenting perspectives, as well as give lie to the labs' claim of being sites for open scientific inquiry. For years, the Regents denied Schwartz the opportunity. In 1980, he took his case to court and won. The Regents managed to stonewall him for several more years. Finally, in 1985, Schwartz was permitted to present his lecture – and almost nobody came, due to a lack of advertising by the labs.

The Oakland-based attorney and long-time nuclear disarmament activist Andy Lichterman has written regarding his attempts to research and gather information regarding the activities at the weapons labs, “If anything, I have been treated on a personal level with more respect by the uniformed military and civilian military service and Department of Defense employees than by the University of California and the Department of Energy. Both nuclear weaponeers and elite U.S. universities bring a certain arrogance to their way of being in the world that is second to none.”

In the late-‘80s, the Bechtel Corporation was the subject of a book called “Friends in High Places: Inside the World’s Most Secretive Corporation.” It speaks volumes that the UC Regents have established a snug partnership to manage a pair of nuclear weapons laboratories – that is, institutions that are as secretive and obsequious as it gets -- with a multi-national corporation that has been thusly described.

Myth: “If the UC Doesn’t Manage the Weapons Labs, Wouldn’t Some Other University Just Do It?”

This is, in many ways, a corollary to the argument above. On a certain level, it makes sense. After all, what good would it do for the UC to lose its nuclear labs management contract, only for it to be picked up by, say, the University of Texas?

A whole lot of good, depending on the circumstances.

It is instructive to note that the Regents do not actually manage LANL and LLNL in any meaningful sense. As a UC faculty committee observed in 1970, the UC’s role at the weapons labs is akin to that of a “benevolent absentee landlord.” The Regents rubber-stamp everything the labs do, providing no actual oversight of their programs and policies -- precisely as the Department of Energy (DOE) requires of them.

From the perspective of the DOE, then, what is the benefit of UC weapons lab management? As the largest public research university system in the world, the UC provides the ultimate fig leaf of academic respectability to nuclear weapons science. Over 30 years ago, the late grassroots organization the UC Nuclear Weapons Labs Conversion Project noted: “The UC does not manage the nuclear weapons labs, but rather the public relations about the weapons labs.” By casting the UC’s intellectual and political capital on the side of the nuclear weapons industry, the Regents help to legitimize everything these labs do.

By contrast, if the Regents withdrew their management of LANL and LLNL, they would effectively do the opposite: They would provide the weapons labs with the worst publicity possible. The political consequences of their doing so would be vast. A major crisis would ensue for the nuclear weapons complex. Congress would awaken to the necessity of overseeing the labs’ work in a more meaningful way. Morale among lab workers would plunge. The public discourse about nuclear weapons would shift. Those who favor disarmament would have achieved a major victory that they could mobilize in their effort to eliminate nuclear weapons once and for all.

The only way for any of that to happen is for UC students and other supporters of weapons lab severance to bring an overwhelming amount of pressure to bear on The Regents to force them to sever the ties. The alternative is for the UC to continue managing nuclear weapons labs for the next seven to 20 years (the length of their contracts at LANL and LLNL).

Myth: It’s Possible to Influence The Regents On This Issue By a Directly Lobbying Strategy

The Regents are structurally unaccountable to students. If in some way this point is not already clear to you, we encourage you to read the “Who Rules The University?” fact sheet that will also be made available throughout the “No Nukes In Our Name!” hunger strike.

Over the years, hundreds of faculty members, a brave handful of UC administrators, numerous California State Assemblymen and State Senators, and even one Governor of the State of California (Jerry Brown) have attempted to lobby the Regents to sever ties with the labs, or to attempt to convert the weapons labs’ research to more socially-beneficial ends. Ultimately, the Regents have been swayed by none of these tactics. It should as come as no surprise, then, that when students who wield not even a fraction of the same power and status as high-ranking public officials have adopted similar strategies, the Regents have entirely ignored them, or else responded to them with total disdain.

Students do wield a great deal of power when they act collectively, in a coordinated way, and with the will to disrupt university business as usual. Historical examples at UC campuses abound. The Berkeley Free Speech Movement and the South African Apartheid Divestment movement are but two of them. As those movements illustrate, when students make the institution they are a part of increasingly unmanageable for the powers-that-be, they are able to realize even some of their most ambitious goals.

Myth: “LANL and LLNL Aren’t Nuclear Weapons Labs; They’re Science Labs”

This rationale is especially favored among UC students who have interned at the weapons labs, where they are indoctrinated – and we use that word here with rigorous precision -- with the belief that the labs’ work is, for the most part, not nuclear weapons-related, but instead committed to socially beneficial ends. One might think the fact that roughly 80 percent of the funding at each laboratory in any given year is devoted to nuclear weapons research, engineering, maintenance, testing, and production would instantly settle the matter. Strangely, for some people, it does not.

The weapons labs do all they can to foster a socially-conscious image of themselves. A 2000 LANL recruitment brochure reads, "The LANL vision is to be a national laboratory where science serves society, preserves the earth, improves the quality of life through innovations in science and technology and the management of our business and operations at a world-class level.” For its part, LLNL’s literature describes the lab as “a premier applied science laboratory” and hypes its “major research programs in energy and environment, bioscience and biotechnology, and basic science and advanced technology.”

An analogy is in order here. In 2000, the second largest oil corporation in the world, British Petroluem, rechristened itself Beyond Petroleum. All BP gas stations were painted green – “greenwashed,” as it were. A massive ad campaign followed, carefully tailored to convince the general gas-buying public that the company was now devoting a massive amount of its resources to non-polluting “green” products.

While BP did invest $200 million in renewable energy technologies between 2000 and 2005, it actually spent an equivalent amount of money on its ad campaign to brag about those investments. Clearly, the purpose of the campaign was not to make the planet “greener,” but to make BP’s corporate brand image greener, and in doing so appeal to the broad segment of its target market that makes purchasing decisions based on ecological principles. Even more clearly, the company never really went “beyond petroleum” at all: It currently invests less than one percent as much money in renewable energy as in fossil fuels.

BP is, in short, engaged in a cynical marketing ploy. And so it is with the nuclear weapons laboratories.

In their 2006 budgets, LANL and LLNL devoted 3.1 percent and 3.4 percent, respectively, to research classified as “Science.” Hence, while there might be some science going on besides nuclear weapons and other military work, it is an extreme minority that could easily be shifted to UC campuses and other labs if the nukes labs were to be shut down, or if the UC were to exit as manager.

Today It Begins...

Today, close to 30 University of California students and alumni begin a fast to demand that the UC Regents fully and immediately withdraw their management of the Los Alamos and Lawrence Livermore nuclear weapons compounds. Each participant has pledged to forgo solid food at least until the Regents meet on May 17th at UC San Francisco. Many of us have committed to hunger striking until the Regents meet our demand.

We are undertaking the hunger strike only after months of deep reflection. We fully realize that, at the moment, it seems unlikely that the Regents will meet our demand. We also realize that, as the author-activist Rebecca Solnit has written, “Activism is not a journey to the corner store; it is a plunge into the dark.” We have no way of knowing what the outcome of the hunger strike will be; only that, based on our collective experiences, knowledge, and strategic thought, it is the best option available to us at present.

In the coming days, I and other hunger strikers will post a wealth of information here on ways for anyone to support the hunger strike. If you have personal media contacts, we encourage you to inform them about the hunger strike. Regardless of where you live, you can support us by making phone calls, writing letters, or e-mailing the Regents. We also ask that you consider, if at all possible, attending the UC Regents meeting on May 17th at UC San Francisco, where we hope to pressure them into voting in favor of weapons lab severance.

We ask that you support the hunger strike in whatever way you can. If I and the other hunger strikers are putting ourselves at risk, it is only because we believe so strongly in the plunge we are all about to undertake, and in the benefits for our world that may result.

Tuesday, May 8, 2007

Why I'm fasting

My name is Chelsea Collonge; I graduated from UC Berkeley last year in Peace and Conflict Studies and currently work for Nevada Desert Experience, an interfaith antinuclear organization. I have decided, along with 5 other Berkeley students, to fast for 8 days in solidarity with the UC hunger strikers. This is the longest fast I've ever done, and I'm nervous about what the personal consequences will be for my friends who are fasting for longer. But when I contemplate the radioactive contamination that the UC labs have spilled into the surrounding communities in Los Alamos and Livermore, with all its attendant disease, I know our physical suffering will be put into perspective. The mission of a public university and the mission of a bomb lab are fundamentally incompatible. I am grateful for this opportunity to struggle nonviolently with other students to help cleanse our university of a deadly, antidemocratic enterprise. I also feel a huge sense of urgency to do something to remove the fig-leaf of academic respectability (courtesy of the UC) from the laboratories that are poised to design and produce NEW H-bombs, which the Bush administration has threatened to use against Iran. Please, if you're reading this, take the time to contact the regents and tell them, "UC-Bechtel is managing Armageddon; it's time to sever the university's ties with the weapons enterprise." Thanks so much for supporting us.

Press roundup on eve of the hunger strike

Yesterday and today have generated quite a few articles in the press about the hunger strike. Here's a quick sampling:

UCSB Daily Nexus

US News and World Report

Common Dreams News Center

Friday, May 4, 2007

UC Student Hunger Strike: No More Nuclear Bombs In Our Name!

May 9th will see the beginning of a hunger strike to demand that the University of California stop engineering, testing and manufacturing nuclear bombs. This bold act of civil resistance is being coordinated by students and community members across multiple UC campuses. Some of us have pledged to go without solid food - permanently, if necessary - unless our demand is met!

The hunger strikers' basic position is this: At this critical time in our world, with the survival of our planetary ecosystem hanging in the balance, it is imperative for the UC Regents to stop providing a fig leaf of academic respectability to the creation of the world's most toxic and deadly weapons, and instead use their position of political leverage to spur the US toward genuine nuclear disarmament, democratization, and demilitarization.

What Political Leverage? The UC has been the primary nuclear weapons lab research contractor in the United States for over six decades. It has managed the Los Alamos (NM) and Lawrence Livermore (CA) nuclear weapons compounds since their inceptions in 1943 and 1952, respectively. Hence, every nuclear weapon in the US arsenal was researched and designed by a UC employee.

Why Now? In March, the US Nuclear Weapons Council, an interagency committee of executives from the Departments of Defense and Energy, announced that the UC's Livermore facility would develop a new hydrogen bomb. Officially, this is to be the first new US nuclear weapon since the end of the Cold War. Los Alamos is slated to manufacture the plutonium bomb cores, or "pits," for these weapons. Owing in part to its technical complexity and political baggage, pit manufacturing is the pivotal step in creating modern nuclear warheads. It is also perhaps the most polluting stage in the nuclear weapons production process.

These developments are part and parcel of a US government plan to revitalize the entire nuclear weapons complex, so as to begin producing dozens of new nukes every year. Other nations rightfully view such plans as a bellwether of US imperial ambitions and are responding in kind. The danger of a nuclear exchange has rarely been greater.

Why Else? As you read this, US nuclear attack submarines roam beneath the waters of the Straight of Hormuz, outside of Iran, ready to launch "small yield" nuclear weapons at "hardened underground targets" on virtually a moment's notice. An assault of this type would kill tens of thousands of innocent people, irradiate Iran's natural environment for generations to come, and almost certainly escalate tensions among many of the world's nations of the world so as to lead to even more catastrophic future wars and bombings of this type.

The type of nuclear weapon in question, the B61-11, was created by UC employees at the Los Alamos laboratory in the mid-'90s. UC administrators, faculty members, staff, and students will be directly complicit in this massacre, should it occur.

Political Leverage, Revisited: If The Regents decline to support the labs' hydrogen bomb initiative, due to critical grassroots pressure applied by UC students and their supporters, the political consequences will be vast. The labs' new weapons program will very likely die. The US nuclear enterprise will have been dealt a major setback, from which it is unlikely to fully recover.

The US is a signatory of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, a United Nations pact mandating the nuclear powers to work in good faith toward the cessation of the arms race and toward nuclear disarmament. Since ratification of the treaty in 1970, US intransigence has been the primary barrier to its full realization. If the US is brought into compliance with its international law obligations, global nuclear
disarmament will instantly transform into a genuine possibility.

How, Exactly, Will The Hunger Strike Make An Impact? For several years, the multi-campus UC Demilitarization Coalition has worked on several fronts to sever the UC's nuclear ties. We have written letters, generated petitions, spoken politely during Regents meeting public comment periods. We have spoken angrily during public comment periods. We have held rallies. We have held press conferences. We have protested. We have dumped paper cranes on the Regents' meeting room floor. More recently, we have physically disrupted Regents meetings. Clearly, most "legitimate" channels for trying to change UC policy are closed to us. A more drastic action is needed. The UC demilitarization campaign has progressed to a point where such an action is possible and can be successful, particularly in light of the recent creation of a Student Nuclear Weapons Labs Oversight Committee by the UCSB student
government. The time is now.

The UC Regents' next public meeting is May 16-17 at UC San Francisco. The hunger strike will apply critical public pressure to force the Regents to consider a resolution to sever ties with the weapons labs. Any such resolution must stipulate that the Regents withdraw support from the labs based only on principled opposition to current US nuclear weapons programs.

The Regents have rarely been more politically vulnerable with regard to their role as nukes lab managers. The labs' new hydrogen bomb program has no technical justification and is clearly contrary to international law. It is deeply unpopular even among many long-time nuclear weapons supporters.

Hunger strikes have a long history of success at UC campuses. There is historical momentum on our side.

What Are The Health Consequences of Hunger Striking? By making a few basic physical and mental preparations, participating in the hunger strike is unlikely to have any long-term health consequences for anyone without major existing health deficiencies. If you would like to consult with seasoned experts regarding various potential health implications of your participation, e-mail or call (805) 965-3443.

Each participant is free to decide the duration and variety of their fast on an individual basis, or in consultation with other hunger strikers. Some participants will fast for a few days; others are fasting for an open-ended time span.

How Can I Join The Hunger Strike? To participate, please contact, call (805) 965-3443, or visit If you don't want to hunger strike but would still like to support this critical and timely initiative in any way, please contact us.