International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons  (Source) . Photo Credit: Martin Ollman

International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (Source). Photo Credit: Martin Ollman

Physicians for Social Responsibility (PSR) Wisconsin is launching a campaign calling on Madison to support a “Back from the Brink” resolution. The resolution endorses the 2017 United Nations ban of nuclear weapons, calls for specific steps to prevent nuclear war, and a commitment to nuclear weapons-free contracts and investments.

Download a sample Back from the Brink resolution here >>


About Back from the Brink

Photograph: Mary Altaffer/AP  Source:  Treaty banning nuclear weapons approved at UN

Photograph: Mary Altaffer/AP

Source: Treaty banning nuclear weapons approved at UN

The UN passed a Nuclear Weapons Ban Treaty in July of 2017. It is likely that at least 50 states will ratify the Treaty and it will become international law within the next several years. The 9 nuclear states that did not sign the Treaty will come under pressure to disarm.

In September 2017, the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) and Physicians for Social Responsibility (PSR) organized the Back from the Brink campaign in support of the UN Treaty.  The campaign has slowly been gaining momentum. It calls on the US to embrace the 2017 United Nations Nuclear Weapon Ban Treaty by actively pursuing a verifiable agreement with other nuclear-armed states to eliminate nuclear arsenals AND to:

  • End the president's sole, unchecked authority to launch a (preemptive) nuclear attack.

  • Renounce the option of using nuclear weapons first.

  • Take U.S. nuclear weapons off hair-trigger alert.

  • Cancel the plan to replace the entire U.S. arsenal with enhanced weapons. (Source)

The US Conference of Mayors endorsed a Back from the Brink Resolution incorporating these recommendations in June 2018; Madison’s former Mayor Soglin was one of its sponsors. In the last 2 years, over 30 cities, including Baltimore, MD, Ithaca, NY, Salt Lake City, UT, Los Angeles, CA. and the states of California and Oregon have passed Back From the Brink resolutions. (Source)



A number of cities around the country have also passed resolutions that commit them to nuclear weapons-free contracts and investments including Takoma Park, MD, Oakland, CA, Arcata, CA, Cambridge, MA, Ojai, CA and Northampton, MA. 



In 1983, the Madison City Council passed an ordinance declaring the city a “nuclear free zone”.  We are asking our City Council members (Alders) to pass a Back from the Brink Resolution which builds on this ordinance and commits the city to nuclear weapons free contracts and investments. Our City already has a socially responsible investment policy in place; it no longer invests in fossil fuel companies. We are asking the City do the same regarding nuclear weapons production.

Some say nuclear disarmament is an issue that should be taken up with our Senators and Representatives rather than our City Council members. But national policy has local consequences.

Plans are underway to expand the Truax Air Force base in Madison and bring in F-35 fighter jets designed to carry B61 nuclear bombs. If nuclear capable F-35’s were stationed here, Truax would become a nuclear target.

In the event of a nuclear-armed F-35 crash, Madison could be exposed to air, ground and water contamination with plutonium, even if a nuclear chain reaction did not take place.

Co-sponsors of Madison Back from the Brink Resolution: 350 Madison, the First Unitarian Society Social Justice Ministry, the Four Lakes Green Party, the Friends Meeting of Madison, the Interfaith Peace Working Group (IPWG), Physicians for Social Responsibility – Wisconsin, Prairie Unitarian Universalist Society Social Action Committee, Progressive Dane, Veterans for Peace - Chapter 25, the Wisconsin Network for Peace, Justice and Sustainability and the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom.

News from the Madison Back from the Brink Campaign

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Press conference makes official call

October 19, 2018

On October 19, 2018, a press conference announced the campaign to urge the City of Madison and Dane County to support a “Back from the Brink” resolution and commitment to nuclear-free contracts and investments. Learn more >>


Education and Discussion

October 18-20, 2018

On October 18th and 20th, 2018, three events were held to discuss the climate effects of a nuclear war and what we all can do to make to get involved and stand up for change. Other topics included socially responsible investment and the resolution. Learn more >>


Op-Ed: “Madison can help abolish nuclear weapons”

October 15, 2018

An op-ed by Dr. Bob Dodge was published in the Capital Times about the Back from the Brink Campaign and the call for people to take action. View the article here >>

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Op-ed: “Help bring us back from the brink of nuclear war”

August 6, 2018

Dr. Paula Rogge’s op-ed was published in the Capital Times. It called for the public to contact Sen. Tammy Baldwin, Sen. Ron Johnson and Rep. Mark Pocan and ask them to support preventive measures at home and diplomatic efforts abroad to pull us back from the nuclear brink. View the article here >>


Op-Ed: “There's much better use for tax money than for funding nukes”

May 1, 2018

Drs. Bruce Barrett, Ann Behrmann, Paula Rogge, and Monica Vohmann wrote an op-ed that was published in the Capital times about how American taxpayers are paying billions each year for nuclear weapons. View the article here >>


Op-Ed:“We must step back from the brink on nuclear weapons”

April 5, 2018

An op-ed from Dr. Ira Helfland was published in the Capital Times regarding the tensions around nuclear weapons and the Back from the Brink campaign. View the article here >>