News from Vienna

In her first article from the conference published on Open Democracy, Dr Rebecca Johnson (Acronym Institute) sets the scene with an account of the 600 plus delegates at last week’s International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN) gathering represented the majority view: that is, noy only the campaigners from the nuclear weapons states, but representatives from the hundred plus countries who regard nuclear weapons as a liability they don’t want. She describes strong experienced women reminiscent of the Greenham women, and young campaigners with real understanding of the problems of hunger and want who are able to bring the humanitarian dimension clearly to the discussion. The nuclear weapons states are in their own mistrustful and adversarial paradigm, and while the participation of the US and UK governments should not lull us into an expectation that they are prepared to give way readily, it is clear the civil society and the non nuclear states are gathering speed.