If you are having trouble with the NLR website, please provide details here, and we will try to improve the site accordingly.
Alexander Cockburn and James Ridgeway
The Freeze Movement Versus Reagan
Although of very recent origin, the ‘freeze’ movement in the United States has already stimulated the first successful rebellion against a major weapons programme in American history. Prior to December 1982, when Congress turned down Reagan’s request for the immediate manufacture of the mx missile, no modern president had ever lost a vote over an important weapons appropriation, nuclear or non-nuclear.  To appreciate the relative novelty of the new movement, it should be remembered that in the late 1970s it was a commonplace that the popular surge against civil nuclear power—most conspicuously expressed in the 150,000 turnout for the Washington demonstration in May 1978—was not matched by equivalent agitation about the evils of nuclear power in its military incarnation. Indeed disarmers were often shunned by anti-nuclear-power organizers as either politically compromising or kooky or both. A political context propitious for the rapid growth of a new peace movement only began to be established with the onset of the new cold war: specifically the transition phase from Carter’s midterm bellicosity to Reagan’s inauguration. If any single event was the watershed, it was the unanimous vote of the Senate Armed Services Committee in the fall of 1979 against ratification of the salt ii treaty.  This was accompanied by nato’s agreement to the deployment of new ‘theatre nuclear’ weapons (the Pershing II and ground-launched cruise missiles) as well as Carter’s call for a 3% annual real increase in military spending.
Subscribe for just £35 and get free access to the archive
Please login on the left to read more or buy the article for £3