International Fast For Life     

The Announcement of The Fast For Life 
Dated June 19 1983

                                     To Begin August 6, 1983

One week ago today more than three quarters of a million people demonstrated for disarmament, peace, and justice in New York City. It was the largest such demonstration in American history, overshadowing even the great marches of the anti-Vietnam war period. From the evidence of peace movement strength, and from similar evidence from many other countries, we take hope that the peoples of the earth will rise up:

  •          to put an end to the madness of the arms race;
  •          to put an end to the arms themselves;
  •          to put an end to foreign policies of intervention and domination;
  •          to begin the reallocation of the world’s resources to meet human needs;
  •          to begin to affirm life, to celebrate our common humanity, to love each other, to share the bounty of the earth more equitably.

We write this letter during the Second United Nations Special Session on Disarmament. WE do not yet know what the outcome of these deliberations will be. What we do know is that we live under the threat of a nuclear holocaust. The preparations for that holocaust, both conventional and nuclear, doom thousands to starvation each day. We live under a double crime, a monstrous crime, a crime that must be stopped to save the hungry, and to save the world itself.

If public pressure for a nuclear freeze build and succeeds the major powers may opt for a greater build-up of conventional forces. This must not be allowed because a conventional arms race will increase the probability of a conventional war which would escalate to a nuclear war. This is true even if nuclear arms were cut back. Thus, comprehensive disarmament is as essential as nuclear disarmament if we are to reduce the threat of nuclear holocaust.

We have a long way to go and a short time to get there. We believe we must deepen and intensify our efforts. We must act in a manner commensurate with the evil we face if that evil is to be overcome in ourselves and in the world. We must live more simply and share what we have that others may live also. We must reduce our own complicity in institutions of violence and we must resist those institutions through civil disobedience, draft resistance. And tax resistance.

We are up against great odds. To prevail we must use the most powerful non-violent methods available to us. If Gandhi is correct, the most powerful such method is fasting. Fasting for religious people is a path to God; for those guided by moral and ethical principles fasting is a profound way to express their beliefs. Gandhi and many others throughout history have confronted evil institutions by offering their lives through fasting. We intend to do the same. Through fasting we identify with the millions who hunger as long as the arms race continues. We will share their pain and by doing so we may finally unlock the doors to our own hearts and to the hearts of our brothers and sisters. Open-ended fasts, because of the life risks involved, have a way of speeding up decision-making, breaking stalemates, and producing change. If we ever needed such speed, it is certainly now. The children are dying and the thread that holds the Bomb is fraying.

During the Second United Nations Special Session on Disarmament we have been engaged in limited fasts with thousands of other persons around the world. We will continue such fasting in the months ahead, inviting others to join us and attempting to communicate the purposes of our fasts to peace and justice organizations and to the public. We hope this action will deepen and strengthen the peace movement, and that we will soon attain at least a cessation of the arms race as a first step towards disarmament and justice.

We believe that such a first step will become much more difficult if cruise and Pershing II Missiles are deployed in Europe in the Fall of 1983. That planned deployment defines our time frame for action.  If such plans are not renounced, indeed, if the deployment, testing,  production and deployment of nuclear weapons by  all nuclear powers has not been stopped by Hiroshima Day, August 6, 1983, we intend to commence an open-ended fast.

Considering the hunger of the world, we would prefer to start sooner, but we need to prepare for such a fast, to counsel with our loved ones, and to strengthen our spirits. We also wish to allow sufficient time in order that others might prepare themselves to struggle for these goals by fasting with us in an open-ended or more limited ways and by taking other actions such as offering personal support, financial support, writing letters help with media,  obtaining organizational support, demonstrations,  work stoppages, civil disobedience, etc.  We invite your help, counsel, and participation.

We will call our fast a Fast for Life, for that is what it will be, a fast to affirm that all humanity has a right to live freed from the pain of hunger and the dread of holocaust.

To this Fast for Life we now commit ourselves.

In love and hope,

(signed by Soalnge Fernex, Dorothy Granada and Charles Gary).


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