Forty years ago in Central Park, the largest anti-war demonstration in history took place. What lesson does it teach us?

In the early summer of 1982, at arguably the height of the Cold War between the Soviet Union and the United States, 1 million demonstrators converged on New York City’s Central Park to demand an end to the nuclear arms race. This was the largest anti-war demonstration in American history.

It’s our turn to take it further. We must acknowledge that our government is, at this moment, engaged in a nuclear arms race with China and Russia that is more dangerous than the one that was protested in 1982, given new technologies like hypersonic missiles, tactical nukes, autonomous weapons, and whatever future escalatory weapons of war that have yet to be invented. 

A coordinated campaign utilizing every nonviolent tool at our disposal (public debates, town halls, letters to Congress, rallies, civil disobedience, petitions, etc.) is necessary to meaningfully pressure our government to end our part in this decades-long death race and to engage with other countries on rebuilding and introducing new arms control treaties.


Robert Schaefer

South Pasadena