"Invest in Minds not Missiles: Resisting the Trillion-Dollar Nuclear Weapons Escalation"
A lecture by MIT biologist and Science for the People member Jonathan King
Sponsored by Western Mass Science for the People and the Political Economy Research Institute
Co-sponsors: Massachusetts Society of Professors, Public Higher Education Network of Massachusetts, UMass History Department, UMass Social Thought & Political Economy Program, UMass Resistance Studies Initiative, Northampton Committee to Stop the Wars, Resistance Center for Peace and Justice
The growth of higher education and university-based scientific research in the U.S. after WWII has been critically dependent on federal investments, voted annually as part of the congressional discretionary budget. In recent years more than 55% of this budget—our income taxes—has been spent on war and weapon purchase accounts. Recently President Trump proposed more cuts in key programs supporting education and research—including NIH, NSF, EPA, and NOAA—in order to fund a $54 billion increase (~10%) in military spending. This will bring the fraction of our tax dollars spent on preparation for war to more than 60% of the total congressional budget. Many of the weapons programs—such as the proposed trillion-dollar nuclear weapons “modernization”—are provocative and destabilizing, more likely to decrease national security than increase it. The excessive costs will greatly weaken programs addressing social needs. Defending higher education and basic research will require explicitly resisting the diversion of our tax dollars to military accounts.
Jonathan Alan King is a professor of molecular biology at MIT, where he has long taught biochemistry and directed biomedical research on protein misfolding and human disease <http://web.mit.edu/king-lab>. King is a past president of the national Biophysical Society, a former Woodrow Wilson Fellow, Jane Coffin Childs Fund Fellow, and Guggenheim Fellow, and a recipient of the NIH MERIT Award. Long involved in issues of science and society, Prof. King was a member of the original Science for the People. He served for many years on the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology's national committee addressing the federal R& D budget, as well as the national Joint Committee on Biomedical Research. He was also a leader of the national campaign of biomedical scientists to press the Senate to ratify the Biological Weapons Convention and helped organize a successful campaign against anthrax research at UMass Amherst. King currently serves on the Board of Massachusetts Peace Action and chairs its Nuclear Disarmament Working Group. He is also active in the national People’s Budget Coalition that supports the Congressional Progressive Caucus on federal budget priorities.