Part of the Global Perspectives on War and Peace Collection. Disarmament Survey. In the spring of 1982, 300 independent videomakers around the world produced a public opinion poll. People were interviewed on the street about their opinions on the nuclear arms race and disarmament. Responses were polarized.
0:27Copy video clip URL Image Union opening.
1:10Copy video clip URL “This program has been edited from more than 3000 interviews recorded in 60 locations throughout the United States and internationally in the Spring of 1982.” A voiceover notes that this video is a public opinion poll, and no one was edited out because of their opinions. Videomakers from around the world name the city where they produced their portion of the tape.
2:10Copy video clip URL The video responses begin. Answers range from advocating total disarmament of all countries to feelings that the United States should be heavily armed. Some of these answers are quoted below.
7:07Copy video clip URL Marjorie Plaun of Milwaukee, Oregon: “I am all for going forward on all nuclear development that there is possible. I feel that our country should be up and above all else at all times. And really, when it comes down to it, what do we have to worry about if we have God in our hearts? There is nothing to be concerned about, whether our country goes, or it doesn’t, because we know where our eternal home is.”
7:39Copy video clip URL Wolf Zachary Glass, a (maybe 10-year-old?) representative of the children’s disarmament group, Future Generations: “I wrote Reagan a letter [about] nuclear disarmament. But he didn’t write anything back except that we should start praying. And I didn’t think that was the right thing to do. ‘Cause you can’t pray to stop nuclear power. You gotta get together and work. And I could tell that he didn’t care a bit.”
8:45Copy video clip URL Irving Schell of Chicago, Illinois: “I know all about wars, and I don’t like war no more than anybody else. But I think you people are spinning your wheels by talking to yourself. You don’t want war – of course you don’t want war! Nobody wants war! You think Reagan wants war? I’m sure he don’t. And I’m not even a Republican. I’m a Democrat. He don’t want war, nobody wants war! But don’t talk to yourself! Talk to the Soviet Union. You want them to do all the preparing? You want them to get everything organized, while you people don’t want war? Well they want war, and you better get ready. And I think that we are making a big mistake not backing up our president, that’s what he was elected for. Give him your backing, don’t fight him! You’re fighting the wrong man!”
9:51Copy video clip URL Sam Christler of Rochester, New York: “Since the precedent of using [nuclear weapons] was set by the United States, the precedent of disarmament should also be ours.”
11:05Copy video clip URL Andy Feinman of Westchester, New York. “I feel that we should take all of our military people and military facilities out of every country except for the United States and make this country unbeatable and impregnable and let the rest of the world fuck themselves.”
11:58Copy video clip URL Bella Abzug, former congresswoman from New York and feminist activist: “Those nuclear weapons are aimed at you and me, our friends, our neighbors, our kids. We have to aim back – with our votes, with our petitions, with our voices – to tell the people in the Congress, in the White House, in the Pentagon, here, and in the Soviet Union and all over the world, that the people want to live. And we will make that decision to end the arms race and to create general and complete disarmament.”
14:34Copy video clip URL Frank Moretta: “About this nuclear war, I think it should all be done away with. Go back to the original way, and people’ll live a little bit longer… I don’t know. Maybe we’ll all end up the same place. Downstairs.”
17:13Copy video clip URL Janet Kent and seven-year-old Jessica Kent: “Just recently we were walking, coming out of the F train in Brooklyn, and we saw a small poster for a rally on June 12th for nuclear disarmament. And I had to explain nuclear disarmament to a seven-year-old, which isn’t easy, ’cause I don’t understand it. And her reaction was quite simple, she said ‘Why don’t you do something about it?’ And I said, ‘I don’t know what to do anymore. I’ve signed my petitions and I’ve been to my rallies.’ She said, ‘But DO something! How could you do this to me?’ And I felt very bad.”
18:45Copy video clip URL Joe Papp, producer of the New York Shakespeare Festival: “I’m very concerned about the future of the world… And I think nuclear disarmament is the prime issue of our generation.”
19:43Copy video clip URL Anthony Mills of Buffalo, New York, a student and veteran: “I think what all the countries on this planet we call Earth should do is get together, find an uninhabited island, build a city as large as Moscow or New York City, drop one bomb on it, so everyone would know the destructive power of one nuclear bomb. It will get a lot of people to thinking about the nuclear arms race.”
24:24Copy video clip URL Richie Havens, musician and activist: “I travel a great deal around the planet every year, two, three times a year. And it’s interesting to find out and to note, for myself, in my lifetime, that everyone is thinking about the same thing – the planet itself. And that seems to be what’s going to be the next thing to get together on. And I’d like to say that for everyone on the planet we’d save, whether it’s nuclear disarmament or anything related to nuclear, it has to go, it’s not normal.
24:54Copy video clip URL Chaka Khan, musician: “I think that nuclear weapons suck canal water.”
25:58Copy video clip URL Sergio Monbert (?), Brazilian actor: “I was born in 1939, during the war. I saw how terrible the war was. And my mother would tell me that when the war was over, everything would be all right. In 1945, war was over. I believed in it, and then I saw it was not true. In the ’60s, I got married. I have three children, and I saw that if you want peace, you must fight for it. Not with guns, but with something stronger – love, maybe? It’s not enough for you to wish peace, you must fight for it. And now I think that you must do it now. Or else nobody will survive.”
26:53Copy video clip URL Credits list the 300 videomakers who contributed to the project.
28:10Copy video clip URL Image Union end credits.