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The following letter is reproduced with permission of the author.
18 September 2004
Nancy Jack Todd, Annals of Earth
10 Shanks Pond Road
Falmouth, MA 02540
Autumnal Equinox Greetings. This note is provoked by your "Climate Change! Global Warning! No Nukes!" in the latest Annals.
There's much in your article I agree with, including the basic stupidity of invading communities with more police- and corporate-state dictatorship to enable massive radiation factories to boil water to generate electricity. But I have a different perspective on recent history.
As late as 1980, our government and corporations making up the nuclear industry planned to build 1000 radiation factories by the year 2000. You write that the "marketplace" stopped this insanity.
How many marketplaces occupied nuke sites? Sat-in at corporate headquarters and congressional offices? How many marketplaces held marches and demonstrations? Organized research and study groups? Wrote songs? Produced books? Created movies? Wiped out "experts" at hearing after hearing? Educated the nation? United union workers, environmentalists, communities, flora and fauna?
Nancy, a great people's uprising made it impossible for nuclear advocates to proceed without escalating force and repression. Corporate leaders inside and outside government chose to back off.
This uprising began in the late 1960s - early 1970s. A few honest scientific persons like Dr. Gofman and Dr. Tamplin gently raised danger and disease concerns. People began paying attention. They raised other issues -- like totalitarianism. Corporate leaders inside and outside government cracked down on people speaking and assembling.
All through the 1970s, growing numbers of folks (usually without college degrees . . . often without high school diplomas) studied the nuclear fuel cycle, energy efficiency, solar energy, corporate and government secrecy and collusion, Hiroshima, law, utility corporations, USA energy and banking histories, welds, pipes, cement, money, meteorology, hydrology, workers' rights, people's movements, etc. They taught others.
Wherever a radiation factory loomed, people made themselves experts. They joined to say NO. By the end of the 1970s, no industry-government gathering/hearing/announcement, etc., took place without a major people's mobilization speaking truth backed by masses assembling in halls and streets. Non-violent occupations of radiation factory sites became routine (and fun), often resulting in mass arrests. (On one weekend in Seabrook NH, over 2000 occupied. The State of NH had to house and feed the over 1400 they hauled off to the pokey chanting "No Nukes" and "A Public Utility Corporation is a Private Monopoly" and "Bail Solidarity.")
This uprising taught that the "war" atom and the "peace" atom were the same. It exposed the inhuman and unearthly values of banking, manufacturing and military industry corporate directors; of legislators and judges; of mayors, governors and presidents; of prestigious university scholars and administrators.
People ran for public office, forced referenda and initiatives. They drove lively campaigns into institutions and village squares. Over a few short years, popular consciousness evolved from "SAFER NUKES" to "NO NUKES."
This people's uprising had the trappings of earlier social movements -- songs, art, stories (including retelling of histories), theatre. It generated intense human energy, creativity, optimism, passion and mass participation. Because of this collective struggle, people resisted advocates' lies, illogics, false histories, arrogance and tyrannies.
Working together, people drove up prices -- not merely for uranium enrichment, reactor cores, containment domes, cooling towers, nuclear waste and money. We drove up governing costs for the nation's ruling corporate class.
In the process millions enabled one another to see that we did not have to accept investments and technologies we knew were stupid. We gave each other courage to disobey laws we knew were illegitimate.
This uprising stopped over 800 community radiation factories. It shut down others that had been completed. We made logical transition to solar and energy efficiencies across the nation look sane and real. We made it so sane and real that large numbers of people could taste it.
You do not tell this story. By crediting instead "the verdict of the marketplace," you validate "look Ma, no hands" market-place crap trucked out by experts and leaders to rewrite history, pulverize independent thought, and sabotage people's collective rights.
You validate the power and authority under law of mysterious "invisible hands" behind corporate shields to render people mute and invisible, to subvert people's collective action.
You validate the propaganda of relentless corporate shills asserting that solar and efficiency economics, technologies and democratically-planned transitions are the frilly fantasies of Luddite girlie men.
You teach new generations to believe that to be taken seriously, people must think and speak the professional lingo of Earth Destroyers.
You offer good news about "non-nuclear options continu[ing] to get cheaper." But where is the essential and logical next question: why, after three decades of this reality, is the nation no closer to a solar - efficiency transition than it was in 1975?
This is a question the people's uprising also did not ask. As a result, the uprising faded away before making the necessary leap from technology to ownership . . . from resistance to democracy. It did not take the crucial next step: challenge the corporate class by taking charge of envisioning and building sane energy -- and self-governing -- systems.
If Annals had asked that question, you would have had to expose this nation's dominant reality. You would have had to declare that in these United States, the "rule of law" bars people in our communities from getting what we want. Not grappling with that question, all Annals can do is encourage people to continue marshaling data galore, year after year. For what, Nancy? So that one day, if we line up our facts in neat little rows, corporate usurpers and ravishers will invite us to their table to negotiate a little less insanity in their fabulous free market?
You "tak[e] markets seriously." Is that what you believe the USA is -- a market?
The people's idea of the American Revolution is that we the people (once we win our collective struggles to become people, of course) are the sole source of all governing authority. It is our job not to let a minority of usurpers rule over us no matter what they call their shooting iron.
Our role is to define everything. This includes making the rules, language, people's and the Earth's histories, mechanisms and arenas of exchange, relationships between workers and employers, relationships between human persons and other species and places, relationships between communities and the State, the nature of corporate bodies, the constitution and the rule of law, work, money, energy, food, water . . . and anything else we choose collectively to define -- including the f---ing market.
In your article, you cite expert upon expert. Why not explore what democracy is all about? Why not look at the vast people's safe energy visions, actions, struggles and histories of the 1970s and 1980s -- and at other people's courageous movements -- to encourage people today to build upon the hard-earned collective wisdom of yesterday?
Wouldn't this be far more liberating -- for you and your readers -- than regurgitating Lovelock's and the Lovins' unending dueling data?