Archive for the ‘Constituencies’ Category



By Sharon Tracy

In the early spring of 1977 I went to one of the events about nuclear power held around New England to educate the public and recruit for the occupation. I sat on a metal chair in a church basement with 20 or so strangers crowded round Judy Rubenstein as she told the terrifying story of Karen Silkwood. Judy outlined the evidence of how Silkwood had died in 1975 or so under suspicious circumstances while blowing the whistle on the Oklahoma nuclear fuel fabrication facility where she worked. She had documents with her proving the facility’s criminally lax adherence to safety regulations preventing radioactive contamination. By the time of her fatal drive to meet a New York Times reporter, Silkwood herself was contaminated by high level radiation that mysteriously appeared in the bologna in her refrigerator. (Meryl Streep portrayed Karen’s story masterfully in Silkwood some years later.) I was riveted and outraged.

Putting put my affairs in order, I joined the great occupation in April and ended up living on the Seacoast off and on for many years. During the occupation, I was support, part of the robust legal team of lawyers and non-lawyers from New England and beyond (most were card carrying members of the National Lawyers Guild and the ACLU).

            Once construction was well underway, in the mid-80s, locals started hearing some hair-raising stories about bad welds (there are miles and miles of welded pipe), negligent quality assurance, concrete set poorly, improper construction. We started a whistleblowers organization for Seabrook nuclear plant construction workers: Employees Legal Project. Remembering Silkwood, we set up a whistleblower identity protection method. Read the rest of this entry »

LABOR AND THE CLAM By Steve Thornton


By Steve Thornton

Peter Kellman went to work at the Laconia Shoe Company in Sanford, Maine on the morning of September 18, 1980.  Peter was a machine operator at the factory and the president of the local shoe workers union. He was also an anti-nuclear activist with the Clamshell Alliance.  That morning he posted a notice on the union bulletin board urging workers to support the upcoming state referendum to shut down Maine Yankee, the state’s only nuclear power plant.  That’s when the trouble started. Read the rest of this entry »

MAINSTREAM MEDIA By CW Wolff and Robin Read


By CW Wolff and Robin Read

 “The socialists were there…”

 Meanwhile, The Manchester Union-Leader, the state’s largest, most powerful and most conservative newspaper, launched a relentless “Red Tide” campaign, trying to paint the Clamshell Alliance as a communist and terrorist organization. Rather than fuming about the paper’s hysteria and half-truths, we found creative ways to respond.

For example, Union-Leader coverage of one Clamshell rally included front page cutlines under three photos:  “The sodomites were there … The socialists were there… And so was Dick Gregory.” (Gregory was a popular and liberal comedian). A Manchester, NH, singer-songwriter and Clam member took that phrase and made it into a satirical song we enjoyed singing for years. Read the rest of this entry »



By Oannes A. Pritzker 

  Quahaug is the native term (Algonquin language) for the northern bivalve mollusk (Mercenaria mercenaria) commonly called a hard clam. The Quahaug inhabits inter-tidal waters of what’s now called the Atlantic coast of North America. This marine clam is honored by my indigenous people who are now called ‘American Indians.’

 The Quahaug Clam Shell was not only a major source of food to seacoast Tribal Nations, but was also the material used to make our sacred Wampum. Wampum is not just decoration for jewelry, and it was not money as Europeans wrongly think. Wampum was in fact used to make “Treaty Belts.” They depicted native laws and codes of conduct of how to respect and care for each other and our natural world relatives, what in English is called nature: animals, birds, plants, soil, trees, fish and marine life. Kinonwantaquasin, All Of Our Relations, as we say in my Wabanaki language. This is one of the most important Teachings my Nichitanganooks, my ancestors, tried to express to the Wampiskintanuk, the people from across the waters, the settlers who came to our homelands from Europe. Read the rest of this entry »

Time to Summon Our Greatest Courage by Winona LaDuke

Clamshell Alliance

By Winona LaDuke   

I remember the early morning at Seabrook, and my time in Boston. I remember the smell of the ocean and the mist on my face, and I remember faces and smells, and through that the courageous souls who helped me shape my own humanity.  I know that what we all did changed history.

Seabrook was my first anti nuclear demonstration at a nuclear power plant. I knew little about the east coast, New Hampshire seemed far away from my dorm room at Harvard,or for that matter my parents home three thousand miles away,  but I understood fundamentally that the questions being asked by the activists were the same questions we were asking in our own Indigenous territories- Who gave them the right to poison us?  And how will we stop them?  Read the rest of this entry »