Archive for the ‘Politics’ Category

Apr
24
    
Clam birth by Sam Lovejoy, June 16, 2008

I believe it was 2 days after the feds granted the Seabrook permit in mid June, 76, Guy [Chichester] called to tell me; and I remember telling him (er goofing on him) “I told you so;” at which point he kinda admitted he had been too optimistic because “I just never believed they’d turn the bay into a hot tub!”. Then he, Renny [Cushing] and I talked on the phone to put together a “quick” coordination meeting almost immediately (several people like Mr. Brummer were already on board), my memory is June 22 (1976?). That 1st meeting had maybe 10 to 12 people at it. Guy and I sorta co-chaired (he was way bigger than me back then).

That first meeting really was only dedicated to energizing ourselves and coming up with a broader list of activist folks to get together AS FAST AS POSSIBLE, and make preliminary – yet to be confirmed or decided til the greater meeting – decisions on what to do and how to do it. The occupation in Weil, Germany, was an inspiration to us all. There was also Neil, Mr. Brummster, Kate, Kristie [Conrad], 2 other women I can see, maybe Chuck [Light] and Dan [Keller] of Green Mountain Post Films?, (and who else, memory just collapsed!).

The next meeting happened just a few days later, was at a little quasi-public place near the coast, with some lawn where we all sat outside on an absolutely gorgeous, sunny day (I remember getting some sunburn). That meeting lasted (?) 12 exhilarating hours with maybe 25 to 30 people. It was at that meeting that ALL general guiding principles of Los Clam were decided or established, nonviolence and absolute consensus – and the Clam named. That meeting broke into sub-groups that would report back to the larger group, maybe every hour, so that everyone knew what was going on in every subgroup, and a strong and clear consensus could be developed.

I clearly remember the Statement of Purpose sub com was “assisted” by a “style” committee at the end of the day. The “name” sub com, if I remember right, came up with “Clam Alliance” (?) which was met with great enthusiasm – and then amended to “Clamshell” by someone in the larger group because the shell was the “container” for the Alliance being started.

It was decided that nonviolent training was needed for each affinity group for many reasons including security and controlling provocation. Also, a certain pre-eminence was given the Clamshell people of the Seacoast in decisions (since “they had to live there,” and knew the local folks), thereby granting them a kind of blackball on strategy and tactics. We committed to growing each occupation force by 10 times the previous number. We created working committees – Coordinating, Legal, Fundraising, Media; there was a joke made that we needed a “Propaganda Committee” which met with a lot of laughter.

Thereafter, until August 1, the Coord Com met at least once a week, or more, preparing for Occupation #1. Harvey [Wasserman] was in Thailand, or somewhere across the Pacific waters, and arrived at the seacoast around noon or thereabouts from Logan airport on August 1, the first “occupation,” with the infamous 18 (mostly) seacoast residents.

All in all, an absolutely tremendous, almost unbelievable, amount of organizing work occurred in just 5 weeks… truly phenomenal. THE CLAM WAS A GROUP, COLLABORATIVE EFFORT, with an emphasis on NOT having a leader or leaders but rather working by consensus thru affinity groups………. and a great team and time was had by all, especially in the first 18 months or so… Three occupations with over 1,600 total arrests (without injury), and a very amazing Energy Fair, all took place within 10 months at Seabrook. The volunteer energy, enthusiasm, cooperation – and love – was spectacular! The sound from this bell ring obviously “rang true” because so many groups around the US and the world adopted the basics of this organizing model.

(and I do believe that Paul Gunter was taller back then!)

Mar
06
    
DECLARATION OF NUCLEAR RESISTANCE Revised version, adopted November, 1977, at the Clamshell Congress

DECLARATION OF NUCLEAR RESISTANCE

Revised version, adopted November, 1977, at the Clamshell Congress

 We, the member of the Clamshell Alliance, demand an immediate and permanent halt to the construction and export of nuclear power plants and facilities, and nuclear weapons and supporting technology.

Nuclear power is dangerous to all living creatures and to their natural environment. The nuclear industry is designed to concentrate profits and the control of energy resources in the hands of a powerful few, undermining basic principles of human liberty.

A nuclear power plant at Seabrook, New Hampshire, could lock our region into a suicidal path. As an affiliation of a wide range of groups and individuals, the Clamshell Alliance is unalterably opposed to the construction of this, and any other, nuclear power plant.

We recognize:

  1. that the present direction in energy research and development is based on corporate efforts to maximize profits and recoup past investments rather than on meeting our real energy needs;
  2. that there is a direct relationship between nuclear power plants and nuclear weapons. The arms industry has used the “peaceful atom” to legitimize its technology. The export of nuclear reactors makes possible the spread of nuclear bombs to nations all over the world. The possibility of nuclear thievery and sabotage of nuclear facilities poses further danger to our civil liberties and our lives;
  3. that the centralized nature of nuclear power takes control of energy from local communities and strengthens the monopoly of the utilities;
  4. that a political and economic environment committed to the nuclear age is not conducive to the development of, and implementation of, renewable energy sources. With changes in the regulatory and political climate, renewable sources of energy – such as solar technologies – would become competitive, conservation would flourish, and the alleged “need” for nuclear energy would vanish. Awareness of the fact that we live within a balanced, natural ecosystem necessitates changes in “traditional” economic and social values;
  5. that nuclear power plants have proved to be an economic catastrophe. Expensive, inefficient, and unreliable, they require immense investments of capital, and create fewer jobs, than comparable investments in conservation and solar energy;
  6. that the dangers of nuclear power plants are intolerable. They include release of “low-level” radiation – a cause of cancer and genetic disorders; the creation of deadly radioactive waste which must be completely isolated from the environment for 250,000 years; the destruction of our lakes, rivers, and oceans by thermal pollution; and the possibility of a catastrophic meltdown. No material gain, real or imagined, is worth the assault on life itself that atomic energy represents.

 We therefore demand:

  1. that not one more cent be spent on nuclear power reactors or nuclear weapons, except to dispose of those wastes already created and to decommission those plants and weapons now in existence;
  2. that our energy policy be focused on developing and implementing clean and renewable sources of energy in concert with an efficient system of recycling and conservation;
  3. that all people who lose jobs through the cancellation of nuclear construction, operation, or weapons production be offered retraining and jobs in the natural energy field at decent, union level wages;
  4. that the supply of energy should, in all cases, be controlled by the people. Private monopoly must give way to public control. In concert with public ownership, power supply should be decentralized so that environmental damage is further minimized, and so that control can revert to the local community.

We have full confidence that when the dangers and expense of nuclear energy are made known to the people, they will reject this tragic experiment which has already cost us so much in health, environmental quality, material resources, labot, and control over our own lives.

The Clamshell Alliance will continue its uncompromising opposition to any and all nuclear construction in New England and elsewhere.

Our stand is in defense of the health, safety, and general well-being of ourselves and of future generations of all life on this planet.

We therefore announce that, should construction continue at Seabrook, we will mobilize the citizenry and return to the site to blockade or occupy it until construction has ceased and the project is totally and irrevocably cancelled.

Mar
06
    
WHISTLEBLOWERS By Sharon Tracy

WHISTLEBLOWERS

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 »

Mar
06
    
MAINSTREAM MEDIA By CW Wolff and Robin Read

MAINSTREAM MEDIA

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 »

Mar
06
    
CORPORATE AND GOVERNMENT SURVEILLANCE OF THE CLAMSHELL by Robin Read

CORPORATE AND GOVERNMENT SURVEILLANCE OF THE CLAMSHELL

 CIVIL LIBERTIES VIOLATED

 YELLOW JOURNALISM, 1970s STYLE

by Robin Read

Corporate and government surveillance of the Clamshell Alliance began with the inception of the organization in 1976, intensified in the weeks before the April 1977 occupation, and continued for the next several years. Fear mongering by right wing organizations and media, fed by the surveillance and infiltration, were among the factors that led Seabrook area residents to urge the Clamshell to call off its planned massive 1978 occupation and instead hold a three day legal rally on the plant site. The surveillance and infiltration contributed to internal divisions before and after the 1978 demonstration. Read the rest of this entry »