NUGGETS FROM THE NUT HOUSE
Edward S. Herman
Million Dollar Minute
Tom H. Hastings
KINGS & QUEENS
Obama Crowns Himself
Masked in Gaza
Oaxaca's New Government
The People's Caucus
Defending Civil and Human Rights
The Fight for Worker Rights
Not Just About Occupying
MUSIC & BOOKS
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Christmas in the Radiation Zone
It’s the first thing you notice as we drive over the glittering, snow-specked mountain range from Fukushima to Soma on the northeast coast of Japan and pass the many persimmon trees dotting the landscape, all laden with fruit ready for harvesting. But this year, the persimmons will remain untouched. They are a silent reminder of the slow-burning, far-reaching menace of a nuclear accident.
As we drove, I watched the readings of the omnipresent dosimeter dangling from the rearview mirror. Arriving at a children’s summer camp, I am handed a facemask as an ominous beeping sound begins and the readings peak above 1 micro-sievert per hour. We pass an old local incinerator burning refuse and the numbers spike again.
The people of
The cows have been evacuated, but apparently beyond the compulsory evacuation zone of around 12.42 miles, it’s deemed safe for humans, even small and growing ones. Hiroyuki, an employee at a children’s non-profit turned public health activist, evacuated his wife and four-year-old daughter first to
Radiation from the three severely damaged reactors has spread far and wide, yet the government raised the allowable radiation doses 20 times from the internationally recognized 1mSv/year to 20. This means that anywhere over 0.6 micro sieverts/hour, an amount previously limited to people working in “radiologically controlled areas,” is no longer cause for evacuation.
Even though the emergency evacuation centers are said to be “temporary,” it is likely that thousands of the 110,000 people who have been evacuated will never be able to return to their homes due to long-lived radioisotopes contaminating the ground, food, and water. Indeed, the Interim Report concludes: “bearing in mind that many people are still obliged to spend restricted life in evacuation for a long period of time, suffering from radiation contamination or fears of health due to exposure, contaminated air, soils, water, and food.”
Even before the report, some people I met are now referring to themselves as the “Fukushima Diaspora,” rather than “evacuees,” because they don’t believe they will ever be able to return.
We arrive in the small community of Isobe on the coast—at least what remains of Isobe. We are met by Toshiko Kooriki at her new temporary housing in the midst of orderly rows of small prefabricated living quarters. She takes us to see the stubby concrete remnants of her original house. They jut a couple of feet up from the barren moonscape that was once a small close-knit community of 400 families just inland from where the tsunami hit. She points out the different rooms and tells us that she comes here from time to time and cries.
We meet Hatsumi Terashima, no longer a fisherman after 54 years. The flat expanse of mud in the background is where the rest of the village used to be. He lost two of his grandchildren, a son, his son’s wife, and his mother-in-law in the tsunami. Immediately after the earthquake, he was inside rearranging fallen items when the tsunami struck. Due to the shape of the land, there is an old saying in Isobe that no tsunami could hit here. In disbelief, he watched as a dark wall of water rushed toward him and he was dragged a mile inland by the first wave. His knee broken, a rope caught Hatsumi and he was heaved to safety, unlike his family members who were among the 264 who perished. But he can’t fish because the ocean is too radioactive. He passes his time on the sea catching rubble and other detritus left by the crushing force of the tsunami.
Iatate, a town directly in the path of the radiation plume, but outside of the 12-mile zone, has been evacuated as a high radiation area. However, this was done only after the heaviest radioactive releases from the initial explosions because the government’s computerized radiation early-warning System for Prediction of Environmental Emergency Dose Information, (SPEEDI) was down as “communication links were disrupted and inoperative due to the earthquakes and the SPEEDI could not receive the basic source term information of discharged radioactivity.”
While SPEEDI could have provided some crucial data and helped with a swifter evacuation so that people were not exposed to so much radiation, the information it could have given to local officials and the public to plan evacuations never reached them because “the local NERHQ (Nuclear Emergency Response Head Quarters) lost its functionality.”
As we pass through Iatate on our way back from Soma, the only lights are from street lamps and the still-occupied old people’s home, housing those too old and vulnerable to be safely moved, cared for by workers on strict shift rotations. We stop outside the town’s high school. Inside the car, the readings have ranged from 0.14 micro-sieverts/hour to 1.8. We train our Geiger counters on the soil. The displays jump to six micro-sieverts/hour.
Despite the devastation and loss of life caused by the earthquake and tsunami, the people I meet in
In a male-dominated society, the female leadership of the movement against the government and the nuclear utility, TEPCO, has become distinctly noticeable. In one of the many meetings organized around the radiation levels and evacuation of children, I spoke with a group of women who decided to stay for jobs and the stability of their families, but who are angry at the government and frightened of the consequences of their decision. One woman had started meetings for people she trusts to talk about their experiences and strategize. She showed me her government-issued papers, radiation monitor, and a long and detailed form she is required to fill out daily, describing the movements and food intake of her daughter. When complete, she will mail it back to the government for analysis, along with the dosimeter that her daughter is required to keep on her at all times. Nihonmatsu asks, “If it’s so safe here in
A second woman, Jinko Mera, nods in agreement: “We always have to think about how much radiation our food has. We want to live free from that. And the healthiest food is from your own region, but we can’t dry persimmons, we can’t eat our peaches, we cannot eat our own food.”
At another organizing meeting on Christmas Day, women led a discussion of the October sit-in outside the ministry of economy, trade, and industry, METI, which contains NISA. Amidst speeches and reminiscences, we watch the 1983 documentary Carry Greenham Home, about the 19-year women’s peace camp and occupation of the
According to a recent report by Greenpeace (Japan) and the Tokyo-based Institute for Sustainable Energy Policies, Japan could generate 43 percent of its energy requirements from renewable sources by 2020, easily surpassing and making redundant the 30 percent that is provided by nuclear power (though only 6 of the 54 reactors are currently operational). With
The meeting of activists ends as attendees gather in a circle to hold hands and sing—evocative of another circle years ago when 30,000 women formed a ring around the nine-mile perimeter of Greenham Common air base and said, “they shall not pass. We sing “Furosato,” a Japanese song of longing and remembrance:
Someday when I have done what I set out to do
I will return to where I used to have my home.
Lush and green are the mountains of my homeland.
Pure and clear is the water of my old country home.
The next demonstration of the women of
Chris Williams is an environmental activist and author of Ecology and Socialism: Solutions to Capitalist Ecological Crisis (Haymarket, 2010). He is chair of the science dept. at Packer Collegiate Institute and adjunct professor at
Z Magazine Archive
AnnouncementsLABOR - May 1 is May Day. Workers of the world will celebrate the 124th anniversary of International Worker’s Day. Born out of a call for an 8-hour workday in the United States, this day is an opportunity for all workers to show their solidarity with one another, as well as to renew the call for labor rights.
FARM CONFERENCE - The Farm Conference on Community and Sustainability will be held May 24-26 in Summertown, TN, in partnership with the Fellowship of Intentional Communities. Tour green homes, see sustainable food production, learn about solar installations, alternative education, midwifery, and more.
Contact: Douglas@thefarmcommunity.com; http://www.thefarmcommunity.com/.
PALESTINE - The Conference of the Palestinian Shatat in North American will be held June 3-5 in Vancouver. The conference will examine the future of the Palestinian liberation movement.
Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org; http://www.palestinianconference.org/.
LABOR - The Pacific Northwest Labor History Association’s 45th annual conference will be held May 3-5, in Portland, OR. This year’s theme is Labor Under Attack: Learning from the Past and Preparing for the Future. A call for presentations, workshops and papers is currently underway.
Contact: PNLHA, 27920 68th Ave. East, Graham, WA 98338; 206-406-2604; PNLHA1@aol.com; http://www3.telus.net.
MARIJUANA - On the first Saturday of May marijuana legalization activists will hold informational and educational events, rallies and marches in over 300 cities around the world.
ECONOMICS - The Union For Radical Political Economics will hold its 39th annual conference May 9-11 in New York City.
RECLAIM THE DREAM - The 2013 Poor People’s Campaign & March from Baltimore to Washington D.C. will be May 11. Communities, schools and unions interested in participating are encouraged to contact the Baltimore People’s Assembly.
Contact: 410-500-2168; 410-218-4835; BaltimorePeoplesAssembly@gmail.com; Southern Christian Leadership Conference of Baltimore and the Baltimore Peoples Power Assembly, 2011 N. Charles St., Baltimore, MD 21218.
MOTHER’S DAY - The 17th Annual Mother’s Day Walk For Peace will be May 12th, in Dorchester, MA. The walk began in 1996 for families who had lost children to violence. The day has become a way for thousands of people to financially support the work of the Louis Brown Peace Institute.
Contact: http://www.ldbpeaceinstitute.org/; http://mothersdaywalk4peace.org/.
NATO 5 - An International Week of Solidarity with the NATO 5 has been called for May 16-21. Supports call on supporters to raise awareness of the NATO 5 and support funds for the defendants on the one-year anniversary of their preemptive arrests.
Contact: email@example.com; https://nato5support.wordpress.com.
MOUNTAINTOP - The 2013 Mountain Justice Summer Activist Training Camp will be held May 19-27 in Damascus, VA. It will be a week of workshops, field trips to view Mountain Top Removal coal mines, direct actions, and service project.
FEMINIST SCI-FI - The feminist science fiction convention WisCon 37 is scheduled for May 24-27 in Madison, WI.
Contact: WisCon, ? SF3, PO Box 1624, Madison, WI 53701; firstname.lastname@example.org; http://www.wiscon.info/.
ANARCHY FEST - A month-long Festival of Anarchy is scheduled for May in Montreal. The festival includes The Montreal Anarchist Bookfair (May 19-20).
Contact: http://www.anarchistbookfair.ca/; http://www.radicalmontreal.com/.
LABOR - The International Labor Rights Forum will present: Down the Supply Chain, Driving Corporate Accountability, on May 22 in Washington, DC. The Labor Rights Awards Ceremony and Reception will honor pioneers in supply chain worker organizing, working solidarity and international labor rights policy.
MULTICULTURE - The 26th annual National Conference on Race & Ethnicity in American Higher Education (NCORE) will take place May 28-June 1, in New Orleans.
Contact: SWCHRS, 3200 Marshall Avenue, Suite 290, Norman, OK 73072; 405-325-3694; email@example.com; www.ncore.ou.edu.
MEDIA - The 2013 Alliance for Community Media Annual Conference will be held May 29-31, in San Francisco, CA. Participants will include educators, community leaders, media professionals, journalists, nonprofit leaders, policymakers and students.
RADIO - The 38th Annual Community Radio Conference is schedule for May 29-June 1, in San Francisco, CA, with discussions and workshops.
Contact: 1101 Pennsylvania Ave. NW, Suite 600, Washington, DC 20004; 202-756-2268; firstname.lastname@example.org; http://www.nfcb.org/.
BRADLEY MANNING - On June 1, a rally will be held at Fort Meade in support of Bradley Manning.
BIKES - Bikes Not Bombs is holding its 24th annual Bike-A-Thon and Green Roots Festival in Boston, MA on June 3, with several bike rides scheduled, music, exhibitors and more.
Contact: Bikes Not Bombs, 284 Amory St., Jamaica Plain, MA 02130; 617-522-0222; email@example.com; www.bikesnotbombs.org.
LEFT FORUM - The 2013 Left Forum will be held June 7-9, at Pace University in New York City.
Contact: 365 Fifth Avenue, CUNY Graduated Center, ? Sociology Dept., New York, NY 10016; http://www.leftforum.org/.
VEGAN FEST - Mad City Vegan Fest will be held in Madison, WI, June 8. The annual event features food, speakers, and exhibitors.
Contact: 122 State Street, Suite 405 B, Madison, WI 53701; firstname.lastname@example.org; http://veganfest.org/.
ADC CONFERENCE - The American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC) holds its annual conference June 13-16, in Washington, DC, with panel discussions and workshops on civil rights, media and other topics.
Contact: 1990 M Street, Suite 610, Washington, DC, 20036; 202-244-2990; email@example.com http://convention.adc.org/.
CUBA/SOCIALISM - A Cuban-North American Dialog on Socialist Renewal and Global Capitalist Crisis will be held in Havana, Cuba, June 16-30. There will be a 5 day Seminar at University of Havana, plus visits to a cooperative, urban garden, community development project, social research centers, and educational & medical institutions.
Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org; http://www.globaljusticecenter.org/.
NETROOTS - The 8th Annual Netroots Nation conference will take place June 20-23 in San Jose, CA. The event features panels, trainings, networking, screenings, and keynotes.
Contact: 164 Robles Way, #276, Vallejo, CA 94591; email@example.com; http://www.netrootsnation.org/.
MEDIA - The 15th annual Allied Media Conference will be held June 20-23, in Detroit.
Contact: 4126 Third Street, Detroit, MI 48201; http://alliedmedia.org/.
GRASSROOTS - The United We Stand Festival will be hosted by Free & Equal, June 22 in Little Rock, Arkansas. The festival aims to reform the electoral process throughout the U.S.
SOCIALISM - The Socialism 2013 Conference is scheduled for June 27-30 in Chicago, featuring talks and panel discussions.
Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org; http://www.socialismconference.org.
LITERACY - The National Association for Media Literacy Education (NAMLE) will hold its conference July 12-13 in Los Angeles under the heading, Intersections: Teaching and Learning Across Media.
Contact: 10 Laurel Hill Drive, Cherry Hill, NJ 08003; http://namle.net/conference/.
IWW - The North American Work People’s College will take place July 12-16 at Mesaba Co-op Park in northern Minnesota. The event will bring together Wobblies from branches across the continent to learn new skills and build One Big Union.
PEACESTOCK - On July 13th, the 11th Annual Peacestock: A Gathering for Peace, will take place at Windbeam Farm in Hager City, WI. The event is a mixture of music, speakers and community for peace. Sponsored by Veterans for Peace.
Contact: Bill Habedank, 1913 Grandview Ave., Red Wing, MN 55066; 651-388-7733; email@example.com; http://www.peacestockvfp.org.
CHILDREN’S DEFENSE - July 15-19, join clergy, seminarians, Christian educators, young adult leaders and other faith-based advocates for children at CDF Haley Farm in Clinton, Tennessee, for five days of spiritual renewal, networking, movement building workshops, and continuing education about the urgent needs of children at the 19th annual Proctor Institute for Child Advocacy Ministry.
Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org; http://www.childrensdefense.org.
ACTIVIST CAMP - Youth Empowered Action (YEA) Camp will have sessions in July and August in Ben Lomond, CA; Portland, OR; Charlton, MA. YEA Camp is designed for activists 12-17 years old who want to make a difference in the world.
Contact: email@example.com; http://yeacamp.org/.
LA RAZA - The annual National Council of La Raza (NCLR) Conference is scheduled for July 18-19 in New Orleans, with workshops, presentations and panel discussions.
Contact: NCLR Headquarters Office, Raul Yzaguirre Building, 1126 16th Street, NW, Washington, DC 20036; 202-785-1670; www.nclr.org.
LABOR - The Eastern Conference For Workplace Democracy: Growing Our Cooperatives, Growing Our Communities, will be held at Drexel University in Philadelphia, PA, July 26-28.
Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org; http://east.usworker.coop/.
WOMEN/LYNNE STEWART- Radical Women is asking for support letters and cards to be sent to Lynne Stewart. Stewart is a civil rights attorney and political prisoner who is currently in jail. She has breast cancer and authorities have denied her request for transfer from her Texas prison to the New York City hospital where she received medical attention during a prior bout of breast cancer. Send messages and cards to: Lynne Stewart 53504-054, Federal Medical Center Carswell, P.O. Box 27137, Fort Worth, TX 76127.
Contact: 747 Polk Street, San Francisco, CA 94109; 415-864-1278; RadicalWomenUS@gmail.com; http://lynnestewart.org/; http://www.radicalwomen.org/.
HAITI/WOMEN - Haiti’s government is considering a legal reform measure that would prohibit and punish all sexual assault, including marital rape. MADRE and the International Campaign to Stop Rape & Gender Violence in Conflict are launching a petition to raise international support for this push to address violence against women in Haiti.
Contact: 121 West 27th Street, #301, New York, NY 10001; 212-627-0444; email@example.com; http://www.madre.org.
SYRIA/MIDDLE EAST - The Middle East Children’s Alliance (MECA) is currently seeking funds to assist more than 200,000 refugees fleeing violence in Syria.
FOLK FESTIVAL - The Falcon Ridge Folk Festival will be held August 2-4, in the Berkshires, NY.
Contact: http://www.falconridgefolk.com/; firstname.lastname@example.org.
WAR RESISTERS - The War Resisters League will hold its 90th anniversary conference, Revolutionary Nonviolence: Building Bridges Across Generations and Communities, August 1-4, at Georgetown University. The event will focus on the U.S.’ long history of antimilitarism.
Contact: 339 Lafayette Street, New York, NY 10012; 212-228-0450; email@example.com; http://www.warresisters.org.
POPULAR ECONOMICS - The Center for Popular Economics is holding its 2013 Summer Institute August 4-9 at Hampshire College in Amherst, MA. No background in economics is needed for this intensive training. This year’s theme is, The Care Economy: Building a Just Economy with a Heart.
Contact: Center for Popular Economics, PO Box 785 Amherst, MA 01004; 413-545-0743; firstname.lastname@example.org; www.populareconomics.org.
VETERANS - Veterans for Peace is holding the 28th annual convention August 6-11 in Madison, WI. This year’s theme is, Power To The Peaceful.
DEMOCRACY - The Democracy Convention will take place August 7-11 in Madison, WI. The convention brings together nine conferences including topics such as media, education, defense, race, environment and others.
MEN - The 38th National Conference on Men & Masculinity: Forging Justice: Creating Safe, Equal and Accountable Communities, presented in partnership with HAVEN, will be held in Detroit, MI, August 8-10.
Contact: email@example.com; http://www.nomas.org/.
OCCUPY - An Occupy National Gathering will be held in Kalamazoo, MI, August 21-25.
Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org; http://occupynationalgathering.net/.
COMMUNITIES - The Communities Conference is a networking and learning opportunity for co-operative or communal lifestyles, with workshops, events and entertainment; scheduled for August 30-September 2 at the Twin Oaks Community in Louisa, Virginia.
LABOR DAY - The 29th annual Bread and Roses Festival, a celebration of the ethnic diversity and labor history of Lawrence, MA, will be held September 2, in honor of the 1912 Bread and Roses Strike. There will be music, dance, poetry, drama, ethnic food, historical demonstrations, walking & trolley tours.
Contact: PO Box 1137, Lawrence, MA 01842; 978-794-1655; http://www.breadandrosesheritage.org/.
OCCUPY WALL STREET - September 17 is the two-year anniversary of the Occupy Wall Street movement. Events are planned in New York City and worldwide.
TEACHERS - The 13th Annual Conference, “Teaching for Social Justice: The Politics of Pedagogy,” will be held October 12 in San Francisco, CA. The free event features workshops, resources, and free childcare.
Contact: 415-676-7844; email@example.com; http://www.t4sj.org/.
HAITI - International Action, which brings clean water and chlorinators to Haiti, seeks office space capable of housing up to six people and their office equipment.
Contact: Zach Bremer, Zbrehmer@haitiwater.org; 202-488-0735; http://www.haitiwater.org/.
MEDIA - The Union for Democratic Communications and Project Censored are sponsoring a joint conference on media democracy, media activism and social justice to be held November 1-3 at the University of San Francisco. Proposals for presentations, workshops and panels from activists and critical scholars are invited.