Friday, November 7, 2008

Honorarium of Socks

The following is a speach i gave tonight at the international panel discussion at the Gorleben anti-nuclear waste transport action. It was given with alternating translation into German.

If anyone tells they know how to stop the Castor transports they are lieing. I have worked on anti-nuclear campaigns in North America, Eastern and Western Europe for over 20 years and every time we win we are surprised. We never would have guessed that the tactics and strategies we used would succeed, but somehow sometimes they do.

And there are things we do know, things my German friends and Russian comrades can teach my fellow Americans. And to name the most important, it is persistence.

I was here in Gorleben on this blockade in 1997 with over 10,000 protesters. The police were very hard on us, using water cannons, pain compliance and tear gas. Now more than 10 years later, thousands of people will again return to continue this fight. These actions have shaped the debate on nuclear power in Germany. And they remind this country and the world that there is no solution to the problem of nuclear waste.

I have three pieces of advice for you. The first is find someone who inspires you and ask them why they do this work. There are many powerful and compelling reasons to come here and participate. For me it is the unfairness of nuclear power - that this generation enjoys the benefits of this dirty electricity and thousands of future generations have to suffer for it.

My second advice is build strong positive memories of this action. If you like to play cat and mouse games with the police, be sure to do it here. If you are a social person than stay up late and party with these amazing people. If you love nature take time to enjoy the beautiful local scenery. what is important is that you build memories so strong that when your friend asks you next year "Are you going back to Gorleben?" you will find yourself saying "yes".

And my third piece of advice is be daring. This could be as radical as chaining yourself to the tracks or as simple as helping make a group meal if you never cook. You can help out at the first aid tent when the police casualties come rolling in, if this is not the kind of thing you would normally do. Streach yourself here. Be creative. For there is a chance that we will look back on your act of daring wth surprise, fr it was one of the actions which ended this nuclear madness.


At the end of our presentation, our host Kerstin gave all the speakers hand knit socks, very practical gift for tomorrow nights long wait for the Castor transport.

i returned home to Kerstins place with Lucifer and the Russian anti-nuclear mafia. Galina and Rashid were listening to Iraqi language recordings which were designed for the US military fighting there. They consisted of such gems as "We are liberators, we are not occupiers" and "Give up, resistance is futile" With a million children dead between US sanctions and war on that country, i only hope i am never lucky enough to be liberated by the US.


PJ said...

Hand knit socks, how thoughtful.

The advice you give works for many paths in life.

Was it something of a rush to be a foreigner having your words translated in front of a group of people?

Unknown said...

I appreciate the inclusiveness in the "be daring" advice. I think often people don't identify as activists so don't consider the way they can contribute. We have to encourage each other to push our edges and at the same time find the places we fit into the big picture - knowing that each piece counts. Thx for the reminders.

memeticist said...

i do love getting translated. it makes me talk slower. it makes me think about what i am saying and be clear and not repeat. and of course you feel like "hey i am saying stuff which someone thinks is important enuf to translate"