Anti-nuclear protests – "We will be wherever they don't want us to be"

Michael Wilk bei seiner Rede

After long years of agony, the anti-nuclear movement has reported back with full force. At Germany's largest anti-nuclear protests ever, some 150.000 people demonstrated against the plans of the conservative-led German administration to revoke the nuclear phase-out compromise. Wherever parties didn't dominate the picture, the claims went much further – the call for demonstration in Biblis in southern Hesse demanded an immediate exit. Also, the close connection between nuclear energy and our capitalist society was addressed.


Accordingly, Michael Wilk from AKU Wiesbaden contextualized the anti-nuclear protests within the emancipatory overall project, aiming at overcoming domination and oppression. Therefore a "Green New Deal", as politicians of all parties and the capital wish it, would not be satisfactory at all. Only massive power of the streets can really make a difference to societal conditions, namely in the form of legitimate, practical resistance. Here the consolidated manuscript of his speech:


"Dear attendees,

today we are standing here with tens of thousands of people right in front of the oldest nuclear power plant of the republic. Here in Biblis, in 1987, it almost came to a severe nuclear accident. At that time a valve got stuck. First, the incident was overlooked, then it was hushed up, and it was only a year later that it came to the public. A nuclear accident of the order of Chernobyl in one of the most populated regions in the world would take yet another dimension. It would be an incredible catastrophe. And since the initial start-up, there were more than 800 reportable incidents in Biblis.

This allows only for one conclusion: This thing needs to be shut down – immediately!


No more discussions about phase-out schedules – we demand: "Turn them down now!"

At the very moment we shut down Biblis, it will keep on radiating for thousands of years. So the people worrying about their jobs in Biblis and elsewhere don't need to worry – they will continue to have work for years, in order to secure and dismantle this thing.


And yet, it needs to be stressed: today, this is not just about Biblis or Neckarwestheim, even though these are exceptionally old scrap reactors. It has already been said: we're having a concerted action today, the human chain in northern Germany, in Ahaus at the provisional store, and here in Biblis. We're pulling together. It is about switching off all nuclear facilities.

Don't they think about – and I deem it possible – shutting down one or two old reactors, in order to pacify us. That won't work. All nuclear reactors are highly dangerous, all need to be shut down, and they need to be shut down rightaway.


The only thing that is really sure about the operation of a nuclear plant is the profit of the operators. Every day, one single NPP flushes € 1.5 million into the coffers of the operator. While some are making quick money, the risk remains for everybody. Every year a single NPP creates radioactive poisons of the amount of 1200 times the Hiroshima bomb – apart from the radiation these poisons are a huge problem even in the so called regular operations. The disposal remains completely unclear. And the leukemia rate among young children is significantly higher in the vicinity of NPPs.

We conclude: "No relicensing" is the completely wrong discussion. These reactors are so dangerous that we're not overstating if we demand: "Switch them off now!"


Practiced resistance against violent criminals is legitimate


I personally consider the operation of nuclear plants as physical injury. An injury that is guarded and promoted by the state and protected by the law. Who produces nuclear poisons, who plays down the risks, who loads an unresolved waste disposal for thousands of years onto succeeding generations – is acting criminal.


It's not the people on the streets trying to stop these goings-on who are acting criminal, neither is it the people in Gorleben trying to block the Castor transports of hazardous nuclear waste – but it is the operators. They are criminals, they are violent criminals, and not the people who legitimately struggle against it.


And this holds true for those who legitimize and authorize all this by the means of the state. Yes, the operators do act according to the method of unscrupulous profits, but they act legal and authorized and are even funded by the state. They have some posts available that are quasi-automatically given to elder politicians. Exactly this is the difference between legal and legitimate. We might not always act legal, but what we do is legitimate.


So this is something many of us might not know anymore: Block A was put into operation in 1974, Block B 1976. At that time two more blocks were planned, and that they were never built is only because of hefty resistance.

Today again, not only protest is needed, but also legitimate, practical resistance. And in the current political situation protests and resistance are more necessary than ever, now that renewals of the operation licenses of 10, 20 or up to 60 years are being discussed.

So today we are standing here and we promise the policymakers: "Not with us!"


We don't trust party politics – only street pressure will make a difference!


Representing the organizing initiatives, I want to say at this point: We are happy about the many thousands of so diverse people that have come here. And we do see – just as in Berlin or elsewhere – that parties have some kind of incredible affinity to the stage, in order to be visible in the media, in the television. However, there not that much partisans on the whole place. I don't want to discriminate for or against someone. But, dammit, here are many, many more people than those partisans, and the people are here because they know: only pressure from the street will make a difference!


We're happy about all of you, but within the last years we have learned to differentiate between ordinary partisans – and at this point we want to say thank you to the man people who helped make this possible – and the party leaders. And we all know here – and that might be something some people don't like to hear, but will have to, because we unfortunately don't suffer from amnesia – we know exactly, how the lame nuclear phase-out consensus has come about. And it is exactly the results of this lame compromise that we have to deal with. If then someone had insisted on the immediate shutdown, we wouldn't have to stand here today.


We all know that the nuclear phase-out consensus from the red-green administration's term was a lame deal, that we have to pay dearly for now the administration has changed. With a few partial shut-offs and throttles the NPP operators have taken advantage of the woven-in legal loophole, in order to cheat their way through the scheduled deadlines right into the current legislative period. The criticism raised at a policy of connivance with the large energy corporations in an evil way has proven true. This has made us be even more suspicious.


Red-green politics and the intermediate waste stores


In 2004 the chief lobbyist of the German Atomforum exceptionally praised the good cooperation with the red-green government. The operations of the nuclear power plants were said to be "largely free from political interferences". This applied "in particular to the transports of disposed fuel assembly from the nuclear power plants". We remember: They nearly suffocated from their own nuclear waste, because the question of disposal wasn't resolved. It's been only the intermediate waste stores that brought about a solution, and it was Environmental Minister Trittin, who was especially praised by the German Atomforum.


I just wanted to mention it. No hard feelings from my side, but we will learn from yesterday's mistakes. For this reason the inviting initiatives and organizations have consequently decided not to provide the stage to parties. We mainly trust in ourselves and are suspicious towards parties, whose policies and strategies are always oriented at legislative periods and the retention of power and not at whatever is personally and politically right. Power is corrupting – much power even more!

But the great crowd of people here shows us how many people are ready again to become active and not to leave the field to parliaments. We don't want lame deals anymore, no fiddling with fade-out schedules. The only thing we will accept – and we will make your life a living hell – is shutting down immediately!


To keep on using atomic energy, is a mistake – even following the maxims of the real market, the capitalist market – as it hinders the necessary expansion of renewable, alternative energy.

Very important to say: in the last months we have successfully obstructed a huge coal power plant in Wiesbaden. We are struggling together with the initiatives that are taking the protest against coal power to the streets, and we are united in struggling for the use of renewable, alternative energies.


No ecological tanks – no "Green New Deal"


Those who are here, have strength and energy, diversity and determination.

We all have more energy and power then they will ever be able to generate in this nuclear power plant behind us.

As a social and ecological movement, we are the pacemakers when it comes to the societal perspective. We don't care about the five-year-principles of legislative periods, or about polit-economical day-by-day pragmatism… And we don't just say what is law but we say what we deem right.

Accordingly, we say "Shut them all down now", but we don't let it go at that: our project is the transformation to a society in which humans and nature do count, and not exploitation, valorization and maximization of profits.


Because it is indeed necessary to ask: Is a little biological oil in the gears of this society enough?

All major corporations have started to take up the cause of ecology. Those who marked us down as anti-progressive for years, they learned from us. Siemens, RWE, the car industry – now they all pretend being ecology-aware, even some of the most conservative representatives of capitalism. I'm waiting for the first ecological tank by Krauss-Maffei to defend German interests at the Hindu Kush.


Not just ecologically ambitioned politicians, but also the bigwigs of industry are currently discussing the idea of a "New Green Deal" and the option to use ecology to help them out of the economic crisis. The complain that too few of the billions being pumped into the banking sector that created the crisis, are being used in an ecologically sustainable way. And again they are talking about "higher, faster, further" and about growth. But this time with an ecological seal…

This is not what we call ecologically and socially sustainable. As we understand it, ecology breaks with the maxims of rampant growth.


And: Ecology is no German and no European cause.

We don't see the resistance against inhuman projects of energy corporations and against the strategy of accommodating politicians detached from the societal reality. It's not just about ecology. It's about whether strategies of mastery can be enforced against us here, in this country, in Europe and in the whole world. As the profits of some grow bigger, other parts of the society become impoverished. Hazardous waste is being discharged at the poorest people of the world. Pauperization and hunger are not interesting, as long as the goods and capital flows run into the right pockets.

The arrogance of power becomes apparent in many facets. This is why we need to and we will see the relationships and this is why we see ourselves just as well as a social movement that says No to disenfranchisement and exploitation.


Today we are here, in fall we will be in Gorleben. And we will be wherever they don't want us to be."



This speech was held at the encirclement march in Biblis, Germany on 24 April 2010. An audio recording can be found at

Michael Wilk ist physician, author of several books and activist at Arbeitskreis Umwelt Wiesbaden (AKU).

Thanks to little k for the photos!


Zeige Kommentare: ausgeklappt | moderiert

 Why don't you give Merkel to drink all the nuclear waste and send all the rest of christian-"democratic" government together with the "social"-"democrats" for life time vacations inside the shut down nuclear factories ?! I think this solution can work for the whole of the people around the word !!! A small step for Merkel, a huge step for humanity ...    :)