Home > environment, friends, politics > nuclear power and me (part 2)

nuclear power and me (part 2)

The police arrived on the scene rather quickly. Traffic was backed up and I and 5 or so others were handcuffed to the cement barrels. We were chanting: “One, two, three, four, don’t pollute our lake no more, five, six, seven, eight, shut down fermi smash the state”. The crowd of protesters strung all over the countryside realized where the action was and started to arrive. The police came with bolt cutters and we were clipped out relatively easily. (We couldn’t raise the $100 for stove pipe to complete the barrels according to design, otherwise they would have had to bust through all the concrete.) We got bailed out though because it took long enough for the cop cars batteries to die from running all the lights. the road was still blocked for better than an hour.

I hit jail with such an incredible since of relief. i was so tired and stressed from organizing this monster event jail was a blessing. I wondered about what my life had become. The police had taken to putting us in a separate holding cell where the phone was “broken”. This had been their policy since an activist, john i think, did a tv interview over the jail phone. I heard reports of the tripods, the police just pushed them over and maced people when they hit the street. john whose plan had been to handcuff himself to the first cop car filled with protesters had been preemptively maced and arrested just because and the cops were intrigued by the handcuffs.

The cops were pissed. taken off guard and outside their experience. They are not used to having people say “no”.  They were not used to detroit anarchists pelting them first with doughnuts later with stones. They were not used to photographers catching them being rough. They arrested a couple, real professional journalists. My friend Roger yelled out “don’t mace her pig!” A cop came over and yelled in his face that if he stepped in the road he would be arrested. Roger yelled back “ok I won’t” and the cop pulled back and hit him. six cops beat him down with sticks while Roger lay on the ground yelling I am not resisting, I am not resisting. They squirt mace, lots of it in his eyes up his nose in his ears down his throat until he vomited. then they arrested him and charged him with felony assault. I kid you not. i saw the video. roger was convicted at trial for assault. crazy world. they say spittle left his lips when he yelled ok i won’t.

We all chanted bad cop no doughnut when they brought roger in. we chanted and sang all night. we did a hed hum that was transcedent. we slept in a big pile like puppies when they wouldn’t give us blankets. we all refused bail because it wasn’t offered to Roger and a photographer who was beaten and also charged with assault. if you didn’t know it if the cops beat you up they charge you with assault to justify your injuries. pricks.

there’s more to the story but little about nuclear power. i was disillusioned by the whole thing. mostly roger. i realized my policy of creating conflict situations to radicalize people was reckless and costly. i didn’t think i had it in me anymore. constant court support plus my own legal involvement long after the cameras went away made me think. the plant opened largely without incident. on christmas we got santa (Terry Carpenter) arrested with an elf (Marie Mason) and an indian (Jesse Deerinwater). my mom and both my brothers. that’s where you had to be if you wanted to see the trapps on christmas.

the following summer other activists picked up the torch for another big action and i felt i had to carry on though my passion was gone. spent the summer in detroit organizing and we brought together a similar coalition. we again did multiple arrest events. our big finale was a full on non-violent assault on the plant. we had two ladders hidden and planned on going over the fence. one was a cooling tower sculpture with a ladder and a long ladder swathed in paper with slogan written on it. both of these were feints to draw the security so two of us could throw blankets over the barbwire scale the fence and climb the power towers with handcuffs and a banner. Our cooling tower ladder was pegged right away and seized by the cops. the other fooled them and we got three over the fence but it didn’t draw off the security. rather than get pulled off the fence i went around to the camera crews and said there would be an action at the custer statue in 15 minutes. Me and a kid from kansas drove down there, climbed the custer statue and handcuffed ourselves to his stirrup. Oh and I forgot to mention the guy who showed up with scuba gear who was coming in from the beach to climb the reactor building and plant an earthfirst! banner on the roof. we were all scared when he never showed. violating a nuclear security zone is a federal felony. he was a strange guy with a crew cut, no activist credentials and a trunk full of high tech gear. everyone thought he was a plant so i palled up to him. i did with all the suspected infiltrators. put em to work, take em under my wing, embrace them watch them. when we got out of jail i called his emergency number in chicago and he answered. he said he was picked up by “federal authorities” and questioned. “don’t worry they’re not interested in you” he said. they’re after squatter and the greenpeace bigwigs. speaking of greenpeace it was hiroshima day and no greenpeace parallel action. but on nagasaki day they dropped giant banners down the cooling towers. hadn’t told us which was good on them because we had likely been seriously infiltrated.

It was sweet. more arrests, probation, lack of money and i ultimately drifted out of full time radical environmental activism. i saw where it was heading. i was getting tired. the chronic poverty and constant travel, the stress. mostly i was tired. tired of hitting my head against a brick wall.

I did some other stuff, small protests, conferences, teach ins and such. when davis besse in Oregon Ohio had their incidents 3/4″ of stainless steel all that was left in their corroded containment vessel. so close. all i did was put it in my chap book. i might have went to one protest.

When I had my manic breakdown I even questioned my antinuke stance. I had apocalyptic visions of the breakdown of transportation, the end of coal, and cried for those hospital people without electricity. my mom told me to snap out of it and remember who i was. she was right. its insane. japan proves this if ever there was a doubt. if the smoking hell hole of chernobyl hadn’t already told us what we need to know. shut em down. watch the waste forever. teach our children to do the same. everything else is an unspeakable crime that we all bear guilt from as the lights burn.

Categories: environment, friends, politics
  1. March 31, 2011 at 3:53 am

    enjoyed this one as much as the previous. You forgot to mention that the second encampment ended in greenpeace hanging a banner from the cooling tower. That second encampment had a lot of intrigue…made it interesting.

  2. March 31, 2011 at 12:36 pm

    thanks john, bob arrived so i wrote a sentence or two to close. i went back and made some additions. the intrigue pushed it up a notch. like being in a novel.

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