To stop the nuke, we organized throughout our region on economic, ecological and political grounds. In February, 1974, a member of our commune named Sam Lovejoy toppled a weather tower at the site of the nuke. it was a great protest, memorialized in the award-winning "Lovejoy's Nuclear War" from Green Mountain Post Films (gmpfilms.org). When the cost of the nuke started to skyrocket, there were riots in Connecticut against rate hikes meant to pay for the plant. Facing increasingly stiff local and financial opposition, Northeast Utilities canceled the plant.
Skyrocketing costs and fierce resistance led to the cancellation of scores of reactors across the US in the 1970s and '80s. Our demonstrations and interventions made a huge difference. Had there been no resistance, no one would have heard a word about Three Mile Island, which put a serious nail in the industry's plans. However, with the attempted "renaissance" of this murderous, suicidal technology, we will have to restart our movement.
I'm afraid you're right. You mentioned in "Obama's LBJ Moment" that, instead of Afghanistan, this administration should be devoting its energy to health care, among other things. What's your take on the current health care debate?
Unfortunately, the corporations are dominating this debate. Obama failed to start things off with the single-payer option, which the corporations simply cannot tolerate. There will be a health care bill, but it will be weak and possibly even counter-productive, especially if it tries to require individuals to get their own coverage. This is a terrible imposition and will be hugely unpopular. We need a single-payer system and Obama lacks the courage or conviction to fight for it.
The biggest problem in our government is corporate power, and with that, the huge amount of resources and political power taken by the military. Until we deal with those issues, we will go nowhere in this country on health care, the environment, social justice or anything else of importance.
People should now understand that while it's been monumentally important to finally have an African-American as president, (a woman will come next) it's now more important to have someone who is not a Republican or a Democrat, and who is committed to the welfare of the public rather than that of the corporations.
What a concept. Switch hats for a moment, Harvey, if you will, and let's talk about the importance of the recently announced ES&S/Diebold merger. As a long-time chronicler of our troubled electoral history, you're in a good position to do so.
You and Bob Fitrakis wrote a great article about it: "Diebold and the Electronic Vote: The Rig is Up." So, I'm asking you as an old-time activist, how do we make authentically transparent and accurate elections happen? What are the steps and how do we get there?
During the eight long years of the Bush administration, it was painful to listen to the news. Many of us expected to feel a whole lot better once W and his cronies were gone. But the bad news keeps coming. And many of the 'bad guys' are still around and pulling strings. For instance, it's customary for incoming presidents to replace all the states' attorneys general. There was tremendous politicization of the DoJ under Bush yet Obama has not taken this simple, elementary step. Any idea about why?
The biggest news domestically will be Afghanistan. The administration did cut back on the missile defense system in Europe. This indicates someone up there has some degree of sanity. If a corner is turned on Afghanistan it will be a huge deal. The fact that we're debating a health care bill and a climate bill is also good. We can count on mediocrity at best. But maybe it's a start. The improving economics of renewables is also good. And, after all, we do have an African-American in the White House. This is a monumental moment which will not go away.
Corporate as he may be, Obama is not George W. Bush and he is an African-American. So, that far we have progressed. The issue now is the power of the corporations. It is the all-defining barrier to meaningful change, the 800-pound gorilla. Let's hope we can punch some holes in their power and move ahead. The real question is not whether there will be female or men of color in the White House; the question is when will we get a government that's no longer owned and operated by the corporations, which are the most powerful institutions in the history of humankind...
The fact that the administration is openly contemplating not sending more troops is important. There's no place to hide now. This does not mean I'm necessarily optimistic. But I do believe with the decision made out in the open, we will have a greater chance to stop it.