Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/200/8461
Massive anti-nuclear protests in Germany
ONE MAJOR promise of the German SPD (Social Democratic Party) and the Green Party before coming to power in 1998 was to end nuclear power. Especially for the Greens, who grew out of the big anti-nuclear movements of the 1970s and 1980s, this was one of their main promises.
Daniel Behruzi, Socialist Alternative - SAV, Berlin (CWI - Germany)
As with other issues, this was forgotten by these politicians immediately after entering the government. They struck a 'consensus' with the power-companies, which guarantees the running of all nuclear power plants as long as they possibly can.
In April, more than 20,000 protesters made clear that there is no 'consensus' within German society.
For the first time in four years, nuclear waste was carried from La Hague in France to Gorleben in the German state of Lower Saxony, where it is to be "temporarily" disposed. At the border, an international demonstration of French and German anti-nuclear protesters took place.
30,000 heavily armoured police (20,000 of these in the Gorleben-area alone, where only 55,000 people live) forced through the transport against the determined resistance of the local population and young people from all over Germany. This resistance delayed the transport for a whole day. A police spokesperson admitted that they had lost control over the situation.
Most impressive was the support of the local population for the protests. Soup and tea were given out to the protesters by locals on every other street corner. Local farmworkers defied the police together with young activists from all over the country.
When the police broke up the protest camps, school students occupied their school to turn it into a dormitory for hundreds of outside protesters.
Strike action was also put forward by Socialist Alternative - SAV.
We took part in the blockades with around 30 activists, the biggest intervention of any political party. We discussed carrying the protests further and to challenge the profit-system itself, which uses destructive energy-sources such as nuclear power in order to make ever greater profits for the big power companies.
There was enormous hatred for the traitors from the Green Party, whose representatives were even physically atacked by protesters, and clarity about the role of the state which defends the profits of the power companies and denies basic democratic rights to protesters.
55 people declared their interest in joining the SAV and more than 270 papers were sold on the protests. We will take part in future protests. This one cost the state about DM 120 million (£40 million). Another 157 transports are planned until 2010!
The anti-nuclear movement will spoil the plans of the big power companies and their politicians and could play a part in the formation of a wider anti-capitalist resistance movement in Germany.
IN STUTTGART, the Socialist Alternative - SAV stood for the first time in a regional election. Our candidate, Tinette Schnatterer, a well-known school student activist, received 208 votes (0.4%). This is a very creditable result and more than we received in the 1998 general election. 15 people said they are interested in building Socialist Alternative.
The campaign focussed on education cuts, actions against nuclear waste, and against the far-right Republicans, who had representatives in the regional parliament for nine years. Now, partly as a result of the anti-fascist activities of the SAV and other groups, they lost all their seats.
In The Socialist 6 April 2001: