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Articles posted by Radical Socialist on various issues.

THE TRITIUM CONTAMINATION AT KAIGA EXPOSE THAT EVERY NUCLEAR PLANT IS A POTENTIAL CHERNOBYL. PHASE-OUT NUCLEAR ENERGY LEADING TO ITS ELIMINATION!


We are alarmed by the recent contamination of at least 55 workers at the Kaiga nuclear power
plant. Around 55 employees working in Kaiga Nuclear Power Plant in Uttara Kannada district of Karnataka have suffered nuclear radiation after drinking contaminated water in the plant, and have been hospitalised after they reportedly suffered radiation poisoning. These employees, working in the first maintenance unit of the plant were given treatment for increasing level of tritium. The results showed that the tritium level was above the normal range and the employees felt uneasiness after drinking water from a water cooler in the operating area. There are 1,689 permanent employees and around 5,000 contract workers, all with access to the area where the Tritium had been stored as well as to the dispenser.
The Atomic Energy Commission did not have any clue about the cause of the accident and in an attempt to play down the security lapses; its Chairman Anil Kakodkar said that the contamination could have been an inside job. It is indeed appalling to note that the excuses presented by in the nuclear establishment have been rather derisory and pathetic. The official explanations of a “disgruntled” employee causing “mischief” raise more questions than it answers. Calling the radiation exposure at the Kaiga power plant in Karnataka an act of mischief Mr. Kakodar additionally alleged, ‘it is a mischief-maker who is responsible for this. It is a criminal act and a punishable offense under Atomic Energy Act of India. There is no danger to either to the exposed workers or to the environment or to people who come in contact with these workers. It is a serious operating procedural lapse.’ The Kaiga power plant authorities have issued a statement saying that a thorough survey of the plant did not indicate any heavy water leak from any of the reactor systems.
It is equally shocking to note the attempt to suppress all information about the gravity of the situation. The media got hold of the story on November 28th whereas the incident occurred on the 25th of November. It seems that despite the best of the efforts of the nuclear establishment, the information could not be fully suppressed since a lot of employees needed hospitalisation. Also, in an attempt to immediately assuage public fears, the level of tritium activity found in the urine samples taken from the affected workers were expressed as mild and no concrete number was ever mentioned in public.
The dangerous impacts of Tritium radioactivity have always been underscored by the nuclear establishments - both nationally internationally. However, Tritium is a dangerous toxin because it is chemically identical to hydrogen. Hence, it is part of water and can go anywhere in the body and, with the human body being composed of over 70 percent by water, the effects can be cataclysmic. In addition, tritium can sometimes get bound to organic molecules and spend very long time in the body. Also, it can cross the placental border and severely affect growth and development of babies in the womb. This is why it is the most likely suspect in the spate of congenital deformities observed around CANDU type nuclear power plants and other military nuclear facilities that use tritium to produce thermonuclear bombs.
The point is whether it is “accident” or “sabotage" is hardly any consolation for the actual or potential victims. And if it is “sabotage”, which could not be prevented, it only goes to show that it can happen again. And a more serious "sabotage" could have a disastrous impact with immediate and intense effects on hundreds of thousands of lives, as in the case of Chernobyl (in Ukraine of the erstwhile USSR) on April 26 1986.
A much larger fear is that with the proposed nuclear expansion very much in the cards, such
incidents are bound to become a regular feature in the future. And therefore, every nuclear power plant is a potential Chernobyl.
We are worried about the known and yet-to-be-known serious health, environmental, social, psychological and economic impacts of nuclear weapons and nuclear energy and being conscious of the inextricable link between nuclear energy and the development of nuclear weapons we demand an immediate abolition of nuclear weapons and a phase-out of nuclear energy leading to its elimination.
We are concerned about the presentation of nuclear energy as a safe and clean alternative, and as a solution to climate change when it is neither safe nor clean as it undermines climate protection by wasting time and taking resources away from more effective, clean and safe solutions. It results in the dumping of this expensive and unsafe nuclear technology throughout the world and it decreases global security as volumes of nuclear waste are disposed with no safe method of disposal.
We are alarmed at the long-term implications of the over-consumption model of development , and the failure to adequately conserve energy & resources and consequently, we demand a ban on the exploration, mining and export of uranium, phasing out of the use of nuclear reactors for the production of medical isotopes, instituting a fair and just transition programme for workers, including scientists, affected by the abolition of nuclear weapons and by the phasing out of nuclear energy and most importantly guaranteeing the rights of future generations to a world free of the danger of nuclear weapons and of nuclear energy.

Radical Socialist
December 2, 2009

Greece: Renewed Repression on 1st Anniversary of December 2008 Revolt


Statement by the Workers Revolutionary Party, Greek Section of the Coordinating Committee for the Re-foundation of the Fourth International

On the 6th December 2009,  1 year after the assassination of the 15 years old Alexandros Grigoropoulos by the Greek police, the 1st anniversary of  the December  2008 revolt, the riot police of the new elected “socialist” government of George Papandreou savagely attacked the demonstrators in Athens, Thessalonica, Patras and other cities of the country. Hundreds have been arrested.

In the 40.000 strong demonstration in Athens, a motored unit of the Special Delta Force of the riot police attacked with their vehicles, globs and chemicals the contingent of the EEK. The barbarian custodians of the capitalist State have broken the legs and the hands of 5 comrades and nearly killed a long standing member of EEK and wife of the editor of our paper, comrade Angeliki Koutsoumbou. The policeman broke with his motorbike the left shoulder of comrade Angeliki and when she was fallen in the street without consciousness the same policeman continued to attack her with his glob and kicking her head. The same policeman has broken the head and the arm of two other comrades who came to help her. There was a street fight with the police force and 8 comrades- 2 of them CC members- were arrested and are now in prison at the central headquarters of the Police facing serious charges. Several other comrades of EEK together with youth of libertarian groups were arrested in Thessalonica and Patras.

The police prevented even the ambulance to come and take comrade Angeliki. When, finally she was transferred to the hospital, they allowed only Savas Michael-Matsas, the general secretary of EEK, who was present during the entire clash, to accompany her. She has a serious cerebral hemorrhage and her left shoulder completely broken. The government had the hypocrisy to send the vice minister of Public Order Mr. Vouyias to visit her in the hospital but comrade Savas kicked him out of the room shouting: “we do not allow the butchers to visit their victims!” Comrade Angellki Koutsoumbou is a well known Trotskyist fighter, member of EEK from the ‘60s, and she who was imprisoned and tortured during the last military dictatorship of the colonels. Her husband comrade Thodoros Koutsoumbos is a historic leader of EEK and the editor of our paper NEA PROOPTIKI (New Perspective).

We want to remind that on November 20, 2009, a fire bomb attack was waged against the house of a CC member of EEK, comrade Yannis Yannatsis in Petralona, Athens, at 3.30 am when the entire Yannatsis family was sleeping. There is no doubt that our Party EEK has become the selected target of the State forces of repression because of our role in the class struggle, particularly from the December revolt onwards. As Greece is financially bankrupt and a workers’ revolt is on the agenda, the capitalist class, their State and government try to give preventive blows to the vanguard fighters to intimidate the entire workers and popular movement.

The situation is very tense. 400 schools and many universities are now occupied all over the country. A new mass demonstration is planned in Athens and other cities for tomorrow Monday, December the 7th.

We call the revolutionary workers movement and all fighters all over the world to express again their solidarity as they did during our December revolt.

Women Workers Organise Massive Rally in Delhi

Thousands of women workers, mostly from the unorganised sector, converged on Delhi on 27 November. A huge gathering met at the Ramlila Maidan and marched to the Indian Parliament. According to some reports, the demonstration was larger than the one by sugar-cane growers organized by Ajit Singh on 19 November.

Women workers came from various areas and various types of workplaces. They included women bidi-rollers, women employed by Anganwadis (government sponsored child-care and mother-care centres), Accredited Social Health Activist (ASHA) workers, striking women workers from Gurgaon, as well as women workers from the organized sectors, like bank and insurance workers, government employees, women in the medical profession, and others. Among their central demands were equal pay for equal work, ending sexual harassment at the workplace, maternity benefits for al working women, and a hike in the salaries of Anganwadi and ASHA workers.

The Finance Minister, who met a delegation of the women, told them that while their demands were legitimate, it was difficult to say how far the demands could be met. But of course, sir. Your ministry, as well as the other ministries, are bending over backwards to meet the demands of the capitalists. How can you meet the demands of the workers – and women workers at that. Reform of the antiquated labour laws is in everyone’s lips these days. What they mean was clearly expressed by the Wall Street Journal in an article of November 24, 2009 (Deadly Labor Wars Hinder India's Rise), when it wrote that “Manufacturers have long complained that it can take years to dismiss their permanent employees, leading to bloated work forces and hampering companies' ability to respond quickly to changing business conditions. Executives and industry groups say relaxing the labor laws would allow companies to hire more workers and would attract more manufacturers to India, ultimately underpinning a rise in wages”. The contradiction between the demand and the conclusion could not have been more glaring. Allow us to sack the permanent workers, who have some minimum rights – so goes the refrain. What will be the consequence? More workers will be hired and wages will rise!! The shock therapy in Russia led to a devastation of the Russian economy. Indeed, in no country has labour shared the benefits with capital in the neoliberal era. Instead, the hard-won rights of the earlier periods have been under attack. This is what the women workers were resisting when they came out on the streets.

The demonstration was organized by the All India Trade Union Congress – dominated by the CPI. The AITUC has suggested levying a cess on industry to create a maternity benefit fund for women workers in the unorganized sector. At the same time, we would argue that the state has the responsibility of ensuring the well-being of all residents f the country, and therefore it has to arrange the maternity benefits. It is not the task of trade unions who are entirely outside the power structures to decide how the money should be raised, except to say that the demand is not a shifting of resources within the working class, but from capital to labour.

Rome: occupation of the factory and Mario Monicelli


Osvaldo Coggiola

 

Eutelia, one of the most important factories in Italy’s information technology sector and located in Tiburtina, the industrial outskirts of Rome, was shut down by its owners, laying off 1200 workers. For over a month the factory was occupied by the workers and production continued. On 10th November, the workers thwarted an attack from bands of police officers ("vigilantes"). On 25th November, a one-act festival was held at the factory, with speakers and musical groups, for obtaining solidarity and making people aware of the struggle. I was there, to extend my support and to understand what was happening.

The programme was quite small. Spokesmen from the trade- union (FIOM-CGIL) appealed to the sensitivity of the authorities, blasted the owners for their "mismanagement of the company" and criticised the media. Then an elderly speaker took the floor and he blamed capitalism energetically and called for a unity among the occupants of Eutelia and other workers in Italy, especially the Venetians and Sardinians in the Alcoa company, struggling for the same reasons (the latter two groups clashed with the police while  demonstrating in the streets of Rome).

Who was he? None other than Mario Monicelli, director and screenwriter of "L'Armata Brancaleone" (For Love and Gold), "I Compagni" (The Organizer), "I Soliti Ignoti" (Big Deal on Madonna Street), "Brancaleone nelle Crociate" (Brancaleone at the Crusades), "Romanzo Popolare" (Popular Romance), "Amici Miei" (My Friends), "Parenti Serpenti" (Relatives and Snakes) and many other films, which have become part and parcel not only of classic Italian cinema, but also of  universal culture (turned to expressions used in everyday language). The only Italian "director" to have brought together Autogrill Sordi and Totò, the two all-time greatest comedians of the Italian cinema, in one single film.

There he was, with his 95 years (yes, ninety-five), talking with the energy of a boy, calling for workers’ unity, highlighting and encouraging the role of women in the class struggle. This was the man who made the fantastic film "I Compagni" in 1961 (featuring Mario Monicelli, Marcello Mastroianni, Renato Salvatori, Annie Girardot: it will take a long time to make another film featuring four geniuses such as them ...), when the European and global feminist movements were just latent.

I talked to him while he sat among the workers, the winner of the Venice and Berlin film festivals, drinking his coffee. The conversation was not easy, he has started to have hearing problems (although he refuses to use any hearing device), but it was long enough for him to tell me that he was still "more communist than ever." And he spoke with anyone who wanted to talk to him, myself included.

I thought: I am not from the generation of the Internet, cell phone, hi-phone and skype. I do not understand them much (I neither understand nor take them with me), though it’s easy to take them for any trip whatsoever , and I do not consider myself lucky for it (on the contrary), but I am from a generation which Monicelli (and a few others of his stature) taught after the periods of fascism and war ended, things that today make us smile when we see (or read, or watch) "deconstructions” 'of' “Occidentalism” '(and "orientalism" ad hoc), defenses of "multiculturalism" or "re-inclusion" of the "excluded from history" – in a festival of third-rate paternalistic intellectual populisms, which are considered as “innovative”. Not to mention those “creative” films, Hollywood-style or otherwise, which, compared to Monicelli’s work, seem like projects made by disoriented students of cinematography, in their first year at the ECA-USP (School of Communications and Arts, University of Sao Paulo) ...

Monicelli made us live the sublime and the ridiculous lives of the unemployed / amateur thieves of today's capitalist world (in "I Soliti Ignoti"), and showed us how the "outsiders" happened to "include" themselves on their own (in "I Compagni") and merged with the party worker, the revolutionary intelligentsia ... and also the naive (Mastroianni!), precisely because they were revolutionaries. And the two "Brancaleone" films are much more than "Italian comedies", decades before the genre became "fashionable".  Monicelli blasted all the Euro /Christian centrisms with bursts of laughter. Monicelli / Gassman - meetings like this happen only two or three per century (another genius of the twentieth century, who unfortunately had a premature death - Bernard-Marie Koltès, ended up with all the anti-Arab racism that rages in Europe, with a single sentence: "If there were Arabs in France, it would be equal to Switzerland ").

Monicelli, the only intellectual present in the Italian factory occupation, all with his 95 years, is one of the greatest filmmakers of the 20th century, and also the 21st, who directed "Letters from Palestine"(2002), and "Desert Rose" (2007). Although almost a hundred years old, he is a young man, because he is an artist and a communist.

 

There are some photos of the occupation of Eutelia, the struggle of the workers of Alcoa against the police, and one of myself with Monicelli in the festival. Unfortunately these are not very clear since they were taken with a Chinese (but not communist) cellular phone.

Good bye, great Mario. We shall meet each other in the next factory occupation, to talk about internationalism and communism. Monicelli stayed until the end of the programme. Then we accompanied him for some time until he left alone in a taxi that took him home. I walked to my bus stop. After all, I am a teenager.

 

"Cinema will never die, it was born and cannot die. The cinema hall will die, perhaps, but I definitely don’t care about that. "

(Mario Monicelli was the recipient of the Golden Lion for Career award at the 1991 Venice Film Festival)

Transated into English by Suchandra De Sarkar

Orissa: The Struggle Against POSCO Continues


The seven-day long padayatra against corporate invasion of coastal
Orissa has gained momentum on it way with more and more local
villagers joining the protest march to mark their solidarity with the
movement.

On 2 December, the fourth day of the padayatra, which started from
Dhinkia on 29 November, the original procession of 600 protestors had
swelled to over 750 with people joining all along the way. In
Machchagan alone over a hundred new villagers joined, including over
40 women.

“Though many of these villagers are not directly affected by any of
the mega-projects in coastal Orissa they can understand what it means
when possession of land or one’s livelihood is affected,” said Abhay
Sahoo, leader of the POSCO Pratirodh Sangram Samithy.

As they wind their way over rough village roads, through rice fields
and along water canals the padayatris are receiving enthusiastic
response everywhere. Local people presented flowers to the protest
marchers in many places.

Though a bulk of the padayatris are from the anti-POSCO movement
representative of over 14 movements in Orissa are also participating.
The distance from Dhinkia to Puri, the destination of the padayatra,
is nearly 140 kms and every day the marchers are covering an average
of 20 kms. Though this is tough going for many of the older people
they are persevering nevertheless as the issues on hand are a matter
of life and death for them. On the fourth day, the padayatris had to
walk for another 3 km to stay for night since the Jagatsinghpur
District collector canceled the booking of Gorai School.

While food for the padayatris is being arranged mainly by local
villagers along the route, a major problem facing the padayatra right
now is the lack of adequate resources to pay for accompanying
vehicles, generators, sound systems E for campaigning, tents for
sleeping where needed and other related expenses. PPSS leader Abhay
Sahoo has appealed to all those in solidarity with the struggle of the
local people to urgently send financial support. Those wishing to
contribute to the padayatra can contact Prashant Paikray,
spokesperson, PPSS at Ph: (0) 9437571547. For further information see
http://orissaconcerns.org

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