Internet Statement 2000-17
The Significance of the So-Called
Hartmut DickeBy the closing-down decision of June 14, 2000, the so-called "consensus", made by the so-called red/green government together with several electricity producing companies, the closing-down of the nuclear energy is established, although the matter is stretched over twenty years. Many people think that this may easily change during the twenty years to come, and certainly they are not wrong to express such an expectation, but one must not forget that such a decision initiates a social direction and must be judged as for its social content. There are strong forces on the international level who have taken part in the promotion of the anti-nuclear-energy campaign and in fact have already achieved certain successes in doing so, and will continue to be active. This cannot be left out of consideration in calculating the political forces in this matter. This closing-down decision writes off the nuclear energy, maps out a negative direction for the society, and therefore must be fought with the utmost harshness by all people who stand for whatever elementary social, progressive or humanistic goals. The closing-down decision, notwithstanding the fact that it delays the final shutdown for twenty years, is a decision of complete stagnation and of a backward orientation of the society, a scum of reaction which has to be fought accordingly. All illusions about this closing-down decision must disappear.
Group Neue Einheit
July 7, 2000
This so-called "consensus" in fact is not a completely new social trend. Rather it continues what has been dominating politics in this field for more than twenty years.
Putting the fundamental questions once again: why, (anyway), does this question cause so many discussions in this country?
Nuclear energy is something new as for its principles. Its significance may be described by a comparison, for example, with solar energy.
The production of solar energy is a certain form in which energy present in the universe is collected, accumulated and then released for consumption. The nuclear form of energy derives from the mastering of matter and thus represents the so far strongest intensification of the human ability in dealing with nature. This mastering of matter which is active in nuclear fission, in the matter-energy transformation processes, changes the whole mind of man. Man becomes the master of matter, he is no longer only receiver or collector of certain forms of matter, or, at the best, the one who, as in chemistry, rips apart the molecules consisting of different parts of matter, and recomposes them, but here he is active within the processes of matter and energy themselves. This means an intensification of the human activity as compared with all previous forms of mastering energy and matter. This completely blasts the frame of petty bourgeois and earlier bourgeois constellations. Only the highly organized forms of capital and socialism are able at all to deal with such things. Regarding this it is understandable that all old-fashioned classes defend themselves against this. Here the core of the resistance against nuclear energy is to be found, which at the same time is nourished by a major number of political contradictions, as for example the striving for hegemony by certain powers.
Nuclear energy, by demanding a completely different kind of carefulness in handling and planning, subjects man to a new degree of discipline.
This agreement of closing down means that we put this whole new branch of human mastering of nature on the rail of dying away; it means that we are saying: we now keep doing that, but in the future this won't be done anymore, man will therefore undo this degree of knowledge he has. If the application is forbidden, if the practice of this matter cannot develop, also knowledge inevitably will develop backwards - all this under the assumption that this decision would be put into practice.
It is as if one would attempt for a second time to burn Galilei.
How the Anti-Nuclear Movement in Germany Was Brought About and Developed
Since the autumn of 1974 there has been an active major movement in this field. This was the year in which, for the first time again after a long time, there also was a major joblessness, after there had been a raising of the social position among the majority of the Germans, not the least because of the millions of newly employed foreign workers, during the previous years. This movement went to the fore with the campaign around Whyl [a site in the upper Rhine valley where a nuclear energy plant was to be constructed, tr.'s remark], massively fostered by the media, part of it initially demanding that a plant was not built on a particular site but elsewhere, finally being directed against the whole of the nuclear energy. Already in the middle of the seventies the goal was pursued in all seriousness to close down the whole of the nuclear energy which since then has produced endless masses of megawatts, and to virtually ban it.
Out of the continuators of so-called "revolutionary leftists", unified with so-called "value-conservatives" a "movement" was botched together. Backed up by certain organs as "Spiegel", "Zeit", "Sueddeutsche Zeitung", "Frankfurter Rundschau", both of the public TV companies, so-called "social democracy leftists", so-called "DKP" ("German Communist Party"), with the support of the then leadership of the German Democratic Republic and the then Soviet leadership which upon its own territory strengthened nuclear energy, and with the support of certain circles of the financial capital in the US this movement was fanned and made a real political factor of political power in Germany.
The social democracy in particular looked after this movement although it had itself originally promoted and developed the nuclear energy - the fast-breeder reactor and the high temperature reactor formerly had been favorite children of the SPD - and began at first to impede the plans existing in the society for a largest-scale expansion of nuclear energy for the production of electricity, and then in great parts to paralyze them.
The resistance, though, of the economic base against this political "cartel of power" was so big that they never succeeded in sabotaging the existing nuclear energy and to close it down. But they finally did achieve, in particular during the eighties, a standstill of nuclear energy. Since then not a single new nuclear energy plant has been constructed, and neither the CDU ["Christian Democratic Union"] has ever wielded an open language about this movement and its character, even if they never have completely written off the nuclear energy.
The Tchernobyl catastrophe of April 26, 1986, was used to get through something like closing-down decisions or general closing-down guidelines in numerous political parties and trade unions. This catastrophe upon the then Soviet territory had been brought about, as it soon became public, by a completely inadmissible experimental handling of the whole reactor, accompanied by the deliberate switching off of all of the security devices, the backgrounds of this proceeding up to today still being represented by giant question marks. In a lot of so-called instructional movies depicting this catastrophe exactly these highly interesting points were omitted. The Soviet Union under Gorbachev itself sponsored this movement although upon its own territory this accident had happened and even the reactors in Tchernobyl, with the exception of the damaged one, continued to work.
One of the reasons why it was never successfully possible to attack this anti-nuclear energy movement's essence, in which the number of the participating activists fluctuated very strongly and sometimes went down to be a minimal rivulet which however had a strong support in the press and the TV, in the first public channel (ARD), was the following: it has to do with the political constellation in which the Federal Republic of Germany itself is situated. It has to do with the fact that, if the nuclear energy was completely applied, for example, in Europe, the political pressure transmitted by the question of the supply of energy, which is one of the principal levers of the worldwide power of the US, but formerly also was one of the Soviet Union and Russia, would begin to falter. Moreover, the nuclear energy under certain circumstances provides a certain potential which might also serve for military use and thus break the monopoly of the two big nuclear powers. These are the real reasons for this campaign, apart from the fundamental aspect I mentioned right in the beginning.
Already in the end of the seventies the existence of fast-breeder reactor in the state of North Rhine-Westphalia was attacked by any means. The high temperature reactor, the prototype of which stood in Hamm-Uentrop, finally was even switched off by the social-democratic party in a fanatical manner, its technology being offered to the then Soviet Union shortly afterwards. Particularly in the case of the high temperature reactor one must directly talk of anti-industrial vandalism from the part of the social-democratic party in North Rhine-Westphalia which immediately after the decision had parts of the plant destroyed in order to block any possibility to reverse anything. Up to the nineties there still had been efforts to continue the nuclear energy also by renewed projects.
In 1989, after quite a long back and forth, without a considerable campaign against reprocessing existing, all of a sudden, unexpectedly for the external observer, the concept of reprocessing was given up, under the spokesmanship of the then CEO of VEBA, Bennigsen-Foerder. Some time after that it was possible to guess what had happened in April, 1989 in the background, when this decision was taken. One has to suppose that the decision took place in the preliminary stages of the German unification. Although the concrete form of the German unity was not yet clear at this point of time, it in fact was clear that the Honecker regime was to be toppled and a somehow confederated Germany was to emerge/ evolve in whichever form. Apparently the sudden end of reprocessing belonged to the packet of measures agreed to in the international negotiations around this question, and apparently the German industry and bourgeoisie believed that, making this concession, they would in fact keep the rest of nuclear energy and later would be able to take up the development again. This now proves to be a typical miscalculation. If you always exclusively keep the status quo you will always get a status quo minus in the development.
During the nineties, especially the necessary transports to the final storing and to the reprocessing plants abroad, in Sellafield or in the Bretagne, were obstructed by the attacks on the Castor transports. These transports were depicted as a universal threat to the whole country, as the central problem, with marching-ups which were directly observed by channel 1 (ARD), in which a gigantic police deployment alone already ensured an attraction. Later it could be seen that the same movement without batting an eyelid accepted the war from the part of NATO against Yugoslavia and accepted without batting an eyelid the use of depleted uranium ammunition.
The hypocrisy of these campaigns, characterized by insanity, e.g. against the Castor transports, shows something of the real character of the political superstructure in this country, about its fanaticism in fighting certain developments of the productive forces. The Castor transports were used as a point of pressure, in order to attack the now remaining system of nuclear energy production in the nineties and to make it more difficult. By this lever the whole of the nuclear energy production was to be declared null and void. Of course the few people who sustained this movement did not act without the backing of certain forces in the country. Especially in Lower Saxony, but also in some other states governed by the SPD these people had a really good opportunity for action. In front of the running camera railways or roads were undermined in order to bring about alleged dangers. Finally, some negligences and the presence of some allegedly lowly radioactive water upon the surface of the Castor transport containers were used as an opportunity to seriously put into question in the media the possibility of the Castor transports.
Whoever is able to think notices what kind of campaign this is. If we can organize wars, globally, create rapid deployment forces, globally, provide for the necessary armament, globally, if we can support a power which globally ships its nuclear armament over the sea, which entertains nuclear missiles capable of reducing half of the world to rubble, then we do have the ability to carry through also some ridiculous Castor transports. The idiotism in these question cannot be described. Insanity is like a brand the distinctive mark of this whole movement. Any rationality has been cast aside, and in the end the harshest, most destructive forces of capitalism, imperialism and hegemonism are given the hand by these completely rabid, depraved and bribed petty bourgeois people of the Federal Republic of Germany.
It is not possible, however, to say that this policy is only the result of certain political parties, which besides were in the opposition then. Always also the CDU itself has played a dubious role and to a certain degree joined in the whole game; that is to say, the whole system of the FRG, CDU and FDP [Free Democrats] included, has played a highly dubious role. They would have been influential enough at that time to break the bones of this anti-nuclear energy movement and to demonstrate the political background. But the CDU and the FDP themselves are actually tied to this Federal Republic and its development as an offspring of the US' hegemony, and in their policies with regard to the forces which pursue this in the Federal Republic, they are confronted with limits.
And these limits, this permanent necessity of sustaining the status
quo in this question, which has been observed also by the CDU, can lead
to fundamental setbacks for this country, even to that it is existencially
put into question out of a lot of problems. One may think of the demographic
question, of the true catastrophe of the German nation which is tied to
this whole regime of now.
The Preparation of the Standstill Already in 1997
Let us return to the question of the nuclear energy and its further development
Already in the springtime of 1997 there were numerous rumors about "secret talks about nuclear energy" ("Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung", 2/10/97), apparently certain compromises between the SPD and the CDU were bargained. Here we already learn about "consensus talks" in which the option of nuclear energy is held somehow open, but the further development is given up. The concessions which the CDU made to the SPD with regard to the subventions for coal amounted to coupling the nuclear energy concept with a reduced concept for the nuclear waste management, together with some only vague promises that a new type of reactor was to be created. From the article of the FAZ:
One week later, on Feb. 17, 1997, we find the following very apt short commentary in the FAZ:
hal. For the nuclear energy in Germany the outlook is worse than for German coal. Whereas the large demonstration in the Ruhr region for the coal mining will not miss its political effects, no hand is being raised for the nuclear energy The latest draft for an energy consensus which has become known, according to which decisions about nuclear energy which point the way are to be taken not earlier than in 2005, is playing for time; de facto it means the end for a form of energy which has been developed to the highest technological level in Germany and meanwhile meets increased appreciation throughout the world. The coalition should at least make the further billions of subventions which against all reason it will pour into the hard coal, dependent of the approval by the opposition no longer to block the nuclear energy. But the power for this apparently is lacking after years of political quarreling. The coalition may argue that it has made progress in the controversy about the nuclear final storage. After all, Gorleben is to be cautiously further explored, and the nuclear intermediate storages are - in a limited way - to be used also in the future. But the electricity business signalizes that its interest in the nuclear energy is gradually waning. In this way the farewell for one more technology from Germany comes nearer. In energy politics the future apparently belongs to the past."
Shortly before Schroeder was courted as the future chancellor, for example
by the "Bildzeitung" or by other media, he publicly declared that he had
an open ear for the nuclear energy. This glossing things over only served
for throwing dust into the eyes of the people who should have liked a renewal
with regard to the Kohl government but don't represent an anti-industrial
dropout policy like the Greens, for example. Only gullible people, however,
could assume something of this kind, as the Schroeder government was in
fact the one which right from the start approached the coalition with the
Greens and therefore had the policy of dismantling the nuclear energy in
How Could the Present So-Called
"Consensus " Be Put Through Against
With the Schroeder government coming to power a confrontation arose between this government, which had established in its coalition agreement the closing-down of nuclear energy, and the big companies providing for a considerable share of power generation with nuclear energy. The destruction of nuclear energy was established in the coalition agreement, and in the same time for example Otto Majewski, chairman of the board of directors of the Bayernwerk in Munich, belonging to the energy combine Viag, said according to a report of the newspaper Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung of October 2, 1998:
"If the energy plants would be switched off prematurely the companies would be entitled to compensations of more than one hundred thousand millions of DM."
But they really see and describe the destruction of nuclear energy as
a disaster. When the SPD-green government put the companies under pressure
in order to make them accept the protracted closing-down, the great companies
still held considerable trump cards in their hands because the legal foundations
of such a closing-down are not sure at all and an anti nuclear bill would
have to pass the upper house of the German parliament and so it would have
been possible to prevent the so-called red-green government from executing
their intention. This is even more valid under conditions when due to the
increasing prices and the worsening of the social situation, the hackneyedness
of the pseudo-social demagogy, the position of the so-called red-green
government is worsening more and more and the number of supporters of the
anti-nuclear campaign is strongly melt down. If there would be a certain
corresponding steadfastness this could have been carried through. That
one is searching it in vain has something to do with the fact that here
the general interest of capital is seen as of prime importance. Coming
out this way would have shattered the so-called red-green coalition severely
if it had not brought it down, and this coalition at present is seen as
the first factor of order by the most decisive parts of capital also in
Germany itself. Here the capital conducting nuclear energy proves to be
a part of the capital as a whole. They are prepared to potentially write
off the future of this industry as a dead loss only for - supposedly- looking
after the general interest.
Two Essential Factors for Pushing Through This Consensus
On the one hand one has to mention the general conception of the Schroeder government to transform the German society generally into one whole "service society" in which the "classic" production is reduced to a little remaining part - even a smaller one than it has already become during the last 25 years - and in which now money allegedly is earned only with the so-called "New Technologies". Allegedly the German industry could exist very strong with E-Commerce, the new Internet technologies, the new biological technologies, but of course also with the foremostly dominating financial business which basically consists of necessary and unnecessary financial transactions which are needed for the international capitalist business. Europe as mainly a financial center, that is what some people have been dreaming of since a long time, and then of course we need no nuclear energy in our country nor any technical progress. They want to bring those sources under control which produced social unrest in the past but which certainly also were the driving force of progress, in order to practice the capitalist exploitation even more brutally, even more directly in other parts of the world. This is the trend of development in all of the nineties.
This is a dangerous game and also many bourgeois economists are aware of that. Many are talking of "Bubble Economy" and of companies of which up to now economic success only is expected but still without an evidence that this success will really occur. Moreover, this development is a break with a culture of production in this country lasting more than thousand years, it is a crime of greatest extent against the working people in this country, especially against the working force which developed during the last 200 years. In reality during the last 20-25 years probably 40 to 60% of the industrial jobs were dismantled, if not more, what involves an unnamable number of fates of early unemployment, shunting on the siding of pension, desperation of a part of youth and leading them astray, destruction of masses of creative power, obstruction of scientific development which then finally amounts to severe economic set-backs and makes necessary so-called "Green-Card-Solutions", bringing over and shunting off foreign workers and actively tolerating the Islamic-fundamentalist and separatist culture during the seventies, combined with the destruction of the whole social structure in this country – finally only for the goal of overcoming the formerly homogeneous working class which had left its stamp on the country, affecting its substance and cutting it to the quick.
Additionally one must say that this whole process was backed by the so-called "left", by so-called "Marxists", who practically crossed out of their propaganda the whole question of the transfer abroad of production and the displacements within industry, the radical structural changes, and who proved to be ideologists of social ignorance of a before unknown style.
The propaganda of this red-green coalition amounts to the description
of nuclear energy as something no longer necessary, ancient, new wind power
stations and solar panels will do here, why such an extensive industrial
generation of energy etc. This is a view which is even in contrast to the
development of international capitalism because nuclear energy has increased
massively in the nineties and it will further increase, there are dozens
of nuclear projects in the world and the share of electrical current coming
from nuclear energy will further increase. In view of the economical necessities
there are considerations in the USA further to promote nuclear energy ,
as harmless as possible for the USA's nuclear supremacy, for civilian use,
especially in the so-called emerging markets.
The Permitted Mergers Connected With the Consensus
On the other hand there is a very concrete move by which finally the possibility to push through this consensus was firmly established.
Since the new government came to power in autumn 1998 simultaneously it massively worked against the so-called liberalization of the electricity market and put the case for a further concentration of the energy supply companies. You better look twice at this: A government with participation of the greens, who in the past often attacked the monopoly of the electricity suppliers as one of the most decisive evils, works for a further concentration of these electricity suppliers. This government's minister of trade and commerce Mueller, a former manager of the VEBA combine has worked since about one year for combining this so-called closing-down decisions by the government with the permission of the merger of the four biggest energy combines into two combines. Already in January of this year, 2000, it became known that Mueller, simultaneously with the so-called abandoning nuclear energy, pursued the merger of the VEBA combine (North Rhine- Westphalia) with the Viag (Bavaria) and of the RWE with the VEW. These two emerging new enormous combines, especially the new EON (what is the name of the united VEBA/VIAG), are a product of this agreement, the so-called consensus. In clear: this government roped the energy supplying companies into the acceptation of the consensus when simultaneously they get the chance to secure their domination of the market by an energy duopoly, to slow down the fall of electricity prices, further to maintain the monopoly prices which are extremely high in Germany, anyway, and which are impeding the whole economy. This combination gave the energy supply companies the lucrative substructure.
The energy supplying combines can credit the following to their balance sheet. They can use nuclear energy for a whole period of time and "are allowed" still to produce a comparatively high number of megawatt hours while the sharing out between the different nuclear power plants is up to them. They can sell this electricity for monopoly prices and even if they will have to scrap the nuclear energy later, although these nuclear power plants could exist longer and could produce for billions of DM or Euro more, they will already have made enormous profits up to then. Probably, on top of everything they have hopes that the present coalition will not last for ever and they will later be able to achieve , if politically opportune, a revision of the agreement. But this is a dangerous calculation.
The green-red government grants these combines these profits on the basis of high prices policy, grants them the duopoly, for being fit for the international competition for mergers of the different combines and probably spreading there the same ideas of stagnation and standstill. This government promotes without any inhibition the most parasitic, old-fashioned, bureaucratic state-capitalist forms only in order to push through their one goal, the closing-down agreement.
With pleasure they forget their former propaganda against the market-dominating electricity combines, like the nazis forgot their propaganda for the socialization of land as soon as they were concretely active in capitalism, and push forward a policy not only of standstill but even of continually strangling the economy because in the time to come the buyers of electricity, also and especially the private households, will have to bear all these costs of the closing-down as well as the profits of this duopoly.
It is a policy which substantially promotes above all a bureaucracy which now allocates the quota of nuclear energy, just in accordance to all of the ecologist ideologist's wishes. A nuclear power plant is not to produce until it no longer makes sense, technically and economically, because it is obsolete, but it "is allowed" to produce a certain quantity of electricity according to a bureaucratic agreement. Bureaucracy will not be reduced but increased, the technical development is restricted according to the bureaucracy's wishes. So structures, similar to those notorious standstill structures which are existing in North Rhine-Westphalia, are established and transferred to the whole of the Federal Republic.
The east German electricity combine VEAG will be sold to a company from the USA, the US also get a piece of the cake, and so the different powers and guarantors of this exploitation take part in this system of standstill and of screwing down the population, the industry, also the middle industry and the households. It is one of the dirtiest deals ever made in the Federal Republic of Germany and shows the unscrupulousness of the present government which represents a stinking, squared reaction. This is clearly shown not only by the international aggressive policy without any inhibition but also by the domestic policy, and the political swamp of the so-called "left", the anti-nuclear idiocy, who took part in arranging all this, today they are standing godfather of this system of backward orientation.
It belongs to the perversions of this agreement that afterwards green
representatives appear saying that now Germany is obtaining an avant-garde
role because now it was achieved in a big industrial country to bring nuclear
energy in principle to a stop and now they wanted to sponsor modern new
energy sources what means above all wind energy plants. It is absolutely
not clear by what the nuclear energy could be replaced. Here one has to
remember Sweden where twenty years ago a real bogus vote took place in
which there was no possibility to vote in favor of nuclear energy and by
which it was achieved to put the nuclear energy on the road of "avvekla",
of closing down. But in the meantime reality won through and although one
reactor in Barsebaeck was switched off despite the resistance of numerous
workers and employees, just because of political and so-called symbolical
reasons, the other nuclear power plants are to run for a long, long time
and according to new reports there is a further refraining from abandoning
The So-Called Consensus Is a Shaky Construction, Whose Legal and Economic Fundaments Are More Than Unclear
A government together with certain companies decides the closing-down. But what happens if a new company arises which wants to build up nuclear energy? Besides there are electricity producing companies which were not at all partners of this consensus; they, too, could continue to build up and to run nuclear energy. But this government trusts in the supposition that itself, together with the companies which signed this, commands enough influence as to make this virtually impossible. Moreover it is planned to pursue, by a nuclear law, the ban of the strengthening and of the new development of nuclear energy.
The whole of circumstances will force the revision of this decision. The international development of nuclear energy will make this irrational decision disappear, provided that there will be only a minimum of endeavors to keep a somewhat independent base for this country - and how else can it exist! This is an attack not only against nuclear energy but also against technological foundations in this country in general. This it is, though, not only since the consensus, but already since more than twenty years, since this energy has been disparaged by decisive forces, by the own media. The blocking and dismantling of this energy has been paid already in the past by hundreds of billions, by means of excessive energy prices, from taxes and from the extra-profits out of the whole world. It is questionable if this can be continued in the future - whether, for example, by a renewed wave of influx of profits from abroad this country might be able to afford even such a drop-out policy, whether all of this could be bridged, for example, by a predominant energy import from abroad.
The CDU, immediately after this so-called consensus became public, declared that this decision, in case they would take over the government, would be revised. Let us hope so! Time will tell. It won't be sufficient, besides, only to abolish this consensus, but the whole past must become the subject, the entire disparaging by the media, the churches and other public institutions having close ties with the CDU, in which the CDU/CSU has a strong involvement. This party has always only partly defended nuclear energy, it has avoided the questions of principle, and it is from the circles of "value conservatism" of the CDU that the anti-nuclear energy current originally came from.
Several public statements made by the CDU in the past, and also the concrete policy during the 16 years up to now raise doubts about this intention. But perhaps the concrete development will actually lead to such a snap backwards that also in the CDU some reflections will be triggered, that the compromises which in the past were made time and again out of consideration for political constellations, finally only intensify the dismantling and deepen the catastrophe. That remains to be seen.
Two lands of the FRG have criticized this agreement and announced that they will try to take this decision to the Federal Constitutional Court. Rightly they can point to the fact that their interests as of states are completely ignored by such a consensus. Even the CDU's former general secretary Biedenkopf, today prime minister of the state of Saxony, who in his former position more than once declared his sympathies for the alternative movement, the Greens, said that this was a legally completely unfounded step.
The president of the "Deutsche Atomforum", Otto Majewski who originally had excluded such a consensus, today is to be found among those who signed this "consensus":
If they will have the further domestic quiet, however, is very much the question (a quiet of the destruction of the jobs for hundreds of thousands). Who does say that the next opportunity will not be used, if it is politically opportune, to start this argument again, in order to continue to pressurize the nuclear energy?
There is a lot of speculation that anyway this decision cannot be sustained. But if one is of the opinion that this government will anyway not exist anymore in two years, then the question puts itself why such an agreement is signed at all. Such an agreement arouses hopes for more activities in this direction. One should remind of the fact that on the day of the agreement the Wall Street Journal's Internet-page, msnbc, came to the fore with the article "Germany to eliminate nuke plants", in which this German decision is portrayed as an example for the rest of the world. Such a decision always sets standards. No matter how you look at it, in the end this is a result which proceeds from the inner political structure of the Federal Republic of Germany itself.
The whole politics of the federal government, though, by its social politics which are worse than those of the former conservative government, show clearly that now the fight against this government becomes inevitable and should be carried out fully.
(This is a preliminary translation, an improved version will follow)