Settling old disagreements

Seventeen years ago Veronika and i had an argument. Which was more than i was capable of with anyone else around us at the time. Some background will clarify.

Between 1991 and 1997 I worked for the Czech chapter of the environmental organization Friends of the Earth, which was called Hnuti DUHA (“the rainbow movement” in English). I was working to stop the construction of nuclear power plants in eastern Europe and especially the new ones proposed be completed in southern Bohemia called Temelin. And for several summers we organized incredible actions at Temelin, actions where hundreds of activists came from across Europe and we closed down construction of the plant for some days.

These are the gates we needed to control at the Temelin reactor

To close this site, we needed to block multiple gates and we needed dozens of people at each gate we wanted to block and there were about ten different gates around the plant. As one of the more experienced activists (and one of the very few people over 30) I was chosen to be a gate leader. Except I could not speak Czech or Russian or any of the languages most likely to be in sue at my gate. So Veronika, a promising Czech activists lead the gate with me and facilitated what ever translation was needed. We were there for several days and since she was the only person I could talk with directly, we spoke a lot.

Veronika is smart. Besides being conversational in English, she was thoughtful about the world around her. She was touched by her countries revolution in 1989 and felt a responsibility to be politically active and oppose this terrible project. She was vegetarian at the time and lived a very low impact life style, as all the folks from DUHA did. It was a dark green ecological movement.

Veronika and Sunflowers – circa 2011

One of the things we talked about was feminism. Veronika was anti-feminism. It was destructive to the family in specific and the social order in general, she believed. We talked about it a lot. She found it strange that I identified as a feminist. I found it hard that this clever, independent, empowered young woman was rejecting it for reasons which did not completely make sense to me. We talked a lot on those three rainy nights at Temelin gate 7 and on this we never agreed.

Fast forward a dozen years. I am living comfortably at Twin Oaks and I get an email from Veronika who I have not heard from since the gates of Temelin. She talked some about how her life had changed, but what inspired her to write was that she had read some old journals of hers about our arguments so many years before and she wanted to let me know she had changed her mind and she thought I was right about feminism now. Which I had to admit was quite gratifying.

I had a salad with Veronika on my recent stop in Brno. She wants to start a community. She feels like peoples experience of life is to individualistic and too focused on making money to support life styles they are ultimately unhappy with. She has two kids and she wants a better life for them and thinks community is part of that. I hear Veronika’s story often as I travel. I am going to try to help her a bit with her dreams. Only this time we are in complete agreement.

time to build a better future

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About paxus

a funologist, memeticist and revolutionary. Can be found in the vanity bin of Wikipedia and in locations of imminent calamity. buckle up, there is going to be some rough sledding.

5 responses to “Settling old disagreements”

  1. Chris Hables Gray says :

    I remember Veronika and your debate. I was sorry I couldn’t
    stay at Temelin for the action but I did have that new job at Masayrk U and had to play nice. I knew she’d come around. Dobre Dan (?) or some such. Czech is soooo tricky. crystal

  2. Ashborn says :

    Pax, you left out that the plant was completed anyways. Some food for thought:

    1. As an American why do you deign it appropriate to tell other countries how to generate their electricity, even going so far as to break their laws, block their roads? I don’t think you’d be too happy if pro-nuclear activists decided to block the gates of Twin Oaks and tell you that solar power is unworkable. — not that that would ever happen, as those activists have better things to do.

    2. Why side with the Luddites? History has gone against them every time.

    • paxus says :

      Dearest Ashborn:

      This blog mentions in many places that these reactors were completed, certainly not something i am hiding. We stopped other ones (Belene, Super Fenix. Shoreham, Zwentendorf). We fought Temelin on lots of grounds including economic. A couple years after the second block was completed, this years late and terribly over budget project was forced to do an economic evaluation of itself. The utility found that it would never pay for itself.

      Luddites? You might want to study energy economics. Between 2004 AND 2012 over $1 trillion was invested in renewables and only $120 million was invested in nuclear power, the majority of it in countries with structural corruption and no independent regulators (Russia, China and India). Venture capitalists are planning of tripling their renewable investment between now and 2020, venture capitalists and even regular investment banks wont touch nuclear without endless government guarantees. Even excluding the 48 closed reactors in Japan, reactors are closing faster than they are being completed.

      There are no pro-nuclear activists, there are people paid by the industry to lie about how nuclear is cheap and safe, despite meltdowns, leaks and endless cost overruns.

  3. Ashborn says :

    Hi Pax. I Don’t mean to start a debate on energy here. But I am curious about your answer to my first question — why (or when) do you deem it acceptable to tell other countries how to manage their affairs, even going so far as to block their roads, break their laws and harrass their government?

    I think your actions were of the sort that lent credence to George W. Bush and his interventions. Essentially, you may not like how he played his cards in Iraq, among other places, but you gave him those cards to play. George W. messed things up in Iraq far beyond any good that he did, do you think you can do any better intervening in other countries yourself?

    • paxus says :

      Dearest Ashborn:

      You dont mean to start a debate. Then why are you calling me a Luddite? I think what is true is you are happy to be critical, until you realize you actually dont know what you are talking about in terms of energy economics and need to shift gears.

      As for my justification for being in the Czech Republic, if you have read this recent blog post of mine you would know why (please see I was invited by Czechs to help them stop this project that many of them did not want. In fact i did not feel like i could work in the country until i had this invitation.

      No one inside Iraq invited G W Bush to destroy that country. In fact you will recall Bush changed the rationale for attacking 3 times. First is was 9/11, then when it was proven there was no link between bin Laden and the Iraq government, it was WMD. Then after we invaded and found no WMD, we decided we were there to bring democracy to Iraq. But really as Henry Kissinger has acknowledged we were there for the oil.

      Were you more informed in your analogy, you would be placing me in Iraq helping the locals defend themselves against US imperial actions.

      What do you do to fight injustice Ashborn? Or do you just like to complain from the sidelines about the people who are doing the real work?

      Paxus in Arnhem NL
      24 Rape Republicans Lose 202

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