GHDI logo

Constitutional Implications of the Campaign against Nuclear Power (November 3, 1976)

page 2 of 2    print version    return to list previous document      next document

Instead, the unwavering, organized communists attend to them. They mingle as little groups among thousands of all kinds of demonstrators. The press office of the Northwest German Power Plant could thus easily publicize that the demonstration was “organized well in advance” by militant communists. And the security organs promptly determined that there were 150 communists among 5,000 demonstrators: Even their distancing themselves from these activists didn’t help the spokespeople of the nonviolent “Lower Elbe Environmental Protection Citizens’ Initiative” – a pastor from Bremen and a local farmer (CDU). The power plant corporation announced that its security measures had proved justified in view of the radicals and because the citizens’ initiative could not keep the demonstration under control, and it was expected that they would continue the struggle only with the means of a constitutional state. Meanwhile the ditch around the construction site was widened to eight meters [26 feet] and barbed wire was spread out “to protect children playing.”

The effort to defend the construction site has so far cost two million marks. These will one day be added to the many millions of investment costs for the first construction stage. This volume of money will carry weight if a court has to rule on complaints or if authorities have to decide whether or not the next construction stage can begin. Such policies of a fait accompli and millions that have been cemented in, which first exploit the state in all its institutions and then make it powerless, are what call the citizens’ initiatives to action. The case of Wyhl has shown how hard it is for them to fight the courts for a little more leeway in the face of governments addicted to industrialization, business-smart electricity companies, and unions intoxicated by all the jobs.

If there are some communists among the demonstrators, companies and authorities enjoy taking the opportunity to discredit a democratically permitted free expression of opinion without any further arguments. First, it should be asked if communists in our country represent the legendary sourdough that – added in small amounts – makes any protest action by assembled democrats irrelevant. Minister President [Gerhard] Stoltenberg told the state parliament in Kiel they could be pleased that the police action at dawn near Brokdorf secured the procedures of a constitutional state.

If heads of governments – in the face of unrest among their constituencies due to the threat posed by the unknown consequences of the construction of a nuclear power plant – can come up with nothing better than this naïve joy over a constitutional state, then it is high time for the parliaments to finally secure more rights in the question of nuclear power. The people are no longer so simple-minded that they will continue to listen to fairy tales about the threatening scarcity of energy while the chemical industry declares its disinterest in the question of storing radioactive waste, the electricity companies feel no responsibility, and the governments continue to do nothing but threaten a ban on permits for additional nuclear power plants.

Source: Christian Schütze, “Kernkraft spaltet den Rechtsstaat” [“Nuclear Power Splits the Constitutional State”], Süddeutsche Zeitung, November 3, 1976.

Translation: Allison Brown

first page < previous   |   next > last page