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Dan DeWalt

Dan DeWalt is the founder of Patriotic Response to Renegade Government, an organization based on the free association of like minded souls, without the organization part.

August 26th, 2011 11:56 PM

Vermonters Building a Peoples' Sovereignty Movement to Counter Corporate Abuse of Power

A classic David v. Goliath battle is taking shape in the courtroom and in the streets and fields of Vermont as Entergy Nuclear of Louisiana tries to overturn Vermont law in the federal courts. The state has thoughtfully and repeatedly voted no to the extension of Entergy's Vermont Yankee nuclear reactor's license, which is due to expire on March 21, 2012. Results of Town Meeting votes, a 26-4 vote by the Vermont Senate, and a pivotal gubernatorial race all have shown that the state does not see Vermont Yankee as a reliable or economical partner for its energy future. Forty years' accumulation of radioactive waste on the banks of the Connecticut River is enough.

Entergy was stunned when their corps of lobbyists failed to prevail at the statehouse, but they are counting on their high powered legal team to carry the day for them in the favorable atmosphere of the federal court system. And even though the Supreme Court has a certain affinity for states' rights, it is not clear that that will over-ride their love for corporate personhood/rights and their distaste for so many things that Vermont, (as personified by its socialist Senator Bernie Sanders), stands for and represents. So although the state government has taken all appropriate action (and continues to do so in the courts), it ultimately may be the citizens who will have the power to make this leaky, decrepit reactor shut down as scheduled.

Secretary of Energy Steven Chu explained on NPR what citizens need to do, when he explained that the Yucca Mountain nuclear waste dump project was abandoned because of “concerted, growing, local opposition”.

Vermonters are not taking a wait and see approach. With their neighbors from New Hampshire and Massachusetts, they are growing a movement. They promise to close down the plant by direct action if it it continues to operate past March 21, 2012. Activists are discovering that support for direct citizen action is growing throughout the region. From senior citizens to harried single moms, people are volunteering and vowing to get arrested or whatever else it will take to close down the reactor. Non-violent civil disobedience trainings are being conducted throughout the region and organizers are working in a variety of ways to build a region-wide movement.

The September 17th Positively Charged Music Festival is just one manifestation of that effort. In order to bring thousands of people together to sign up for and support the direct action to be taken, seven well known bands from three states are gathering near the VY evacuation zone for a day of music and truth telling. The entire event is the beneficiary of volunteer labor, from the music, to the sound, publicity, website, graphic design, even the contractors building the stage. This concert is the product of a community working together to take back our power. This community will continue to grow. And it will be of sufficient size to ensure that Vermont Yankee shuts down as scheduled.

Our friends in New York are battling the Indian Point reactor. Across the entire nation, from New Jersey to California, reactors are leaking tritium and strontium 90, cracking, and contaminating their environments. This is a national issue being played out on the Vermont stage. We are one part of the fight against the rule of corporate greed, just like our neighbors in New York and Pennsylvania who are battling the insanity of the gas fracking, or citizens from across the land who are battling local ills that arise from the obscene imbalance of wealth and power. Now is the time to reach out to each other, see where we all are, and stitch all this good work together.

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