The nuclear scandal in Japan shows that capitalism endangers our future
By Nina Gunić, Revolutionary Communist Liberation Organization (RKOB, Austrian Section of the RCIT), September 2013, www.thecommunists.net
Introductory Note by the Editorial Board: Below we publish the translation of an article from comrade Nina Gunić, a leading member of the RCIT. It initially appeared in German language in the September issue of the paper of the Austrian’s RCIT section.
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What happened in Fukushima two years ago due to the extremely negligent approach of the capitalists was already shameful enough. But now there are again horror stories about the radiation- contaminated area in Japan. However, as before, the operator of the nuclear reactor, TEPCO, has not been held accountable. On the contrary: the government has decided to intervene and take over the exorbitant cost of building a kind of protective wall around the reactor. It is justifying this step in order not to put too much “burden” on TEPCO.
This wall is a kind of frozen wall of protection, which should prevent further mixing of contaminated water with groundwater. Such a mixing creates the danger that the contamination reaches much further than the area around the reactor.
In reality, the groundwater has been contaminated already since March 11, 2011 when the reactor was damaged by the earth quake. It has also become known that every day since then 300 tons of contaminated water pours into the sea! The procedure of the company TEPCO since the reactor accident, and also before then, is more than criminal. It is all the more absurd how willing the government is to step in financially so that the corporation does not have to invest more in repairs. In reality, TEPCO should exclusively pay for these works. After all, TEPCO has the responsibility for the catastrophe and has acted criminally.
Criminal TEPCO Corporation
The list of crimes is long:
1) The decision to build a nuclear power plant in Fukushima was made in spite of knowing that this was a high seismic risk area. But the low costs for the land was too tempting for the capitalists.
2) TEPCO concealed the troubles in the plant after the earth quake. Despite knowledge of the threat of an earthquake, the management did not take the necessary precautions over the years and invested only little in the security systems. Therefore the cooling water, which was used after the accident, was sea water and consequently it strongly undermined the material and risked further leaks and disasters.
3) TEPCO concealed the scope of the catastrophe and especially how much of the contaminated water had already penetrated into the sea.
4) TEPCO risked the lives of workers without flinching to make repairs at the time of covering up the scope of the disaster. They denied the workers information on the scope of the catastrophe. Many workers were lured for these jobs with higher wages. Poorer and desperate workers were recruited for these tasks and have to cope now with the horrible consequences during their shortened life-span.
5) TEPCO did and does play down the scope of the contamination. It was established already in 2012 that marine creatures, that have been studied 600km away from Japan, were heavily contaminated by radioactivity. Tuna was caught even at the coast of California which was slightly contaminated. While one can eat these tuna, it shows that the spread of radioactive contamination in the Pacific is clearly much larger than claimed by the officials.
The catastrophe of Fukushima exemplifies once more how hazardous the current system of “profit before people”, i.e. the system of capitalism, is and how tragic it is for the popular masses. TEPCO and everything that has happened in Fukushima is one of the best examples to show clearly that a sustainable future of humanity can only be ensured if the working class takes control of the economy and society.
An emergency program against the nuclear disaster
The Revolutionary Communist Organization for Liberation (RKOB) and our international organization, the RCIT, strongly condemn the procedure in Fukushima by the TEPCO management as well of the capitalist government in Japan. We call for:
* Nationalization of TEPCO without compensation and under the control of the workers and the affected people (local communities, fisher, etc.)! The entire nuclear power system must therefore not only be placed under control of the workers, but also of the entire workers movement!
* Opening of the books as well as publication of all security protocols and all other documentations of the nuclear power plant and the catastrophe! Immediate convocation of a team of experts by the workers' movement, which finds out the actual damage!
* The goal must be to close the nuclear power plants as soon as possible and to exit from the nuclear energy system! Instead, massive public investments in alternative energy systems, which are environmentally friendly and above all safe, are necessary!
* All persons responsible for the nuclear disaster – i.e. all directors and managers of the nuclear facility, who were in office at the time of the catastrophe and since then – must be brought to justice at a workers tribunal!
* All costs to remedy the consequences of the disaster must be paid by the super-rich, the capitalists and corporate executives! Therefore, they must be expropriated without compensation! All people affected by the consequences of the catastrophe must immediately receive adequate medical treatment as well as compensation for the damages. This is the minimum of what these victims deserve!
To enforce these demands a massive expansion and radicalization of the methods of struggle is required. Demonstrations, as they have taken place, are important but not sufficient. The struggle must be expanded to the enterprises to organize strikes, general strikes and factory occupations. Ultimately, the capitalist class must be overthrown by a socialist revolution of the working class.
The leading forces in the Japanese workers movement – the trade union bureaucracy and the reformist Communist Party of Japan (which scored 10.6% of the votes in the parliamentary elections in July 2013) – are, despite some left phrases, diehard defenders of the capitalist system. The Communist Party, for example, defends the imperialist claims of Japan in the islands dispute with China and South Korea. They are traitors in the ranks of the workers movement. But as long as these reformist bureaucracies remain at the top of the Japanese workers movement, it is necessary to put pressure on them and to demand that they organize the necessary defensive struggles.
However, what is crucial is the timely building of an authentic revolutionary party in Japan as part of a future revolutionary world party of the working class. Only such a party can lead the Japanese working class to socialism!
A ‘Fukushima’ must never happen again! More than ever, it is clear: Socialism or Barbarism!