Monday — 10.24.11 — Necropolitics of Radiation and the Struggle


1. About this Monday

2. Films

3. Participants

4. Suggested Readings

4.1 Dystopia of Civil Society / Part 1 and 2

4.2 Notes on the 4.5 Great Kamagasaki Oppression and Nuclear Power Industry

4.3 Must We Rebuild Their Anthill? A Letter to/for Japanese Comrades

4.4 An Elementary Algebra of Common Goods and Evils

4.5 Soil and Farmers

5. links


1. About this Monday

What: Films & Discussion

When: Monday — 10.24.11 @ 7:00PM

Where: 16 Beaver Street, 4th Floor

Who: Free and open to all

In many ways, Fukushima remains an unsurpassable and ineffable ghost

haunting today’s burgeoning revolts against Wall Street. Unsurpassable in

its invasiveness, intensity, scale, and duration. Ineffable because it

remains an obvious indication of the exceptional state of things in the

midst of this crisis. How one might ask? Well, even the potential

destruction of entire regions, ecologies, habitats and life forms -

outstripping even national borders – does not seem to put a pause on

resuming literally and figuratively ‘business as usual.’ It is an emblem

of how the exigencies of profit (above all else) act as the central

determining force for the reproduction and organization of entire

societies. In this way, Fukushima continues to remain a missing part of

the puzzle we attempted to put together in our meeting with activists,

organizers, and artists in late July in the lead-up to the general

assemblies and occupations which have spread throughout the US in this

last month.

Although information has been coming in from Japan since 3/11, there is a

huge gap between what the people in Japan are actually experiencing, doing

and thinking after the Fukushima nuclear accident, and what the people in

the US know and think about it. We are inviting three

intellectuals/activists from Japan, Yoshihiko Ikegami , Chigaya Kinoshita

and Ayumi Goto to share their first hand experiences and thoughts with us

here in the US, and to discuss together the significance of the situation,

the question of our human survival and the global struggles for it.

We all know that 3/11 is a global event. What has already happened in

Japan is and will be affecting the world over. Firstly there are effects

of radiation that could expand more and more for the years to come, though

they might not be immediately evident. Secondly, Japan sinking into the

abyss has a big impact on the global economy and power relations. Thirdly,

the management of post-nuclear-disaster society is rendered as both a

continuation and new phase of the capitalist regime that is global in

essence. Fourthly, in the regime, being forced to live under radiation (of

varied degrees, forms and extents) is a new misery imposed upon all

creatures on the planet. So it is that 3/11 Fukushima must be an occasion

for all of us to think over the world we have constructed – and ideas for

how we will reconstruct it.


2. Films

At this event, two films will be shown, followed by a public discussion

with Yoshihiko, Chigaya and Ayumi. Both films deal with sacrifices of

radiation — one from the bomb and another from labor — which are

politically and industrially imposed upon the commoners. Together, we

intend to analyze (1) the political and industrial complex of the nuclear

regime, (2) the present state of day-workers working for nuclear industry,

and (3) the rising struggles against the regime.

Atomic Wounds

Marc Petitjean | 2008 | 54 min.

At 89, Doctor Hida, a survivor of the 1945 atomic bomb at Hiroshima,

continues to care for some of the other quarter of a million survivors.

Atomic Wounds retraces his dedicated journey and highlights how the

terrible danger of radiation was concealed by successive American

administrations in the 50′s – 70′s so that nuclear power could be freely

developed, with no concern for public health.

Nuclear Ginza -Hidden Labor Under Radiation

Nicholas Röhl | 1995 | 30 min.

The story follows the photojournalist/ anti-nuclear activist Kenji Higuchi

as he exposes the exploitation of the “untouchables” who were pulled out

of the slums of Tokyo and Osaka in order to work while exposed to

radiation, often without their knowledge. Referring to the tacit

cooperation and close ties between the Japanese government and the

country’s nuclear industry, a man notes in one scene that “democracy has

been destroyed where nuclear power stations exist.” The film shows how

Japan, having suffered nuclear attacks in the past, remarkably transformed

itself within a few decades into one of the most “nuclearized” nations


The two films can be viewed at (but we will use DVD for the screening):

Atomic Wounds

Nuclear Ginza (1)

Nuclear Ginza (2)

Nuclear Ginza (3)


3. Participants

Yoshihiko Ikegami (forrmer editor of Gendashiso, independent writer)

Chigaya Kinoshita (political scientist, activist based in Tokyo)

Ayumi Goto (historian, activist working with day laborer struggles in Osaka)


> editors: Yuko Tonohira and Sabu Kohso


4. Suggested Readings

4.1 Chigaya Kinoshita, Dystopia of Civil Society (Part 1 and 2)

4.2 Takeshi Haraguchi, Notes on the 4.5 Great Kamagasaki Oppression and

Nuclear Power Industry

4.3 Silvia Federici and George Caffentzis, Must We Rebuild Their Anthill?

A Letter to/for Japanese Comrades

4.4 Ferruccio Gambino, [An] Elementary Algebra of Common Goods and Evils

4.5 Yoshihiko Ikegami, Soil and Farmers

4.6 Jfissures, Editorial 8/15/2011


4.1 Dystopia of Civil Society / Part 1

By Chigaya Kinoshita

Published: April 9, 2011

In his “A Response to Rebecca Solnit,” Yoshihiko Ikegami highly

appreciates A Paradise Built in Hell, and at the same time argues that the

principle of hope inherent in the disaster utopia might not work for the

present situation in Japan, confronting as it is not only natural disaster

by earthquake and tsunami but also nuclear disaster. As he points out,

radiation exposure causes calamities not only on living humans but also

future generations. And nuclear accident deprives us of the place/space

itself where the utopia can come out of disaster. Unfortunately hopes for

recovery drastically diminish here. In the worst case, parts of Fukushima

and Ibaraki prefectures will be no man’s land for an indefinite length of

time. Possibility for a recovery of community is zero in such condition.

Now it must be considered how one can talk about the disaster utopia in

the present situation of Japan in relationship with the previous nuclear

disasters in Ural 1950 and Chernobyl 1980. This is our task.

However, I think that the difficulty of building a disaster utopia in

Japan is not simply due to the characteristics of nuclear disaster per se

but something else. For instance, some foreign media have repeatedly

praised diligence and order the Japanese people sustained in confrontation

with the critical situation, but at the same time expressed a sense of

oddity that there have been so little critical discourses and actions

being observed there.

It is not that there have been no resistances, though being scarce. I

shall name a few examples here. The resistance that has been most spoken

about so far among the general public took place in professional baseball.

After 3/11, the home stadium of the Eagles based in the northeast has been

damaged and out of use. In response, the Pacific League to which the

Eagles belong determined to postpone the season until April. But the

Central League whose member teams are centered in Tokyo and Osaka areas

insisted on the determined date of March 25th. The background to this

insistence is problematically interesting. The one who was behind this

coercion was Tsuneo Watanabe, the owner of Yomiuri Newspaper. Once an

agent of CIA in the cold war age, Watanabe played a major role in

introducing nuclear power plant in Japan during the 1950s. (I shall write

a piece about the US/Japan strategy vis-à-vis the introduction of nuclear

power.) The intension of Watanabe to start the season on the predetermined

date was evidently to create an image of successful recovery by shifting

the public attention from the on-going nuclear disaster to the baseball

season. The teams of the Central League followed this decision.

Meanwhile the union of professional baseball players declared: “it is

nothing but conceit to start a season in this situation,” and its

intention to go on strike. Public opinion largely supported this, and

finally the Central League was forced to delay the season. The union was

able to express their voice under the state of emergency only because it

had a previous experience of all team strike against amalgamation plan in

2004. This strike was a rare example that achieved a wide range of support

from Japanese public who generally hold anti-strike sentiment. At that

time as well, the main enemy of the players was Watanabe, and the axis of

opposition has returned in the current dispute, with repeated success in

establishing a commonsense with the public. Such was the motive drive for

the radical response of the players.

Another example is the struggle of Ohta Kinoshita, the former news desk of

Nippon Television Network. He was the one who reported the critical

accident at Tokaimura Nuclear power Plant in 1999. At the wake of 3/11, he

gave up his post at the TV station, and began a blog

to propagate the danger of nuclear

energy. With his profound criticism of Japan’s mass media that is

spreading ungrounded optimistic views, and resisting accusations against

himself being escapist and traitor, he persists in his critical conviction

by giving up his high salary job.

There are lineages of such oppositional spirit in Japan that are not

familiar for foreign media, but they are unfortunately very rare.

At the wake of 3/11, the transportation system and infra-structure of

Tokyo were plunged into chaos. All workers had difficulties in

commutation. Foreign owned enterprises announced to their employees that

they did not have to come in for work. It is said that foreign workers did

not come following the reasonable recommendation, but alas! Japanese

workers came to work by making tremendous effort to reach the metropolis.

There are more examples like this, say, of conformism. Fukushima

University is in Fukushima City, located within 60 KM radius of the power

plant, where radiation is detected well over the standard measure. The

university dares to resume its courses in May. The president issued a

declaration that sounded nothing but a self-enlightenment; the

administration ignored the objection of some faculties and accused as

traitors those who refuged outside the prefecture; to the students it

vaguely suggested that they go home when the government issues the order

of standing by at home. The resumption of courses in coming May will

inexorably bind all students and all university workers. The

administration has no concern about the lives and well being of the

students and workers; it just seeks to carry out its everyday business,

blindly obeying the order of the Ministry of Education.

While the disaster of the nuclear accident is getting worse and worse

everyday, Japanese society is held tight by such conformism. Observing

this, many of us immediately think of the total war mobilization during

the Pacific War. They might associate Fukushima University with Kamikaze

attack, or they might find it as derivative of the traditional

characteristics of diligence and submission. Stereotypically this can be

deemed the nature of nationalism of Japan-type.

However, it is my contention that the basis of the present conformism is

not there. Foreign media have been reporting also about the insufficiency

and incapacity of the Japanese government in terms of emergency measures

and information disclosure. What is at stake here is a question of

Japanese civil society that approves of such problematic governance. I

think that the problem exists not in nationalism but the structure of the

civil society. The present conformism must be analyzed from the vantage

point of class struggle within Japanese society after the high economic

growth of the 1960s, where the civil society has come to be dominated by

capital, while its class nature has been made invisible within the civil


A clue to approach this issue is “the death by overwork [karoshi].” This

internationally circulated term signified a serious social problem during

the 1980s when Japan was celebrating the bubble economy. After having

overcome a strong yen in the mid 80s, Japan’s economy began to enjoy

prosperity since 1986. In consequence, the sense that Japanese are rich

and the society is wealthy generally spread. On the other hand, however,

also generalized was the image of the Japanese as working bees, based upon

the fact that the workers work intensely for long hours. The incredibly

speedy economic growth and karoshi both indicated an abnormality that

derived from a same root. Here I would like to pay attention to the fact

that the Japanese workers were not mobilized and driven by such external

coercion as the state of total war. Workers would not likely work so hard

and long as to reach karoshi by an external coercion. Karoshi became a

wide social problem only because of the existing structure in which the

workers voluntarily devoted themselves to their companies to the extreme.

I doubt that this structure is derivative of the tradition and convention

inherent in Japanese society. At the end of the Pacific War, from the

1940s through the 60s, there was a powerful labor movement. Up until the

mid 1970s, strikes and street actions were part of the everyday landscape.

Thereafter, however, strikes drastically plunged and the industrial

actions of labor unions fell to the bottom. Be it white-collar or

blue-collar, as the workers lost their class-consciousness, they came to

identify themselves dominantly with their companies. Despite the increase

of working populations under the high economic growth, the rule of

conservative LDP lasted for such a long time, because the working class

supported it instead of the Japan socialist Party or the Japan Communist

Party that tended to social democracy. In this manner, the myth of the

Japanese being obedient and diligent got fixed only during these forty


A work-centrism grasped the entire society under the directive of capital;

autonomy was totally lost in domains of everyday life and culture; the

view of life was homogenized under the idea of company=citizenship, based

upon the principle of competition among individuals. These broad senses of

everyday life were created after the defeat of class struggle, which are

the very disciplines that would not allow resistance, disobedience, and

exodus at this moment.

Certainly the enduring recession that began in the 1990s and the abuses of

neoliberal reforms leveled the economic basis for creating and sustaining

the everyday senses of Japan’s civil society. At the moment, however, the

collapse of economic basis have not yet triggered the willingness of the

people to look for an alternative, but are rather spurring on the tendency

to compete their submission even harder for survival. Now what is

grounding Japan’s conformism is a delusive obsession: “if I am kicked out

from my job, my everyday life, I won’t be able to come back.” On top of

that, as people are confronting threats of radiation that is invisible and

may produce long-term effects as opposed to immediate, this prolonged

state of crisis is reinforcing the structure of Japan’s corporate-civil


I am aware that the actual difficulties of Japanese society cannot be

reduced only to the problematic of class. Its nationalism should be shed

light on in itself. There are many more moments to be scrutinized in

relationship with Japan’s crisis: i.e., globalization, neoliberalism,

disaster capitalism, empire and the US, correspondence or mirroring with

the revolutions in the Middle East and North Africa, whereabouts of social

movements, etc. What I wanted to clarify in this short piece were that the

present crisis is rooted in the way of Japanese modernity; and that Japan

is confronting a tremendous social and political shift that cannot be

spoken of, without rethinking its past and present in their entirety. Now

in spite of its superficial tranquility, Japanese society is about to be

losing its coherence of past-present-future and torn apart into pieces.


4.1 Dystopia of Civil Society / Part 2

By Chigaya Kinoshita

Published: May 4, 2011

Silvia Federici and George Caffentzis’s “Must we Rebuilt their Anthill?”

is very rich in suggestions, and includes indicators to Japan’s present

and future as well as showing an important direction for the re-posing of

the question of the relationship between Japanese capitalism and society.

Until a little while ago I had planned to write a response to their

suggestions. But at present, there is an urgent need to talk about the

ugly aspects of Japanese civil society that are rapidly spreading before

our eyes.

On April 16th, the Ministry of Education reestablished the yearly limit

for radiation exposure for children at 20 millisieverts. The yearly limit

up to this point had been one millisievert, and even the ‘Nuclear Safety

Committee,’ a collection of academics working in the service of the

government, had announced that 10 millisieverts was the highest that this

limit should go. Nevertheless, the limit was raised by twenty times at

once. In short, this aimed to get the schools in Fukushima Prefecture open

on schedule as usual, and in fact, even in areas where Greenpeace surveys

have found radiation levels that are not innocuous, children are going to

school ‘like usual.’

A survey conducted recently by a citizen’s group found radioactive

material, in trace amounts, in the breast milk of mothers not only in

Fukushima but also Ibaraki and Chiba prefectures, far away from the

reactor. (In response to this survey, the Vice-Governor of Tokyo, Naoki

Inose, made the ugly remark that they should “not stir up excessive worry

and the housewives should get back to work right now.”) The radioactive

pollution of Fukushima prefecture is getting considerably worse each day

and there is a crisis situation where the health of children who are the

most sensitive to radioactive material is concerned. But in response the

government and Fukushima Prefecture do nothing but preach safety and are

not attempting to take concrete measures. At any rate, Yoshihiko Ikegami

can argue this point on this blog. What I would like to take up here is

the appearance of ‘an exterior,’ ugly civil society outside Fukushima


Right now there are two reactions to the people of Fukushima Prefecture in

the ‘exterior’ civil society that would initially appear to be completely


One is the ‘Let’s go, Fukushima!” reaction, specifically an organized

campaign saying “Fukushima is suffering from reputation damage, let’s buy

its vegetables and products.” It is very widely said that one should buy

things, and eat things, from Fukushima.

The other reaction is a form of discrimination directed towards those who

have been evacuated out of Fukushima. There is the beginning of harassment

and bullying of students from Fukushima who have transferred to schools in

other prefectures. Cars with license plates from Fukushima are being

denied service at gas stations, and people from Fukushima are being denied

lodging at hotels.

These two reactions initially look like complete opposites of each other

in the sense that the former appears as ‘good intentions’ and the latter

appears as ‘bad intentions.’ In reality the two complement each other and

function as a quarantine by ‘containing’ the people of Fukushima inside

the area exposed to radiation. And these two reactions are bound together

through the discourse of ‘reputation damage.’

In this context, ‘reputation damage’ connotes that ‘even though it’s safe,

rumors are being spread that it’s pretty dangerous, and as a result people

in Fukushima are taking damage to their livelihood and business.’ Of

course, the problem is with a nuclear reactor and the situation is

dangerous. But this fact is of no real importance. When the danger level

at the Fukushima reactor was raised to 7, a television commentator made

the following statement: “With a level 7 nuclear accident, reputation is a

concern.” This discourse, which we might as well call Kafkaesque

absurdity, is unchecked in Japan today and is a matter of course.

That agricultural products and seafood from the area of Fukushima

Prefecture are in danger is already a matter of course. Most agricultural

products and small fish originating in Fukushima prefecture are already

blocked from shipment. This also means that a danger is closing in on the

people in Fukushima who live off of this basis in the soil, and use this


But, nevertheless, citizens outside of Fukushima might as well be saying

this: “Let’s go, people of Fukushima! Don’t give in to reputation damage:

we’ll buy your products!” while at the same time saying “this business of

‘danger, danger’ is a lie! Humans of Fukushima, calm down and (however bad

it gets) live your lives with restraint, and work diligently.” However, in

actuality, most citizens outside of Fukushima Prefecture are conscious

that something dangerous is happening. In other words, a distinction is

being made between outward appearances and inward feelings. And the

ugliest appearance of inward feelings here is in the problem of


As for discrimination, most of the media is rephrasing this undeniable

discrimination in terms of ‘reputation damage.’ To quote a television news

headline, for example, “Evacuees from Fukushima Suffer Scientifically

Baseless Reputation Damage.” This definition of reputation damage is a

means of shifting the discourse, so as to say, ‘the problem isn’t with the

government and TEPCO, who created the problem, but with the guys who are

fanning the flames about danger,’ and in the case of individuals and

companies which are practicing discrimination, the tacit suggestion is

made that “they aren’t discriminating, the problem is with believing wrong

information, and if we believe the government, as is correct,

discrimination will disappear.” And if one believes the government, there

isn’t any need for an evacuation or anything of the kind. In brief, the

message is: ‘Stay in Fukushima.’

In my previous essay, “Dystopia of Civil Society, Part 1,” I argued that

the strength of Japanese conformism originates not in tradition but the

force of discipline in a civil society that has been brought into being by

the logic of capital. In the present, a month and a half after 3/11,

Fukushima is being positioned in the ‘outside’ of civil society. What is

being positioned in the space between it and its outside is not a material

wall. It is the wall of ‘primary responsibility for oneself.’ Who can flee

when they are told, “Fukushima is perfectly safe, but if you want to flee,

go ahead. But we won’t make any guarantees, and we have no idea what will

happen to you afterwards?” Can you imagine the true repressive nature of a

civil society that states in chorus “Let’s Go! Try harder!” to the people

in Fukushima who are struck with anxiety and conflict while at the same

time whispering under its breath, trying not to get involved, “but don’t

disturb our everyday lives?” If you can’t, you would do well to imagine

New York financial brokers gulping down Prozac while staring at the

uncontrolled fall in California energy prices on their computers, yelling

“Let’s Go!” while deciding, “But also there’s no way our electricity is

going to be cut off.”

Still, the disaster has only been going for a month and a half (and what a

long month and a half it has been…) It will take at the very shortest a

year and at the longest will continue for decades. And it is fully

possible that the situation will get worse. The situation is still in the

process of unfolding, and while it does not show an accomplished form of

control with fixed norms and ideals, but rather a situation that is moving

along pragmatically along with changes in the balance of power, the

picture drawn of civil society here is of an ugly civil society. But at

the same time, a current among farmers, fishermen, and the participants in

and sympathizers with the 15,000-person demonstration, which Mouri

Takayoshi reports on in this blog, one that takes aim at the ‘real enemy,’

is growing stronger in the media and public opinion. But, Fukushima cannot

be saved by this alone. This is where we stand now.

Translation by Max Black

to read further and for Original text in Japanese please go to …

Chigaya Kinoshita, Dystopia of Civil Society (Part 1 and 2)


4.2 Notes on the 4.5 Great Kamagasaki Oppression and Nuclear Power Industry

By Takeshi Haraguchi,

Published: April 14, 2011

On April 5, 2011, Kamagasaki in Osaka suffered the largest case of

oppression in recent years. Osaka Prefectural Police arrested 6 activists

(and 2 more in the following few days) who were engaged in the struggle in

Kamagasaki, and raided at least 14 places around the city.

The occasion of this oppression dates back to 2007. In Kamagasaki, many

day laborers, who hop around cheap lodging houses and bunkhouses as well

as those who can’t afford these facilities, kept their registration of

residency at the addresses of support organizations in and around the

neighborhood. However, in 2007, Osaka City abolished residency certificate

of all day laborers who were using the addresses of three support

organizations such as Kamagasaki Release Center. Day laborers, who often

suffer rejection from basic human rights, were now without certificate of

residency hence without the right to vote. As a protest against this

reckless act by the city, outside a voting station during the House of

Representatives election-day in July 2010, supporters of Kamagasaki

communities and day laborers themselves took an action to stand against

this human rights violation. On April 5th 2011, the City attacked

individuals and groups associated with the protest from the previous year,

as a preventive oppression to keep them from voicing their demands at

then-upcoming general regional election on April 10, 2011.

We ought to take this 4.5 Great Kamagasaki Oppression as an incident that

differs from other forms of oppressions against human rights, considering

the particular characteristics of Kamagasaki. Since this has a direct link

to the situation with nuclear power plants after 3.11. I would like to

note crucial points in relating 3.11 and the Kamagasaki incident.

Workers in Yoseba (day laborers’ community) like Kamagasaki in Osaka and

Sanya in Tokyo have always been a vital labor power at constructions and

various industrial works. Highways, high-rise buildings and dams would not

be built without the work force coming from the day laborers’ communities.

Who else could have built the site of Osaka World Expo of 1970, for


However, facts of their labors and efforts are hidden in the shadow and

forgotten. Away from the eye of the general public, in the places hidden

from social consciousness, day laborers have burdened themselves with the

works nobody else would want to do. And one of the works they took was no

other than the radiation labor at nuclear power plants. In “The Reality of

Radiation Workers at Nuclear Power Plants” [original at], there is a series of

testimonies by nuclear plant workers from Sanya in Tokyo. The text records

the straight-up voice of a worker who was recruited without much

explanations of radiation by his employer, taken to the site with no sense

of fear, eventually his body eaten up with diseases, and even lost a

friend of his for leukemia. Precisely like Kamagasaki was necessary for

the success of the World Expo, day laborers’ sacrifice was necessary in

order to maintain the cursed apparatus called nuclear power plant.

And now countless number of workers are brought out for the ever ominous

labor at the Fukushima Power Plant. It’s not certain whether the workers

are from day laborers’ communities or elsewhere. But the workers at the

plant are definitely under, not just similar but, totally the same

condition as the typical lives of day laborer’s.

Today’s Kamagasaki workers might be sent to power plants tomorrow, and

today’s Fukusima workers might wind up living the lives of Kamagasaki

day-workers tomorrow. The oppression on Kamagasaki equals the oppression

on all the workers who are at work in nuclear plants and who are going to

be sent there in coming days.

One of the targets in the police raid on 4/5 was a space of a documentary

film collective. This frankly reveals what the authority fears and

attempts to destroy all methods of recording, expressing and conveying the


Here we shall recall the 24th Kamagasaki Riot in June 2008. Since the

1990′s, Kamagasaki has suffered the shrinkage of job market and

transformed from “the town of the laborers” into “the town of the

unemployed.” During this period, especially after the 23rd riot in 1992,

the fire of riots turned into the legend of the past. Therefore the 2008

riot surprised all of those who were involved in Kamagasaki. And most

importantly, many young workers joined the insurrection. In response to

the 2008 riot, I have written as follows:

The riot of 2008 taught us that the fury of the day-workers – though the

majority of whom are now unemployed — has never disappeared. Furthermore,

many young people participated in the riot. Which means that they

rediscovered the place to express their own fury in Kamagasaki, the

sanctuary of riot, that inscribes the history of militant struggle. While

the older day-workers and the younger precariats confronted the riot squad

together, the method of expressing fury was bequeathed from one generation

to another.

The most important lesson from this insurrection is that in the city of

Osaka dwelling latently yet certainly is the fury of the oppressed people,

which could explode whenever the opportunity comes. The expression of the

fury could speak in any possible ways — not only in Kamagasaki but also in

any urban space. It is imminent that the whirlpool of rebellion detonates

everywhere. (From “Kamagasaki: A Geo-History of Rebellion” by the author)

Documentary films potentially play a crucial role in conveying expressions

of anger into various ends. Now the role has become even more important in

the aftermath of 3.11, as foundation of anger is widely spreading around

the issues of nuclear power. Therefore this role of expression – the film

collective – became an immediate target at the 4.5 Great Kamagasaki

Oppression — I cannot help but believe so. If this is the case, to record,

express, and convey are on the foremost line of the struggles in

Kamagasaki as well as against nuclear plants. The 4.5 raid was an

oppression not only on day laborers, but also on all of those who create

forms of expressions as messengers of struggle.


Kamagasaki is a small section of town in Osaka in which approximately

20,000 to 30,000 day laborers live. When the town had the largest

population, well over 200 cheap lodging houses stood side by side, in

which many day laborers lived. Such day laborers’ communities exist in

every larger city such as Sanya in Tokyo, Kotobukicho in Yokohama, and

Sasajima in Nagoya, and they are typically called Yoseba (laborer’s


Yoseba did not come into existence spontanieously, but they were a product

of capital and the nation-state, for their own necessities. In order to

successfully construct the site of 1970 World Expo in Osaka, the Japanese

government reportedly hired a large number of young workers from all over

Japan to work at construction sites. To ensure as many useful and cheap

work forces as possible, the government turned Kamagasaki into a

concentrated day laborers ghetto in the late ’60s. Since then Kamagasaki

has been used by capital as a main site of labor power for the lowest

paying jobs like construction and other industries. Then the capital has

also left many to live on and die on the street.

Yoseba has always been a stage to voice our demands to the nation-state

and capital, as well as a base for resistance. The most important action

of Kamagasaki resistance has been insurrection. August 1st in 1961,

following a car incident that killed a day laborer whose body was left on

the street without proper attention of the local police, the first

Kamagasaki riot began. There have been 24 major riots there since.

to read further and for Original text in Japanese please go to …


4.3 Must We Rebuild Their Anthill?

A Letter to/for Japanese Comrades

By Silvia Federici and George Caffentzis

Published: April 22, 2011

Dear comrades,

We are writing to express to you our solidarity at a time when the pain

for those who have died or have disappeared is still raw, and the task of

reshaping of life out of the immense wreckage caused by the earthquake,

the tsunami and the nuclear reactor meltdowns must appear unimaginable. We

also write to think together with you what this moment marked by the most

horrific nuclear disaster yet in history signifies for our future, for the

politics of anti-capitalist social movements, as well as the fundamentals

of everyday reproduction.

Concerning our future and the politics of anti-capitalist movements, one

thing is sure. The present situation in Japan is potentially more damaging

to people’s confidence in capitalism than any disaster in the

“under-developed” world and certainly far more damaging than the previous

exemplar of nuclear catastrophe, Chernobyl. For none of the exonerating

excuses or explanations commonly flagged in front of man-made disasters

can apply in this case. Famines in Africa can be blamed, however wrongly,

on the lack of capital and technological “know how,” i.e., they can be

blamed on the lack of development, while the Chernobyl accident can be

attributed to the technocratic megalomania bred in centrally-planned

socialist societies. But neither underdevelopment nor socialism can be

used to explain a disaster in 21st century Japan that has the world’s

third largest capitalist economy and the most technologically

sophisticated infrastructure on the planet. The consequences of the

earthquake, the tsunami and, most fatefully, the damaged nuclear reactors

can hardly be blamed on the lack of capitalist development. On the

contrary, they are the clearest evidence that high tech capitalism does

not protect us against catastrophes, and it only intensifies their threat

to human life while blocking any escape route. This is why the events in

Japan are potentially so threatening and so de-legitimizing for the

international capitalist power-structure. For the chain of meltdowns

feared or actually occurring stands as a concrete embodiment of what

capitalism has in store for us —an embodiment of the dangers to which we

are being exposed with total disregard of our well-being, and what we can

expect in our future, as from China to the US and beyond, country after

country is planning to multiply its nuclear plants.

This is also why so much is done, at least in the US, to minimize the

severity of the situation evolving in and around the Fukushima Daiichi

plants and to place the dramatic developments daily unfolding in and out

of the plants out of sight.

Company men and politicians are aware that the disaster at Fukushima is

tremendous blow to the legitimacy of nuclear power and in a way the

legitimacy of capitalist production. A tremendous ideological campaign is

under way to make sure that it does not become the occasion for a global

revolt against nuclear power and more important for a process of

revolutionary change. The fact that the nuclear disaster in Japan is

taking place in concomitance with the spreading of insurrectional

movements throughout the oil regions of North Africa and the Middle East

undoubtedly adds to the determination to establish against all evidence

that everything is under control. But we know that nothing is further from

the truth, and that what we are witnessing is the deepening crisis, indeed

the proof of the “unsustainability” of the energy sector — since the ‘70s

the leading capitalist sector— in its two main articulations: nuclear and


We think it helps, then, in considering this crisis, to think the

Fukushima disaster together with different scenarios that, in their

representation on the US evening news seem to have nothing in common with

it and with each other.

*Libya: where NATO and the UN are collaborating with Ghedaffi in the

destruction of a rebellious youth whose demands for better living

conditions and more freedom may jeopardize the regular flow of oil.

*Ivory Coast: where French, UN and Africom (the US military command

devoted to Africa) troops have joined ranks to install a World Bank

official, handpicked by the EU, to clearly gain control of West Africa’s

most important country after Nigeria and create a solid Africom-powered

bridge connecting the Nigerian, to the Algerian and Chadian oilfields.

*Baharain: where Saudi Arabian troops are brought in to slaughter

pro-democracy demonstrators.

Viewed, in this context, the threat the disaster at Fukushima poses to

international capital is not that thousands of people may develop cancer,

leukemia, loose their homes, loose their sources of livelihood, see their

lands and waters contaminated for thousands of years. The danger is that

‘caving in’ in front of popular mobilizations, governments will institute

new regulations, scrap plans for more nuclear plants construction and, in

the aftermath, nuclear stocks will fall and one of the main sources of

capital accumulation will be severely compromised for decades to come.

These concerns explain not only the chorus of shameless declarations we

heard in recent weeks (bouncing from Paris and Rome to Washington) to the

effect that the path to nuclear power is one with no return, but also the

lack of any international logistic support for the populations living in

the proximity of the melting reactors. Where are the planes carrying

food, medicines, blankets? Where are the doctors, the nurses, and

engineers? Where is the United Nations that is so readily fighting in

Ivory Coast? We do not need to ask. Clearly, as far as the EU/US are

concerned, the guideline is that everything must be done to prevent this

nuclear disaster from sinking into the consciousness of people and trigger

a worldwide revulsion against nuclear power and against those who

knowingly have exposed so many to its dangers.

There is also something else however in the response of the world

politicians to this juncture. What we are witnessing, most dramatically,

in the response to the tsunami and nuclear disaster in Japan, especially

in the US, is the beginning of an era in which capitalism is dropping any

humanitarian pretense and refusing any commitment to the protection of

human life. Not only, just one month after its inception, the catastrophe

that is still unfolding in Japan is already being pushed to a corner of

the evening news in the same way as nothing is any longer said about the

oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. We are also repeatedly informed that

catastrophes are inevitable, that no energy path is safe, that disasters

are something to be learnt from, not a cause for retreat, and, to top it

off, that not all is negative, after all, Tokyo’s troubles are Osaka’s


This is the same doctrine that today we are dished out in debates on the

financial crisis. Financial experts now all agree that it is impossible to

prevent major economic crises, because, however clever government

regulations may be, bankers can elude them. As Paul Romer, a finance

professor in Stamford University, put in a New York Times interview

(3/11/2011): “Every decade or so, any finite system of financial

regulation will lead to systemic financial crisis.” That is, those of us

who are on pensions or have a few savings or have taken out a mortgage

must prepare for periodic losses and there is nothing that can be done

about it!

What we see, then, today in Japan, is the moment of truth of a world

capitalist system that, after five centuries of exploitation of millions

across the planet, and after endless litanies on the fact that science

opens a path of constant perfectibility of the human race, has decided

that it is not their business to offer solutions to any major human

problem, obviously convinced that we have become so identified with

capital, and have so lost the will and capacity to construct an

alternative to it, that we will not be able to prise its future apart from

ours even after it has demonstrated to be totally destructive of our

lives. We are reminded here of the response that Mr. Chipman, an

official of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), gave when

asked, thirty years ago, if “American institutions” would survive an

all-out nuclear war with the Soviet Union. “I think -–he replied– they

would, eventually, yeah. As I say, the ants eventually build another


We think is our task to prove Mr. Chipman wrong –to prove that we will not

be like the mindless laborious ants who mechanically reconstruct their

hill not matter how many times it is destroyed.

We believe it will be a major political disaster if in the months to come

we will see business as usual prevail, and the surge of a broad global

movement protesting what has been done to the people of Japan and to us

all as the current will bring to our shore the radioactivity leaking from

the unraveling plants.

We are concerned however that a mobilization in response to the disaster

in Japan should not be limited to demanding that no more nuclear plants be

constructed and those in existence be dismantled, nor that more investment

be directed to the development of ‘clean energy’ technology. Undoubtedly,

the Fukushima meltdowns must be the spark for a worldwide anti-nuclear

movement. But we think, judging also from our experience in the aftermath

of the disaster at Three Mile Island, that this movement will not have any

hope of success if the struggle to eliminate nuclear plants or against the

existence of nuclear armaments, is approached in the narrow manner

characteristic of the anti-nuclear movement of the 1980s, if approached,

that is, as a special issue, according to the argument that if we do not

eliminate first nuclear power we will not be around to deal with other

issues. This, we believe, is a short-sighted argument, as death, genocide

and the ecological destruction of the environment come in many forms.

Indeed, rather than as exceptions we should see the proposed proliferation

of nuclear plants and the callous indifference demonstrated by world

politicians to the possible destruction of million of lives under a

nuclear regime as symptomatic of a whole relation to capital and the state

that is the real threat to people across the planet.

What we need is to approach the question of nuclear power as the prism

through which to read our present relation to capital and bring our

different struggles and forms of resistance together. Short of that, our

political activities will remain powerless, separated and fragmented like

the reports about Libya, Ivory Coast and Japan on the networks’ evening


A first step in this direction is to establish that Nuclear Power has

nothing to do with energy needs, in the same way as nuclear arms

proliferation had nothing to do with the alleged threat posed by

communism. Nuclear power is not just an energy form, it a specific form of

capital accumulation and social control enabling capital to centralize the

extraction of surplus labor, police the movements of millions of people,

and achieve regional or global hegemony through the threat of

annihilation. One of its main objectives is pre/empting resistance,

generating the kind of docility and passivity that we have witnessed in

response to such capital-made disasters as Katrina, Haiti and today Japan,

and that in the past enabled the French and US governments to explode

hundreds of atomic bombs in open air and underground tests in the Pacific

and use entire population from the Marshall Islands to Tahiti, as guinea


Nuclear power, therefore, can only be destroyed when social movements come

into existence that treat it politically, not only as a destructive form

of energy but as a strategy of accumulation and terror– a means of

devaluation of our lives– and place it on a continuum with the struggle

against the use of the “financial crisis,“ or against the cuts to

healthcare and education. To this program, those of us who live in the US

must add the demand for reparations for the descendants of the people who

have been the victims of US nuclear bombs and nuclear tests. For our

struggle must revive the memory of the crimes that have been committed in

the past through the use of nuclear power beginning with Hiroshima and


For with memory comes the demand for justice.

In solidarity,

Silvia and George

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4.4 An Elementary Algebra of Common Goods and Evils

By Ferruccio Gambino

Published: August 21, 2011

(Translated by George Caffentzis)*

1. Capitalism has used an elementary algebra of common goods and evils

even before understanding and conceptualizing the meaning of common goods

and evils. Once upon a time it used to be said that capital is for the

socialization of losses and the privatization of profits. However, in some

sectors, multiple advantages – of both profit and rent – are joined

together in a perverse way with commonized evils. The nuclear sector

provides an especially clear example of this phenomenon.

1.1 Water, wind, air and quite a few other elements of this planet, where

350 seismic tremors a day are recorded, are common goods as long as they

are not polluted. When they are polluted, the goods leave a trail of

remarkable disadvantages to all living creatures, and therefore become

common evils. In order to become again common goods, the different

polluted elements have to be “de”polluted, if it is possible. Only if and

when they are reclaimed is it possible to turn them into common goods

again. Water in general is a common good, but radioactive water released

from a nuclear reactor after a meltdown is not any longer a common good,

it is a common disaster, an evil coercively commonized and as such it is

imposed upon society. Public and private authorities discharge damage on

the entire surrounding population in an indeterminate (and often

indeterminable) range with such a damaged plant.

1.2 Within the spectrum of industrial activity, the transformation of

common goods into common evils is most evident in the case of nuclear

power. Contrary to other sectors, the birth and expansion of the nuclear

military was financed by state’s treasury, most especially in the US, but

also in the USSR and other countries since the end of the 1930s (and for a

long time) mainly for war purposes. Although the physicist Enrico Fermi

was then of the opinion that nuclear energy is a wonderful new form of

energy, even in the 1940s it should have been possible to ask why the push

to develop it was above all the race to create the absolute weapon.

Following the war, however, nuclear power was sold to the public as energy

with a peaceful end. It should be noted that for many reasons in the US

the government was not and is not the direct financer of civilian nuclear

plants; they are privately financed. However, the state protected

investors in nuclear power plants with a crazy law that put a limit on the

insurance costs of these plants in case of accidents and disasters.

Nuclear reactors were government funded in the final instance, since this

private liability limit was a small fraction of the eventual damage claims

a serious accident at a nuclear plant would generate.

It is a fact that the danger and consequent fears of the “peaceful” atom

have given popular legitimacy to the militarization – both in the public

and private realms – of the entire atomic sector in all nuclear nations.

There is much to say about this subject, but I will limit my remarks to a

few observations.

1.3 Since the first decades of the “nuclear era,” the construction and

running of nuclear plants in most countries has depended upon public funds

and financing. Private capital has played a marginal role, providing

almost homeopathic doses of cash, but private capital has been destined to

sneak in, to have a managerial role in the plants and to profit from this

role, with the consumers footing the bill. In the case of nuclear

disasters, private capitalists are protected by a double armor: on the one

side, the public treasury is the creditor of last resort and, on the

other, the payment with public funds for the evacuations, the hospital

bills and in the end the clean up of the nuclear waste. In other words,

the private management of nuclear power has been subjecting large

populations to blackmail under a continual, though muffled, reign of

terror, while obtaining tax money from the public treasury with the excuse

of dealing with emergencies.

1.4 The expense of maintaining and decommissioning the plants and the

custody of the radioactive waste for thousands of years impose a

tremendous tax and pollution burden on the population. In any case, the

population is condemned to pay a tribute of blood and labor to the

Minotaur for thousands of years. Sometimes, in a kind of endemic

complicity, the state attempts and often succeeds in corrupting an

overseas regime to bury the more dangerous waste on its coasts. It is an

open secret that in the course of time the storage places that are filled

with radioactive waste wrapped up in ridiculous barrels of cement are no

better protected than if they were wrapped in velum. No one really knows

what to do with nuclear waste and no one will remember how to dispose of

it in the arc of the thousands of years that are necessary for it to be


1.5 There are about 627 nuclear power plants in the world that are

producing electrical energy at the beginning of this second decade of the

21st century. Some of these plants have been damaged just years after

their construction. In the longer period, there is the probability of the

desertification of whole territories for thousands of square miles around

damaged plants and not for years but for centuries. The consequences that

would befall any large area in the case of a new nuclear program would be

likewise: the creation of unapproachable deserts for a duration measured

in biblical time.

1.6 In countries that are densely populated (such as Italy and Japan) the

noxiousness to the environment of a damaged plant appears in two modes: in

the first place, the radiation that effects the population in general and

which generates serious illnesses from cancers to birth defects in a

radius of thousands of square miles around the nuclear site—though still

far from where the media personalities and the haute bourgeoisie live—in

the second place, at a closer distance, the radioactivity that directly

affects the workers in the plant. In both cases, it appears that space and

distance is what determines the distribution of harm. In reality, however,

this distribution follows from the criteria of the separation of classes

and the position within a class and gender structure.

1.6.1. In the case of workers’ labor after a typical nuclear accident like

the one at the Fukushima plant run by Tepco (Tokyo Electric Power Company)

in the Spring of 2011, the division is starkly revealed between the few

long-term workers paid directly by Tepco and the many precarious

workers–considered unskilled and receiving the lowest wages–who are

attached to contractors and a cascade of sub-contractors and who are to

take care of the maintenance of the three stricken reactors at Fukushima

as well as the other 52 nuclear reactors in 18 sites around Japan. The

precarious workers constitute 88% of the 83,000 workers in the Japanese

nuclear sector (with 73,000 precarious workers, to be more precise). At

Fukushima, in the twelve months that preceded the nuclear disaster 89% of


10, 303 workers had been placed in various steps in the wage ladder of the

sub-contractors, with the salary and the danger increasing with the

increase in the exposure to radioactivity. After the disaster, they faced

the challenge of unsustainable levels of exposure of radiation while they

cleaned the spent-fuel pools with mops and rags in order to open up a path

for the inspectors and the technicians of Tepco. They had to work in

intense cold in order to fill up trash cans with contaminated refuse.

As always in work that is very noxious, the recruitment always seems to

take place in random settings: in rundown construction yards that have

experienced a long period of crisis and seen much unemployment, among

local poor rural workers and in labor gangs organized by local gangsters.

Always and everywhere the precarious workers in nuclear sites are intended

to hide the wounds and contusions they receive on the job, under penalty

of immediate firing. After the disaster at Fukushima, the precarious

workers were offered higher wages due to the general fear of

radioactivity: about $350 a day for two hours of work; that is more than

double of the preceding pay when the working day was longer. That is to

say, they receive the wages of fear. The conditions of work were generally

better during the 1990s when the exposure to radioactivity had decreased

since the 1980s, but later the exposure began increasing again due to the

increase of accidents in the obsolete plants, in spite of shorter work


In fact, the group of people sacrificed to radioactivity has not faded

away; on the contrary, the sacrifice of human lives has become systemic:

from each the absorption of his modicum of radiation, to each the loss of

his job once the early symptoms of disease are detected (“his” since most

of these workers are men). In short, it is a case of nuclear socialism.

[In Japan] the first trade union of precarious workers in the nuclear

energy area was founded in the 1980s to contest this state of affairs with

a platform of claims, conspicuous among which was the one concerning

putting a stop to both fake data on the exposure to radiation and to the

strict orders given to the workers to lie to the inspectors about how

security procedures were being sidestepped. After the first 180 workers

had signed up for the union, in democratic Japan, anonymous thugs smashed

the doors of the apartments where union officials were staying and

threatened them and their families. Clearly, nuclear power shapes

democracy (not the other way around!) In brief, one needs to be quiet

because, as they say in union circles, “when one enters a nuclear site,

all is secret.”

1.7 Elaborated in the 1940s and 1950s in the military world, the paradigm

of nuclear labor was constituted as a general paradigm of a tripartite

division patterned on that of the armed forces: in the first and highest

rung, the scientists, planners, and strategists, invisible in their

Olympus but not totally secure; in the second rung, inspectors,

technicians, and programmers with their stable jobs but also with a bit

more exposure to dangerous radioactive materials; on the bottom rung, the

precarious “service” workers, who constitute the “base force,” as they say

in the navy. This scheme has been applied to an increasing number of

workplace situations from the dockworkers of the US’s West Coast in the

1950s —separated in three rungs: the A-men, the B-men and the rest—to the

contemporary plague of casual work that has hit and continues to hit

stratum after stratum of workers in all the world.

Everyone manages exactly the danger that emanates from their jobs. The

management of fear and illness is a private and solitary affair, thanks to

the casual collection and secrecy of sensitive data in the health

statistics kept by the power companies, at least until the affected people

organize themselves, as they have begun to do in the US.

1.8 Nuclear power plants require a nuclear state. The nuclear state can

even have a patina of democracy, in the sense that it permits regular

elections where one votes to choose in whom the executive power will be

vested. In reality, however, one votes only in order to show that one is

“de-voted”[to regimentation]. To be a voter is the inevitable deceit in

the nuclear state. [Morevover, the nuclear state cannot permit any

discontinuity in the discipline of the population and in the regular flow

of lies], whatever the list of candidates that win the elections.

1.9 The absence of reliable information is one of the characteristic

traits of the nuclear state. It was and is a great forge of falsehood in

both East and West. The nuclear state’s repression of information and

plain fraud is far greater than the diplomatic lies that Wikileaks has so

well documented in 2011. This secrecy is an instrument of the perverse

solidarity of the nuclear ruling class, it is part of their complicity

with the narco-information given to the population which is expected to

submit passively and live in a no man’s land, where nuclearization is a

state of enclosure promoted by state power and legalized and enforced by

the monsters of so-called “governance.”

*Translator’s Note: The above article was written by Ferruccio Gambino, a

sociologist at the Univesity of Padova, in May 2011 during a campaign to

pass a national referendum resolution barring the construction of new

nuclear power plants in Italy, as the Berlesconi government had planned.

Italy is not now a nuclear state, since it does not have any operational

nuclear power plants on its territory and its military does not claim to

have nuclear weapons. (Although this nuclear-free status cannot be applied

to the US and NATO air and naval bases on Italy’s soil.) Thus, the

referendum resolution was intended to stop Italy from becoming a nuclear

state. The anti-nuke resolution passed by a wide margin. The author

expresses his thanks to Hiroko Tabuchi who wrote “Less Pay, Fewer

Benefits, More Radiation,” International Herald Tribune, April 11, 2011,

p. 1, 6.

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4.5 Soil and Farmers

By Yoshihiko Ikegami

Published: August 29, 2011

More than a hundred days have passed since the accident. Thanks to the

autonomous investigative actions of the people, the radiation situations

within Fukushima Prefecture as well as in the Tokyo metropolitan area are,

if gradually, being revealed day by day. Considering the need of measuring

radioactivity in every corner of individual lives, this movement still

needs to grow further. It is certain, however, that more and more

individuals will begin to acquire and use their own Geiger counters.

Though far from sufficient, local governments have reluctantly begun to

measure radioactivity. The doses of radiation in all districts are

publicized in local blogs, becoming guidelines for our everyday activity.

We are progressing in this sense.

But this is only the story of external exposure. We are facing another,

more serious threats of radiation: the internal exposure. Everyday we are

breathing and eating as life activity; by so doing we are introducing

radioactive substances into our bodies. The radiation of food products is

in a very knotty condition. Calling it a temporary measure, the state

allows circulation of them, especially vegetables, that are contaminated

by 10~20 times higher radiation than the international standard. It is

totally unclear as to how long the temporary measure will be in effect.

The cruelty of this standard is proven by the fact that one would

accordingly receive a total of 50 millisievert of radiation annually by

eating the vegetables and breathing the air, by both internal and external


We cannot continue to purchase such vegetables for our food. We can only

try to be extremely careful in buying them. But since each product does

not show its own radiation level, we have to judge by the indication of

the producing areas. By visiting the website of the Ministry of

Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries , we can

learn sample data of day-to-day radiation of vegetables from different

prefectures. But these offer only standards and are totally insufficient.

Therefore, buying vegetables plays a deadly role in our everyday


The state not only refuses to alter the lax standard of radiation, but

also follows the strategy of morally accusing those consumers who would

not purchase the food products from radiated areas. To thwart this

boycott, the state even schemes to blur the indications of the producing

areas as much as possible. There is also a serious problem with manure

processing. Radioactive substances accumulate by being washed by water and

becoming part of the mud in ditches. Mud has been used as manure for

agriculture, and even after the current accident, the contaminated mud has

been processed as manure and is about to be distributed across the nation.

So it is inevitable that all the soil of Japan will be contaminated by


Why on earth does the state dare to moralistically judge these consumers

in its strategy? It is in a consideration of the farmers’ existence. In

other words, the state is behaving as if it were a representative of

morality, as if it were a guardian of farmers’ interest. In this scheme,

the farmers appear to be protected at a glance. But are they really? We

don’t hear much of farmer’s voices any more, while we were shortly after

the accident. What are they thinking at the moment?

In the wake of the accident, radioactive substances emitted from the

nuclear reactors poured over the entire Kanto Region; the farmland was

polluted instantaneously. The soil was affected by radiation. But it took

a while until the public recognized the fact, only after radioactive

substances such as iodine and cesium came to be detected in vegetables.

Farmers were dumbfounded while looking at their polluted land, and then

mourned unable to ship the vegetables they produced with their heart and

soul. For the farmers, the earth is the most important thing, the basis of

their living and the ground of their existence. They can no longer rely on

this resource of all. Thereafter their mourning and rage against the

nuclear power plant were repeatedly reported in the news media. But now it

is necessary for us to share and ponder their chagrin time and time again.

We must not forget the fact that the farmers are next to the plant workers

in terms of the amount of radiation they are exposed to. They work closely

with soil which tends to accumulate radioactive substances more than

anything else. Thus the farmers are likely to be exposed to tens of times

more radiation than urban dwellers. Therefore it may be they who have to

evacuate first.

There has been no official report of death directly by radiation since the

accident. But at least several farmers have killed themselves. This is

because their future was completely blocked by soil contamination and the

impossibility of continuing their subsistence as a farmer. In recent years

only in the historical imagination have we encountered miseries and

famines of farmers caused by draught and other natural disasters. But now

such tragedies are unfolding in front of our eyes.

On April 26th, the 25th anniversary of the Chernobyl accident, a farmers’

protest took place in front of the headquarters of TEPCO in Marunouchi

Tokyo. They carried with them the vegetables they produced but cannot ship

to markets. What impressed us most was a cow they brought with them. The

presence of the creature was stunning amidst the high-tech mega-city

Tokyo. Cattle are more than friends for farmers; living together and

mourning together, they are like their own children. Marching with a flag

made of a straw mat, the cow revived the scenery of the mediaeval in our

minds. Listening to the moo echoing over the metropolitan skyline, we were

inside the history of hundreds of years past. In this sense, the accident

shook and dug out the old layers of our memories.

But again, the voices of the farmers we heard in the beginning are no

longer. In the shadow of the argumentation about the right or wrong of

selling the farm products, the existence of farmers themselves is again

about to be sealed off. It is becoming harder and harder to find out what

really is going on in the entire scheme of facts. As far as the

accelerating action of measuring radioactivity is concerned, it has so far

been an urban-based movement. But it is necessary to have that practice on

the farmland, in order to understand the situation of radiation on the

soil. All sorts of support must be guaranteed for the farmers. No matter

how extensive the areas are, soil replacement will be necessary. And of

course, further evacuation must be planned for certain areas.

We cannot simply accept the situation. The silencing of the nuclear

colonial regime must be broken. Shiro Yabu has called the measuring

movement a new public hygiene, a new meteorology. And I would say: a new

stratigraphy must be initiated – before the new harvest season of autumn


to read further and for Original text in Japanese please go to …


4.6 Jfissures, Editorial

Published: August 15, 2011

It was a week after 3/11 that > was created. Since then we

have been publishing critical writings in Japanese-English bilingual

format, as a convergence point of discourses from within and without

Japan, all tackling the unprecedented situation that the human society is

now confronting. For now the radiation scattering is being experienced

mainly by the people of the far-eastern archipelago, but unfortunately

will expand globally, in both radioactive effects and social-economic

situation. One of the main premises of the project is to see it as a

global event.

Humanity has long been exposed to radioactivity as well as other fatal

substances of industrial waste in various places on the planet. But there

is a singularity, that is, an irreversibility that distinguishes Fukushima

from previous conditions and incidents. One of the significant differences

is the exposure of massive population (including the residents of Tokyo

metropolis) to radioactivity, to which neither total measure nor complete

solution is seen on the horizon. Another issue that characterizes

Fukushima nuclear accident is that the Japanese ruling power’s responses

and their absurdity has clearly shown to us that people’s lives are of

lesser matters in the well-being of the nuclear regime even after the

‘safety’ of nuclear power was proved otherwise. No matter what we do –

even if we accomplish our important tasks of ousting nuclear plants and

finding alternative energy — we will have to live with various forms and

degrees of radiation whose effects are varied temporarily and spatially.

It has already happened and it will continue to happen. The extent of its

influence is yet to be experienced, but this is a matter of fact.

Meanwhile we are observing the advent of a global nuclear regime

consisting of pro-nuke states and capitals (the majority of the neoliberal

forces), that is both publicly and tacitly urging humans to get used to

and live with radioactivity as long as life exists on the planet. For

making its political strategy, the global regime relies on the blurred

spatiality and temporality of, or the variety and unpredictability of

radiation effects over the populace. As Japanese ruling power says: “There

are no immediate effects. Mind your own business!” — Such is the slogan of

the necropolitics after 3/11.

In this new situation, it is crucial for us to note that the anti-nuke or

de-nuke call can no longer be just a preventive one for possible future

disasters, but should also instigate a struggle against the present

management of nuclear disaster, that is what the people of Japan have

already begun. Stopping existing nuke operations is a must, but the

struggle for our survival under existing radiation should be created anew

against and beyond the new control of capitalist/nation/state over our

entire life world, since the necropolitics of radiation is just a part of

the necropolitics of all other forms where political oppression, social

control and profit making are becoming one and the same practice. For that

matter, atomic power and the society grounded upon it are the ultimate

embodiment of the civilization that the capitalist production has reached.

As writings from Japan unequivocally attest to, the anti- or de-nuke

movement after Fukushima can no longer be a single-issue movement. It has

to involve all aspects of reproduction of life. It must be an

anti-capitalist/nation/state movement. It must target all the climate and

environment injustices. It must be an all-inclusive struggle involving

politics, information, science, medicine, culture and everyday life.

> intends to be a hub for presenting information, criticisms

and theories for creating such a movement on a planetary scale, based upon

and for the sake of what the people in Japan are and will be experiencing

for the years to come. It seeks to situate itself on the lineage of

anti-capitalist struggle and mass insurrection in the world over, at the

same time as paying attention to the heritages (failures and successes) of

global justice, climate and environmental justice movements.

> hopes to work with innumerable radical groups in and out

of Japan fighting locally or globally for a full-hearted transformation of

the planetary apparatus.

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