The devastating 9.0 earthquake that struck Japan on March 11 was the largest in the country’s recorded history. Prime Minister Naoto Kan called the earthquake and accompanying tsunami the greatest crisis to face the Japanese people since World War II.
The Freedom Socialist Party expresses our solidarity with the Japanese people as they begin the monumental task of rebuilding. They will need global support and assistance to stabilize their lives.
Unfortunately, multiple nuclear reactors in Japan are anything but stable as we go to press. The quake and tsunami knocked out power to several nuclear plants, leading to dangerous overheating. The catastrophe threatens to overshadow the Chernobyl disaster 25 years ago.
The quake has revived the debate over the use of nuclear power in the U.S. Urged on by industry, Republicans and Democrats alike, including President Obama, have been promoting nuclear energy as a “clean” alternative to fossil fuels. But, as the Japanese people are tragically finding out, there is nothing clean about nuclear power.
It’s time to raise again the demand, “No nukes — shut them down!” Capitalism has proven over and over again that while it’s eminently capable of coming up with ever more sophisticated technology to exploit the planet’s resources, it is not capable of doing so without disaster. And when it comes to nuclear disaster, the possible consequences are too terrible to contemplate.
What’s needed is a cohesive national energy policy that emphasizes conservation, solar and wind energy, research into alternative energy development, and public ownership of all utilities under workers’ control. Conservation efforts should start with fighting for a dramatic expansion of public transportation — and making it free — and for an end to oil-gobbling imperialist U.S. wars.
Will it take socialist revolution to save the Earth from the energy profiteers? Certainly, and we the planet’s people had better get started — while we extend all the help we can to the people of Japan.