Notes from the Underground - Archives
Batman leads the way
Teachers react to news of a court injunction. Superior Court Judge Bryan Chushcoff said he intends to issue a temporary restraining order on striking Tacoma teachers until a hearing is held on the issue of the strike's legality. No word yet on whether school will resume. Talk of fines and jail harden resolve of strikers.
And it just wouldn't be a strike if there wasn't one freeper with subject/verb agreement problems. He was beside himself driving past and screaming like a maniac while giving teachers the finger. Then he returned later with his sign when the teachers were gathering to hear the union reps tell us what was happening. He waved the sign and screamed "Shame Shame." As always, freepers shaming teachers by waving their illiterate signs.
And they let me sing. It was awesome!
I estimate 300-500 when I came to march the long mile. SOLIDARITY!
Darkness envelops windows taped shut
Black plastic to blot out the light.
Door in deadbolts even the peephole
Coffee table reading: civil defense manual
opens to a diagram of a fall-out shelter.
The phone is blinking
72 new messages on the machine.
In the dusky light the oversized couch cushions
raise dust. Somewhere above sea level
Downwind of the rainbow
a line of yellow tape
a clicking noise
Dorothy’s ruby slippers
melting into hot pools
where the things that you fear
really do threaten to come true.
Twilight in Babel
for the Homeland:
O brilliant and gifted galaxy
distilled to one state-of-the-art black hole
like a mountain inverted
the remainder squeezed
through a tunnel of wires,
a restricted zone of
satellite dishes turning in unison like locks
behind massive steel doors,
six-stories of subterranean order,
three thousand rooms below ground level.
Here, rumor rises like smoke;
dogs follow the scent of
every official order
to strip search the shadows;
monitor surreptitious thought
recorded in exponential increments
for national security.
Above ground beyond the bunker,
the sweet sticky smell of overripe apples,
sunflowers heavy with darkness.
Even the moon seems farther away.
Jets shriek past in the night.
No one is safe.
No one speaks.
The city breathes fire—
a choking blaze singes the air
The absence of human remains
in the minutes after impact
No warning of danger
the explosive force of
1000 tons of TNT
Not a single cloud
in the blue sky, no foreshadowing
of the warhead hurtling to its destination,
or the sanitized hands of the pilot
who takes careful aim at his target.
Only a few glance up, take note
at the sound of engines.
1000 offices echo in empty towers,
and far from the center of the city,
factories and industrial smokestacks
blot the skyline.
A deep shadow passes over the fields
following the direction of the wind.
The pilot checks the time and
begins his descent plotting an
determined weeks and days
before take-off, years even
that wind back through the chain of command
A general’s signature.
An official document that authorizes action.
The president plays golf.
An aide whispers in his ear.
In the voting booth,
1000 citizens push the button.
It’s a Strangelove Life
If George Bailey had never been born,
Mr. Potter and the gang at the Bedford Falls
Savings and Loan might not have pushed
the button that sent the wing commanders
scurrying to bomb the world into purity.
They say whenever you hear a bell ring
another weapon has been paid for,
another mission accomplished.
In the cockpit, when the countdown reaches lift-off
Clarence will smile strapped in a padded flightsuit
looking amazingly like an angel in a straightjacket.
In the war room, Dr. Strangelove will salute the air,
his iron fist raised, his middle finger aimed
like a strategic weapon. The end when it comes
will be like coca cola exploding in a vending machine.
Because the only way we will know of our heroes and heroines is if we learn about them for ourselves. I heard stories of Coxey since I was a child. My father who was 50 when I was born had a lot of stories to tell. This one is one he told of my Grandmother. She made food for Coxey's Army before they left Tacoma. Sandwiches. Many many sandwiches. She passed them out in front of her house as the men mustered to begin the trek to Washington DC. Whenever she made a meal thereafter, the family would say she "made enough to feed Coxey's Army."
I am proud proud proud of my family's Wobbly roots and labor history. Push this union maid and I'll push back. Count on it.
Coxey's Army was a protest march by unemployed workers from the United States, led by the populist Jacob Coxey. They marched on Washington D.C. in 1894, the second year of a four-year economic depression that was the worst in United States history to that time. Officially named the Army of the Commonweal in Christ, its nickname came from its leader and was more enduring. It was the first significant popular protest march on Washington and the expression "Enough food to feed Coxey's Army" originates from this march.
Some of the most militant Coxeyites were those who formed their own "armies" in Pacific Northwest centers such as Butte, Tacoma, Spokane, and Portland. Many of these protesters were unemployed railroad workers who blamed railroad companies, President Cleveland's monetary policies, and excessive freight rates for their plight. The climax of this movement was perhaps on April 21, 1894 when William Hogan and approximately 500 followers commandeered a Northern Pacific Railway train for their trek to Washington, D.C. They enjoyed support along the way, which enabled them to fight off the federal marshals attempting to stop them. Federal troops finally apprehended the Hoganites near Forsyth, Montana. While the protesters never made it to the capitol, the military intervention they provoked proved to be a rehearsal for the federal force that broke the Pullman Strike that year.<5>
A second march was organized in 1914.<6> A portion of the march reached Monessen, Pennsylvania on April 30.<7> Another contingent from New York City merged with the march.<8> When the march reached Washington DC, Coxey addressed a crowd of supporters from the steps of the United States Capitol.
Larkworthy Antfarm presents Anne Feeney's "War on the Worker" mixed with archival footage from the Prelinger Archive.
Make no mistake. It is a war.
Larkworthy Antfarm mixes archival film footage with a new soundtrack.
"Millions of Us" (1936) Prelinger Archives.
"Hallelujah, I'm a Bum" performed by Joe Glazer and Bill Friedland. "Songs of the Wobblies" (1954).
Direct from Second Life, Larkworthy Antfarm and her card carrying union gang present a good old fashioned union sing-along for Labor Day in support of our fellow workers on the picket lines wherever you may be.
"We Shall Not Be Moved," sung by Joe Glazer. Smithsonian Folkways.
We shall not, we shall not be moved.
We shall not, we shall not be moved.
Just like a tree that's standing by the water side
We shall not be moved.
"We can never insure one hundred percent of the population against one hundred percent of the hazards and vicissitudes of life, but we have tried to frame a law which will give some measure of protection to the average citizen and to his family against the loss of a job and against poverty-ridden old age." --Franklin Roosevelt's Statement on Signing the Social Security Act August 14 , 1935
Along this stretch of river,
silence never lifts.
Boarded up houses with “for sale” signs
line the edge of town,
out past the Atomic Autowrecker’s
tangle of rusted chrome, windshields,
and blackberry vines.
Downwind, nothing moves.
Not many secrets remain buried either;
the rotten past bubbles up
sloughs off walls,
grimly oozes into the river.
Where scientists once spun starglass,
nothing left now but ticking death
the rattle of geiger counters and security badges.
Seems everyone in town knows
someone who worked at the plant forty
years, never had an accident,
smoked five packs of marlboros
every day, ate lard on toast, pissed
out gutloads of beer,
drove ten miles in his pickup to the plant
along this road every damned day,
window rolled down, dust blowing
in off the arid reach.
He was the oldest man in town
when he died. Outlived a whole lot of people.
Even outlived his kid. Some problem with the
thyroid. No one knew what.
A long time ago before they had names
for that kind of stuff. Could
have been Strontium 90 in the milk, they said.
His wife got tired easy,
worn out long before, no doubt;
she caught a bus heading west. Never came back.
His neighbor left too.
That’s when the first ones on the fuel reactor crew
went on medical disability. One of the plant managers
blamed carelessness. Company doctor wouldn’t
say, but everyone else knew it was cancer.
They died in pieces, one inch at a time, in those days.
No one dares keep score in a company town
where the high school jocks wear
atomic mushroom clouds emblazoned on
their letterman’s jackets, and everyone
knows someone they like who works over there.
the women work elsewhere if they are
still young enough to want more babies.
In a place like this, everyone
is strictly non-essential personnel,
sniffed and x-rayed everyday before
they get off work. With blank expressions,
all carry the weight of spent fuel rods
like enormous suppositories. Their footsteps
echo as they pass through scanners and,
machine gun stiff security, with shoes that click
against cement as they punch a timeclock
ticking to meltdown.
Nearly two months after the start of the crisis at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant, only 10 percent of workers there had been tested for internal radiation exposure caused by inhalation or ingestion of radioactive substances, due to a shortage of testing equipment available for them. <...>
"My measured value
While a normal internal radiation level would range from several hundred cpm to 1,000 cpm, he was told his level was 30,000 cpm.
Interview with Akira Tokuhiro, Nuclear Engineer: Fukushima and the Mass Media
The most terrifying fact is that the Japanese power plants are using 'dirty' fuel, which most countries have rejected and banned. Needless to say that the Americans built them. Since the Earth is moving Counterclockwise most of the fall-out will drop on U.S., unless very strong winds take it somewhere else.
TOKYO—Substantial damage to the fuel cores at two additional reactors of Japan's Fukushima Daiichi nuclear complex has taken place, operator Tokyo Electric Power Co. said Sunday, further complicating the already daunting task of bringing them to a safe shutdown while avoiding the release of high levels of radioactivity. The revelation followed an acknowledgment on Thursday that a similar meltdown of the core took place at unit No. 1. <...>
Tepco separately released its analysis on the timeline of the meltdown at unit No. 1. According to the analysis, the reactor core, or the nuclear fuel, was exposed to the air within five hours after the plant was struck by the earthquake. The temperature inside the core reached 2,800 degrees Celsius in six hours, causing the fuel pellets to melt away rapidly.
Within 16 hours, the reactor core melted, dropped to the bottom of the pressure vessel and created a hole there. By then, an operation to pump water into the reactor was under way. This prevented the worst-case scenario, in which the overheating fuel would melt its way through the vessels and discharge large volumes of radiation outside.
The nuclear industry lacks a technical definition for a full meltdown, but the term is generally understood to mean that radioactive fuel has breached containment measures, resulting in a massive release of fuel. http://online.wsj.com/article/SB1000142405...
The Industry "lacks a technical definition for a full meltdown"?
FUKUSHIMA (Kyodo) -- Residents in Kawamata and Iitate began leaving their homes Sunday after their living areas were included in an evacuation radius the government widened last month around the radiation-leaking Fukushima nuclear power plant. <...>
The government designated Kawamata and Iitate on April 22 as part of the area from which residents would be required to leave in roughly one month's time, as cumulative radiation exposure is expected to exceed the yardstick of 20 millisieverts during the course of a year. <...>
The government set the additional no-entry area outside the original evacuation zone in the 20-kilometer radius of the Fukushima Daiichi complex crippled by the March 11 mega earthquake and tsunami waves.
Safety standards for workers at the tsunami-hit nuclear power plant in Fukushima Prefecture have been relaxed without any scrutiny, forcing workers to do their jobs without being completely decontaminated, it has emerged.
An employee of one of the subcontractors at Fukushima plant said he worked there without such a special permit and was exposed to 1.3 millisieverts of radiation over a 2 1/2-hour period. Subsequent screening detected radioactive substances on the back of the employee's head and neck, as well as those of about 10 co-workers.
They washed with special shampoo at the nuclear crisis operations center about 20 kilometers away from the plant. However, three of them were unable to completely decontaminate themselves. They tried again at a TEPCO facility but failed to completely remove radioactive substances from their bodies. TEPCO subsequently issued a certificate specifying the areas of their bodies contaminated with radioactive material, and they returned to work.
High radiation beyond evacuation zone — Kyoto nuclear professor surprised by extent of contamination
The first map of ground surface contamination within 80 kilometers of the crippled Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant shows radiation levels higher in some municipalities than those in the mandatory relocation zone around the Chernobyl plant. <...>
It showed that a belt of contamination, with 3 million to 14.7 million becquerels of cesium-137 per square meter, spread to the northwest of the nuclear plant.
After the 1986 Chernobyl disaster, those living in areas with more than 555,000 becquerels of cesium-137 per square meter were forced to relocate. However, the latest map shows that accumulated radioactivity exceeded this level at some locations outside the official evacuation zones, including the village of Iitate and the town of Namie.
“I am surprised by the extent of the contamination and the vast area it covers,” said Tetsuji Imanaka, assistant professor of nuclear engineering at the Kyoto University Research Reactor Institute. “This (map) will be useful in planning evacuation zones as well as the decontamination of roads and public facilities.” <...>