Why I Don’t Go To Protests Anymore – Not Nuclear, Not Anti-War, Not Anything…

“It’s just opportunists taking advantage of a trending social wave.” – Michael Distacio

There is a big concert this weekend with some very famous stars, lead by Ryuichi Sakamoto from Japan, and others from Japan and around the world at Makuhari Messe. The concert is called, “No Nukes 2012.” The event proceeds will go to “Sayonara Nuclear Power 10 Million People Organization.”

I’m not going to this event. No way.

For one I don’t understand how running a concert and burning tons of electricity helps the problem and I don’t like the idea of spending $150 a ticket… Why don’t these musicians have the concert for free at a park and take donations there? And I’ve seen too many of these sorts of things that protest but actually mean nothing.

I’m sure the musicians all mean well (if they truly meant well, they’d perform for free – George Harrison! Where are you when we need you?), but this reeks to me of the typical modern “feel-good-protest” that we’ve seen far too many of in the last few decades; Yeah, yeah, yeah. In this case it’s; “Let’s get together and spend a bunch of money (and tons of electricity) partying, feeling good about ourselves (and acting like we’ve actually done something), and demanding an end to nuclear power!”

Right on! Power to the People! Oh, and Budweiser beer cost $12 a plastic cup! What!?!!

Or is this concert just another excuse to promote, sell music, drink, and pick up on girls?

Then at night, we go back home, drink several more cold ones and watch TV and turn on the air conditioner full blast and do absolutely zero to change our lifestyle. The same lifestyle that, by the way, gave rise to an industry that produces nuclear power to feed a nation with a ravenous apetite for electricity.

I find it to be, well, frankly speaking, bullshit.

That is not to say that I think taking to the streets in protest is completely bullshit, that’s much better than a concert … But I still wonder why, if people weren’t truly concerned about the environment (and I’m not just talking about the dangers of nuclear power), why they don’t throw away their TV sets and turn the air conditioner off and leave it off?

Anyone who has studied the issue for more than 15 seconds knows that oil and coal produced energy are proven killers.

I helped organize a demo in front of the US embassy before the Iraq invasion… Attendance? Maybe 300… Dead Iraqis today? Over 1.2 million. And Japan even sent troops to Iraq in violation of the Japanese constitution! Think the government even cares about an anti-nuke concert? Ha! Get real!

By the way, I threw my TV out years ago and we haven’t used our air conditioner at home… This is coming up to our third summer without an air conditioner at home. I might sound like I am patting myself on the back, but I am not. At the start of summer 2010, the A/C broke and since the repair bill was so high, we decided to wait until summer 2011 to fix it. Then there was Fukushima and we just decided to do without… This is 2.5 summers with no A/C. Not that big of a problem. It’s hot, but not that bad…

On the webpage of the Sayonara Nuclear Power 10 Million People Organization it says:

We have always been aware that humans cannot live with nuclear. We are deeply regretting that even though we knew this fact, our protesting voices and actions against nuclear energy have been far too weak.

We are determined to take actions for a “peaceful and sustainable society”, reconsidering our lifestyles that exploit nature and waste limitless energy, and focusing on natural energy. For that purpose, we set the following goals:

1. Cancellation of construction plans for new nuclear power plants
2. Planned termination of existing nuclear power plants, including the Hamaoka nuclear power plant.
3. Abolition of “Monju” and nuclear reprocessing plants which use plutonium, the most dangerous radioactive material.

We will achieve these goals in order to save our own lives, and fulfill our responsibilities to the future children.

See? This is what I mean by bullshit. They even write, “…reconsidering our lifestyles…” Yet they have nothing at all listed on a personal level… All talk no personal action or sacrifice. It’s great to demand these things and to make other people sacrifice, but how about some personal sacrifice and personal responsibility?

How about adding:

4) Pledge that all our members will stop using air conditioners at their homes.

5) Pledge that all our members will throw out their TVs at home.

6) Pledge that all our members will use only public transportation.

7) Pledge that all our members will cut all electricity use by 30%.

8) Pledge that all our members will not litter or waste food.

Of course, we can’t have people throwing out their refrigerators as spoiled food, especially in a damp and hot climate like summer in Japan could lead to massive food poisoning…

Just like the anti-nuclear demonstrations in the 70s in California or the weak anti-Iraq war demonstrations we held in early 2003 (that I helped arrange – so ask why I am disillusioned) or the “Aids Awareness” concerts held in the mid-eighties: Everyone gets together for a few hours, claps their hands and feels good about themselves and feels like they actually did something or learned something…..

The fact is that they did nothing…

How about some real effort and sacrifice and not just going to a concert and clapping your hands or walking down the street for a few hours only to return to a tall cool beer in time to watch the big game or American Idol on your big screen plasma TV in your most-comfortable air conditioned pad?…

“Everyone thinks of changing the world, but no one thinks of changing himself” - Leo Tolstoy


NOTE: If folks really wanted to have a protest that made The Powers That Be (TPTB) sit up and take notice (and not some lame-assed concert) they’d do something real and make a sacrifice! Like how about getting 4,000 people to all dress up in black and march down main street in Shibuya or Shinjuku and gather at a big intersection. There they’d all take out their credit cards and burn them there, right on the spot. Now that would make TPTB sh*t their pants…. …Nah, but that would be too much of a sacrifice, right? After all, there’s a sale at the big department store next week, right? And every cog in a consumer society needs a credit card…. Now if there was a demo like that, I’d participate and I’d burn my credit card, gladly!