Organising against 'nuclear capitalism'
By Edward Skimmerhorn
HOBART — Democratic Socialist Party spokesperson Tony Iltis discussed the political economy of the nuclear industry at a "Politics in the Wholefood Shop" forum on March 2. Iltis, who is active in Everyone for a Nuclear Free Future, explained that the nuclear power industry is an offshoot of the nuclear arms race.
Iltis pointed out that nuclear weapons were developed by imperialist states because military dominance is a precondition for the economic domination of the world.
The billions of dollars funnelled to the nuclear industry through military expenditure has created powerful capitalist interests with a stake in nuclear power. Yet, the nuclear industry continues to rely on government support. Iltis cited the example of the Australian government's $1 million lobbying campaign to stop Jabiluka being listed as "world heritage in danger" so as to ensure the uranium mine goes ahead.
To counter the nuclear threat, Iltis stressed the need for a movement that is independent of political parties that support the mining and power corporations, and promote militarism. In the early 1980s, he said, many in the anti-uranium movement believed that the ALP would implement its "no mines" uranium policy. On winning government in 1983, the ALP changed this to a "three mines" policy, which allowed the Australian uranium industry to continue.
Iltis added that the lesson of this experience had not been learned by some in today's movement who argued for a vote for Labor in the 1998 federal election, without the ALP guaranteeing to close the Jabiluka mine.