For the last few summers, some former members of the Clamshell Alliance have gathered for a weekend in the White Mountains to celebrate their shared past and talk about the future. Out of those conversations came the project, To the Village Square: Nukes, Clams & Democracy(TVS). Organized by a group of former Clamshell staff activists in the Fall of 2006, TVS’ goal is to tell — through photographs, and text — the dramatic story of the Clamshell Alliance and its legacy, with a special focus on the Clamshell as a case study of democracy in action.
By sharing the story (in person, exhibit, book, and website), we hope to help carry the issue of nuclear power once again to the village square for open public debate, and to energize a new generation of anti-nukers. With your help, TVS will evolve — as did the Clamshell and the antinuclear movement 30 years ago. No Nukes!
Lionel Delevingne, Jay Gustaferro, Anna Gyorgy, Guy Chichester, Robin Read
TVS Affinity Group
Picnic Table Democracy
How could a movement that started with a few people around a picnic table in New England make a difference to one of the world’s most powerful industries?
That’s what happened 30 years ago when the Clamshell Alliance dramatically protested construction of a nuclear power plant in Seabrook, NH; inspired the creation of similar alliances from coast to coast; and, as Albert Einstein urged three decades earlier, took the issue of atomic energy to the village square.
Other factors — including legal challenges and serious accidents at Chernobyl and Three Mile Island — contributed to a suspension of nuclear power plant construction in the U.S. But it was the Clamshell’s effective and inspiring exercise in grassroots democracy that made nuclear power a widely debated public issue. Without that debate, a serious imbalance in power around the issue of atomic energy would not have been addressed. In fact, the Clamshell was born out of frustration with a lack of democracy around nuclear power; frustration with nuclear regulators who dozed during public hearings; and with official ignoring of the voters of Seabrook who repeatedly opposed the plant.
Now, decades later, even though problems of safety and economics have only worsened, the nuclear industry is in resurgence, with a multi-million dollar public relations campaign and plans for at least 20 new plants in the U.S.
To the Village Square: Nukes, Clams & Democracy (TVS) will tell the story of the Clamshell Alliance via an exhibit, website and book. For the first time in the words of people who were there, it will show the power of nonviolent collective action and true democracy. It also will raise public awareness of current nuclear power issues.
The project has two primary goals: Renew resistance to nuclear power and tell the story of the Clamshell Alliance from the perspective of the people who made it. —The project also will:
- Place the Clamshell Alliance legacy in the context of New England, national and international anti-nuclear movements and other historic non-violent direct action movements;
- Illustrate the Clamshell’s democratic operations, including consensus decision-making, complete openness and the autonomous, localized affinity groups that were the root strength of Clamshell strategies;
- Tell the stories of individuals, including the man who toppled a testing tower at a proposed nuclear power site in western Massachusetts, helping popularize the phrase, ‘No Nukes’; the group that drove a horse-drawn covered wagon across NH to alert people to the Seabrook project; the Native American speaking out against uranium mining;
- Explain the current plans of the nuclear industry;
- Support citizen activist groups (environmental, antinuclear, alternative energy, etc.) by offering the touring exhibit, speakers and literature; and
- Offer a context/case study of grassroots democracy for classroom or civic group discussion.
The Exhibit will incorporate photographs, posters, text, video, and archival materials. It will be an ideal event for grassroots organizations, as well as a vivid case study for classroom discussions of democracy. While New England will be the first focus for the exhibit, TVS will actively seek exhibit venues nationwide in colleges, galleries, museums, libraries, churches, community centers, etc., especially in communities near existing and proposed nuclear plants. A European tour of the exhibit also is possible.
The Book will complement the exhibit with expanded text and photographs. Book sales will help fund the project and/or raise money for organizations addressing nuclear energy and democracy issues.
and providing links regarding the nuclear resurgence. Eventually, plans call for audio and even video downloads, interactive discussion groups and the full exhibit, probably in PDF format.
Clam Gatherings will be regional reunions planned for 2007 and 2008 in several locations around New England. The gatherings will be a chance to collectively celebrate a shared story, outreach to the youger ones, learn about the nuclear industry’s latest and again be there when needed !
- A core group of professionals (writer, photographer, business manager, administrator, researcher);
- Advisory group of former Clamshell Alliance members;
- An archive of more than 5,000 photographs of Clamshell and other anti-nuclear groups taken by Lionel Delevingne between 1975 and 2008, including many that appeared in national publications;
- Strong support of the Special Collections University Archives of the W.E.B. Dubois Library at University of Massachusetts at Amherst, which may eventually house the photography collection;
- An archive of original Clamshell Alliance documents in the Special Collections of the University of New Hampshire’s library;
- More than two dozen video interviews conducted in the past three years with former Clamshell members (many more pending);
- Personal archival materials such as documents and artifacts (posters, armbands, clothing, etc.) owned by the network of old Clams;
- The trust and confidence of hundreds of people nationwide involved in the formation and evolution of the Clamshell and sister alliances, many of whom will be eager to share their stories;
- The ability and intent to reconnect with hundreds of former anti-nuclear activists and to convene gatherings in New England to collect stories on audio and video from scores of former Clams.
The Primary Project Organizers, the TVS affinity group, were deeply involved in the Clamshell Alliance 30 years ago. Collectively, they have extensive professional experience working with funding sources for non-profit organizations, creating and operating businesses, writing, photography and producing exhibits and publications.Lionel Delevingne, founder, director. – A prize-winning photojournalist, Delevingne has traveled and photographed throughout the world. His documentation of the Clamshell Alliance and the environmental movement at large, has been widely published here and abroad.
His work has appeared in hundreds of publications including: The New York Times, Le Figaro Magazine, Newsweek, Washington Post Magazine, Mother Jones, Vanity Fair, In These Times, among others. His published books include Northampton, Reflections on Paradise, and Franco-American Viewpoints. The recipient of numerous grants, he has had solo exhibits in France, Germany, Belgium , San Francisco and New York. His work can be found in the collections of numerous museums and private collections. More of his work may be seen at his website. Anna Gyorgy, Book Co-Editor. -author of No Nukes ( 1979), activist of the earlier hour and never stopping , she has travelled the world and back by popular demand is presently lecturing on “Protecting Biodiversity and Life” Women & Life on Earth Network Coordinator, Anna Gyorgy, provides a look at how countering corporate industrialized monoculture and genetically modified agriculture involves issues similar to those of countering nuclear power..Robin Read, researcher. A Seacoast New Hampshire resident for more than 30 years, Read has worked as a community organizer, teacher and private investigator. He also served two terms in the New Hampshire House of Representatives from Portsmouth and has been on the New Hampshire campaign staff of several candidates for state and national office. From 1997 to 2001 he promoted energy efficiency and renewable energy while working in the New Hampshire Governor’s Office of Energy and Community Services.Involved in the Clamshell Alliance from its inception, Read assisted in the production of the Clamshell Alliance News and was active in the Clamshell’s informal civil liberties committee that monitored corporate and government surveillance of the anti-nuclear movement in New England.
- Arnie Alpert
- Jeff Brummer
- Guy Chichester
- Kristie Conrad
- Renny Cushing
- Anna Gyorgy
- Paul Gunter
- Jay Gustaferro
- Benji Hiller
- Judith Kaufman
- Peter Kellman
- C. Girvani Leerer
- Christina Platt
- Nelia Sargent
- Kirk Stone
- Phil Stone
- Steve Thornton
- Harvey Wasserman
Endorsers (more pending)
- American Friends Service Committee – New England
- Seacoast Anti-Pollution League
- Traprock Peace Center
Please note that TVS is a non profit project ) PLEASE CALL US FIRST AS A NEW SPONSOR MAY HAVE BEEN CHOSEN 3/08 from Traprock Peace Center, a 501(c)(3) sponsor, allowing a tax exempt contribution.