No Nukes = No Future?

by on Friday, 07 June 2013 Comments


Photo by 廖培恩

Two years ago, our colleagues Nick and Zijie led a focus on the social activist scenes that were starting to revive after decades of silence. Things had changed a lot since 2011. The number of anti-nuclear protest participants has quadrupled from 50,000 in the April 30, 2011 demonstration to 200,000 in March 9 this year. Many subculture-oriented groups are forming at this moment to protest, through music and visual art, Taiwan's decision to build the 4th nuclear power plant, such as the the rave-oriented collective P.L.U.R.S. Thus, this month eRenlai decided to do a recap focus on what has been happening in the anti-nuclear moment, specifically on the March 9th demonstration earlier this year and the P.L.U.R.S. kids that organized the DJ truck in the parade.

We start off with Caterina Pavese's account of her participation in the rally and the participants she documented on film, giving you a first-hand glimpse of one of Taiwan's biggest anti-nuke demonstration.

Following up is a historical review of the anti-nuclear movement and musings on why it has increased in popularity and why such a wide ideological gap exists between the older anti-nuclear activists. The anti-nuclear movement can also be a way of recapturing memory or confronting historical trauma. Our interview with P.L.U.R.S. member Charlie reveals how many of Taiwan's younger generation are seeking to discover what they believe is a blank in the past.

eRenlai has long been interested in the relationship between popular music and activism, which we have researched in previous focuses. To this end, we have interviewed the DJs that played in that demonstration who formed their own group called Soundfarmers, and released an electronic music compilation "I Love Nuclear!?", a project funded by the the Green Citizens' Action Alliance. Not all is positive, however, and some are concerned that the focus on partying may take the limelight off the central issue.

In order to explore this question further, we've interviewed several people from the P.L.U.R.S. group and asked about their opinion. Achi pointed out the revealing effect of art, which helps to see what the authorities intended to conceal. Betty Apple attempts to delineate the different modes of interaction between art and social activism. Zijie rebukes the general understanding of social protests altogether.

Finally, it is also important to note the enormous influence of Japan in Taiwan's anti-nuclear action. Aside from Fukushima giving the most immediate jolt to Taiwan's anti-nuke consciousness, the deep anti-establishment and anti-capitalist communities that sprouted in Japan also gave the Taiwanese youth a model to look up to. Read Zijie's lively report on the DIY Amateur Riot scene in Koenji, Japan and watch our interview with Japanese independent researcher Kenichiro Egami and his discussion of the community of refugee mothers in the aftermath of the Fukushima Disaster.

Julia Chien (黑玲)

Julia Chien a.k.a 黑玲 is an English/Chinese editor and contributor in eRenlai magazine. She also makes electronic music and DJs under the name of Waywon 味王. 

http://www.mixcloud.com/Blackbells/

https://soundcloud.com/djwaywon

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