Print

Adrian is the Traveler

The ancient Greeks made point of honoring the traveler. Important destinations include stops with those who have influenced you as well as the physical places. These writings are a combination of what people have written about me and things important to me and things i have written about other people and influences.

Adrian is my formal name. It's a name which needs no explaining (unlike Pax or Paxus), it is a common enough name. I can introduce myself to anyone as Adrian Calta and the conversation flows onto the next topic. I had used my previous middle name to distinguish myself from my father w/ who i share the same first name, so i was used this type of arrangement. But Adrian has its own history.

It is the name of an incredible person who's full name is Raman Adrian Montinaro. Ram and i met in college. He was driven by his quests for love, for a workable philosophy of life, for friendship. At one point he described it to me as a "Unified Field Theory* of Life" (an appropriate twisting of Einstiens final and unsuccessful quest).

He was a better than A average student in physics after two years. He was physically attractive, athletic, theatrical and funny. People were naturally drawn to him. His father had studied mime under Marcel Marceau and Ram had learned some of the routines which he would launch into spontaneously, to his audiences delight.

At the end of his sophomore year Ram wanted to drop out, he was succeeding in things he did not particularly want to be doing and he was not finding the things he was looking for. He was socially and academically successful, but he was "only studying physics because I'm good at it, not because it means anything to me." He sought my advice, i was a couple of years older and had obtained illusions of similar success (i was a pretty marginal student in reality). I put on my sage hat, went thru it with him and for the first time in my life recommended a course off the safe conventional path. "Drop out", i said, "It isn't here for you now, go travel and try to find it without the distractions of school, your good enough so that they will always take you back later." He did not return for his Junior year. Instead he went to Conn., spent some time around Weslian, got into into co-counciling* and thus in touch with his feelings. He visited me in my fifth and final year at University. He looked and said he was happier, he had learned how to cry, was working thru some difficult stuff from his past, but he still had not found "it" yet.

Six months later, just after my graduation, i called him up and said "It's time to go to California", he said "Great". Ram, Amanda and i hopped on a Green Tortoise underground bus (which does this wild NYC to SF trip) and the adventure began.

This was actually supposed to begin my first around the world trip, but that's another story. We arrived in Berkeley and rented an apartment right next to the corner of Telegraph and Durant Ave's. For people not familiar with this area, it is right in the heart of student living for U of CA, and is filled with a busy collection professional staff, students and street people - it's a bit of a zoo. We watched in amazement the show of Berkeley in the summer.

After renting the apartment we were broke. Amanda got a job as a secretary at Bank of America and supported us all for a while. Eventually, i got a job with an oil company and Ram did some work as a model for a life drawing class in San Francisco.

But Ram was enjoying the atmosphere of Berkeley, it looked like it might hold some 'answer' for him. At one point he sat on the corner Durant and Telegraph for four hours, just talking to who ever talked to him.

Then one day at the Powell Street BART station in SF coming home from a life drawing class, Ram was approached by a friendly guy with intense eyes. We got a call saying he was going camping for the weekend. "Enjoy" we said and thought nothing of it. We got another call three days later, "I'm going to LA for a week" he said. "Hey, what's up? We miss you."

"Well, it's kind of a retreat"

"With who?" i was curious.

"A group called called Creative Community". i repeated the name and Amanda screamed, "That's the moonies tell him to get away from them!" I was in an ignorant panic.

"I know who they are, I'm just going to check out their situation in LA, I'll be back in a week, I promise" he said and was off the phone shortly.

We got a letter two months later saying he had become a Moonie and was sorry he had not gotten in touch earlier, and that it was the right thing for him. We had tried to get in touch with him at a number he gave us in LA, but we never got thru to him with dozens of calls. We had even considered trying to hunt him down, but the Unification Church is professional at hiding people and we were amateurs at best at trying to find them.

It was an emotional knock out for me, it was like a friend had been killed, only worse - his spirit had been assassinated. A year and a half later, Ram came to visit to pick up an expensive racing bike he had left behind. We sat on the back porch at Amanda's and my Mission District apartment in San Francisco and argued. For two hours Ram gave us the Unification Churches anti-communist line. It was Rev. Moon's version of the Evil Empire story and Ram was now a soldier of God going to college campuses with CARP (another Moonie front group) recruiting new members and getting donations. We told him the bike had been stolen, we could not stomach the cost Rev. Moon had already been to us, we certainly weren't going to support him any further. So my middle name is his middle name, a living memorial to a great friend and spirit lost in the quest for identity.

The name Zakarya also hails from an inspiring friend, who's name happens to be Adrian. I met Adrian Gras just before i was to start High School, he was a couple of years older and we used to play the board game Risk! at his house with the MIT students who lived there. Adrian's leprechaun appearance was accented by an angular mustache and beard combined with Rasputant's steel gray eyes.

Adrian decided that instead of going to High School he would sail around the world. So for four years while i was doing homework and living at home he was globe troting and having some delicious adventure. Our mail to him was mostly lost and the rest chased him around the globe for as long as two years.

And then he came back. We struck up our friendship again, though we were both quite different. He did not flaunt his experiences, but you could tell under his modesty they had profoundly effected him. They had sailed in the romantic way, with little money, stopping in many ports because they had to work to provision and repair. Most cruisers just order the broken part from however many thousands of miles they have to. When you can't afford these extravagances, you figure out how to fix it yourself using the minimal local talent, or you do without. Having completed this type of journey your self- confidence is shifted. If you can find work in Zanzibar, you'll never starve in Ohio.

I always comforted my comparisons of our lifestyles with the value of the education i had received, having bought the line that it was the necessary stepping stone to the good life. Then Adrian took the Massachusettes HS equivalency exam and scored nearly perfectly on it. Some part of my belief set was shattered. I began to wonder if the base assumption of "go to school, go to University, get a good job, marry, breed, become wealthy, retire, die" was really the path to chase - it seemed like there were more interesting alternatives. I resolved to chase at least some of them, there is no going back now.


[Bruce Cockburn is a Canadian rock musician, perhaps most famous for his songs "If i had a rocket launcher" and "If a Tree Falls". He makes consistantly some of the best political music i have ever heard. He also is a patron of the Friends of the Earth International Network, and on a trip to perform in Amsterdam, i got a chance to meet him. This was my letter of introduction.]

Dear Bruce:

We will meet on Saturday for lunch with a few of the other Friends of the Earth folx, so i thought i would send this letter as a kind of introduction. I hope you find it worth your time.

It was twelve summers and a thousand years ago, i was living in Santa Cruz California, in the shadow of the Silicon Valley, running a small software company making more money than one person can usefully use. And then i met them.

They were the radicals, the heretics. People who talked about "revolution" not as an abstract concept, but as something they were personally dedicated to. They were active, optimistic and inspiring. With both vision and dreams, they crafted wonderful rituals and built intricate community. They had the most playful parties and intense intimacies. And they had the music, your music.

I became one of them. Within a year my life completely changed. I sold my part of the company and started working with a collective. I moved into an eclectic group house and got involved in political work. I fell in love with a witch. And i started listening to the lyrics.

We were the lovers in a dangerous time. Friends returned from support work in Nicaragua and reported that it was, in fact, the best of what we were. We felt the rage that drove some to rocket launchers, but knew there was a better way. I remember smiling when i first read the words to "Democracy" in which you some how managed to get the phrase "idolatry of ideology" within a couple of lines of "you don't really give a flying fuck". I still cry when i listen to Santiago Dawn.

I have hitchhiked on sailboats across the Pacific since then, smuggled monks out of Tibet, danced upon Russian tanks, worked with windmills and in war zones and been arrested for non-violent actions in countless cities on three continents. Your music has been there the whole time, playing on cheap tape decks through long nights of organising and partying in Berlin and Bratislava, Sydney and San Francisco, Kiev and Kathmandu. Inspiring me and the incredible collection of activists i have been lucky enuf to cross paths with - keeping us kicking at the darkness, waiting for it to bleed daylight.

I don't measure our success in the number of progressive pieces of legislation passed or nuclear reactors stopped or other campaigns won - tho there have been a gratifying few. For me personally, it is about the lives changed, about the people who because of our work see the world differently and are now working for the many, rather than just for themselves. If you look at things the same way, then you can take partial credit for one more success - me.

Be well,
Become better.

Paxus in Budapest
15 Early Spring 97
 


Love Letter 2 LU
    It is in essense only a question of limits

Dream Outloud with me
    if the only bounds are our imagination
    then our work is clear
    what does the world
    we want look like ?
    .
    Fearless devotion to principals and people over profits
    Flexible intricate intimacies
    Flights of fancy
    Full force lives
    Fine fairytales
    Freedom
    Fun
    .
    if we can name it
    we can visualize it
    if we can visualize it
    we can create it
Paxus in Ooostende, Belgium
11 Flowery 97
 


This is an article which appeared in the German Newspaper Die Zeit originally in German, the English translation was do by Ralf Weiderman and Kristen Flory.

Die Zeit, Oct. 27, 1994

The Activist

Prague, Wenceslas Square, Museum metro station: Outside stands a tall guy with long hair. On the lapel of his jacket is a button that says "Protest" in Cyrillic letters. The man is an American, but is called, somewhat unusually, Paxus Calta - walking with a springy step in well-traveled tennis shoes. He is a vegetarian as well. He repeatedly searches the menu of the restaurant Variete, as if there might be some hidden section for vegetarians. I hear he is 36. He doesn't drink alcohol; he likes the effect, but not the taste.

He doesn't smoke either, apart from joints, which one inhales rather than smokes. Just now there was an action in front of the US Consulate: STOP US FUNDING OF SOVIET NUCLEAR POWER PLANTS IN THE CZECH REPUBLIC! Paxus pulls a toxic yellow rad suit out of his travel bag. This is Greenpeace wardrobe for such occasions, but Paxus is not with Greenpeace. He is a member of the Czech environmental organization DUHA, as well as a member of WISE, with international headquarters in Amsterdam. At these actions here in Prague and in Vienna it was mostly about pictures; pictures for the Temelin Task Force in Washington, with which they could show the American Congress that the protest against the nuclear power plant in South Bohemia is international. QED.

So, Paxus: international environmentalist; single and childless. A girlfriend sent him his sweater; the jeans are also a donation. He lives on 150 DM per month. Actually, considering the stench, there should be a smog alarm in Prague today. In Northern Bohemia people live an average 7 years less than in the rest of Europe, and in Prague there are 20,000 US Americans and six McDonald's as well as yogurt in recently introduced non-recyclable plastic containers. The president of the West is visibly called Coca-Cola, and his platform is obvious: "You can't beat the feeling." Paxus took leave of the home of the brave in 1988, but the West is making more inroads in the East than he is.

So, back again to Paxus and why we are going with the Czechs to Brno in the south of the country. Once upon a time there was another Paxus, one could say: the son of a father who had 50 employees. And there was this American Dream whereby the upper-middle class improved their incomes. That also was Paxus back then. He was - how can one say it? - he was the university's "most outstanding student." His major was economics. Wasn't software the big thing, those young pioneers from Apple, etc. who earned 10,000 dollars in the time it took Dylan to sing his "Idiot Wind?" Paxus had two software consulting companies in San Francisco and Washington, D. C. and was earning 20,000 dollars a month.

But somehow it was too easy, too fast. Too young he was already successful and like his father. A future like a bouquet of roses, but horribly predictable. "...It was interesting, but it wasn't a challenge," says Paxus. Paxus dropped out, changed, joined the anarchists and battled with words, sometimes with deeds against US military intervention. Vaclav Havel? What does he think about him? "Well," says Paxus, "Havel was a political prisoner, like me, just in jail longer." After being released from a short prison term came the realization that the US citizens whom Paxus wanted to change understood change as meaning better weather. When, in their thick-headedness, they elected George Bush, Paxus realized that he was living in the wrong country and became a political refugee.

His bank account would have permitted him to but a piece of the West Coast. Instead, he took to the sea, hitchhiking on freighters across the Pacific: Hawaii, Hong Kong, and then Amsterdam. Just then the champagne corks were popping at the Berlin Wall.

The East had been opened: wide unexplored pioneer land for all sorts of adventurers with a purpose. Paxus had worked in Amsterdam for WISE, an organization which collects international information about nuclear energy. Also confidential and sometimes secret documents were received from sympathetic people in their respective ministries.

Paxus is actually opposed to westerners going on adventure missions to the east, but the Czech group DUHA called him, needing western environmental knowledge and an experienced activist. So Paxus traveled east to Brno, with his toxic yellow rad suit in his luggage, as well as a magic marker, a roll of wide tape, and a pocket knife - things that every good activist should have, according to Paxus (no, the knife is for cutting paper when you need to leave messages in train stations, etc.).

So, Paxus, as he in a way follows the nuclear power plants deeper and deeper into the east, like his forefathers went to the west. Temelin in the Czech Republic hasn't yet been stopped and already the Romanians are calling him: "Help us build an environmental organization." But first Temelin! Paxus shows me the DUHA office in Brno's old town. Here he works against the billion-dollar project, against the Czech government, against the multinational Westinghouse which they claim has greased the palm of Czech Prime Minister Klaus in order to get the Temelin contract, and not lastly they are fighting against the 60% of the population which thinks highly of nuclear power. They have posters on which Indians maintain that people cannot eat money They have old computers. The telephones are tapped.

Paxus is immediately called from all directions - where ever he is, he's wanted. Except for Paxus and a volunteer from the USA, the five to ten people here are all locals, who in the eyes of official Prague are Bolsheviks who want to sabotage progress. The official language here at DUHA is English. The volunteer's name is Erikk Piper, who joined a, as he puts it, liberal American church to do two years voluntary service for a cause on which side one doesn't really know how God stands. Does he at least know if Temelin can be prevented? "I'm an agnostic," says Erikk.

Paxus, again, shows me a billboard of McDonald's advertising in Brno that has been pasted over with pictures of dirty, dark slaughterhouses. In the West this would be a harmless protest, but less so here. "McDonald's doesn't allow this," says Paxus, "yet it has been pasted here for over a week already." By what authority does the Big Burger "allow" something, one asks oneself, and then hears that the police used tear gas at the recent opening, not against the handful of demonstrators who were peacefully holding up signs, but against the press to prevent the publicity of the protest.

Paxus came here three years ago to train the DUHA people. Action training, non-violence training: he learned this in the US. This is knowledge that the Czechs urgently needed. "I mainly teach them how not to get beaten up by the police," says Paxus. Dealing with outraged workers who defend their plant is also practiced. Besides the practice is also the theory. So-called strategy games simulating a year's events: a pro-nuclear PM is elected, unemployment rises, the people want nuclear power. What do you do? How many people can you realistically can into action after a small nuclear accident in Russia? After a big one?

Evenings they analyze government documents: introduction to the language of contracts and communiques. But Paxus also knows how to build toilets, how to write press releases to put pressure on parliament. The Czech environmentalists are still inexperienced in these matters; democracy is still teething in their country. How did the director of the Kozlodoy nuclear power plant down in Bulgaria put it to Paxus and some others who had blocked the entrance somewhat? "Black is white, light is dark, truth is lies, thank you for coming to Kozludoy and here is a pen as a souvenir."

Train station in Brno. Paxus has to go to Vienna to some action meeting. "For your daughter," he says in parting. For my little daughter, among others, he wants to stop Temelin, which is in Bohemia, nearer to her bedroom than Chernobyl. And after Temelin...who knows? In Lithuania there are unfinished nuclear power plants. Westinghouse. Siemens. Everyone is already pawing at the ground. Also the Lithuanians have asked Paxus if he couldn't help them start up an environmental movement. "I'm a hired gun," Paxus once said, and he comes cheaply: 150 DM per month. At that price the East European environmental movements can, so to speak, rent him. YOU CAN'T BEAT THE WESTERN KNOW-HOW, both the bad and the good.


Gatecrashers at Temelin in Pozor Magazine

It is a dance we have been practising with the nuclear power plant security for 4 years. On one Sunday in July every year, we come to Temelin in the Czech Republic, make a number of speeches in the late afternoon and then go lock ourselves to the gates of the unfinished nuclear power plant. The security basically ignores us for the first 12 hours and then comes in with what ever level of violence they feel necessary and move us away, to permit vehicles to arrive at the plant. But this year is different.

It starts with one of the speeches, given by Ms. Buzkova, the newly elected vice chair of the Czech Parliament. There have been politicians at these demonstrations before, even ones who were willing to lock themselves to the plant with us - but never has the opposition been so strong as after the recent elections in the Czech Republic and never has such a high ranking MP come out publicly to oppose the plant.

Ms Buzkova says we have succeeded in stopping any construction of new nuclear facilities in the Czech Republic, but even though she opposes it, she does not see any political force which can stop the construction of Temelin. She thanks the protesters for their efforts as the TV cameras whirl.

The speaker who follows her is more optimistic. He is calling for a Parliamentary investigation into Temelin. An investigation he is convinced will lead to more than just proof of the recently revealed illegal bidding practices by Westinghouse (the US construction firm building Temelin). He says this study will show that the Temelin project is financially out of control and even though over US$ 2 billion has already been spent on it, stopping the project now and building new sources from scratch would be cheaper and faster than completing Temelin.

This last speaker reminds the crowd of 300, that Westinghouse has a history of catastrophic nuclear construction projects. Of the 54 reactors they built in the US, they were on average 430% over budget and over 5 years delayed in completion. This cost the US rate payers over US$ 65 billion, making Westinghouse one of the most successful professional criminal organizatiosn of all time. This does not count the dozens of reactors where construction has been abandoned. That Westinghouse has an incredible criminal record of bribery and false promises in two dozen countries around the world.

In this speech through a translator, the last speaker also reminds the vice chair of the parliament, that it is the politicians who oppose Temelin early and loudly that will be considered favorably by the people as replacements for the Klaus government. Especially if the project is stopped as dozens of reactors (some much further completed than Temelin) were stopped in the west. The implication is clear "work with us, Ms Buzkova, and you will become the force which stops Temelin and perhaps the person who replaces the Prime Minister". The last speaker is me.

I came to the Czechoslovakia in the summer of 1990. Disgusted with the politics of the US, i was eager to work in a country which just finished a revolution and in which the entire issue of democracy was being defined. I thought i had a lot to offer in terms of political experience, but my new Czech colleagues were clear "We are sorry, but we have so many US Americans here already, we do not know what to do with them, perhaps you could work on these issues in the west and if we need you we will call you."

So i moved to Am*dam, and started working on the western involvement in nuclear power in eastern Europe with a wonderfully named group called WISE (the World Information Service on Energy). After two years of learning how to make myself useful, Honza Beranek, who runs the Energy campaign for the Czech environmental group Hnuti DUHA (Rainbow Movement) asked me to come to Brno to work on the international campaign against Temelin. I finally had my invitation. Now my story and the Temelin story are hopelessly tangled. And after 4 years of working on Temelin, a number of arrests, and after almost 20 years of fighting nuclear power (off and on) I found myself at the most fun and important action of my life.

The fun began the next morning at 4 AM, when we brought in the heavy guns of our non-violent struggle for the first time. Concrete barrels with tubes just big enough to fit your hand into and lock yourself with a carabiner to the inside. Two people connect from each side forming a chain which is nearly impossible to move. The barrels weigh several hundred kilos and unless you are willing to tear the arms of the protesters off, you can not move them.

At 4:20 AM, the police realise what is going on and just before we secure the third and final key gate to the plant, they change the rules to our traditional dance. Just as the barrels are off loaded from the truck the police van screeches into gate 10 and they jump out and arrest the without warning the half a dozen people who were about to lock into the barrels. In the over 300 arrests in the history of the five blockades of Temelin in the last four years, these are the first arrests without warning by the police. But lots of traditions will get broken on this blockade and all but this one were in our favor.

The weather betrays us. The normally sunny South Bohemian summer has been unseasonably rainy and the on and off drizzle of Sunday night becomes a down pour of Monday. We have never attempted to maintain a blockade for more than 36 hours before, but we have never been so many people before either - over 250, almost all Czechs. The organizers are constantly checking the spirit of the group, but the rain seems not to shake their determination, we have agreed to stay for days, we will stay for days.

The fun turns deadly serious when a daring attempt is made to retake gate 10, by the "grasshopper group". Just as a bus pulls into the gate the protesters block it and a number start to form a circle around the back wheels of the bus with concrete tubes on their arms, which have a similar character to the barrels in concept, only much smaller and lighter. If it is possible for the protesters to form a circle laying on the ground around the wheels of the bus, they can not be moved without cutting the pipes (which is very difficult), lifting the bus, or cutting off the arms of the demonstrators (which is considered poor form, especially with the cameras rolling). But the distraction group misses their cue and the police are all over the grasshoppers. The bus driver tries to escape and drives thru a crowd of both police and protesters and runs one bus wheel onto the head of a protester, another one second of gas and he would have killed the demonstrator, as it was he has a deep cut over his eye, but he refuses to leave the camp after receiving medical attention and his marked face is a grim reminder to me that mistakes can be fatal in this dangerous game. 30 new police are brought to secure gate 10.

But there are comic moments as well. The best was when the Public Relations officer of Temelin decided to try to use our symbols against us. Standing in front of the trash blockade we had build in front of the main gate, in front of our many banners, Mr Novak (check name) calmly explained to the TV Nova audience that the protester were not affecting the operation of the plant, that everything was under control and the security of the plant was in no way violated.

Then, in a priceless piece of good luck, three grasshoppers who had jumped the fence appeared on the other side of the main gate running full speed with plant security in hot pursuit. The TV camera moves away from the confident PR man and onto the sprinting trespassers, one jumps through the fence, and then another, but the last is grabbed by a security guard and stopped two meters from escaping the plant. And then with the TV cameras still running, one of the grasshoppers who just came through the main gate, turns around goes back into the plant pulls the security guards hands off of his captured comrade and they both rush through the gate to freedom. The blockades break into wild applause and shouting and the TV camera returns to the plant PR person who's confidence is shattered. Everything is not under control.

The weather breaks and our good luck continues. The grasshoppers succeed in retaking gate 1 (there are 11 gates total, 7 of which we think are significant, we have controlled them all except gate 10 until Tuesday morning when the police decided to break up the demonstrators at gate 1, which is too small for our limited number of barrels). This time the distraction group was on queue, jumped out of the van and bolted through gate 1, in what must be the oldest trick in the book. Almost all the police follow them. The second wave jumps out of another van with tubes in hand and the few police remaining foolishly focus on the large number of grasshoppers instead of the small number of tube. Captured grasshoppers hand off the tubes and a ring is formed around two poles of the gate, we can not be moved. Word spreads to the other gates like wild fire, in the battle for control we are pushing them back. The police, to their credit, permit mats and jackets to be given to the grasshoppers on the ground locked in at gate 1. One officer explains that their attitude changed a bit after we sat thru 30 hours of pouring rain.

The Reuters photographer tells me that we have made the front page of the Financial Times. Picture and a caption, no story - but we are elated. The FT is PM Klauses favorite newspaper, and we can just imagine his expression as he reads it this morning with his breakfast.

The reporter asks who pays me, and i have to explain that i am basically a full-time volunteer. For my first two years at DUHA, i could not justify taking any money, because the organization was poor and i did not feel the money should support westerners. I got used to living very cheaply, which is possible in the Czech Republic and it grew into something of a philosophy. At a base level we wish to break this "money is power" paradymn (sp?), we want to move power into the hands of the people and strengthen democracy, rather than industrial capitalism. On a personal level, i want to be able to answer to this question "who pays you?" that i do it because it is important to me, rather than for the money. The nuclear people are paid to tell lies, no one pays me to say anything. And ultimately if we are going to rescue the planet, rich westerners are going to have to figure out how to consume less. I get by on small side projects in political work. I raise a lot of money through fund-raising for anti-nuclear groups through-out the region, but almost none of it stays in my pocket. My old partner from the quite successful software consulting firm i ran in the US called me the other day and pointed out that i used to make more money per hour than i now make in a month. But i would not go back, this work is more useful and more fun.

One of the groups roaming through the many little used building of the plant (which has a 12 km radius) discovers an unoccupied office with plans of the plant in it. They force the door, steal the plans and escape undetected. Honza Beranek displays the plans of the plant proudly before the TV cameras. And the plant public relations people now have to respond (they have tried to ignore the demonstration mostly). They claim that the plans are not significant, that you can get the information at the visitors center, but it is a lie. The plans themselves become useful immediately, we now have a detailed interior road map of the huge plant, we can see one of the gates we are blocking in not fully connected to the rest of the plant, we re deploy blockades. But we return the plans to the plant. We are not thieves.

The fun continues. That night 20 people climb the fence and scale one of the 150 m high cooling towers. With Czech TV back on the scene, we launch fireworks from the cooling tower as the plant security people simply wait for us to descend. The fireworks are small, but there are lots of them and the spirit of the activists on the cooling tower is incredible. We have shattered the illusion that the plant is secure. The climbers do not attempt to escape and simply get into the awaiting van and are arrested. Two hours later they are released after a US$ 8 fine, the local police have no interest in and no capacity to hold political prisoners.

The news fort he day contains calls from the opposition party for a national referendum on Temelin. If the referendum were held today we would loose, because most of the Czechs support the plant (tho most area residents oppose it). But these kind of majorities often evaporate after a referendum targeted campaign, a similar situation existed in 1976 in Austria, where by a slim margin what had been an overwhelming majority in favor of the plant when the campaign started, became a minority and the 100% completed Zwentendorf plant was mothballed, never to be run.

The action ends with a "Gandhi March" to Gate 10. Where 50 police await us, but even controlling the gates, our crowd is over 100, after four days and three nights. We go to face the police, another brief speech is given and then the group splits in two, moving away from the gate and blocking the road. For perhaps half an hour we again totally control the plant, while the buses and trucks queue up. The police decide that this is enough and they give the warning to one group of seated protesters. They refuse to move and they are arrested.

I was on the side that the police ignored, but i crossed over (walking through the forest around the police) to make it to the action. I go under the police line as the last arrests are being made. A police officer pushes me back and tells me to leave in Czech. I tell him in Czech that i do not speak Czech. He tells me in English "Outside" and pushes me back, gently, like many times before i walk around him and towards the van full of my arrested friends. He comes back and grabs me "outside" he says. "No, inside, with my friends", he finally agrees and i am arrested, but i do not struggle i have enough fights with the police to retire from that activity. They treat me relatively well as they load me onto the van.

One of the people in the van asks why i got arrested, since i was not in the street blockade on this side. I explain that i feel it is necessary for action organizers to get arrested. I have not been arrested this action and i do not feel right advocating other people get arrested while i stay free, i can also do support work for people who have not been arrested before from in jail (like the guy who asked me if he should jump through the window of the police station and escape, which he ultimately did successfully). We are taken to Ceske Budejovice, an hour away by van, blocking the road is a more serious offense than trespass on the plant. The arresting officer tells me that he is not angry with me because i am blocking the plant, because he thinks it is a bad thing as well. We are free after three hours and catch a bus back to the plant.

The organizers are ecstatic, we could not have asked for a better action. The media coverage is the best we have ever had, with editorials openly criticizing the project for the first time. There is already discussion of the next blockade and mass trespass. All of the successful anti-nuclear struggles looked like this, growing numbers of people and changing press and public opinion. It is a long uphill battle, but after this action we are more hopeful than ever.

And even if we fail at Temelin, we are succeeding in building the resistance culture we desire in the Czech Republic. A culture in which decision makers sitting in smoke filled rooms discussing the next profitable (for them), but environmentally devastating project are likely to hear one of their own say "we can not do this politically, it will be another Temelin". If we succeed in changing these power relationships, we will not have to fight most of these fights, many we will never even see because they will die on the drawing boards.

------------

If you are interested in more information about Temelin, or want to get involved in upcoming actions, please write Paxus Calta, c/o Hnuti DUHA, Jakubske nam 7, 60200 Brno, Czech Rep. or e-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..
 


Reviews *
{Sydney, July 91}

MetaQuest first hit the stores in February of 1991 and received modest success to decidedly mixed reviews. As one might expect, there was some other personal fallout. Several credit card companies canceled their credit lines to me. A few threatening letters came in and a liable suit was started. But hard as the publisher tried to promote it, there was no great call for talk show appearances or book signings. I even indicated i would be willing to return to the states temporarily, if it would help sales, but america was not interested. It was not really designed to be a popular book, but a brief stint on a best sellers list would have made me happy, alas it was not to be. Interestingly, the paper with the largest circulation to review the book was the Sydney Morning Herald (5/9/91).

"There is an unusual Californian in our midst. Mr. P. Adrian Z. Calta's book MetaQuest is the unlikely tale of how he got here. It is an elaborate blending of autobiography with prophetic fiction and heady philosophy with a sailing story. Possibly too elaborate for this first time writer. The story contains a number of characters with peculiar names, who seem to spend a lot of time thinking about how they might change the world. Paxus Calta is on the top of this list, his philosophy, which he calls 'antidoxy' (a contraction of anti-orthodoxy) is the postmodern solution to the problem of ethics: Throw everything into a bag, stir in some study and out pops a value set, composed of the 'best' random pieces. I remain unconvinced, this is unlikely to slow the author down however. Radical philosophies aside, this story keeps the reader guessing at what will happen next, in this occasionally bemusing, supposedly autobiographical tale in which almost anything seems possible."

"Radical philosophies aside" - ouch.

The most hostile review I saw was in the Arizona Democrat May 1, 91.

"I avoid reviewing really bad books as a rule, hoping that they will quietly disappear if everyone ignores them. An exception should be for Adrian Calta's MetaQuest, because it verges on dangerous.

This book is full of malicious instructions including defrauding credit card companies, seducing witches, disrupting military bases, rationalizations for infidelity and terrorism. Calta takes the reader on a dark sojourn into his sick philosophy. An avowed pagan and thus devil worshipper, the author attempts to fuse elements of Christianity, Black Magic and Communism in his 'anti-orthodox' religion, creating an ethical Frankenstien. In this section MetaQuest gets quite lost.

For decent hard working people, trying to raise families and carrying the "ethical baggage" Mr. Calta seems unburdened by, this book offers nothing positive. His 'Irresistible Ideas' are easily resisted.

This is not a book for reading, it is a book for burning. It's convoluted and confused structure makes it unique and singularity may be its only virtue."

Sales were surprisingly brisk in Arizona. Perhaps the most positive review came, unsurprisingly, from the San Jose Mercury News (April 27, 91).

"One of the Mercury's' most prolific letter writers has gone solo with fascinating results. P. Adrian Z. Calta has created a collection of essays framed in an adventure story set historically as well as in the future. The story is a 1990's existential voyage in the vein of Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance. It is appropriately titled MetaQuest. Calta's search for a journey takes him thru radical politics, collective living, ritual spirituality, across the Pacific to Australia and ultimately to Russia. The book is sprinkled with his curious and frequently comic history complete with romances and run ins. He forewarns the reader that he is trying to influence you and whether you agree or not your attention will be held in this books too few pages. Consisting of a number of short chapters held together by various plot threads, the story line suffers a bit in the first half of the book. But by the middle we are thrown into a piece of fiction which has something of the feel of a spy story (though the author is most certainly an anti-spy). Calta finds some of his mission takes him to the Soviet Union, where he watches the faltering Gorbechev reforms, as he attempts to work around the superpower governments using computers and concerned citizens to bridge the communications gap. Ultimately, the expatriate is drawn home to the US, with disturbing consequences.

MetaQuest is filled with ideas, some good, some less so, though most original. While many people will come to different conclusions, the methods proposed for looking at your own quests are compelling. We're glad to see one of our Silver Pen Award winners moving on to bigger and better things."

The New York Times and Pravda had no comment.

* These are my comments (originally written in 1988) on book reviews about my pseudo-autobiography, called MetaQuest. The book was never written, correspondingly, the reviews are ficticious.