Changing the World, Changing Themselves? Trajectories of Anti-Nuclear Activism, 1968-1981

Presented at the annual conference of the German History Society, Royal Holloway, University of London, 13 September 2013.

Abstract: This presentation will trace the trajectories of individual activists through their participation in the movement opposed to civil nuclear energy in the 1970s. In doing so, it will call into question the assumption that anti-nuclear activism functioned primarily as a bridge between ‘1968’ and the formation of the Green Party. Institutionalisation of this kind was indeed one legacy of anti-nuclear protest, but the spread of non-violent protest to ever-greater masses and the re-configuration of the radical left were equally important. This paper will thus draw attention to the ambiguous origins and ambivalent trajectories of anti-nuclear protest, showing the movement to have been a space in which upstanding citizens and critics of capitalism interacted in ways that were mutually transformative.