Organizing Notes

Bruce Gagnon is coordinator of the Global Network Against Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space. He offers his own reflections on organizing and the state of America's declining empire....

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Location: Bath, Maine, United States

I grew up in a military family and joined the Air Force in 1971 during the Vietnam War. It was there that I became a peace activist.

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Day 37: Back to Augusta & ending hunger strike



We had sixteen of us this morning with signs inside the 'lobbyist staging area' on the 3rd floor of the capital between the House and Senate chambers.

Lots of kids were there from various schools across the state so they got a real lesson in 'democracy'.  One of the teachers made an interested young girl return our flyer to us - not allowed in her school we supposed.

Our group - very ordinary Mainers - seemed to change the vibe in the hallway and many of us remarked that we felt a discernible shift in the attitude of many of the legislators toward us.  Several stopped to tell us they are with us - including a kind Republican man who has told me this three times.

One state senator from the Brunswick area told one of his constituents in our group that he has received more contact on LD 1781 than any other issue since he has been in office.  So you are getting their attention - don't stop now!

My own state senator - one of the sponsors of the bill - approached and told me that "We need you all here."  I took it as a compliment of the campaign's effectiveness.

This afternoon from 4:00-5:00 pm the community radio station WERU in East Orland (almost three hours north of Bath) had several of us from the campaign on the air to discuss the GD corporate welfare bill.  Host Amy Browne did an excellent job of weaving Lawrence Richard, Alex Nunes, Lisa Savage, Bob Klotz, Jessica Stewart and myself into the discussion.

We covered most of the key points but VFP member Peter Morgan wrote me after the show and said he was standing by to call in and wanted to say, "BIW has refused to [prove] a financial justification for their [request] for financial assistance."  But they took no calls today since there were so many of us on the show.

Last night I woke in the middle of the night feeling dizzy and way out of sorts.  MB got me some juice but I didn't sleep well after that.  My body was talking to me - quite loudly.

So today I consulted with one of my medical advisers (Bob Klotz) and determined that I would end my hunger strike on this 37th day.  Others will continue the solidarity fast under the ready coordination of Mary Kate Small.  Our friend Tom Ryan continues his fasting now into the 15th day or so and he will go until day 20.

We also got confirmation that our advert began today on WGAN radio in southern Maine.  It will run for a week - four times a day.  One of our friends actually heard it on the air.

We feel like we have done well but need a strong surge as we near the end of this campaign.  Our biggest need is to get more new folks to contact their state legislators about their opposition to LD 1781.  We are asking all of our supporters to find five new folks who have not yet called and have them contact their representatives in Augusta.  We offer this handy tool and thank David Swanson for putting this effective vehicle in our hands.  See it here

So I will reenter the eating world slowly and mindfully - experts say at least four days are needed to do this.

I will return to the 3rd floor corridor with my sign on Thursday at 9:30 am and then again next week on Tuesday and Thursday.

In the meantime I am giving my heart and soul to defeating this bad bill.


Photos by Peter Woodruff (retired BIW worker)

Monday, March 19, 2018

Alternative views on the Russia-gate side show

As Qatar faces pressure to suppress an Al Jazeera expose of the Israel lobby, Max Blumenthal and Ali Abunimah discuss how the climate of censorship and fear around Russiagate has empowered those long attacking Palestinian rights.

See more here

John Pilger is an Australian award winning journalist based in London. Pilger’s Web site is: His new film, “The Coming War on China,” is available in the U.S. from

Day 36: Media day and prep to return to Augusta

Margaret Flowers & Kevin Zeese (Popular Resistance) interview me about the Maine campaign to oppose corporate welfare.....

Our radio ad was recorded today by Regis Tremblay and will run on WGAN (popular political radio talk show station out of South Portland) from March 20-26.....thanks to Maine Veterans For Peace for helping to pay for it!

You can hear the advert (which will run 24 times) by clicking here

I, and others, will be heading back to the state capital in Augusta tomorrow (Tuesday) to stand with signs in the hallway between the House and Senate chambers from 9:30 am until noon.

We need to get more Mainers to send messages to their state legislators ASAP.  Please help us by reaching out to friends, relatives, neighbors and co-workers and ask them to click on this link that sends a message directly to their state representative and senator - click here

We are coming down to the wire....let's finish strong.


Sunday, March 18, 2018

Day 35: Let's build for the future

Sub-headline: Moving from solitary anger to collective strength

Let's build
sky scrapers to the sky?
rockets to Mars?
more warships?
how about
a sustainable future?
for the kids....

Let's build unity
amongst the people

people rage
because they feel
left behind

Let's build solidarity
caring for
one another
one another
setting political party
what comes first
collective needs
leave no one behind

Let's build
stronger hearts
deeper love
forgiving spirits

Let's learn
honest reflection
of self
and current events
sorting through

Let's try
another way
than we've been
to believe

My Sunday prayer....


Propaganda alert: Who named the Russian missile Satan?

Just to illustrate how the brainwashing works in the west - let's take a look at the so-called 'Satan 2'  Russian missile.

In an article from the UK web site called Metro, they report:

Russia is to test its newest and largest ever nuclear missile – capable of wiping out an area twice the size of Britain.

The weapon, called the Satan 2, is more than 3,000 times more powerful than the bomb that wiped out Hiroshima and is said to be virtually undetectable.

I've repeatedly seen mainstream media throughout the west call this missile Satan 2.  At first I assumed this is what Russia had named it - but I was skeptical and wanted to get to the bottom of this.  Obviously it is in the US-NATO's interest to have the public think 'those nasty Russians worship Satan and just want to kill us all so we'd better hit them first'.

The other day I was watching Putin's NBC interview and he addressed this.  He told Megyn Kelly that the Russians did not name the missile Satan 2, but 'your country did'.  The Russians named the missile RS-28 Sarmat.  (Sarmat is short for The Sarmatians who were a large Iranian confederation that existed in classical antiquity, flourishing from about the 5th century BC to the 4th century AD.)

A Florida media site got right to the fake news point suggesting that Putin had named the missile Satan:

According to Putin, the new intercontinental missile can fly at 20 times the speed of sound to anywhere in the world and can not be intercepted by "any antimissile system on Earth."
He's dubbed the new weapon "Satan 2" and said it gives Russia the advantage in case of a nuclear attack, allowing it to be the aggressor.

An NBC story about the Putin-Kelly interview acknowledges where the Satan name come from - but you have to get to the last paragraph of the long article to see it:

The missile is intended to replace the R-36 Voevoda, which NATO has dubbed "Satan," leading the United States to call the new version "Satan 2." Russian media said in 2016 that the RS-28 Sarmat would be able to carry a payload capable of wiping out a landmass "the size of Texas or France."

So this is how the demonization game goes.  Very deceptive.  And we are only able to figure out this kind of bullshit if we read/watch a wide variety of international media sources - including Russian.  If we are just reading American media then we are likely filling our heads with all kinds of corporate propaganda.

I heard years ago that you should always start every article with the first and the last paragraphs before reading the rest of the article.  Makes sense.


Sunday Song

Saturday, March 17, 2018

GD stock buybacks

General Dynamics bought back $14.4 billion of their own stocks from 2009-2017 driving up market value. They paid their CEO $21 million in 2016.

They don't need $45 million from Maine.

Day 34: Lenten vigil at BIW today


Photos by Peter Woodruff (retired BIW worker)

Bob Klotz rode his bicycle to BIW again from South Portland against a heavy wind and extreme cold.  It took him about four hours.  That is commitment.

Incredible letter to editor by BIW worker

In Support of Activists and the First Amendment

Times Record Letters (Brunswick)

Today’s lesson (and it is a hard one): I have worked at BIW since 1986 and I love my job, but I worry about its future. People worry about their jobs and worry about the future of our state and the world in general. And all I want to say is we have to be prepared to listen, really listen to each other. And educate ourselves, there is always more than one side to a story. And to let ALL sides speak about their fears, hopes, and expectations. To be open to other opportunities that present themselves, we do not have to be only a ship building company, there’s a brand new world out there and we should not be afraid to experience it.

Thanks to Bruce and company. You’re good people.

Patricia Messier,

Day 34: Others are fasting to stop GD welfare bill

Vietnam veteran Tom Ryan from Oquossoc, Maine is fasting in solidarity to defeat the GD corporate welfare bill.  As of today he has not eaten for the past 13 days and vows to continue until the bill is voted on by the entire legislature.  On Thursday while in Augusta standing between the two legislative chambers he said, "I joined the service to make this country better.  Our taxes need to go for human welfare – not for corporate welfare. I will continue to fast until this is over."

Mary Kate Small (Camden) has been keeping a schedule of Mainers and others from away who are fasting in solidarity with our efforts to defeat this bad bill in Augusta (LD 1781). She has recorded that at least 30 others have gone without food for a day or more since February 12 when I started my hunger strike.

On February 12 Boryana Tacconi (Andover, Massachusetts) heard I was beginning the hunger strike and joined me for the first 20 days.  Yesterday we received a message from Jeju Island, South Korea where artist and peace activist Choi Sung-Hee wrote that she would fast next Tuesday (March 20) and Thursday (March 22) when I return to the state capital to again stand against this corporate give-away.  Regina Pyon from Seoul will also fast on March 20.

Mary Kate informs us that she has fasters all over Maine scheduled through the end of March and beyond if needed.

I thank all of those who have gone without food as we all stand in complete solidarity with the 43,000 children across our poor state who live in poverty.  If the elected officials in Augusta won't stand up and fight for the kids against this mega-rich corporation that had $3 billion in profits last year then we surely must.

And we will continue to daily do every thing we can to defeat LD 1781.  Keep these dollars in Maine for the huge needs that are currently going unmet because of lack of funds.

GD don't need our money.  They already get boatloads of it from the federal government in their Navy contracts to build destroyers at BIW.


Friday, March 16, 2018

Day 33: We need to build unity and solidarity

Christine DeTroy from PeaceWorks in Brunswick shows the misleading headline in local paper.  Makes it sound like the fight is over - it's not.  The local paper has been outsourced to BIW/GD.  Just last week the editor of the paper cancelled a twice a month Op-Ed that Peaceworks had for the past three years - done in reaction to the campaign to stop GD corporate welfare bill in Augusta. (Photo by Martha Spiess)

  • Alot of people are asking me if I think the US is trying to start a war with Russia.  I respond that the US and NATO want regime change in Moscow and Beijing.  And our government is greedy enough, deceitful enough, desperate enough and vicious enough to go to war to try to reach that end.  It's pure insanity to even consider the thought.

  • All this daily - non-stop - demonization of Putin and Russia should be familiar.  It is the modus operandi (MO) of a killer nation.  We heard the same story in Yugoslavia, Iraq, Libya, Syria, Ukraine and Yemen.  Demonization and then attack.  The US and NATO are willing to go to war for control of everything and everyone on this planet. It is arrogance and evil wrapped into one package.

  • I did an interview with Kevin Zeese and Margaret Flowers today on their podcast show called Clearing the Fog at  We talked about our campaign going on in Maine and they asked what kind of product should be built at BIW.  I responded as I always do that our biggest problem in the world today is climate change.  Our weather here is all messed up like most places around the globe.  We've long been calling for the conversion of Bath Iron Works to build commuter rail systems, offshore wind turbines and tidal power systems.  We have a short chance to have some impact on global warming - but the public must become vocal now rather than resigning themselves to no human future on Earth.

  • Due to Trump's 'Space Force' announcement I've done some radio interviews in the last few days.  Last year the House of Representatives voted to pass a bill to create a separate military service just for space.  The Senate voted the bill down in Washington.  The Air Force is opposed to the idea - they want to control the seamless web between the Earth and deep space.  The aerospace industry sees big opportunity for profit by expanding military space operations and has much influence on Capital Hill.  They are strongly pushing the bill and likely got to Trump.

  • The Pentagon has been saying for many years that Star Wars will be the most expensive industrial project in human history.  There will be no money for anything else.  That is why we see them going after Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid these days.  They have to defund virtually everything in order to pay for the new arms race in space.  We've got to show how one issue here is linked to the other - the deadly connections  Many organizers stay in their silos and don't share the full picture with the public.  A big organizing mistake.  We need to build unity and solidarity.

  • Tomorrow is the weekly Lenten vigil at BIW just down the street from here at 11:30 am.  People from around the state gather and hold signs calling for disarmament, human needs and conversion of BIW to sustainable technology.  Studies show we'd get more jobs at places like BIW if we built anything other than weapons.  Military spending is capital intensive.  Every other kind of production is labor intensive.  The Pentagon says that America's role in the world today is 'security export'.  That means endless war.  You are the citizen - you decide which way things should go.