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.

Friday, September 29, 2017

Protesting Trump's Navy Secretary Visit to BIW



Four of us were at Bath Iron Works this morning for 90 minutes while Trump's Navy Secretary Richard Spencer visited the shipyard along with Maine's Congressional delegation.

Jason Rawn, Don Kimball, Peter Morgan and I held banners and signs. About 11:30 am a police escort (flashing lights and sirens) sped past us with the Navy Secretary and the Maine politicians so we were certainly seen by them.

We counted the positives (waves, honks, peace signs) and negatives (fingers) from cars going by while there and it came out to 22 on the plus side and only two on the negative.  So this un-scientific poll indicates that we are wearing them down in Bath!

The Navy Secretary at the podium with all four of Maine's Congressional delegation in attendance this morning at BIW.  From the left to right are Rep. Chellie Pingree, Rep. Bruce Poliquin, Sen. Susan Collins, and Sen. Angus King. Photo by KevinMillerPPH


Our Maine Congressional delegation (made up of Republicans, Democrats and an Independent) always dutifully come to every major event at BIW such as today and the 'Christenings' that happen a couple of times per year.  They work overtime to get more $$$$ to build more offensive warships at the shipyard.

Over the years we've tried to talk with the delegation about conversion of the shipyard to sustainable production that would help deal with the growing harsh reality of climate change but they have shown not a bit of interest.  Rep. Pingree and Sen. King talk a great game about climate change but when it comes to transforming the American institution (the Pentagon) with the largest carbon boot print on the  planet they turn away.

It would be good if they all watched the C-SPAN archive coverage of the 1994 Labor Day rally at BIW that was attended by the Maine Congressional delegation at that time who called for the conversion of the shipyard to civilian production.  In those days the 'conversion' word easily poured out of the mouths of politicians, labor leaders and even BIW executives.

My, how things do change......

Bruce

Invitation to Stand for Peace


Thursday, September 28, 2017

See Jeju Island Through the Eyes of Shaman Artist


Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Power Concedes Nothing Without a Demand



Thanks to Will Griffin for this video of my talk at the War and Environment conference at American University last weekend in Washington DC.

In the video I reference a 1994 Labor Day rally at Bath Iron Works in Maine where the speakers called for the conversion of the shipyard to civilian production.  You can watch that video here

Learn more about #NoWar2017 conference at: http://worldbeyondwar.org/nowar2017/

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

U.S. & Kiev Keep War Going Against Donbass



The shelling in eastern Ukraine (Donbass) continues from the US-backed puppet government in Kiev. 

Since the 2014 coup in Kiev the US installed a oligarchic regime that is waging war on its own people who live near the Russian border.

The excuse is that Russia has 'invaded' the Donbass but the truth is that miners, teachers, musicians, electricians and other eastern Ukrainian citizens took up arms to defend themselves against the brutal attacks by the US-sponsored regime.

The US has a base in western Ukraine where Special Forces soldiers come from Fort Carson, Colorado and train Ukraine's newly formed National Guard (made up mostly of Nazi death squads).  After 'training' these units are sent to eastern Ukraine to shell civilian apartments and houses, shops, schools, day care centers, airports and rail stations, churches and more.  Many thousands have been killed by the Washington backed Poroshenko regime in Kiev.

The Russians have sent arms to the Donbass to help the people defend themselves but no one has yet provided any pictures of the highly-touted Russian 'invasion' of Ukraine.

The white trucks coming over the Russian border into Ukraine have been carrying humanitarian aid for the besieged people in the Donbass who had their pensions cut off by Kiev under the direction of the US that runs the show there these days.  The people face extermination by hunger, medical neglect and by military attack.



The US wishes to create chaos on the Russian border and uses the situation to excuse further Pentagon and NATO operations there.  The US goal is regime change in Moscow and a return to the days when Boris Yeltsin was a CIA puppet.

Bruce

Yes - Take Action and Survive



Eleven countries are planting a wall of trees from east to west across Africa, just under the southern edge of the Sahara desert.

The goal is to fight the effects of climate change by reversing desertification.

Home and Back to Work


  • I took an Amtrak train yesterday from Baltimore to Boston arriving there at 10:00 pm.  Then it was a two-hour bus ride to Portland, Maine. MB picked me up in Portland so we got back to Bath just before 1:00 am.   A long day and my ears were ringing from the travel noise.

  • It was a good trip to Washington - the conference on War and the Environment broke new ground for the peace movement and my talk seemed to have gone over well.  Once I get the video I'll post it here.  On the way home on the train I wrote an Op-Ed for our local paper that is due the end of this week.

  • My visit with two cousins from the Gagnon side of my family after the conference was really lovely and we went to the place where my father had a chicken farm back in the early 1950s. That was quite special for me to see this place - I'd never been there before.  It was sold before I was born.

  • The photo above is from Gangjeong village on Jeju Island, South Korea (standing in front of the new Navy base gate) where they know something about how US bases severely disrupt the life of local farming communities.  The forced US Army deployment of six THAAD 'missile defense' units into the melon farming area of Seongju is a major tragedy for the local people and is already provoking China and Russia to step up their counter-reaction to this destabilizing system.

  • During our Keep Space for Peace Week there will be daily protests in the small villages around the new THAAD deployment site and the folks in Gangjeong village will also hold daily protests against THAAD in solidarity with the folks in the Seongju area.

  • Also today I added a half-dozen more local events to our list during space week (October 7-14) in places like California, Wisconsin, Washington DC and India.  The list keeps inching forward and it is exciting to imagine people around the globe symbolically holding hands and declaring their opposition to the wasteful, provocative and dangerous Pentagon move to militarize and weaponize space.

Bruce

Monday, September 25, 2017

We Need More of This



I love this video.

We don't have to let the corporate elite divide us....we can reach out and listen to one another.  We don't have to agree on everything but there is no shame in listening to each other.

If you really believe in peace and love then listening is a must.

Don't follow those who say we can't have dialogue.

Congrats to those Trump supporters who shared their stage with BLM.  That took courage and good will.

We need more of this kind of politics today - more than ever.

Bruce

Help Puerto Rico


Donald Trump spent the weekend further pitting American against American over the issue of football players taking a knee during the national anthem as they used their First Amendment right to express concern about police brutality.

Is it possible that Trump used the NFL controversy in order to distract attention away from the massive hurricane damage in Puerto Rico?

Two reasons come to mind why Trump would do this - first, he does not want us to talk about the present effects of growing storms as oceans warm due to human impacts on the environment.  Climate change is real and Trump, we know, does not want us to talk about it.

Secondly, the cost to help Puerto Rico and its 3.4 million citizens recover from this hurricane (Add to that the damage in the US territory of the Virgin Islands) will be massive - who knows how much?  Where will those funds come from right after Trump and the Congress increased military spending by more than $70 billion?  The nation is already in colossal debt - printing funny money just to stay afloat.

Trump is a master at using Twitter to shape debate - and when you focus attention on one particular issue then something else important does not get talked about.

The top of the fold in the Washington Post newspaper today on page one was the NFL story with a large photo of the hometown Redskins football players linked arm and arm during the anthem.  A smaller story about hurricane damage was below the fold with the words 'Puerto Rico' in the sub-headline in even smaller print.

I'm not saying the NFL protests are not important - I'm saying Trump is manipulating them in order to shift our attention from programs and policies to loot the federal treasury on behalf of his corporate buddies and to avoid crucial subjects like global warming.

The medium is the message.  Divide and conquer is the strategy.  We should all wake up and smell the coffee.

Bruce

Sunday, September 24, 2017

Conversion Means Survival for Future Generations


Maine Peace Walk October 13-21. Come for a day or more.

This year the walk will largely be centered in Bath and concentrate on the serious need to convert Bath Iron Works (BIW) to peaceful and sustainable production.

Accepting our present condition of endless war for fossil fuels is a dead-end street that if not reversed will lead to our collective demise. We must have a conversion that begins with our hearts and extends to the timely task of totally reorienting our national production system.

Maine Peace Walk is sponsored by: Citizens Opposing Active Sonar Threats (COAST); Global Network Against Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space; Maine Green Independent Party; Maine Natural Guard; Maine Veterans For Peace; Maine War Tax Resistance Resource Center; Peace Action Maine; PeaceWorks; Veterans For Peace, Smedley Butler Chapter (Boston area); Waging Peace Maine; Waldo County Peace & Justice 

See full schedule of events at Maine VFP website here

Sunday Song