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.

Saturday, October 28, 2017

Unity & Creativity in South Korea



“World without precarious labor, world without war!”

 By ZoominKorea staff

On October 15, ten thousand people gathered in Seoul Plaza in front of Seoul City Hall to celebrate the launch of a new progressive party. The Minjung (People) Party is the amalgamation of two left-leaning parties, the New Progressive Party and the United People’s Party (Minjung Yonhap Party), and is a party of workers, farmers, urban poor, women and youth resolved to complete the “candlelight revolution” that ousted [South Korean President] Park Geun-hye earlier this year.

In a statement read by the two standing representatives of the party — Kim Jong-hun and Kim Chang-han — the Minjung Party criticized the current administration for following the lead of the United States in reinforcing a hostile policy on North Korea and vowed to challenge domestic policies that prioritize the wealthy over the majority. It added:

The people are at the base of the politics that we strive for. Without the support, strength, and wisdom of the people, progressive politics has no chance of moving forward. The greatest political task in front of us is politics for the people and arousing people to come together in a political convergence.

The statement concluded, “People! Let us create a new Korea, a peaceful unified homeland, in which those who toil and sweat receive respect.”

Following the ceremony, the new members and supporters of the Minjung Party marched through Seoul.

On October 19, members of the Minjung Party held a press conference in front of the U.S. Embassy in Seoul to speak out against the most recent military exercises held by the U.S. and South Korean naval forces. They demand a stop to the joint naval exercises and a start to dialogue for peace.

The joint naval drills began on Monday October 16. The exercises included the deployment of the nuclear-powered aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan along with other nuclear strategic assets including a dozen destroyers with missile capabilities as well as F-22 and B1B bombers. The USS Ronald Reagan will likely remain off the coast of the Korean peninsula through Donald Trump’s visit to South Korea on November 7.

Representatives of the Minjung Party noted that the so-called “exercises” are akin to threatening a preemptive strike against North Korea. They warned U.S. President Donald Trump — “We will not tolerate any action that threatens peace.” The party representatives also called on South Korean President Moon Jae-in to stand up to the U.S. government and assert South Korea’s right to self-determination and peace.

Friday, October 27, 2017

Look Up: Geoengineering the Sky









Chemtrail tanks inside airplane

Just last week during our Maine Peace Walk we had mostly clear skies while we walked throughout the city of Bath.  But as each day went on the sky began to fill up with toxic chemtrails. Here in Maine chemtrails are a regular part of the day time sky.

I first saw chemtrails some years ago while at a day-long protest in Albuquerque, New Mexico outside of a space nuclear power conference.  People pointed them out to me as over several hours we watched the sky being laced with chemtrails from horizon to horizon.  At the time I thought of them as a giant spider web.

The government has long refused to acknowledge what they are doing to the sky.  But thanks to organizations like Geoengineering Watch and many volunteers all over the world the evidence is now massive to support the claims that the corporations that control most of the world governments are responsible for this.

In his book entitled Geoengineering: A Chronicle of Indictment activist Dane Wiggington writes the following:

The reflective and toxic metal particulates create artificial cloud cover that increases the Earth's "albedo" meaning reflectivity.  Aside from the fact that the elements being sprayed are highly toxic, so far so good, right?  Mission accomplished?  Not exactly.  The long and dire list of negative consequences from geoengineering exponentially outweighs any perceived benefit.

A few of the consequences are ozone depletion, completely disrupted hydrological cycle (drought and deluge), poisoned and sterile soils and waters, massive resulting forest and species die off, altered wind and ocean currents, and the triggering of catastrophic climate feedback loops which threaten all life on Earth.

All available evidence - including 750 page Senate documents, presidential reports, and climate engineering patents - indicate global geoengineering/Solar Radiation Management programs were first deployed at a significant scale in the mid 1940's.

The toxic heavy metal fallout from the ongoing aerosol operations has been confirmed with dozens of lab tests from the US and other locations around the globe.
Elements such as Barium, Aluminum, Strontium, and Manganese [are] showing up in lab tests of precipitation in extreme quantities across the globe.
Any bright trail behind a jet that lasts much more than a few seconds is likely not just a [normal] condensation trail.

"Aerosols" is simply a term for a microscopic particle that is suspended in the air.  A primary stated goal of the geoengineering programs is to provide a "solar shield" to slow "runaway climate change" by spraying tens of millions of tons of highly toxic metal nano particulates into the atmosphere from jet aircraft.

Numerous lab tests have determined that the soil PH has been radically altered in the forests of the Pacific Northwest.  Aquatic insect populations have also been severely affected by metal contamination in the formerly pristine watershed in regions of Northern California.

The US military has for decades stated its intense interest in climate engineering programs for strategic military purposes, i.e. "Owning the Weather by 2025".

Is it yet another coincidence that Monsanto (the world's largest genetically modified seed company) has introduced its newest drought and aluminum resistant corn in the midst of this unfolding disaster?

The Raytheon Corp. is heavily involved in weather modification patents.  Another player in this gamble on the future of our planet is the Lockheed Martin Corp. who is also heavily invested in the weather modification business.

Though mainstream media would never discuss this, we are currently in the sixth mass extinction on planet Earth.
In 2014 the Shasta County, California government held a public hearing to allow the citizens to speak out about chemtrails and geoengineering.  It was a fascinating meeting as medical doctors, geologists, wildlife biologists, pilots, and many other professionals testified about the growing impacts on people and the environment of these operations.  You can watch the public hearing here

One has to wonder - are they trying to kill us all?  Why?

These are questions that every citizen around the world should be asking.

Bruce

Thursday, October 26, 2017

No Navy Base Solidarity!

On my first trip to Jeju Island (before the sacred Gureombi rocky coastline was sealed off, blasted and covered with concrete) one of the first things I saw was this metal cut-out of an Aegis destroyer which are built in my hometown of Bath.  It was then that my feelings of solidarity with Jeju were born - as I intellectually and emotionally recognized the 'deadly connections' between Bath and Gangjeong village on Jeju Island, South Korea




The latest US Navy destroyer to arrive on Jeju Island is reported below by Sung-Hee Choi:

On Oct. 22,  another US Aegis destroyer Mustin [built at a shipyard in Pascagoula, Mississippi] came to Jeju. It has recently joined ROK-US war exercise in the west sea water of Korean Peninsula and a part of MCSOF: Maritime Counter Special Operation Force. We had a press conference yesterday and have been busy to monitor and protest. And it has been 15th day as of  today that a man named Kim Kyung-bae, vice-chairman of the anti-2nd Jeju airport project, Seongsan, Jeju, carried out hunger strike against the project. Beside the matter of developmentalism, it would be very likely to be used as an air force base as well. 
Before it came to the base, it had joined the recent ROK-US Maritime war exercise (Oct. 16-22) in the west water of the Korean Peninsula, as a part of MCSOF. The media reported its terrible gun fires on the sea.

The 350 person crew of 9,200 ton guided missile destroyer came here with the reasons of so called 'munition-loading' and 'break' on surface. But as they openly said, what is left behind in the Island of Peace after their leaving is large amount of filth and trashes, as well as the soil of Jeju trampled by them.
We say,
_The Gangjeong Sea cries out! Go away, all warships!
_Close the Jeju navy base! It intensifies military tension!
_Stop all the militarization of Jeju, Island of Peace!
_Stop all the ROK-US and multinational war exercises!
_Jeju is not a garbage dump for foreign militaries!

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Where is Niger? What is AFRICOM?


Freedom Rider: AFRICOM is the Question

Black Agenda Report
By Margaret Kimberley

“They use ludicrous terms like ‘gold star family’ and make the case for continued American aggression around the world.”

The desire to be affirmed by American society has dangerous consequences for black people. This pernicious dynamic creates the inclination to worship any black face in a high place or to defend questionable activity. The death of special forces Sergeant La David Johnson in Niger is a case in point. Donald Trump’s racism and stupidity prevented him from performing the simple task of conveying appropriate condolences to Johnson’s widow. The ensuing brouhaha focuses on what Trump said in the phone call overheard by Congressional Black Caucus [CBC] member Frederica Wilson.

Almost no one is asking about the fact that American troops are stationed in Africa at all. Few people realize that such a thing as the United States Africa Command (AFRICOM ) exists and that the military forces of most African nations have been under the de facto control of this country since the George W. Bush administration.

There is similar silence about the role that the United States played in bringing groups designated as terrorists into nations such as Niger and Mali. The decision to overthrow Muammar Gaddafi in Libya is directly responsible for Boko Haram and Al-Qaeda affiliate groups gaining a foothold throughout the region. Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton and their NATO partners in crime were not just responsible for the deaths of thousands of Libyans, slavery in that country, and an ongoing humanitarian crisis. They are responsible for bringing state sponsored terror to the entire region.

“The military forces of most African nations have been under the de facto control of this country since the George W. Bush administration.”

Focusing on Donald Trump’s bad behavior is a sure path to confusion and accommodation. Instead of denouncing imperialism, otherwise sensible people are waving the flag and attacking Trump using right wing terminology. They use ludicrous terms like “gold star family” and make the case for continued American aggression around the world.

It is pointless to ask about the specific circumstances of Johnson’s death. He died along with three other soldiers in the murky circumstances that are to be expected in warfare. Any questions posed should be about America’s ever expanding empire and the determination to make war on as many places in the world as possible.

Black people should feel no need to validate themselves through military service or any other undertaking. As the people who have suffered through centuries of unpaid labor, Jim Crow apartheid and constant oppression, we should feel no need to uphold this system. Yet we have already proven a willingness to die for the interests of a corrupt and dangerous state. There is frankly no reason to show pride in Johnson’s death or to allow a member of the CBC to turn an important issue into nonsensical grandstanding versus Trump.

“The decision to overthrow Muammar Gaddafi in Libya is directly responsible for Boko Haram and Al-Qaeda affiliate groups gaining a foothold throughout the region.”

At this juncture in history all talk of patriotism is at best foolish and at worst a call for continued crimes and mass murder. It is also high time to end the deification of the American war dead, even when they look like us. They die because they are trying to kill other people.

Condolences to Johnson’s family are appropriate but they are also appropriate for the millions of people who lost loved ones to American empire building in Niger, Somalia, Libya, Yemen, Afghanistan, Syria, and Iraq. That is a short list which only includes the victims of American war crimes committed in the past 20 years.

No one should be fooled by crocodile tears from white Americans with grudges against Trump. If Sergeant Johnson had been killed by a police officer in an American city many of the same white people who now rush to call him a hero would either shrug their shoulders in indifference or applaud his death. They should not be allowed to jump on the bandwagon of fake concern because Trump is their target.

“Any questions posed should be about America’s ever expanding empire and the determination to make war on as many places in the world as possible.”

As for congresswoman Wilson, she has a golden opportunity to discuss the impact of American interventions abroad and question their rationale. But like the rest of her CBC colleagues, her interests are confined to reliance on the largesse of the Democratic Party and their corporate benefactors. Trump’s bad behavior makes him an easy target for scorn and a convenient punching bag for the useless black political class. If Wilson wants to take on the president it ought to be for more substantive reasons. Likening his boorishness to “Benghazi” uses a right wing trope for ridiculous effect.

Any discussion about Sergeant Johnson ought to point out that he was a victim of the poverty draft. Before enlisting he worked at Walmart, a sure path to continued poverty or to the dubious odds offered by the army. Trump said that Johnson “knew what he signed up for” but that is probably not true. He took a chance and hoped for the best. Unfortunately the machinations of Bush, Obama, Clinton and Trump made his choice a bad one. If the Congresswoman wants to have a debate she could start with the realities of Johnson’s life and how it ran afoul of United States foreign policy. Only then would her fight with a president be worthwhile.

~ Margaret Kimberley's Freedom Rider column appears weekly in BAR, and is widely reprinted elsewhere. She maintains a frequently updated blog as well as at http://freedomrider.blogspot.com. Ms. Kimberley lives in New York City, and can be reached via e-Mail at Margaret.Kimberley(at)BlackAgendaReport.com.

'Someone Else is Controlling Our Fate, We're Tired of It'



Video of Maine Peace Walk panel discussion at Unitarian Church in Brunswick on October 17.

Panelists include:

Joyakgol – South Korean peace activist from Jeju Island who has been working for the past 20 years to stop US base expansion in his country.  He also works to protect the endangered Indo-Pacific Bottlenose Dolphins who daily circle Jeju Island and are now threatened by the new Navy base.
Destroyers built at BIW have begun to port at the new base.

Leslie Manning – Quaker activist will speak about budgets as moral documents and the need to build political support for cutting the bloated Pentagon budget.

Ed Friedman – Local environmental activist will discuss BIW’s impact on the life in the Kennebec River.

Mary Beth Sullivan – Social worker from Bath will speak about how conversion of BIW is possible and could create more jobs by building rail, solar, wind and tidal power systems to help deal with climate change.


Video production by Peter Woodruff and Martha Spiess

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

La Familia in Bath


All are welcome at this table.  Our goal is to work together - we need each other now more than ever.  We are in a mess and we've all got to row hard if we want to survive.  What is our most common agenda?

Our group of peace walkers became a family.  About a dozen were here all week.  Others came in and out along the way.  So there was always new energy to give us a spurt.

Thanks to John Morris and Peter Morgan a plan was put in motion to systematically visit 95% of the doors in the community with flyers explaining the purpose of the walk.  These were delivered over three days and we heard from some who read the flyers and thanked us. 

Morgana Warner Evans made her contribution by gathering food and then working with other volunteers to feed us.  Mary Beth Sullivan helped coordinate the overall effort and MCed the finale event on Saturday.  She and Karen Wainberg also helped nurture moving discussions inside one local church community as they considered our request to use their facilities throughout the week.  A couple of Sunday's in a row they dedicated serious portions of the church program to discussing the walk.

Just last Sunday one church member asked walker Jason Rawn to sing with him during the 'announcements' portion of the service - so they sang Vine and fig tree - And everyone 'neath their vine and fig tree, shall live in peace and not afraid, And into plowshares turn their swords, nations shall learn war no more.....

Dan Ellis ran the sound system at the finale rally and put all the peace walk materials on the Maine Veterans For Peace website.

I've been posting things about the walk for the past week on a local Facebook page where folks share stories about Bath-Brunswick.  Yesterday one person wrote back in response to my post:  "If America's 'empire' is declining (and I doubt that it is) stuff like this just shoves it a little further along."

Good to see someone noticed - one of the most important topics of our time.

One retired BIW finance department staffer wrote saying the peace walkers should go find something constructive to do like feed someone in a homeless shelter.  Another suggested that "Bruce must have flown in from Area 51."

Nice touch.....ouch.....please be nice to me.....

But there were a surprising number of likes when our walk logo was posted carrying announcements for pot luck suppers and such.  The conversion of a destroyer into commuter rail, wind turbines and solar power right before your eyes on a big bright banner is a grabber.  Art work is crucial to reaching many people - that is how I often have learned - visually.

Karen Wainberg from Bath spoke at finale

The walk art work came from two primary places - Russell Wray from Hancock and the statewide artist collective called ARRT! (Artists Rapid Response Team) that makes banners for various protest movements across Maine.

The closing event on Saturday was really beautiful and the star of the show for sure was John Morris singing his country and western stuff.  The rally was to begin at noon but at 11am we saw that the Farmers Market, being held in the same waterfront park, would close at noon.  So we invited John to sing from 11am til the rally officially began at noon.  It was the first time John had ever sung with a microphone - his steady style would never have given any clue of that.



All in all it was a good show.  We had fun and some new local people showed interest in what we are doing.  Others who know the score, but are apprehensive to become associated with us publicly, hopefully will feel a bit more empowered to speak out and help protect the coming generations.  We need more voices badly.

For me it is fun organizing things like this but I am 65 now and focused on helping to develop and support younger people among us who are moving into this work on a regular basis.  Will Griffin (who made most of the videos we have been posting) came up from Georgia and I know he learned alot from the experience.  Please check out Will's video work at The Peace Report.

The biggest surprise has been that our local newspaper, The Times Record, finally published an article about a panel discussion we held at a church in Brunswick last Tuesday.  A reporter came and nothing appeared in Wednesday, Thursday or Friday editions.  They don't publish the paper on Saturday or Sunday.  But on Monday the story appeared on front page - top of the fold.  A good story which you can read here.  Better late than never.  If it doesn't play on mainstream media it normally doesn't exist.

We can't ultimately relay on the corporate controlled media to get our message out - that is why we walk and try to engage people.  It's hard work but that is the reality of organizing.  If you can build a great family experience while doing the work it becomes pure joy - and good exercise.
 
We are living on a thin line and getting back to sanity ain't gonna be a breeze. 

Pour the last bit of the wine in the glass onto the ground ....remember the roots.

Bruce

Connect the Dots


Ecosystems War and Climate from Video Project on Vimeo.


Monday, October 23, 2017

Back to the Land in Baltimore



The urban farmers changing the narrative in Baltimore 🌾
Walker Marsh and Farmer Nell are using flowers and healthy food to bring pride to their communities.

Parted Ways....


Parted Ways

When Steve returned home from Vietnam,
he did not recognize his parents' house anymore,
because it was vacant of childhood memories.
He turned 19 in Vietnam.
Two years before that he picked up a fumble
and ran for a touchdown.
 From the senior prom to Vietnam.
He eventually picked up the drink, like he did that
fumble, and ran with it through jobs and relationships.
Along the way, he met Anne and got married.
She had a secret that was as traumatic as Steve's.
Steve had been raped and betrayed by the Fatherland,
and Anne had been raped and betrayed by her Father.
Trampled and molested--the unforgivable.
 From one war zone to another.
When the multiplying pain got so hurtful,
and their traumas got so intertwined,
they parted ways.
They could never escape their past,
a past that had now doubled with so
much suffering.
You see, they took their pain out on each other.
Intelligence can be so vindictive, when great
suffering is so subconscious.
It turns into a war zone of resentments.
Every trauma is relived as it is miss directed
at another human being, when so much
of their pain was already there long before
they ever met each other.
War Zones.
Vacant.
Parted Ways.
Until death do us part.

By Mike Hastie
Army Medic Vietnam
Full Disclosure
October 23, 2017

Photograph by Mike Hastie
Dedication of Vietnam Memorial
Portland, Oregon 1988

Stop Deadly U.S.-Israeli Police Exchange Trips



Jewish Voice for Peace

One of the most dangerous places where the regimes of Donald Trump and Benjamin Netanyahu converge is in exchange programs that bring together police, ICE, border patrol, and FBI from the U.S. with soldiers, police, and border agents from Israel.

At Jewish Voice for Peace, we were disturbed to learn that many of the organizations running these exchange programs are institutions in our own community, including civil rights organizations.

To shut down the deadly exchange, we feel obligated to start with these complicit organizations in our own communities.

They include The American Israel Public Affairs Committee, The Anti Defamation League, and even Birthright Israel. 

As Jews, we feel a particular responsibility to address those who run these programs in our names as Jewish communal institutions.

Together, we'll bring this fight to the policy makers in our communities and hold accountable the policy makers that run and fund the deadly exchange.

You can sign a  petition opposing these exchanges here

Also see a related article by The Intercept here

Sunday, October 22, 2017

Protect the Future Generations



On Friday afternoon our Maine Peace Walk lined up outside Morse high school in Bath to greet the students as they left school.  We got there 20 minutes before the bell rang and Yoyakgol started singing toward the building. 

We saw some students at windows on the 3rd floor clapping.  When they came outside we handed flyers to many of them about our reasons for the peace walk.

Let it be Real


Let it be real
let the truths
of our moment
become clear

we need
to grieve
and organize
the storm is
rumbling

humans have survived
all these hard years
because we sat
around council fires
shared
rich history
of our time
on the mother planet

we connected
to the waves of time
listened to the voices
of the dolphins,
birds,
lions and tigers
the clams
and the worms

we felt the life
energy
from the
tree roots,
the wind spoke to us
water soothed us
all inside the web
from the womb

We brought the
Motha home

looking up
sliver of moon
connecting us

early morning
at Bath Iron Works
workers rolled in

we shared our hearts
and some shared back

Our message is
simple
survival
for all the relations

At the local high school
guitar strumming
strange Asian voice
kids clapping
3rd floor window

one youngster
dances with the Asian
man
dressed in pink
calls it the
'hot pink dolphins'
sneaks in the heart
of Jeju Island
on the twist side

Working together
in the kitchen
feeding stomach
and soul
a moving web of life,
love,
and determination

Music all the way
Korean and
country style

strong words
by many

we don't want to pretend,
to not know,
what is really
going on....

our responsibility?

listen to the
heart beat
protect the
future generations
from
Mr. Big

Love
calls us back
again and again
til we pass it on.....

Thanks
y'all

Bruce 

Sunday Song