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: Brunswick, Maine, United States

I'm back to work for the Global Network. Will continue to help Lisa Savage for US Senate campaign on my free time. Trying to self-isolate as much as possible. Best wishes and good luck to you all.

Thursday, October 01, 2020

Sr. Ardeth Platte Presente!


Sr. Ardeth Platte (right) with long time friend and co-organizer Sr. Carol Gilbert


   Ardeth Platte, Dominican nun dedicated to no-nukes cause, dies at 84

(RNS) — Sister Ardeth Platte, a Dominican order nun who fought for nuclear disarmament and later served as an inspiration for a character on the popular Netflix show “Orange Is the New Black,” died in her sleep at the Dorothy Day Catholic Worker House in Washington, D.C., on Wednesday (Sept. 30).

Platte, 84, who often worked in tandem with her best friend and frequent collaborator, Sister Carol Gilbert, spent years in prison for nonviolent civil disobedience in opposition to nuclear weapons and war.
It was Gilbert who discovered Platte on Wednesday morning. She had apparently been listening to the radio, as she was still wearing headphones when Gilbert found her. Gilbert said Platte had listened to the presidential debate Tuesday night.
In recent years, the duo spent the brunt of their work speaking in support of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons. Gilbert said she had been excited Wednesday morning at the prospect of telling Platte that Malaysia had become the 46th nation to ratify the treaty.
Malaysia’s decision means just four additional ratifications are needed for the landmark disarmament treaty to be brought into force, Gilbert said.
Gilbert said Platte did her final Zoom presentation in support of the treaty on Saturday to the Boston University School of Theology.
“I’m numb,” Gilbert said in a telephone interview. “She was fine yesterday. We did work. I guess you just don’t think death can come that quickly.”
Platte was born in Lansing, Michigan, and began her work for the Dominicans as a teacher. In the 1960s and ’70s, she served as principal and director of alternative education at the former St. Joseph’s Educational Center in Saginaw, Michigan. Her work as an educator impressed many in the community, and Platte was urged to run for the Saginaw City Council. She won, serving as councilwoman from 1973-1985. 

She also served as coordinator of Saginaw’s Home for Peace and Justice for more than a decade.
It was in Michigan that Platte began her anti-nuclear work, and where Gilbert joined her. Later, the pair moved to Baltimore to join the Jonah House resistance community with Elizabeth McAlister and Philip Berrigan.
In 2002, Platte, Gilbert and Sister Jackie Hudson gained international attention when they dressed as weapons inspectors, entered and were arrested at a Minuteman III nuclear missile site in Colorado. Convicted of federal felony charges, the three nuns were sentenced to prison. Hudson died in 2011.
When Platte and Gilbert returned to Colorado in 2017 for a rally, a story in The Denver Post stated: “In the years since they served their sentences in federal prison, the Dominican sisters, hardly deterred by the threat of future incarceration, have become pop culture icons.”
A character on the Netflix series “Orange Is the New Black” was based on Platte, who practiced yoga at Danbury Federal Correctional Institution with Piper Kerman, author of the book on which the series about a group of women serving time in a minimum-security women’s prison is based.
A documentary film about the sisters, called “Conviction,” led to stories about the trio being published in The New Yorker, The New York Times and The Washington Post, as well as some international publications.
In recent months, Platte and Gilbert joined actress Jane Fonda for large protests at the White House.
Gilbert, who called 911 when she realized Platte had died, said the Catholic Worker house was soon crawling with D.C. police.
“I wanted to tell Ardeth that even in death you have to make a scene, made our bedroom here into a crime scene.”
In an email announcement of Platte’s sudden death sent to many of her friends, Catholic activist Paul Magno of Jonah House wrote: “Deep shock to hear this but grateful for all that Ardeth has given to making the peace of Christ radiate through our world.”
In 2017, Platte told The Denver Post: “I refuse to have an enemy. I simply won’t.” 

Wednesday, September 30, 2020

Wouldn't call it a debate....


I wouldn't call it a debate - more like a professional wrestling match.  This is the reason why more people in America don't vote than those who do.  They are sick of this shit.

MB and I tried to watch it but turned it off after awhile.  No redeeming value at all from either of them.  We agreed that this debate is a clear reflection of the collapse of the US military and economic empire.

Some years ago the corporate oligarchies that run this country said that they must turn politics into a food fight in order to turn off more and more American citizens.  That way the oligarchs would have an easier time controlling the country.  Their strategy appears to be working.

You've got one fascist candidate who blows the dog whistle for the armed right-wingers to 'stand by' while the other candidate has trouble finishing sentences and can't really find any major issues that he disagrees with the other on because in the end they both represent the corporate interests.

Take health care for example - both candidates support the 'insurance' companies remaining in control of the system - but they tinker around the edges and argue over mundane policies that won't have much ultimate impact.

They both demonize China and Russia and equally want to expand the Pentagon even more.  

I can't imagine voting for either one of these corporate empty suits - and I won't. Instead in Maine we have Ranked Choice Voting in the presidential and Congressional races.  I'll vote for the Green party prez candidate Howie Hawkins rather than these two flunkies.

This is the best these two corporate controlled political parties have to offer the American people?!

God help us all....


Tuesday, September 29, 2020

Upcoming Global Network Space issues 'Zoom' events


Air Force Space Command HQ at Petersen AFB, Colorado Springs, Colorado

  Two ZOOM Webinars


1st Zoom event

Global Network leaders discuss ‘Space domination’ during Keep Space for Peace Week

October 8, 2020 on Zoom
10am (EST), 3pm (BST), 6pm (KST), 12midnight (AEST)

How can we confront the rapidly increasing militarisation and possible weaponization of space? 

When the US Space Force was established last year President Trump said that it marked “a big moment” and that there was “going to be a lot of things happening in space. Because space is the world’s newest warfighting domain.” 

A new generation of space weapons – Episode 2 of Reagan’s Star Wars – is in the cards. The U.S., Russia, China and India have extensive military space programmes and tested Anti-satellite weapons (ASATs) and the UK, France, NATO, Japan and South Korea have either established or are working towards their own military Space Forces. 

Keep Space for Peace Week gives us an opportunity to focus on the challenges presented by the rush to exploit space. 

GN Convenor Professor Dave Webb introduces a panel of GN experts: Professor Karl Grossman (U.S.), Tamara Lorincz (Canada), Sung-Hee Choi (South Korea), Denis Doherty (Australia) and GN Coordinator Bruce Gagnon (U.S.) to discuss ways in which we can face these challenges.

Register for the meeting here:

2nd Zoom event

As part of the  “Space Education and Strategic Applications Conference” 

This 2-day conference is organised by the Policies Studies Organization and will be entirely virtual around the time of “Keep Space for Peace Week” (October 3-10)

More details and program here: 

On October 15th at 1:20 pm (EST) the Global Network will be holding a panel on “Campaigning to Keep Space for Peace”, introduced and chaired by Professor Dave Webb (UK) with Professor Karl Grossman (US), Tamara Lorincz (Canada), Dr Aruna Kammila (India) and Bruce Gagnon (US). 

The panel members will discuss different aspects of the problems associated with the continuing militarisation of space and creating a global resistance to Keep Space for Peace. 

Each panel member will speak for 10-15 minutes and then questions will be taken from the audience and discussed by the panel members.

Please join us – you can register for the conference here:  

Monday, September 28, 2020

Visiting Gull Rock pottery in Hancock, Maine


MB and I recently visited Gull Rock Pottery in Hancock, Maine which is run by our friend Akemi Wray and her husband Russell.  It is located on wondrous Frenchman Bay.

Russell is a great artist who does amazing nature sculpture, etchings and engravings.  You can see his website here.

Akemi makes beautiful pottery with blue and white brush designs.  She is from Japan and of course her work clearly features that cultural influence. We bought several different pieces of her work and are now using them daily.


They are both great souls - we first met on a bus ride from Portland to Washington DC for a protest against George W. Bush's 'shock and awe' war in Iraq.  During more recent times Russell has been very active in our conversion campaign at Bath Iron Works and he has made brilliant banner paintings for our peace walks up and down the state.  Here is one of my favorites - Russell is standing next to me in the photo.

When ever we visit them Akemi always makes the most incredible food and she artfully lays out a beautiful spread on the table as we sit down to eat.

They are rare birds and make living in Maine all the more special for us.  If you are ever up in the Ellsworth-Hancock area be sure to stop and buy some of Akemi's wonderful pottery and one of Russell's works.  

You'll never regret it.


Sunday, September 27, 2020

Sunday song