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.

Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Don't thank me for my service....

End the war on Yemen

What's happening in Yemen right now should make everyone in this world stop, notice and speak out.

Tuesday, March 19, 2019

More images from Lockheed Martin protest and the streets of San Francisco

Blocking the front gate on Monday morning of Lockheed Martin aerospace production facility in Sunnyvale, California where space tech weapons of war are being developed and produced.

Lockheed Martin sits on a very busy traffic intersection so many people saw the protest

The Musicians Action Group keep us dancing and singing throughout the protest playing famous union and organizing songs

Clancy (originally from Texas and now from the northwest) being arrested for holding the banner to block the entrance of Lock-Mart

Susan Crane played her saxophone while blocking the entrance and then got arrested
After the protest was over Global Network board member Lynda Williams took us to the mission district in San Francisco where we had a great lunch at a beautifully adorned Mexican restaurant.  I told everyone afterward how lucky we are to have the contributions in the US of the creative and loving Mexican culture.  We should remember that the US stole (annexed) most of California and the southwest from Mexico by war making.  Washington tried twice to do the same and take Canada but got beat and finally gave up.

These two murals above were among an entire street of artwork with walls on both sides painted with social and political content.  I asked the woman painting the BDS mural just above if anyone ever comes and trashes the art work.  She replied, "Yes, the Zionists come all the time and deface it and we have to repaint it."

  • It was a great weekend at the west coast Catholic Worker retreat.  About 50 people were there throughout the weekend and the sun was shining.  There was no ice everywhere like there was here in Maine.  MB and I had many wonderful moments with people who dedicate their lives to serving the poor and working hard to stop endless war - with a particular emphasis on nuclear disarmament.
  • After dinner at a local San Francisco Italian restaurant with my nephew, we took the red-eye flight back east at 10:00 pm on Monday night, getting home just after noon on Tuesday.  A nap was badly needed.  On the plane I watched two movies - the first about the life of Jane Fonda, actress and activist.  Then a film I'd seen before called '13 Years a Slave' which told the story of a free black man captured and sold into slavery in the south during the 1840's.  The brutality and mental sickness of the 'slave master class' has never really been resolved and healed in this country thus the terrorizing Washington does around the world in the name of God and democracy.  These days we are enslaved to a permanent war economy. It's evil.
  • I come back with a full plate.  Bath Iron Works (BIW) here in Maine has announced that they will hold a 'christening' ceremony for the next Zumwalt 'stealth' destroyer on Saturday, April 27.  A coalition of peace groups across Maine are organizing a non-violent direct action at BIW to protest the ‘christening’ The warship will be named the Lyndon B. Johnson (DDG 1002) after the former Vietnam War president.  The ships today cost $7 billion each and will be ported in San Diego once commissioned.  (The problem is that the Navy can't afford to buy the expensive shells for the new high-tech guns onboard the Zumwalt.) Normally the public is invited to walk into the shipyard to attend such a ceremony but because the last two ‘'destroyers ‘christenings’ have drawn civil resistance actions, BIW is saying it will be a ‘closed event’ and is requiring that the public apply for tickets in advance.  Protesters will meet on Washington St. in Bath next to the post office at 8:30 am on April 27 to hold the protest.  
  • I will be in Russia during the BIW protest.  Our study tour to Moscow, Crimea and St. Petersburg will be from April 25 to May 10.  We've got 20 people going on the trip from the Global Network and Veterans For Peace.  Things are well in motion but there are still many details I must wrap up before we get there.

Impacts of sound on marine life

Democratic congressman Joe Cunningham (D-SC) interrupted a House committee hearing with a 120-decibel airhorn after a Trump administration official insisted air-gun testing to locate oil underwater would have no impact on whales, who rely on echolocation to hunt and communicate.

Monday, March 18, 2019

Protest at Lockheed Martin in California today

Mary Beth and I joined the Pacific Life Community protest this morning at Lockheed Martin in Sunnyvale, California (near San Francisco) after the weekend Catholic Worker west coast retreat where I spoke on Saturday morning and evening.

Lockheed Martin is one of the top space militarization/weaponization contractors in the world and their front gate sign reads 'Gateway to Space'.

We blocked the front entrance of the weapons production facility and ultimately about a dozen folks were arrested.  Even though I participated in the gate blockade with the huge banner, once the arrests began I had to withdraw in order not to miss our flight back to Maine this evening.

I'll write more about the great weekend retreat once I get home - but for now suffice to say it was a wonderful weekend with super fine folks.

Video by Veterans For Peace member Monisha Rios who I met on the VFP delegation trip to Okinawa I co-organized about two years ago.

The band you hear playing in the background is called the 'Musicians Action Group'.  Really added a wonderful touch to the protest.


'Change your course!': Pompeo threatens ICC over US war crimes probe

In an effort to threaten everyone into not investigating US or Israeli war crimes in the International Criminal Court, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo says anyone involved in such probes will lose their visa and may be sanctioned.
The Washington war hawk said that action had to be taken because any investigation into alleged war crimes and torture committed by the United States would be a threat to US rule of law. Visas will be pulled or denied for anyone who has been involved in or even requested an ICC investigation of “any US personnel.

The arrogance of these war criminals is outrageous.  The passivity of corporate mainstream media is predictable but infuriating.

Sunday, March 17, 2019

Message from Lapland

Dear friends!

We are standing by the most peaceful border [Sweden & Finland] in the world. Here people have lived everyday life in peace more than two hundred years. Finland has lived in peace with Russia almost 75 years.

Peace is achieved and preserved as a result of  determined cooperation and wise diplomacy. Today there are 10,000 soldiers at this border. Why?

They don't make the border more peaceful, they are bringing the war here. Parts of these soldiers come far away from USA and Great Britain.

To the US and British soldiers we want to say: We don't want Your wars. Go home to Your leaders and tell them that in Finland and Sweden the people want to go on living in peace. Peace is built by friendship between peoples, by cooperation and by finding solutions to conflicts by negotiation in a spirit of mutual respect.

You may be our friends, but if You bring war to us, You become our enemies. Take away Your tanks and Your projectiles from our territories! We don't want Your wars, we want our peace. We don't want Your noise, we want silence. We don't want Your pollution which Your tanks and fighters spit into our nature – we want to keep the nature clean and fresh. The war industry and the war exercises pollute massively, but Pentagon has demanded it is not taken into account in the climate agreements.

If we really want to stop the global warming, we must stop making wars and instead cooperate for the conditions of human life.

Today three of us from the Peace Committee in Lapland were in Haparanda, Sweden - because there is starting a war exercise (Northern Wind March 18th - March 27) with 10,000 soldiers on the ground plus a very large fighter exercise over both half of Sweden and a part of Finnish Lapland which will last until March 27th. I send you the text we both talked through megaphone and gave as flyers to people - in three languages - Swedish, Finnish and English. I send you the English one so you have some idea of what is happening here. All the time. More and more. Step by step.
Kerstin Tuomala

Sunday song

Saturday, March 16, 2019

We need a new foreign policy

“This new Cold War [is] more dangerous than the preceding Cold War,” professor Stephen Cohen tells Truthdig Editor in Chief Robert Scheer in the latest installment of “Scheer Intelligence.”

Cohen, a professor emeritus of Russian studies at Princeton University and New York University, has a new book out that addresses the possibility of a U.S.-Russia armed conflict in the near future. Part of the current rejection of the Kremlin that has brought the two nations to this dangerous brink, according to Cohen, is rooted in the U.S. political elites’ desire to maintain their ability to determine the world order. When Vladimir Putin was first elected, the professor explains, it became immediately obvious that he wanted Russia to take part in shaping “how the world is structured.”

Joining the two is Katrina vanden Heuvel, editor of The Nation, to discuss the neo-McCarthyism that has been unleashed by Russiagate and what the journalist calls “Trump derangement syndrome” that leads liberals to buy into hysteria surrounding Russia so long as it serves an anti-Trump agenda.

While Vanden Heuvel argues that the American left is making significant progress on domestic issues, even progressive leaders such as Sens. Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren “have to some extent bought into this new Cold War.”

Listen to Cohen, Vanden Heuvel and Scheer discuss in depth both the dangerous as well as hopeful paths the U.S. is headed down as it grapples with its domestic and foreign policy under the shadow of a new Cold War, and “new [progressive] insurgencies” continue to make headway despite the American establishment’s firm grip on power and a wave of neo-McCarthyism that threatens to censor dissent.

You can also read a transcript of the interview here.