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 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.

Thursday, May 23, 2019

Excellent interview

Chris Hedges talks with reporter, Matt Taibbi, about the deep rot in American journalism.

Russian view of Trump's push for Iran war

The situation in Iran is like a powder keg with sparks raining on it. It's extremely dangerous for the entire world.

The United States started this conflict when last year it withdrew from the nuclear deal with Iran for no reason. After that, President Trump imposed illegitimate sanctions against Iran and earlier in May, banned every country on our planet from purchasing oil, steel, copper, and aluminum from Iran.

In response, Iran threatened to cancel the restrictions on its nuclear industry that it voluntarily adopted before.

This Russian TV report on possible war between the U.S. and Iran is instructive.  You learn much more from it than one normally gets on corporate owned TV in the west.

Wednesday, May 22, 2019

BIW schedules another destroyer 'christening' - Convert the shipyard

Next BIW Civil Resistance List for June 22

  • Ashley Bahlkow North Yarmouth, Maine
  • Meredith Bruskin Swanville, Maine
  • Dan Ellis Brunswick, Maine
  • Jim Freeman Verona Island, Maine
  • Ridgeley Fuller Belfast, Maine
  • Bruce Gagnon Brunswick, Maine
  • Suzanne Hedrick Nobleboro, Maine
  • Dud Hendrick Deer Isle, Maine
  • Cynthia Howard Biddeford Pool, Maine
  • Connie Jenkins Orono, Maine
  • Ken Jones Asheville, NC
  • Tarak Kauff Woodstock, New York
  • Brown Lethem Brunswick, Maine
  • Natasha Mayers Whitefield, Maine
  • Jane Newton Georgetown, Maine
  • Rosie Paul Brunswick, Maine
  • Doug Rawlings Chesterville, Maine
  • Jason Rawn Hope, Maine
  • Mark Roman Solon, Maine
  • Lisa Savage Solon, Maine
  • Dixie Searway Vermont
  • Robert Shetterly Brooksville, Maine
  • Mary Beth Sullivan Brunswick, Maine
  • Russell Wray Hancock, Maine

Above is the current list of those seriously considering joining the next civil resistance action at Bath Iron Works in Maine during the Aegis destroyer ‘christening’ that is scheduled to happen on Saturday, June 22.

Just weeks ago 25 people from Maine and beyond were arrested at BIW during the ceremony to bless the third Zumwalt ‘stealth’ destroyer at BIW – named the LBJ.  The recently elected District Attorney for the Midcoast, Natasha Irving, decided that prosecuting the LBJ 25 would be a waste of time.  The LBJ action drew extraordinary amounts of media coverage which repeatedly reported that the protest was all about converting BIW to deal with our real problem today – climate catastrophe.

In May 16 BDN article entitled Government report criticizes Bath Iron Works and Navy for ‘serious deficiencies’ in Zumwalt program (see it here) an amazing revelation was disclosed.  The Navy has decided to use the LBJ (costing $7 billion) for parts to keep the first two Zumwalt ships running.

So in the midst of growing climate disruption, with our government doing little to nothing to protect the future generations, the Navy has created a $7 billion ‘parts store’ for their boondoggle Zumwalt program.

Converting facilities like BIW would create more jobs, because producing sustainable technologies is a better driver of employment than building warships -- see Brown University's definitive study from 2017, “Job Opportunity Cost of War”

The destroyers at BIW cost billion$ each, are provocative as they are deployed to encircle China and Russia with first-strike cruise missiles, and contribute significantly to the massive US military carbon boot print.

Instead of building these warships we could be building commuter rail systems, tidal power systems, offshore wind turbines and disaster-relief ships to help us deal with climate change.

Please stay tuned and join us in Bath (on Washington Street across from the Post Office) on June 22 at 8:00 am for our next protest. 

Help us call for a conversion of our hearts and the military industrial complex.

For more information contact

A beautiful view of Crimea

Comprehensive TV news report from our visit to Artek in Crimea – including Bill Bliss reciting Pushkin in Russian & Will Griffin training for cosmonaut duty.

A taste of Crimea at the famous kids camp on the Black Sea where Maine resident Samantha Smith visited during the middle of the cold war on a peace mission.

Latest This Issue show

"This Issue" host Bruce Gagnon interviews Bill Clark and Wendy Flaschner from Maine AllCare about their campaign in our state to ensure that all Mainers are covered with health care.

Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Global Network Russia Study Tour Declaration

May 9, 2019
As an international delegation to the Russian Federation of 25 individuals, we have visited Moscow, St. Petersburg, and three cities in Crimea (April 25-May 9).

We came to learn, to listen, and to build a bridge of friendship through citizen diplomacy.  We have had daily important meetings with Russian journalists, activists, academics, ordinary citizens, and gained first hand information and historical perspective. The Russian people met us with warmth, openness, and generosity.

We came because we are alarmed by the U.S. demonization of Russia and the NATO provocations which have created a world of increasing military confrontation, with the U.S. even threatening the first-use of nuclear weapons.

Since the collapse of the USSR in 1991 US/NATO has encircled Russia with bases, so-called ‘missile defense’ systems, escalating “war games” right on its borders, and with warships increasing military operations in the Black Sea.

Numbers don’t lie.  Russia is a country of just 144 million people, with average income of $400 a month, or $13 a day. Their annual military budget is $60 billion and decreasing. The U.S. military budget is $800 billion and increasing. The U.S. has more than 800 bases encircling the world.

The Russian people love their country with a warmth and depth of love that is difficult for Americans to comprehend. It is a love born of centuries of history, culture and religious faith, and a love born of the suffering and sacrifice of the repeated defense of their Motherland.

On Victory Day, May 9 in St. Petersburg, we walked in solidarity with 1.2 million family members and survivors of the 1941 – 1945 defense of the former Soviet Union when Americans and Russians were friends and allies against the German fascist invasion and occupation. (It should be remembered that 28 million Soviet citizens lost their lives during the fight against the fascists.)

Our message is a call to end the demonization of Russia, remove US/NATO warships from the Black Sea, end the escalating war maneuvers on Russia’s borders, and build bridges of diplomacy and friendship.

Signed by:
  • Dave Webb, Convener, Global Network Against Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space, Leeds, England
  • Bruce K. Gagnon, Coordinator, Global Network Against Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space, Brunswick, Maine
  • Subrata Ghoshroy, Board Member, Global Network Against Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space, Boston, Massachusetts
  • Will Griffin, Board Member, Global Network Against Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space and the Peace Report, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
  • Mary Beth Sullivan, Board Member, Global Network Against Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space, Brunswick, Maine
  • Rev. Bill Bliss, The Neighborhood United Church of Christ, Bath, Maine
  • Lincoln Bliss, New York City
  • Raymond Bliss, Freeport, Maine
  • Cathleen R. Deppe, Global Network Against Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space and Veterans for Peace, El Segundo, California
  • Shreedhar Gautam, Secretary General, Nepal Council for World Affairs, Kathmandu, Nepal
  • Leslie Harris, Veterans for Peace, Flower Mound, Texas
  • John Harris, Veterans for Peace, Flower Mound, Texas
  • Cindy Heil, Global Network Against Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space and Veterans for Peace, Asheville, North Carolina
  • Leonid Ilderkin, Union of Political Emigrants and Political Prisoners of Ukraine, Moscow, Russia
  • Yosi McIntire Global Network Against Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space, St. Augustine, Florida
  • Solidad Pagliuca, Global Network Against Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space and Cuba Friendship Association, St. Augustine, Florida
  • John Schuchardt Veterans for Peace and House of Peace, Ipswich Massachusetts 
  • Carrie Schuchardt, House of Peace, Ipswich Massachusetts
  • Alexander J. Walker, Veterans for Peace, El Segundo, California
  • Bill Warrick III MD, Veterans For Peace and Global Network Against Weapons and Nuclear Power in Space, Gainesville, Florida
  • Sally Warrick, Global Network Against Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space, Gainesville, Florida
  • Prabhu Ray Yadav, Treasurer, Nepal Council for World Affairs, Kathmandu, Nepal

Maine conversion campaign

Click to get better view of the conversion flyer.

If you'd like to order copies of this flyer contact 

Monday, May 20, 2019

Never forget 'shock & awe'

George Galloway is a British politician, broadcaster and writer. Between 1987 and 2015, with a gap in 2010–12, he represented four constituencies as a Member of Parliament, elected as a candidate for the Labour Party and later the Respect Party.

Warning to all over Iran attack

Distance yourself from U.S. Iran policies or be responsible for the next catastrophe in the Middle East
Remember President Trump’s tweet and accompanying statements by the Trump administration officials concerning Iran – as reported here by CNN on May 19, 2019.
Trump’s statement amounts to a de facto declaration of war on Iran.
Objectively speaking, it is a lie that Iran threatens the US. It is a lie that the US sends aircraft carriers to the region in self-defence. It’s lies as blatant as the one about Saddam’s weapons of mass destruction.
You may think that this is just psychological warfare and positioning. It is not. Because: Over time, this type of statements develop its own dynamics and the US will not be able to back down from what it threatens to do without loosing face.
President Trump’s statement is a blatant violation of international law, the UN Charter’s Article 2.4 which states:
“All Members shall refrain in their international relations from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state, or in any other manner inconsistent with the Purposes of the United Nations.”
In this extremely worrying situation of years of step-by-step US build-up to war with Iran, every and each government that does not issue a formal public protest distancing itself from this type of rogue state behaviour that endangers world security must be considered co-responsible for a war on Iran if and when it breaks out.
Check out whether your government has the statesmanship and courage to do so, no matter where you live. Protest if it doesn’t.
This is not the way the world’s strongest military and a world leader should behave – against a state that has, according to every report including US assessments, adhered to every word in the JCPOA, the Nuclear Deal with Iran of 2015.
The only – gross and repeated – violator of that agreement is the United States of America, by its withdrawal from it and thereby also violating international law since that agreement is embedded in a UN Security Council resolution.
Additionally, the US continues and has stepped up sanctions that amount to (economic) war crimes and collective punishment of 85 million completely and indisputably innocent civilian Iranians.
NATO and the EU – as collective organisations – must now distance themselves from this policy and, in the field of US Iran policies, defy any pressure exerted by Washington, issue statements to the effect that this type of policies by a friend and ally is completely unacceptable morally and a crystal clear violation of international law as well as civilised behaviour among members of the global society.
Secondly, each member state must practice civil disobedience against the US in this field, step up all types of cooperation with Iran and – in actions and not just words, words and more words – isolate the US.
Any government that keeps silent in this extremely dangerous situation are philosophically as well politically complicit in every violent action that may be directed at Iran and its people at any point in the future.
To quote Albert Einstein: “The world is in greater peril from those who tolerate or encourage evil than from those who actually commit it.”
When it comes to its Iran policies, the United States must now be made clearly and unequivocally aware that it does not have and will not have any support – ethically, politically, militarily or economically – from allies and friends – neither when making such statements not if it is mad enough to start a war on Iran and destroy one more civilisation and sovereign state in the Middle East.
This is in the service of the US itself: One more war will make the US the most hated country on earth. It will devastate the US economy further. It will weaken and spell the end of the US Empire. It will – like all the other wars – be what I have repeatedly termed a predictable fiasco on its own terms.
If you love America, act now. If you want to see it crumble and fall, keep silent and let it fall into its own – tendentially fascist, militarism-addicted – trap.
~  Jan Oberg, director of TFF - Transnational Foundation for Peace & Future Research based in Lund, Sweden 

Sunday, May 19, 2019

Sunday song