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, May 11, 2005


I spent the entire day yesterday sending e-mails out to peace groups all over the U.S. about Rep. Cynthia McKinney's plan to lead the fight against funding the nuclear rocket. (See yesterday's entry below for details.)

I found two sources that listed the address for virtually every peace group in the country and copied and pasted, one by one, an e-mail to them. The nuclear rocket issue is not known to many people, even in the peace movement, so I figured it was worth my time to bring some awareness to folks.

This is the way I was able to make the Cancel Cassini Campaign, back in 1997, such a big issue. For three years before the launch of the space mission, that carried 72 pounds of plutonium-238 on-board, I day in and day out tried to do something to make people aware of Cassini. So now I am doing the same thing on Project Prometheus - the nuclear rocket.

Some months ago I was contacted by the Keystone Center in Colorado. They are a PR firm hired by NASA to determine what critics of the nuclear rocket intend to do to stop it. The Keystone Center intends to help NASA draft public relations strategies to blunt our efforts. They wrote, and then called, wanting a meeting so they could find out about our plans. Imagine that, they wanted me to sit down and tell them what we plan to do to stop Project Prometheus so they could then turn around and help NASA! Of course, I declined the meeting. Let them read the blog like everyone else who is spying on us from NASA and the military-industrial complex. Let them earn their $$$$ the hard way! Work for it!

I will say this. We do intend to run a global campaign to Park Project Prometheus. We want to park it in the annals of history alongside past nuclear rocket schemes like Orion, Rover, NERVA, and Timberwind. All previous generations of the nuclear rocket were cancelled because of enormous cost and fear of the environmental consequences of an accident. What makes anyone think that the reaction to Prometheus will be any different?

There is one difference. Today the media are under control of a handful of multi-national corporations that are owned by or connected to the military-industrial complex. It will be harder to get decent stories written about the dangers of the nuclear rocket. At the same time we have a Congress under the thumb of the aerospace industry's big money. The fight will be hard this time around but no less important.

It will be our strategy to bring attention to Project Prometheus in any way possible. It will take extraordinary effort to reach beyond the barriers erected by corporate money and power. That is why I spent the entire day yesterday e-mailing groups, one by one, around the nation. A spider spins its web one strand at a time.


Anonymous Bob the Atom said...

You're a lunatic.

You are horribly misinformed about nuclear power, along with how NASA operates. The amount of Plutonium onboard the Cassini probe was insignificant on a global scale. If the launch had failed and the plutonium had broken up and scattered across the globe (Highly unlikely considering the density of plutonium.) it radiological impact would be about 1/100th of 1 percent of one minor nuclear bomb test. That's about the same as a few chest X-Rays.

Once you are beyond the orbit of Mars, nuclear power is the only way to generate any reasonable amount of power with the lowest amount of mass.

NASA is also a civilian agency, and is not connected with the military. Prometheus will be an unmanned probe that will pave the way for human settlement of the outer solar system. I hate to break it to you, but some us want to move away from the dark ages. We want to expand out knowledge of the universe. We have given up our meaningless superstitions, which you seem to still keep, we value knowledge and reason, you are still governed by your irrational emotions.

Also, for someone who says he values peace, you seem hell-bent on keep us from directing our aggressive instincts on something other then war. We could be directing our resources to expand humanity out into space. We could create new homes, and new families out among the cosmos, by your actions you are dooming countless generations to poverty and suffering in the future.

Cassini was launched, and it has improved our knowlege of the universe, prometheus will launch, expanding our understanding even more. Enjoy your stay on the ash-heap of history.

5/13/05, 5:15 PM  
Blogger Brian Dunbar said...

Bob. Bruce doesn't care about the facts of the matter. He's convinced himself that he is right. If you hold a contrary opinion, you're deluded, or a member of the dreaded DoD Military Death Machine and Marching Society.

As for power requirements out past Mars, he doesn't care. He doesn't want you in space, or NASA or anyone. If I may quote the man himself ..

"It is our belief that until we get our shit together here on this planet we ought to slow down the rush to move our bad seed of war, greed, and environmental degredation into the heavens....."

In other words, never.

5/16/05, 3:38 PM  
Blogger Shocker said...

I have been trying to understand what motivates people like Bruce Gagnon, and I have reached many conclusions. Here are my thoughts about Mr. Gagnon and his cohorts:

Much of their delusion is due to the fact that they lack a fundamental education about the topics which they protest. While I do not know this for a fact, I would suspect that Mr. Gagnon does not know the difference between a fusion and a fission reaction. He clearly does not understand basic statistics, and probably cannot tell the difference between a nuclear bomb and a nuclear reactor. The ignorant are easily manipulated.

Another trait is that these people are not capable of looking at basic facts and reaching a logical conclusion. For example, Mr. Gagnon argued that the Cassini mission should have been canceled, in part, due to the fact that it would return too much data.

Another trait is their belief that everything the United States does must be evil. As he flies to his next protest march, Mr. Gagnon probably never realizes that the flight control system of the airplane was made possible by NASA research. While NASA space exploration is very unlikely to kill any innocent civilians, the tons of sulphur that Chinese power plants expel each day cause disease and deaths around the world. I am sure that Mr. Gagnon has never protested Chinese energy policies.

What can we do to counter Mr. Gagnon and his kind? First, we must be informed of the real facts. Next we must make our positions known to those who really make a difference, our elected officials. Those of us with informed opinions will always win over ignorant protesters in the streets.

I welcome your thoughts about Mr. Gagnon.

6/8/05, 12:21 PM  

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