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

Saturday, August 13, 2005


Cindy Sheehan speaking outside of Bush's Texas vacation ranch. Cindy will be in Brunswick, Maine on September 10 to speak at the Veterans for Peace march that will protest the Navy's Blue (Hell's) Angels jet performance team. Brunswick Naval Air Station will host the Hell's Angels the weekend of September 10-11. The slogan of the protest will be - Real angels don't drop bombs!

11 Comments:

Blogger Vic Jacobs said...

It looks like those smarter-than-us Canadians have Mother Sheehan's number.

I'm disappointed that you're buying into the cult, Bruce. The "Hell's Angels" histrionics doesn't surprise me, but Cindy is such a joke (not to mention a poison to your cause) that I can't believe you don't see through it.

8/14/05, 12:37 PM  
Blogger Stephen said...

Speaking as a Canadian, I wouldn't take the blog 'Angry in the Great White North' as representative of national opinion if I were you--on Sheehan or anything else for that matter.

Predictably, this member of the Blogging Tories has sliced a section out of a longer interview with Sheehan and then put the worst possible construction on it, to discredit her by attacking her handling of family problems following her son's death.

The same techniques of character assassination have been used by people on the right up here against others who've spoken out against the war, like Jeremy Hinzman. They haven't got anyone's number and they're sure as heck not smarter-than-anyone. They're trying to silence dissent. That's what they do.

8/14/05, 5:42 PM  
Blogger Vic Jacobs said...

So maybe it is part of a longer interview, but that doesn't mean it doesn't capture the essence of Mother Sheehan. Skip up a level on their blog and you'll find a half-dozen or more posts on various questionable aspects of Mother Sheehan. Were all of those things taken out of context? And at what point does questioning of someone's motives become character assassination? When their views are congruent with your own? Are we not allowed to criticise Mother Sheehan at all, lest we silence her dissent?

And did you by chance read the first excerpt in the post I linked to? I notice you skipped over that to the more easily-assailed portion of the post. While not Cindy's own words, I think it is very revealing as to how she is regarded in anti-war circles and the value of her valiant one-woman crusade to their own propaganda ends.

I don't really think that Canadians are smarter than anyone else, either. It was just a little poke at Bruce's earlier comment that he found Canadians to be better informed than Americans, a variation on the "Yeah, well, Canadians are smarter!" line that I often hear Canadians using to assuage their national inferiority complex.

8/14/05, 8:56 PM  
Blogger Stephen said...

you'll find a half-dozen or more posts on various questionable aspects of Mother Sheehan. Were all of those things taken out of context?

From what I could see, they were mostly unsupported speculation about rumours. I certainly didn't see anything there to make me question Sheehan's motives, which appear to be rooted in grief over the loss of her son in a war she considers unjustifiable. With good reason, I should add.

I did notice the first part of the post you linked to, but ignored it because it told me exactly nothing about whether 'Angry in the Great White North' had any real insight into Sheehan or the substance of her protest (i.e. 'had her number,' as you put it). Public figures, as far as I know, aren't automatically responsible for the overexuberant language of their supporters, nor is that language any sure indicator of the validity of the public figure's position. To turn the tables a bit, I wouldn't argue that Britney Spears' public call for unthinking support of every presidential decision weakens Bush's case for the war in Iraq. He's not responsible for her statement of mindless loyalty and, besides, the accepted rules of logic and evidence are more than enough to doom his case for war anyway.

But, if you insist on finding the rather schmaltzy comments of the Sheehan admirer quoted by 'Angry in the Great White North' to be 'revealing,' I wonder what you think is revealed by the unrelenting appeals to emotion and sentimentality in the pro-war propaganda of the President and his allies?

I don't really think that Canadians are smarter than anyone else, either.

I got that. And, of course, we aren't. The blogger whose posts you cite is more than enough proof of that fact: hence my poke back at you.

a variation on the "Yeah, well, Canadians are smarter!" line that I often hear Canadians using to assuage their national inferiority complex.

It's too bad if you hear that line or its variants often; there's no general warrant for it. However, on the limited question of the Canadian public being better informed on missile defence/space weapons issues, I think there may be something to Bruce's claim. There was a relatively large national debate on these issues recently in Canada, and I'm not sure that's been the case south of the border, or in Europe either, at least according to these comments from a European observer in a story from the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists:

Ian Davis, executive director of the British American Security Information Council, says Canada's rejection of direct involvement in the missile shield highlights the deep division in NATO ranks over missile defense and the weaponization of space. The Canadian decision was taken following a vigorous and far-reaching debate, Davis notes, while in Europe, despite U.S. plans to base at least 10 interceptor missiles there within the next five years, there has been relative silence on the issue. "European debate is almost entirely mute," Davis says. "European proponents and opponents of missile defense need to take a cue from their Canadian counterparts and start a 'big conversation' on this important strategic issue without delay."

Finally, I don't believe you can put whole countries on the psychiatrist's couch, so I can't comment directly on whether all 31 million of us suffer from an 'inferiority complex' or not. What I do notice is that those of my fellow citizens who most often publicly stress Canadian shortcomings vis a vis the US are the right-wingers who wish we'd officially endorsed the Iraq war, signed on to missile defence, weakened our health care system and labour laws, adopted an even more militarist foreign policy, etc.

Needless to say, I don't agree with the direction their sense of inferiority would take the country. Not that we ought to wallow in a smug sense of moral superiority either: Canada is guilty of plenty, though we often don't pay attention to that fact because it's so much easier to point the finger at the USA and its crimes while ignoring our own wrongdoing.

Not sure what national neurosis this post reveals, so I look forward to your diagnosis, doctor.

Cheers, eh?

8/15/05, 3:36 AM  
Blogger Brian Dunbar said...

They're trying to silence dissent. That's what they do.

They're not the only ones; I've been told off for replying to posts on the Globenet mailing list. You can't post there unless your opinion falls in line with the list's prevailing attitude on a given topic.

http://groups.yahoo.com/group/globenet

8/17/05, 8:05 AM  
Anonymous Yogimus said...

Well, if you want to be technical, every time god needed something killed or destroyed, he called upon an angel.

Just some food for thought.

8/22/05, 7:27 AM  
Blogger Brian Dunbar said...

Just some food for thought.

But they didn't use bombs! They used .. swords! And sharp sticks.

Of course .. the Blue Angels don't drop bombs either - or at least if they DO they don't do so at the air shows I've been to. But you can't look too deeply into catchy slogans - look elsewhere for nuance.

8/22/05, 3:57 PM  
Anonymous Yogimus said...

Can't forget the fire and brimstone.

Of course sometimes people need a good dose of bombing.

At least when the bombs kill americans right?

8/22/05, 4:56 PM  
Blogger Brian Dunbar said...

Be wary of what you ask for with Ms. Sheehan. The lady might be a racist. Certainly anti-Semitic. But then y'all embrace the anti-Semitic Representative from Georgia as a fellow traveller so .. birds of a feather?

http://slate.msn.com/id/2124788
After Slate published her real opinions on politics (a weird confection of pacifism with paranoid anti-Zionism) last Monday, she was eventually asked about her statement that her son Casey had been killed in a war for Israel, and she denied ever having made it. So, we must now say that, as well as being a vulgar producer of her own spectacle, and an embarrassment to her family, Cindy Sheehan is at best a shifty fantasist.

8/24/05, 12:11 PM  
Blogger Vic Jacobs said...

For shame, Brian. I'm shocked, shocked that you would stoop so low as to point out Mother Sheehan's own unflattering and widely-disseminated public statements in an attempt to chill her free speech, and to question the underpinnings of the truth she is so courageously speaking to power in your blatant effort to stifle her dissent.

I mean, wouldn't your time be better spent on nobly and high-mindedly exposting the truth about Chimpy's segregationist gay-aiding homophobic Supreme Court nominee John Roberts, a radical papist and supporter of abortion clinic bombings who might be hiding something dodgy about the legality (or illegality?) of how he and his Catholic-extremist wife "adopted" their hideously-dressed and funny-looking children while he was conducting a crusade against french-fry-eating minority children, instead of on this smear campaign against Holy Mother Sheehan, Spark of the Universe?

8/24/05, 9:27 PM  
Blogger angry_in_t_o said...

Hey, they're reading my stuff. Cool!

8/29/05, 3:58 PM  

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