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, July 30, 2005

OREGON TRAILS

Hotter than hell here in Oregon. Took me 13 hours to get here, flying via Atlanta. Not the most direct route. Got to bed after 2:00 am Friday morning and had to wake up early for a radio interview with Thom Hartman who has a show on a local Portland station. Did three radio interviews yesterday promoting the trip. Spoke last night at the Unitarian church in Portland.

Today I head south to Corvallis for a lunch talk and then out to the coast for a talk this evening in Florence. My books arrived in Brunswick on Friday and some will be overnighted to me so I can have them for the rest of the trip. People were disappointed last night after the talk wanting to buy a copy but I had none to offer - just an order form.

The thing going through my mind this morning is the dispair and hope message. People feel very down right now as they look at the world and the question is what is my role in helping to bring hope to them? Having to talk about the plans for space control and domination, the enormous cost, the resulting global instability of a new arms race are not hopeful themes.

I end my talks by talking about a transformative vision being needed. I paint a visual picture of what economic conversion would look like and appeal to folks to help us create the momentum and political demand to make it a reality. I suggest we have to move from addiction to militarism and war to a collective transformation as a people.

I try to tell the truth and give some hope through a positive vision for the future. I keep in mind those who came before us and who have struggled to make life better. I try to honor their memories. I also pray before each talk that I will be able to remember our relatives: the things that swim, the things that fly, and the things that crawl. I try to remember my connection to all that is sacred.

Wednesday, July 27, 2005


I leave on Thursday for a two-week speaking tour out to Oregon, Washington and Victoria BC. Will stop in about 10 locations along the trip for talks. Should be quite exciting. Hope the weather, yes we have global warming, will cool off by then. Will try to get some small tidbits about the trip onto the blog while I travel. My book arrives from the printer on Friday....at last! Best wishes to all. Stop the Bush madness.

Sunday, July 24, 2005

PROTEST AT AEGIS "CHRISTENING"

Christ's blessings were given to a new Aegis destroyer yesterday in nearby Bath, Maine. (Do you think the Prince of Peace would really have given his blessing to a war ship that basically took food and clothing from the poor to build it?) Several thousand navy personnel and shipyard workers lined up at 8:30 am to attend the event. Outside the gates stood 20 of us, half were members of Veterans for Peace, as we held signs calling for the conversion of the shipyard to peaceful production.

We stood outside the gates for 2 1/2 hours as the people filed past us. A few took our pictures, a few gave us the finger or thumbs down. An occasional person driving by gave us a honk on the horn or flashed a peace sign. But the outright hostility that I have seen at other "christenings" was not evident yesterday.

The entire Maine congressional delegation was inside - Republican and Democrat alike. In today's paper Sen. Olympia Snowe (R-ME) was quoted as saying that we need to build more of the destroyers because China's navy is now "rapidly overtaking our own." Total garbage. China is being dragged out by the supporters of the military industrial complex as the justification for a massive expansion of the Navy, Star Wars and the like.

The Aegis, launched yesterday in Bath, is being outfitted with Theatre Missile Defense (TMD) systems that would be used to hit "rogue state" missiles right after they were launched in their boost phase. In order to do this you'd have to park the ships just off the coast of the "offending" nation. Since China is now put in the rogue state category by many, including Sen. Snowe, the U.S. plans are to deploy the ships in Japan, South Korea, Australia, and even likely in Taiwan, just 90 miles off the coast of mainland China. If you check your map you will see that this will essentially be a naval encirclement of China's coast. Imagine how China, who today has 20 nuclear missiles capable of hitting the west coast of the U.S., will respond. (By the way the U.S. today has over 7,500 nuclear weapons in our arsenal of hypocrisy.) China has said that U.S. deployments of Aegis off their coast will force them to build more nuclear weapons. Off to a new arms race. Who benefits from that here in the good ole US of A?

I don't shop at Wal-Mart but I do like to walk through the big box stores now and then to see where their products are produced. These days it is hard to find many products that are not made in China. We've become one of China's best customers in the world. Is it likely that China wants to nuke one of its best customers? I think not.

What the U.S. really fears is that China is becoming a major economic power. The U.S. wants to manage China to ensure U.S. global economic dominance. By militarily surrounding China the U.S. thinks it will be able to dictate policy to China. The war in Iraq is about oil. China's oil. The U.S. does not rely on Iraq's oil but China and other countries in the Asian-Pacific do. If the U.S. has permanent bases in Iraq, and controls that oil, then the U.S. holds the key to the Chinese economic engine.

We the American taxpayers will be bled to pay for this new military expansion to surround and "manage" China. We will have our education, health care, social security, and other social programs defunded so the global corporate machine can play games with China. But first they must be demonized and Americans must be made to fear China. That job is now well underway.