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, October 15, 2005

MOTHERS OF GI'S JOIN READING OF NAMES


We had over 40 people join us yesterday in Biddeford for our reading of the names of the Iraqi war dead in the office of Sen. Olympia Snowe. It took 6 1/2 hours. We asked her staff what they will do when it soon will take us 8 hours or more to read the names. Will you stay with us as we run into the night we asked? Why won't the senator, who was elected to represent the people, agree to a town hall meeting on the Iraq war? This is not supposed to be a country ruled by kings and queens and lords and ladies we said....we are supposed to have a democracy where the people make decisions about how our tax dollars should be spent and when we go to war. The staff director of the office tried to pretend that they were thrilled we had stopped in....but in fact we were a pain in the ass all day long as we spread our Iraqi war cloth out across their floor and they were climbing over bodies all day long trying to get to the copy machine....at least for one day this office felt the war had come home to them. Two mothers of GI's were with us - one who has a son now in Iraq and the other who has a son soon to go. A third parent in our group had a son return from Iraq a couple of months ago. We are determined to continue reading the names. We all must find ways to stretch ourselves a bit - doing something that is beyond our normal political boundaries.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

SIXTH READING OF NAMES PLANNED IN MAINE


On Friday I will be organizing our sixth occupation of a congressional office in Maine where we read the names of the Iraq war dead. This time we will enter the Biddeford office of Sen. Olympia Snowe and read the names of dead American GI's and an equal number of innocent Iraqi civilians. We expect the reading to take just over six hours. We will have folks coming from throughout the state, from many different peace groups, to participate in the action. As we read each name an X will be marked on a large banner representing each person. We will also read a statement to the staff of the senator demanding a public town hall meeting on Iraq. So far our two Republican senators refuse to face the public on this issue. The U.S. is now spending $6 billion a month on the Iraq war. As of today, 1,965 GI's have lost their lives during the war to control Iraq's oil.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

BACK FROM GREAT BRITAIN


Just got back yesterday afternoon from a wonderful trip to Great Britain. The nine-city (town) trip was arranged by GN member Dave Knight who drove me over 1,500 miles from Leeds to London and then on to Glasgow in Scotland and then back to Yorkshire. In all I spoke to a couple hundred people, did interviews on radio (including BBC), and saw wonderful rolling green countryside lined with stone walls and stone homes built hundreds of years ago. The picture above is of the U.S. space spy satellite base at Menwith Hill in North Yorkshire where I spoke in the rain last Saturday at a protest organized in conjunction with Keep Space for Peace Week. Then the next day, Sunday, Dave took me out to the moors where we joined a tree planting within earshot of the Fylingdales U.S. radar system that is being upgraded for Star Wars. A weekend peace camp was set up just outside the gate at Fylingdales and I was asked to plant the tree in memory of an American jazz musician who had moved to the area years ago and had recently died. He was a long-time supporter of the many peace camps and demonstrations at Fylingdales.

While on the trip, during the Q & A following my talks, I was always asked why the American people allow the U.S. to go around the world doing preemptive military invasions, and now sit back and watch plans for domination of space. How do the American people respond to your message I was asked over and over again? What are they doing to stop this "nonsense?" How can they let Bush get away with this? Why does the U.S. think they have the right to destroy the U.N.? Why don't Americans speak out more about corporate globalization?


I had answers for each of these questions, as you can imagine. But how would you answer them if you had been in my shoes? What would you tell a room of questioning Brits? How would you respond when asked why Americans let the corporations take over our democracy?