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

Friday, December 09, 2005

WRAPPED IN A FLAG OF DECEPTION


Hillary Clinton wants to be president so badly that she is now wrapping herself in the flag. It was reported this week that she will now be co-sponsoring a bill in the Senate with Sen. Bob Bennett (R-Utah), who is one of the very worst right-wing reactionary folks in Congress. The bill would make it a crime to desecrate the flag. Hillary is doing this to try to win conservative voters to her side. The move shows just how much contempt she has for people. Does Hillary think that conservatives are so stupid that they will rally to her side just because she makes this blatantly political move?

Hillary is also saying it would be "a big mistake" for the U.S. to end the occupation of Iraq. She has told the American people to relax and be patient, we will be in Iraq for a long time. We've been in Korea for 50 years she said last February on Faze the Nation....I heard her with my own ears.

So these are the Democrats....the opposition party......Joseph Biden, John Kerry, Joe Lieberman (who is now considering becoming Bush's next Secretary of War after Rumsfeld resigns after the first of the new year), and many "leading" Dems are saying they would do a better job of running the war in Iraq. And they want my vote? Forget it.

Hillary and the rest of the reactionary Dems think people like me are so desperate that we will settle for anything but Bush....but I don't see much difference. I've spent my entire adult life working to end war....what makes them think that I will just roll over and vote for another version of the same thing?

People in the progressive movement should not fall for this slight of hand by the Dems. We should have more self respect. We need to think long-term right now and demand real change in America. We need to withdraw our support from a political party that ignores the truth and is ultimately a partner in this whole deception.

We should put our energies behind local and statewide candidates that will tell the truth....whether they are good Dems, Greens or Independents. Don't worry if they win or lose. We win by going out and organizing people and showing that there are people out there who will speak the truth. That will give people hope. We need to rebuild this thing from the ground up and quit thinking that electing a compromised president will change things. We've got hard work ahead of us. There is no magic bullet or easy way out of this.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

GETTING COMFORTABLE IN IRAQ


We ain't coming home Bush says. We've got to build democracy throughout the Middle East he says.

The December 15 "elections" in Iraq will be a joke. The U.S. and England have a favorite candidate...Iyad Allawi, the secular Shiite who served until this spring as Iraq's interim Prime Minister. Tony Blair has a team of operatives now helping Allawi with his campaign. It will be a rigged deal.

The idea is that if Allawi wins, he'd then ask the U.S. to leave, making Bush the hero back home. But under the rug the U.S. would keep Space Forces operations going inside Iraq, stationed behind the walls of the permanent bases we are now building there. And the Air Force would increase the numbers of bombing runs that will end up killing more innocent civilians. That will help swell the ranks of the insurgency. In the end, the war goes on.

On December 15 I will head north to Bangor to join a rally outside the office of Sen. Olympia Snowe (R-ME) who supports the war and refuses to hold a town hall meeting in the state on the war issue. She fears hearing directly from the people she supposedly represents. Count Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) in the same boat.

There is a very exciting growing movement across Maine that is calling on our senators to hold town hall meetings. It is coming up in letters to the editor, visits to their various offices across the state, on cable TV shows, and in other ways as well. This mounting pressure, especially in 2006 when Sen. Snowe must stand for reelection, should be interesting to follow. If you live in Maine give us a hand by calling on our senators to meet with the public. If you live outside of Maine, call on your own Congressional delegation to hold town hall meetings.

Call this toll-free number in Washington to reach your Congressional representatives: 1-888-355-3588

Monday, December 05, 2005

RESISTANCE SPREADS


My friend Bob Anderson in New Mexico sent me this photo this morning. A new billboard, just put up in Farmington, N.M., carries the name of Bob's peace group in Albuquerque. STOP THE WAR MACHINE.

All over America there is growing resistance to endless war. There are new layers of people joining the peace movement. Folks who have never before been actively engaged in anti-war activity now are seeing their loved ones sent to Iraq, they are seeing the maddening amount of money being wasted on war....money that could provide health care and education for their families back home. New middle class, professionals who have wanted to "keep their nose clean," are coming out of the woodwork because they can't stand the lies and deception any longer.

Last week our Maine chapter of Veterans for Peace (VfP) had our monthly meeting. We spent a lot of time discussing the war and the recent Rep. John Murtha (D-PA) call for a withdrawal of U.S. troops into Kuwait. Rep. Murtha feels the troops are worn out and need to be removed from direct contact with the growing native insurgency in Iraq. Rep. Murtha's plan though would keep the U.S. heavily involved in the war by using more air power to bomb Iraqi targets and special opeations troops to run counter-insurgency missions. Our VfP chapter was clear that the peace movement needs to stay away from getting into the whole debate about a timed or phased withdrawal. Our members were strong in saying that we need to stick with the "bring them home now" message.

The U.S. military and economic empire is on a mission. That mission is about controlling the resources of the world (oil and water) and by doing that the U.S. empire will control (or manage) the development of countries like China. This means that the U.S. will never want to come home from Iraq or Afghanistan where new permanent bases are being built. Long-term control of the oil in the Middle East and Central Asia will mean a state of endless war for the American people. The Pentagon is even talking these days about fighting in Africa 20 years from now for their oil. Not a pretty picture for sure.

The number one industrial product of America today is weapons. When weapons are your #1 industrial export, what is your global marketing strategy? We here at home have to call for an end to the war machine.

Sunday, December 04, 2005

IT'S SNOWING


It is snowing outside. It's a steady, swirling small-flaked kind of snow. The ground is pretty well frozen after several days of real cold. This snow is likely to stick for awhile. We had snow on Thanksgiving weekend but it all melted within a couple days.

I love the snow in the trees and on rooftops. Life seems to slow down a bit when it snows. Years ago, while living in Florida, I met a guy from Maine who had moved to Miami. We were talking about the differences between the two states. I'll always remember how he described life in Maine. He said when it snows life slows down a bit. It becomes more human. People were not meant to go at full-speed 12 months out of the year, he said. In Florida, with air-conditioning, he felt life there was full-out warp speed year round. I think his observation was profound.

I know it happens to me. I get going at a certain pace and I go mindless. I keep moving, can't sit down for long, have to be checking the e-mails again....have to do some laundry....have to get dinner going before Mary Beth gets home from work...got to check the e-mails again after dinner.....seven days a week.....keep going. Run and check the mail at the post office box. There is a war going on...got to push harder....got to do more to stop the war.

But now it is snowing. I find myself wanting to stand by the window and watch the flakes take their time falling to the ground. They are in no hurry. They don't particularly care where they land. They seem to be enjoying their brief moment of flight through this life. The snow knows nothing about a war and a Bush presidency.

I look out the window and the road has changed from black top to white. It is amazing the power of nature. It can change the color of a road in minutes. But the humans will soon run the noisy gas-hogging snow plows through trying to change the color of the road back to black. For a little while the world slows down, almost stops. I don't want to miss that moment. Let me run back to the window.