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, December 31, 2005

WE ARE ALL ONE FAMILY


As we move into a new year my mind turns to bigger things. I remember that our lovely mother earth (aren't we lucky to live on such a beautiful spinning globe)deserves our adoration. Why don't we all reflect a bit more on how we could step more gently on her pregnant belly?

I am reminded by this lovely photo above, one positive thing we can thank NASA for, that there are no borders between countries on the earth. The artificial separation of people by languages and colors is something the global elite use to keep us at each other's throats while they steal us blind.

Let this new year be a time that we commit to working ever harder to bring justice and peace to our tiny orb. Let this be a time to remember that we are all brothers and sisters....we are all from the same cloth.

Best wishes to all out there in radio land....good luck in 2006 and get organized.

Bruce

Thursday, December 29, 2005

PLUTONIUM LAUNCH COUNTDOWN BEGINS


The controversial January 11 launch of the New Horizons space probe, that will carry 24 pounds of plutonium, has been delayed until January 17. National media are now beginning to focus on the launch and are calling our office. A demonstration has been set for January 7 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station from 11:00 am to 1:00 pm. Members of the Global Network will be there as well as people from the Florida Coalition for Peace & Justice.

There have been many demonstrations at the space center since the early 1980's when I began taking people there. Our first protest was around 1985 when seven of us went there to stand against the launch of a military spy satellite. Then in 1987 we had well over 5,000 people to protest the first flight test of the Trident II nuclear missile from the cape. About 285 were arrested in that action. Then in 1989, NASA launched the Galileo mission carrying radioactive plutonium onboard and we had about 1,000 people at that protest. The next year saw Ulysses go up, also carrying plutonium, and we held another large protest with about 500 people.

I worked for three years to build global opposition to the 1997 launch of Cassini that carried the most plutonium ever into the heavens - 72 pounds. The Santa Fe New Mexican newspaper reported just prior to that launch that between 1994-1996, when the Department of Energy was fabricating the plutonium generators at Los Alamos Labs in New Mexico, over 244 cases of worker contamination were reported. It has always been our contention that these plutonium missions are harming people and communities even before they are launched. All anyone has to do is review the long and sad history of plutonium contamination at the DoE labs across the nation to understand our concern. And now, the DoE is doing a $300 million expansion of the Idaho laboratory to meet the "growing demand" for plutonium on future space missions. Nuclear powered bases on the moon and nuclear rockets are planned.

We had over 1,000 people at our Cassini protest at the space center just before it was launched. I'll never forget the Associated Press reporter said we had 400 people in her article. I heard another reporter ask her during our march to the base gates how many people she was going to report. "Four hundred," she replied. I heard him say to her, "There are at least 800 here!" It was the AP story that got picked up all over the world and it said a disappointing crowd of 400 was at the space center that day. The reporter was a "space booster" and did not appreciate our efforts to oppose the launching of plutonium. She was one of those reporters that would use expressions like "Our launch" or "we have a successful launch." She saw herself as part of the NASA team. Her job was to be a cheerleader.

As I have traveled and spoken out over the years against the nuclearization and weaponization of space, people tell me they don't want their tax dollars wasted on launching radioactive materials into space. They understand that space technology can, and does fail, and they also understand that a release of plutonium could have catastrophic consequences for Florida and beyond.

Years ago the U.S. Congress passed the Price-Anderson Act to protect the nuclear power industry from liability. The law places limits on how much the nuclear industry would be liable for after an accident. A few years back, Congress amended the law to include space nuclear accidents. So the limits have been set to protect NASA and the U.S. government from clean-up liability. Just who then would be responsible to clean-up a worst case space nuclear accident?

NASA and the DoE wish the Global Network and our supporters would go away. But we won't. We will continue to build national and international opposition to the launching of nuclear power into space. And with each new launch, more people learn about the dangers, and more people lose faith in NASA and their mission.

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

THINKING OF KATRINA - THINKING OF WAR


These days I have been thinking alot about folks trying to return their lives back to normal after hurricane Katrina.

On the radio and on TV I've seen several interviews during the past week about people who have not been able to recover from the hurricane devastation. In their faces I see depression and in their voices I hear depression. Where are they to go now? How do they recover their lives - how do they recover their loss of community?

At the same time I've been focused on trying to get a handle on what happens next in Iraq. Now that Bush has had "his" election, how does it change the lives of the people in Iraq? So far the picture looks rather bleak. More violence and calls for another election because people felt this recent one was compromised by corruption.

My last two trips to the grocery store I ran into people I know from the peace movement. They are not in the first core of really active people. Instead they are the second or third layer of people. Good people but they both exhibited the same tendency. Depression and a sense that all is lost. They've given up hope and are not inclined to do much to help turn things around.

I get a bit angry with people like this. I don't express the anger to them, I am polite to them. I found myself telling them both the same thing. Yes, things are bad these days. No doubt we have many obstacles in front of us. But I am joining the non-violent resistance here in America, I told them. I have to act while we still can - before things get worse here at home. We need to step up the pressure.
Unfortunately, I don't think it had much impact on them.

These folks are generally comfortable in their lives and while they intellectually oppose what is going on they emotionally are unable to kick it in gear. They are my age and have made their place in the world. Getting more involved now would not hurt their careers. They use the excuse that "nothing will do any good anyway" to justify their doing virtually nothing to help us at this vital and historic moment.

When you allow others to control your destiny, because you think nothing can be done
to stop them, you are essentially signing the death warrant for democracy. You are basically voting by your own inaction for the worst case scenario to become a reality. Everyone wants someone else to come and rescue them from totalitarianism - but that is not how it works. We will get totalitarianism if those who know better do nothing....if people stand and watch the forces of darkness close in and they wait for someone else to save them, then we are all in trouble.

Abbie Hoffman once told me that there were just a couple thousand people at the protests in Chicago outside the 1968 Democratic convention. Abbie said though, that over the years he must have had 30,000 people tell him, "Hey Abbie, I was with you in Chicago in '68." This indicates to me that people would like to be in the middle of making history but social forces have taught them to stay away from the action. Don't go near efforts to save democracy from the war makers and war profiteers. So people do stay away and then create a fantasy world that they were somehow involved in the action.

The time is now to feel outrage, to let the passion burn in our hearts and souls, and allow that passion to get our asses moving. This is what will save us from fascism. We need everyone to become part of the non-violent resistance today. There is something that each of us can do. Do your bit now, before it is too late.