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: Brunswick, Maine, United States

I'll be taking an 'unpaid leave of absence' from my job at the Global Network from December 15-March 15, 2020 in order to help my friend Lisa Savage on her campaign for the US Senate in Maine. She's running as a Maine Green Independent Party member and needs to gather 2,000 petition signatures of registered Greens during that period. I'll be back to GN after March 15.

Friday, April 14, 2006

TOWN HALL MEETING ON IRAQ-IRAN


A week from today there will be an important event in Portland. Everyone who can attend should do so. The groups listed below are hosting a Town Hall Meeting on the Iraq war. The event will be held on Friday, April 21 beginning at 6:30 pm at the Hannaford Lecture Hall on the campus of the University of Southern Maine (USM) in Portland.

We’ve invited our entire Congressional delegation and the Governor of Maine (who sends the National Guard to Iraq) to come to this event. We think the time has come for them all to come together to listen to the people. Polls show that the Iraq war is the top issue on the minds of the voters. With growing talk of U.S. bombing Iran, the need for such a public gathering of concerned citizens could not be more timely.

Just this week six retired Pentagon generals have called for Donald Rumsfeld to resign as Secretary of War. One of them, I heard on the news today, said the U.S. should not have invaded Iraq in the first place. What is so amazing to me is how silent the politicians are as these generals speak out. We hear nothing from our Senators about this…..and we hear nothing from our Congressmen about this incredible new development. It is like they are all hiding together in a fox hole with their hands covering their heads.

It is unlikely that our Maine Congressional Delegation will come listen to the people. Why? They won’t come because they fear the growing wrath of the public. They’d rather side-step the issue as best as they can for as long as they can.

Another top issue for the voter today in the U.S. is health care. Over 46 million Americans do not have any kind of health insurance. Many, like me, pay enormous amounts for policies that have very high deductibles (mine is $15,000). We have been told for years that there is no money for a national healthcare plan. But the fact that Republicans and Democrats alike keep voting for war spending, now over $8 billion a month, shows that they somehow feel we have money for that insanity.

We expect a great turnout for the April 21 Town Hall Meeting at USM in Portland. We are going to give every person who comes, whether they support the war or not, three-minutes at the microphone to say how they feel about the war. We will video tape the event and send copies of our Congressional Delegation and to the Governor.

It’s sad when the “elected” officials fear the public. In this case it is obvious why. They don’t want to be held directly responsible for their votes that continue an illegal and immoral war. They don’t want to have educated, informed, passionate, involved people standing in front of hundreds of their fellow citizens speaking the truth about how our nation has been hijacked. Democracy is a frightening thing to people who don’t really believe in it.

April 21 Town Hall Sponsors:

· NAACP Portland Branch
· Maine Veterans for Peace
· Peace Action Maine
· Forest Ecology Network
· Maine Women's International League for Peace & Freedom
· Greater Brunswick PeaceWorks
· Global Network Against Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space
· Midcoast Peace & Justice Group
· People Organizing to Win Economic Rights - POWER
· Witness for Peace
· Portland Women in Black
· Pax Christi Maine
· Sociology Student Association-USM
· Asian American Association-USM
· Philosophy Symposium-USM
· Maine Council of Churches
· AFSC Maine Program on Youth & Militarism
· Resources for Organizing & Social Change
· Maine People's Alliance
· USM College Democrats
· Bridges for Peace
· Citizens Offering New Alternatives
· York County Progressives
· Biddeford City Democratic Committee
· Social Action Committee of the Allen Avenue Unitarian Universalist Church
· Maine Campaign for a U.S. Department of Peace & Nonviolence
· League of Pissed off Voters
· Kennebunkport Democratic Committee
· Kennebunk Democratic Committee
· York County Green Independent Party Committee
· Waldo County Peace & Justice Group
· Maine Coalition for Peace & Justice
· The Eleuthero Community
· Clean Maine Coalition
· Maine Progressive Caucus
· Radio Free Maine
· Let Cuba Live
· Green Horizon Foundation
· Southern Maine Labor Council
· Social Justice Committee First Parish UUC of Kennebunk
· Faith in Action Committee of the NE District Unitarian Universalist Association
· Cumberland County Democratic Committee
· Social Justice Committee of the UUC of Belfast
· Physicians for Social Responsibility Maine

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