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'm back to work for the Global Network. Will continue to help Lisa Savage for US Senate campaign on my free time. Trying to self-isolate as much as possible. Best wishes and good luck to you all.

Sunday, August 27, 2006

PROTEST CALLS FOR CUT IN WAR FUNDING

  Posted by PicasaIt was a great day yesterday in Kennebunkport as 700 folks turned out to protest Bush's visit to Maine. The crowd was focused and determined as we walked 4 1/2 miles through the Republican dominated vacation community. As we marched through the heart of downtown scores of people came out to the street to watch us pass and hear us chant "Cut the funding for the war, bring the troops home now." We made the point over and over again that the Congress is complicit in this war by agreeing to every Bush-funding request that has now come to over $304 billion.

One of my favorite moments during the day was seeing a leather clad expensive car pass by and the aging wealthy couple in the car, husband giving us thumbs down and the pearl-laden wife giving us the peace sign. At one point mid-way through the march a good-looking young man rode up to me on his bike. He told me he was a Republican politician from New Hampshire who was in town for the Bush family wedding and had come to the rally before the march began and appreciated my speech where I said the Repubs and Dems were equally to blame for the war. He said he was too against the war. (See the article linked in the headline above for the full story.)

As we approached the Bush family compound at Walkers Point the place was crawling with national and international media. We stopped at the check point and I lead the crowd in again chanting "Cut the funding for the war, bring the troops home now."

I was very intentionally trying to focus on that message. Bush will not be running for election again. At this point if we want to stop the war the action is with the Congress. Bush is not going to change his mind. He said again this past week that he would never bring the troops home during his time in office. I take him at his word on that point.

If we want to stop the war then we must focus our organizing on Congress. With the Congressional mid-term elections coming up in November the peace movement must increase pressure on Congress to cut the funding. The Dems, who many in the peace movement support, must be strongly challenged to stop voting to fund the war.

The peace movement must be able to be publicly critical of both the Repubs and Dems for their role in the war. Unless we do this across the nation, in a coordinated and sustained way, the war and occupation of Iraq will never end. As Hillary Clinton said last year on CBS's Sunday TV program, ‘Faze the Nation’, "The American people need to relax. We are going to be in Iraq for a long time. We've been in Korea for 50 years."

As your peace group meets in coming months to discuss strategy for the fall, please bring this question into your deliberations. How can we best mount pressure on the Congress to immediately end the occupation of Iraq? Not in 2007 and certainly not in 50 more years. We must leave Iraq now!

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