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.

Saturday, September 16, 2006

FAST CONTINUES AS WE VIGIL AT BATH IRON WORKS

  Posted by PicasaI am now in my fifth day of fasting against the war in Iraq. We have a large group of folks in our town of Brunswick who have joined the fast, and others around the state as well are participating. Each weekday for an hour at noon we have been gathering downtown on the green to hold signs and hand out flyers calling for Congress to cut the funding for the war. It's been a wonderful community building exercise for our local peace group called PeaceWorks.

Today 60 of us went to Bath Iron Works (BIW), 10-miles north of here, where the latest Aegis destroyer is being "christened." We object to the reference of Christ's blessing for the war ship. The ship is being deployed throughout the Asian-Pacific region surrounding China, which will provoke them to build more nuclear missiles. Today China has only 20 nukes capable of hitting the west coast of the U.S. We have well over 7,500 in our own nuclear arsenal of hypocrisy. What makes the Aegis even worse is that they are being outfitted with Theater Missile Defense (TMD) systems that will be used to knockout China's missiles that they would launch after we "preemptively" attack them.

With the U.S. now being one of China's best customers in the world today they are not likely to want to start a nuclear war with us. But China knows that the Space Command has been war-gaming a first-strike attack on them for the past few years. Set in the year 2016 the war game envisions a preemptive attack on China with U.S. space-based "assets" like the new military space plane and more.

While standing just across from the main gate today at BIW we watched hundreds of Navy personnel and BIW workers file into the plant for the ceremony. Many of Maine's leading politicians were also inside to give their blessing. Early on I moved across the street to be closer to the gate though I was still on the sidewalk and thus still on public right-of-way. Very quickly a plain-clothed policeman approached me from the city of Bath who began to get in my face and threaten me with arrest if I did not move back to the other side of the street. I tried to talk to him but he would not stop haranguing me. Finally I got my chance and told him that I knew I had the legal right to be there and that I had stood in the very same spot during other such protests at BIW, and even had pictures to boot! So if he wanted to arrest me then I'd see him in court and I was sure I would win the case. I have had cops run this game on me many times over the years. I knew what my rights were. I was not going to be intimidated. I’ve already been discharged from the U.S. military and don’t have to take “orders” anymore.

Very soon after Dexter Kamilewicz came and joined me. Dexter is running for Congress here in Maine. His son was in Iraq for 11 months and is now home but suffering from depression and other medical problems after being blown up three times by IED’s in Ramadi. Mary Beth Sullivan then got about 25 other people in our group to move over with us making it clear that the Bath cops would now have to arrest them as well. Then our lawyer from the National Lawyers Guild came over and talked to the cop who had the bad attitude and I turned back to protesting. I, nor anyone else, got arrested.

The photo above is of members of the Japanese peace movement protesting deployment of Aegis destroyers in their ports. The Japanese peace movement understands just how provocative these ships are and how they will drive a new arms race in their part of the world. It is crucial for us to support them.

In the end we need to convert places like BIW and have them build mass transit systems, solar, and windmills. Let's use our tax dollars for a good purpose for once. But that will only happen if we keep calling for this new industrial policy over and over again.

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