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, September 10, 2006

WHY I'M FASTING

  Posted by PicasaOur local Brunswick-based peace group, PeaceWorks, begins our 10-day fast at noon on Monday with a vigil at our downtown green. We purchased a full-page advertisement in our local newspaper last Friday with 125 signatures on it inviting the community to join our "Fast to Bring the Troops Home Now." The advert also asks the public to Call on Congress to Cut the Funding for the Occupation of Iraq, No War on Iran and to Promote Justice Globally.

Each weekday from September 11-21 we will gather on the green at noon for an hour to hold signs, pass out leaflets, and share with each other about the fast. Some will fast for a day, others for longer, and a few of us the whole time. I've never fasted for more than three-days in my life so a 10-day fast will be a new experience for me.

While I was in Washington DC yesterday, speaking at Camp Democracy, I was touched by the father of Alex Arredondo who had set up the elaborate display in the photo above in honor of his son who was killed last year in Iraq. He called it Camp Alex. I could see in his busy energy, as he put the site together, his need to keep moving as a way to deal with his enormous pain and anger of his family's loss. We talked for a while and he told me that Alex's death has broken his whole family apart. At a time when family needs each other the most, the tragic loss had sent a lightening rod of division right through their family. We've heard similar stories of other families being torn apart as a result of this war.

In today's media we hear the story about Dick Cheney saying that those who oppose the war are aiding the "enemy". Cheney says U.S. allies in Afghanistan and Iraq "have doubts" America will finish the job there. "And those doubts are encouraged, obviously, when they see the kind of debate that we've had in the United States," he said. "Suggestions, for example, that we should withdraw U.S. forces from Iraq, simply feed into that whole notion, validates the strategy of the terrorists."

Cheney is also sending a lightening bolt through the heart of the American people and doing his best to divide us from one another.

Talk like this from Cheney, and seeing the mourning eyes of Alex's father yesterday, make me more determined than ever to do more to end this war. We all live inside of a box of sorts. We all have our political boundaries - we only do so much, we only go so far in our anti-war work. As Ray McGovern said yesterday at Camp Democracy, not enough of us are "sticking our necks out" to end the occupation of Iraq. Necks, McGovern said, are useful to hold our heads up. But necks are not worthy of being worshipped and if we are unwilling to take some actions that for us are new and risky behavior, then we have begun to idolize our necks.

I know the fast won't change things in and of itself. I am not that naive. But I do think that the idea of going beyond our normal personal barriers is a good example for us all to set. We need to show our families, our communities, and ourselves that we are serious about ending this madness both in Iraq and here at home.

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