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

Friday, May 12, 2006

DESCENDING INTO FASCISM


George W. Bush is now collecting data on more than 300 million domestic and international phone calls and the huge volume of internet traffic each day. According to a poll taken last night by the Washington Post, 66% of the American people have no objection to this program.

Some Democrats, like Sen. Patrick Leahy from Vermont, have expressed concern. "It is our government, it's not one party's government. It's America's government. Those entrusted with great power have a duty to answer to Americans what they are doing," he said.

Please note, he did not say stop doing it….he just said tell us what you are doing.

Unfortunately it appears that some number of Democratic Party leaders in Washington have known about the spy program for years and have kept their mouths shut - until now. One such person is House Minority leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA). She held a news conference yesterday to bemoan the spy collection effort but knew about it all along.

Even some Republicans have spoken out about the program. Right-wing Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham from South Carolina, told Fox News: "The idea of collecting millions or thousands of phone numbers, how does that fit into following the enemy?"

Sadly, now that this new poll is reported today, many of the politicians will back-off from even making strong statements as they realize that the American people have been lulled to sleep. And Bush will feel empowered by the new poll numbers showing support for the spy agency's collection of phone information. Knowing how Bush works, this will only give him confidence to go the next steps.

Greater domestic spying and attack of Iran come immediately to mind.

It has been reported that the spy collection information was leaked to the media in retaliation for Bush's appointment of the NSA's Gen. Michael Hayden to head the CIA. The word is that many in the CIA feel that the Pentagon is grabbing the authority to do covert operations - especially without consulting the CIA's intelligence bureaucracy and its civilian leaders.

According to William Arkin, who writes for the Los Angeles Times, "The Defense Department is building an elite secret army with resources stretching across the full spectrum of covert capabilities. New organizations are being created. The missions of existing units are being revised."

The bottom line is a total consolidation of war making power inside a Pentagon that has been purging any opposition to the "endless war" plans of the Bush team. They are privatizing war making and ensuring that all decision making will be done by a very select few. Last January Rumsfeld created the Strategic Support Branch and gave it the job of competing with the CIA to "operate without detection and under the defense secretary's direct control."

So now we have a full picture of the future. The coup d' etat is virtually complete. Total military control of all intelligence operations, cutting out all civilian run intelligence agencies. Consolidation of all covert operations into the hands of just a few high-level operatives inside the Pentagon. No fiscal restraint on the Pentagon. No congressional oversight. And now a poll showing that 66% of the American people feel like the vacuum cleaner style collection of telephone calls is fine.

What's next? How long before martial law is declared? Maybe it won't be necessary. As long as the American people, the Democratic Party "leadership", and the courts go along with the show, the nation will have suspended constitutional government without much of a whimper.

To me this is the final straw that indicates we have descended into fascism. The Congress is nothing put a prop – a puppet. The opposition party fears to really stand up and fight. And when the opposition leadership won’t fight, the American people say to themselves, “Why should I make a big deal out of this? The Democrats are compliant. I should be as well.”

For me, now is the time more than ever to stand up and shout the truth. We must speak out loudly and often while we still can. I do fear martial law will be next. Bush is not going to back off now. Even though his approval ratings are at an all-time low he has no real opposition. The media still rolls over. The Democrats have no guts. Bush will keep rolling the dice.

With the coming elections in November of this year the advocates of peace and constitutional government must declare their independence from both parties and only vote for people who are willing to call for impeachment of Bush and for immediate cut-off in funding for the war and withdrawal of troops from Iraq.

And we must be in the streets as often as possible between now and then. We’ve got to get organized. Stop worrying about your job. You are now losing your country!

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

MILITARIZATION OF THE YOUTH


A Maine National Guard helicopter landed at two Portland high schools last Friday giving the kids a chance to sit in the cockpit. One TV news announcer called the whole process "cool". In another part of the state a middle school is working with the National Guard to send the school kids on a two-day "campout" at a local military training facility. One parent refused to sign the permission slip and the teacher said to the parent, "If you could have just seen how sad your son was when he turned in this to me." Teachers are now becoming recruiters.

Another story I heard is that the military recruiters in Maine are now doing kiddies birthday parties. They bring a big military tent and a truck and set it all up for the kids to play Army. Big time cool stuff!!

And then today I read a story about an 18 year old kid in Oregon who suffers from autism. The Army "promised" the kid he would be a "combat scout" in the service. One friend of the kid's family described the job of a combat scout as "it's like send him in and if he doesn't get blown up, it's safe for the rest of us."

Can anyone doubt that our culture is being militarized? Can anyone doubt that the message to working class kids, early on in their life, is that you only have one real choice for a job and that is in the military.

Now why is this happening? Endless war....no manufacturing jobs in America anymore....America's role in the world will be the military boot to enforce the dictates of corporate globalization. Non-stop war for oil, for water, to keep the low-wage workers in the Third World under control.

Parents need to get on the stick. They need to get involved and engaged right now or their kids will be the next ones marching off to war. Is this what you raised your kid for? If not, then the time has come to step up and fight against this militarization of the youth.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006


Sunday, May 07, 2006

STAR WARS EVENTS AT VANCOUVER WORLD PEACE FORUM


STAR WARS EVENTS IN VANCOUVER

1) Gallstones in the Belly of the Beast (A musical/comedy performance)
Featuring Singer/Songwriter, and Global Network member,
Holly Gwinn Graham
Saturday, June 24
7:00 p.m.
The Roundhouse Community Arts Center (181 Roundhouse Mews, Davis & Pacific)
Vancouver, BC, Canada

2) Weapons in Space: Should We Extend the Arms Race Into the Heavens?
(A panel discussion)
Speakers: Mel Hurtig (Canadian author/activist), Dr. Rebecca Johnson (Acronym Institute for Disarmament Diplomacy, UK), Dr. Jurgen Scheffran (Int’l Network of Engineers & Scientists Against Proliferation, Germany), and Holly Gwinn Graham (Singer/Songwriter, Olympia, Washington)
Sunday, June 25
2:00 – 4:00 p.m.
University of British Columbia (UBC), Liu Institute Room

3) Global Network Annual Membership Meeting & Dinner
Sunday, June 25
4:00 – 8:00 p.m.
UBC, Liu Institute Room
(Please RSVP to Global Network before June 16 for dinner)

4) No Means Yes: Canadian Complicity in the “Missile Defense” Weapons Development Program (A workshop)
Speaker: Richard Sanders (Coalition to Oppose the Arms Trade, Canada)
Monday, June 26
11:00 – 1:00 p.m.
UBC, Student Union Building (SUB) Room 205

5) Space Weapons & Canada: Strategies for Citizen and Government Action
(A workshop)
Speakers: Steven Staples (Polaris Institute, Canada) and Mike Wallace (Professor of International Relations, UBC)
Monday, June 26
3:00 – 5:00 p.m.
UBC, Student Union Building (SUB) Room 205

6) Star Wars Organizing: Activists Reports from Around the World
(A workshop)
Speakers: Dennis Apel (Guadalupe Catholic Worker, California), Robert Anderson (Stop the War Machine, New Mexico), Sarah Estabrooks (Project Ploughshares, Canada), Bruce Gagnon (Global Network, Maine), Regina Hagen (INESAP, Germany), Tamara Lorincz (Halifax Peace Coalition, Canada), Bill Sulzman (Citizens for Peace in Space, Colorado), Dave Webb (Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament, UK)
Tuesday, June 27
1:00 – 3:00 p.m.
UBC, Student Union Building (SUB) Room 205

7) The Space-Military-Industrial Complex: Connecting the Dots and Acting on the Picture (A workshop)
Speakers: Bill Sulzman & Loring Wirbel (Citizens for Peace in Space, Colorado)
Tuesday, June 27
4:00 - 6:00 p.m.
UBC, Student Union Building (SUB) Room 205