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, September 22, 2006

SEASONS CHANGE AND SO DO WE

  Posted by PicasaI ended my 10-day fast yesterday at noon when 30 folks gathered at our downtown green to vigil for an hour and then share some food. Several of us were able to fast the whole time. Many others fasted at various times during the 10-days. It was a wonderful ending to our Brunswick fast to bring the troops home and cut the funding for the war. During the 10-days of weekday vigils we handed out nearly 1,000 leaflets and were greeted by huge numbers of people driving by. On Wednesday a local man was passing by on the sidewalk and I handed him a leaflet. We talked about 10 minutes. Then yesterday he showed up at noon saying he wanted to join us and hold a sign. He stayed for the food sharing at the end. It was a great affirmation that when you extend your local organizing, when you push yourself further than your normal boundaries, good things happen.

I did better during the 10-day fast than I thought I would. As much as I love to eat it was not quite as difficult to go without food as I had expected it would be. Halfway through I started getting weak and after each one-hour vigil I usually had to come home and lay down for a spell. Having supper again last night was nice and I found that I missed the simple process of cooking as much as eating. It was good though to take that step back and see how the whole food thing is such a part of our lives that we take for granted. For me cooking is my daily meditation, a rhythm that is much like breathing - necessary but mostly unconscious.

Today I head north for the annual fall Common Ground Country Fair. About 60,000 people come all over come to this fair that has become a Maine tradition. Organized by the Maine Organic Farmers & Growers Association it is also the biggest gathering of political organizations, under several huge tents, of the year. Virtually every social or political group active in Maine will be there. Most political candidates will have tables. And the food, organic only, is wonderful.

Mary Beth and I leave on Sept 30 for our trip to India. The two-week speaking tour will take us to five cities and should be quite exciting. I’ve never been to India before and expect to be profoundly impacted by the experience. I will keep a diary while there and try to do a report afterward that does the trip justice.

Fall began today and here in Maine it is turning cold at night. My garden plants are turning yellow and the tree leaves are just changing. We will miss most of the fall colors while in hot India so I must try to enjoy it now while I can. During my 30 years in Florida I always longed to be in the north at this time of year. People told me when we left Florida: "You'll never make it in Maine after living in Florida for all this time. Your blood is too thin now. You'll be back." Well, dear friends I seem to be holding on so far. Maine is quite special. Ya'll come visit us in the fall - or winter. You’ll love it.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

WAR FUNDING HAS TO BE CUT

  Posted by PicasaCongress has appropriated more than $304 billion for U.S. military operations in Iraq. Simply stated in monetary terms, we are spending $8.5 billion per month in Iraq with no end in sight. That's $2 billion per week, or $267 million per day, or $11 million per hour.

George W. Bush says he will not be bringing the troops home during his tenure in office. I believe him when he says that.

How then can we end this war and occupation of Iraq?

The simple reality is that the war goes on as long as Congress continues to appropriate funds for it. Cut the funding and you force Bush to bring the troops home.

Rep. James McGovern (D-MA) has introduced HR 4232 that calls for the cut-off in funds for the war. Click on the link in the headline above to hear for yourself what Rep. McGovern has to say about his effort in Washington.

Politicians can talk all day long about how they are opposed to the war. But if they keep voting for the war funding then they are complicit in this madness. Self respecting peace activists, who spend their lives working to end war, should not then turn around and vote for elected officials who won't sign onto HR 4232.

HR 4232 would in no way prohibit nor interrupt U.S. non-defense funding in support of Iraq's social and economic reconstruction, including support for democratic institution-building, elections, and the restoration of Iraq's infrastructure.

Last night on the evening news I heard it reported that in recent weeks 20,000 more U.S. troops had been sent to Iraq. So the trend line is now in escalation, not withdrawal.

You want the war to end? Pressure your Congressional delegation to vote to cut the funds. Time to fish or cut bait.

Monday, September 18, 2006

WHO IS THIS MAN WORKING FOR?

  Posted by PicasaJust days ago the Pope made a reference in a speech that claimed the Moslem religion was evil and violent. Now, predictably, protests all across the Moslem world have erupted. Some of these have turned violent as the collective Muslim rage over years of being tongue-lashed, added to by the treatment of the Palestinians, the Iraqi war, and now the pending U.S. attack on Iran, overflow into an out-of-control frustration.

This is just what the Bush team wants. Tonight on the news the religious leader of Iran condemned the Pope's words and the media was sure to show the American people one more image of the "crazy" Iranians verses the loving Christians. The Holy War is on. Or as many in the media are now saying, the Clash of Civilizations is well underway.

I've not liked this new Pope from the start. From his first days he has shown strong allegiance to right-wing policies. I can’t help but wonder if this "conservative" Pope made his provocative statement knowing that there would be a massive reaction? Then his tepid "not quite" apologies have only made the Moslem world even angrier.

It would take a fool to believe the Pope didn’t have a chance to think about the impact of his words before giving the speech. Likely he uses a speechwriter so it is my belief this was a very calculated move to incite the Moslem world.

I find myself wondering if the Pope is coordinating strategy with Bush? The timing is just too perfect as we heard tonight on TV one of the retired generals on CNN saying that Bush will soon attack Iran. Indeed, he said, the U.S. military is already operating inside of Iran as Seymour Hersch at the New Yorker has already reported. After all, we can't let these crazy people have the nuclear bomb.

Let there be no doubt that the corporate globalists and empire builders have now made the decision to create endless war in the entire Middle East region.

A wider war in the region ensures that the U.S. troops in Iraq and Afghanistan will never come home and that the battle for control of Iran's oil will be the next front.

The Pope has shown his complicity in this war scheme. He is helping to fan the flames of hatred. What kind of religious leader is he? The Pope calls into question his commitment to Jesus - the prince of peace.

In the end what is the difference between his kind of religion and the “violent evil” that he infers the Moslem religion to be?