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 29, 2006

AWAY TO INDIA

  Posted by PicasaMay Beth and I leave on September 30 for a two-week trip to India. We will return on October 14. I doubt that I will be able to update the blog while on the trip but if possible I will try to do so.

We will be visiting five Indian cities on behalf of the Global Network. We look forward to the trip and will be reporting on it once back.

In the meantime the U.S. Congress has caved into the Bush administration on the torture bill. This legislation will give Bush the ability to round up activists like you and me and to deport us without any legal representation or trial. This bill is similar to legislation that was used prior to World War I when Emma Goldman and other activists were deported for handing out leaflets against war and urging people not to register for the draft. So we now have a full blown dictatorship. It must be acknowledged that Democrats in significant numbers joined with the right-wing Republicans in Congress to overwhelmingly pass this reactionary legislation. If you needed any further evidence of the bankruptcy of the Democrats than this should do it for you.

See you after I return from India. In the meantime, hit the streets while you still can.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

ARRESTED IN DC FOR PROTESTING IRAQ OCCUPATION

  Posted by PicasaMy good friend Dud Hendrick, in the photo above, was arrested the other day inside the Hart Senate office building in Washington protesting the U.S. occupation of Iraq. He is from Deer Isle, Maine and artist Pat Wheeler, also from Deer Isle, was also arrested at the same action. In fact I heard just the tail-end of an interview with Pat on Democracy Now. So our Maine friends done good! All in all there were 71 arrested at the action.

Note the Senate office staffers and visitors standing at the railings watching the arrests take place. This was a great occupation to protest the occupation!

Click on the link in the headline above for a full story on the action and more photos.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

ANOTHER VOTE FOR OCCUPATION FUNDING

  Posted by PicasaYesterday the House of Representatives voted 394-22 in favor of the 2007 Department of Defense Appropriations Bill. The bill provides $453 billion in new budget authority for the Pentagon, including another $50 billion for the occupation of Iraq.

My Congressman, Rep. Tom Allen (Maine's 1st CD), voted yes on the bill making it the seventh straight time he has voted for funding for the war and occupation of Iraq.

Maine's only other Congressman, Rep. Mike Michaud (from Maine's 2nd CD), voted no on the bill due to this opposition to continued funding for the occupation. Michaud has now voted at least three times against war funding.

Last March Rep. Michaud voted against another Bush war supplemental request and said the following: "To write a blank check in Iraq with no accountability and no demand for a plan does no favors for our troops or for the Iraqi people."

The funny thing is that Rep. Michaud is from the more rural and conservative district in Maine. But he is showing to be a man of real integrity and courage.

Rep. Allen is from the much more progressive, urban part of Maine and it would not hurt him one bit to have voted against the funds for the occupation of Iraq. But the word is out that he wants to run for the Senate and it is obvious to me that he is putting his own political advancement above and beyond everything else. Rep. Allen says he is against the war but that he must "morally" support the troops as long as they are occupying Iraq.

Rep. Allen has an opponent in his reelection race this year. Dexter Kamilewicz is running as an Independent against Rep. Allen. Dexter's son Ben was in Iraq for 11 months and just returned home a couple of months ago. He had his Humvee's blown up four times while there and was an outspoken critic of the war during his entire tour of duty. Dexter is calling for a cut in war funding and an immediate withdrawal of all troops from Iraq. He is also calling for immediate impeachment hearings in the House.

If we want to see the U.S. occupation of Iraq end then we need more courageous politicians like Rep. Mike Michaud has shown to be. Unless we cut the funding for the occupation it will never end.

(Click on the link in the headline above to see the full roster of votes in the House on this appropriations bill.)

Monday, September 25, 2006

IRAN NEXT TARGET FOR ENDLESS WAR?

  Posted by PicasaWord is circulating that Bush is moving a Naval carrier group including the nuclear aircraft carrier Eisenhower as well as a cruiser, Aegis destroyer, frigate, mine sweepers, submarine escort and supply ship, to the Persian Gulf, just off Iran's western coast.

Former Colorado Senator Gary Hart has this to say about possible war with Iran. "Were these more normal times, this would be a stunning possibility, quickly dismissed by thoughtful people as dangerous, unprovoked, and out of keeping with our national character. But we do not live in normal times. And we do not have a government much concerned with our national character. If anything, our current Administration is out to remake our national character into something it has never been."

According to The Nation magazine, the Eisenhower had been in port at the Naval Station Norfolk for several years for refurbishing and refueling of its nuclear reactor; it had not been scheduled to depart for a new duty station until at least a month later, and possibly not till next spring. Family members, before the orders, had moved into the area and had until then expected to be with their sailor-spouses and parents in Virginia for some time yet. First word of the early dispatch of the "Ike Strike" group to the Persian Gulf region came from several angry officers on the ships involved, who contacted antiwar critics like retired Air Force Col. Sam Gardiner and complained that they were being sent to attack Iran without any order from the Congress.

So the evidence is mounting that Bush is not bluffing about an attack on Iran. The attack would serve several key purposes. One would be to try to rally the nation, right before the Nov 7 election, around the Republican Party in power. A second would be to widen the Middle East war and force the Democrats, if they were to take power in the House, to continue to "prosecute" that war or face being called weak and unpatriotic.

The only question now is does Bush pull another 9-11 first and blame it on Iran as a pretext for an attack on Iran? Or does he just invade with virtually no real evidence of Iran having a nuclear weapon. And even if Iran did have one, where does Bush come off with 7,500 nukes in the U.S. arsenal of hypocrisy, to tell another country they can't have them?

It now appears that the information I got a couple of months ago about cruise missile targets being selected by U.S. and Israeli military personnel was accurate. These ships moving into the Persian Gulf would be outfitted with Tomahawk first-strike cruise missiles and would likely be the first weapon fired in the attack on Iran.

Folks had better step up the anti-war activity now before it is too late.