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

Saturday, November 04, 2006

ENDLE$$ WAR$ BENEFIT WEAPON$ INDU$TRY


They call this place the bone yard. It is located in Tucson, Arizona and at this airplane graveyard over 4,500 military planes are stored. I've seen it myself on one of my speaking trips to that community. You drive for miles, along the perimeter of the fenced off base, and see rows and rows of planes. Your mind roll$ like a slot machine and you can just imagine the enormous cost to the taxpayer. You begin to realize why endless war is America’s main job these days.

This year the military budget is over $550 billion. That is more than all the rest of the military budgets around the entire world combined. Russia and China each spend just over $50 billion a year.

Once you understand this you also begin to see how the corruption of both political parties works. Democrats and Republicans like to bring home the military production bacon. They like to take the donations from the weapons corporation executives and from the unions representing military production workers. Everybody makes out in this closed loop system. Everybody is happy.

Everybody that is except the taxpayer who is not in the gravy train line. The average taxpayer gets no health care coverage, sees their kid’s college tuition rising so fast they can't help them with the cost of college and their kids are falling into $40,000 debt or more after graduation. We are told there is no money for fixing roads and bridges. There is no money to fund a real mass transit system in the country so we can get out of our global warming producing cars. On and on the story goes.

But for those on the military production gravy train life is good. They make good money and they know that work will continue because the Pentagon has found a new enemy called "the global war on terrorism." That should keep the production lines humming for at least another 50 years they figure. So what if 650,000 innocent Iraqi civilians have to die. No matter. We killed 4 million civilians in Vietnam. A small price to pay for progress. The system works just fine for those making the $$$$$.

So this Election Day be sure to vote for those politicians who promise to keep this whole thing going. Be sure to vote for those Democrats and Republicans who say they are creating jobs back home in the “defense” industry.

Don't worry about those we are killing overseas. They don't vote here anyway.

Friday, November 03, 2006

NEW WORLD ORDER OUT TO LIMIT DEMOCRACY


Mexican activists in Oaxaca have been under fierce attack by death squads organized by their state's corrupt governor and now federal police. In recent months Mexico has seen much political activity as claims of cheating during federal elections stirred progressive forces to take to the streets throughout the country in order to defend democracy.

In the U.S. we are getting ready to vote next week and fears are growing about how "clean" our elections will be. A dozen states have now passed new laws requiring a photo ID before a person can vote. Many poor people, who don't own cars, don't have a photo ID which means thousands will be turned away from the voting booths in key states where elections will be decided by just a few votes. The Republican machine to steal elections, by any and all means, will be in full motion in coming days. Electronic voting machines, now all over the country, are known to be rigged. Why can't we just all be given a paper ballot that can be marked and put into a ballot box?

It is sad that in the country that claims to be the bastion of freedom, our citizens have to fight for the right to vote. But those in power today fear the people and will do just about anything to ensure they hold onto that power.

In 2004, when it was clear that John Kerry lost Ohio because of massive denial of primarily black progressive voters, why didn't the Democrats fight hard for the people? Why didn't Kerry use some of that big corporate money he had left over after the election to sue Ohio on behalf of thousands of people who were denied their sacred right to vote?

I asked Ohio journalist Bob Fitrakis this question last year. Bob was a leading researcher and writer about the many Republican tricks pulled in 2004 to deny people their chance to choose our nation's leaders. Bob told me that the Democrats did not fight for the people because they too had years of cheating history in Ohio and did not feel they could afford to have that exposed.

At first I was a bit skeptical about that answer. But then I started to think about what happened here in Maine and across the country as the Democrats, just before the 2004 national election, tried to keep third party candidate Ralph Nader off the ballot in my state. The Democrats went into state court and tried to pull some dirty tricks to keep Nader from being listed on the final ballot for fear that he would take votes away from Kerry. They challenged signatures that Nader's campaign had gathered across the state. They tried to smear the Nader campaign as being dirty and corrupt. The court threw out the Democrats attempt to "limit" democracy and Nader made it onto the ballot in Maine. Kerry still won Maine in the national election.

These days you read stories about how the Democrats all over the U.S. are pulling all kinds of tricks to keep the Greens off the ballot for fear they will take votes away from them. Somehow the Dems think they "own" the progressive voters and they want to limit anyone else from having access to them.

The fact is that the Repubs and the Dems are willing to play with the system to ensure their control over the people's government. This is not a good thing and I fear that unless we can have an honest election in the U.S. we too will move closer to the day when the people will have to take to the streets like in Mexico to fight for our right to vote for who we want.

We are living in a time when corporate globalization is determining that "democracy" is an obstacle to their control of the world. Their New World Order calls for "limiting democracy" and limiting the "damage" the people can do to their attempts to maximize profits and control resources. They are leaving the public few options in return.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

THE TROOPS


I was a GI for 3 and 1/2 years during the Vietnam war. I joined because I wanted to. At the time I supported the war. I also came from a military family with six kids living on an enlisted man's pay. We lived paycheck to paycheck. So I was not going to have my family pay my way to college. The military, at the time, seemed like my only option.

The truth is that most of the kids in the "all volunteer" military today come from poor and working class families. They have few other choices. For many of them there are not any jobs in their communities nor any hope for college money.

I'm tired of all the politicians talking bullshit games about how they support the troops. I'm flat out sick and tired of politicians telling us that they support the troops and then send them off to die for the benefit of the oil corporations and the likes of Bechtel and Halliburton. I'm sick of the politicians talking about exit strategies in late 2007 or two years later or more from Iraq. They don't care. Their kids are not in Iraq. Their kids are safely tucked into prep schools and fine colleges that working class kids can only dream about attending.

The troops are being left out to dry in this war and when they get home they will be abandoned like all the other troops that have fought in America's imperial wars.

You support the troops you say? Then bring them home now. And don't vote for politicians who keep telling us we need to stay in Iraq for another year or more? Ask those politicians if they are planning on sending their blood relatives to guard convoys full of cheesecake for Halliburton. Wise up. You are playing mind games with other people's lives.

Monday, October 30, 2006

SPACE PROTEST PLANNED IN SCOTLAND


Keep Space for Peace Action-Faslane 365
December 12th – 13th 2006
at Faslane Nuclear Base, Scotland

Faslane is the UK’s nuclear submarine base, and central to the government’s plans to build a new generation of nuclear weapons. It currently hosts 4 submarines carrying 58 Trident missiles and up to 200 warheads – each 8 times more powerful than the bomb that destroyed Hiroshima.

Women from the Greenham Common peace camp started off the first three days of Faslane 365, a year long peaceful blockade of the naval base involving groups and organisations from Scotland, England, Wales and beyond.

Since then different groups have been going along to show their protest and take action over a two day period. A particular session from December 12-13 (the anniversary of the US decision to withdraw from the Anti-Ballistic Treaty and deploy Missile Defence systems) has been set aside to focus on space issues as part of this year long protest – a Keep Space for Peace Block.

You are invited and encouraged to take part - please gather from noon on December 12. Bring food to share, warm clothes, waterproofs, musical or other instruments...

We can help organise workshops/discussions on:

· The Weaponisation of Space
· Missile Defence
· Britain’s role in Star Wars
· And more...

Bring sleeping bags and tents and camp by the base or stay at a campsite, youth hostel or bed and breakfast nearby.

Be ready to blockade the base on Tuesday and Wednesday.
Come for one day or three – come to join in, take action or support . . .

For more information see attached leaflet, go to: http://www.cndyorks.gn.apc.org/ksp_f365.htm, or contact:
Yorkshire CND
tel: 0845 458 3315
mobile: 07818 411823
e-mail: info@yorkshirecnd.org.uk

Sunday, October 29, 2006

SOFT POWER TO COME SOON - DON'T WORRY

  Posted by PicasaWar, war, war, endless war. How can a country support preparations for endless war and have social progress as well?

How can we in the U.S. spend 50 cents of every tax dollar on the Pentagon and still have money for taking care of our kids, have health care for everyone, and create good jobs for people so they can provide for their families and do something that is meaningful with their lives?

When weapons are a nation's # 1 industrial export, as they are in the U.S. today, what does that say to the rest of the world? We are not your friends. We are predators. We are a violent and vengeful people. We will take you out if you stand in the way of our control of the world's oil and water. You get on your knees and submit to our authority or else!

As we now face the coming election the corporate controlled media are calling for a change in Washington. We are being told that the Democrats would be more humane and be more moral in using the enormous power of the U.S. around the world. The violent military baton is being handed from the preemptive Republicans to the timid Democrats. The outcome? The Democrats, we are often told, will do a better job of administering the empire.

Yes, we will still have an empire - a declining economic and expanding military empire. The Democrats will utilize the "soft" power to enforce the corporate empire. We should all feel better about that we are told by the corporate media.

The soft power of Clinton's economic sanctions and no-fly zones of Iraq killed one million people during his tenure. Clinton's Kosovo war was the soft power in action.

Both parties are committed to the exercise of power on behalf of corporate globalization's agenda.

Think of America as a pyramid. At the top are 29,000 who own the equivalent wealth of 96 million people at the bottom. That is not a democracy. It is an oligarchy.

So on November 7 we get to vote for the leaders of the oligarchy. We should have no illusions.