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, March 04, 2007

LETTER TO REP. ALLEN

March 4, 2007

Representative Tom Allen
57 Exchange Street, Suite 302
Portland, Maine 04101

Dear Congressman Allen:

We, the undersigned, are thirteen citizens who were arrested on February 21st, 2007, while conducting a peaceful demonstration at your constituent office in Portland. At the time of our arrest, we all received “Criminal Trespass Notices” from the Portland Police Department, indicating that a request had been made to the Department – ostensibly from you or your staff – for an order barring us indefinitely from the premises of your Portland office. The primary purpose of this letter is to inquire whether it is indeed your position that we are no longer welcome at your Portland office.

We thirteen are people of conscience. We share an abiding love of our country, and a deep concern for humanity. The peaceful action that we undertook on February 21st was both considered and deliberate, and we have no cause for regret. Our attempt to get through to you on that day, to move you in mind and heart, was our way of honoring those who have suffered and died in Iraq and at home as the result of ongoing U.S. aggression and occupation.

The views we have vigorously attempted to communicate to you about U.S. involvement in Iraq, through every peaceful means available to citizens in a free society, are a matter of unwavering conviction. We recognize that you do not currently share such views, particularly as they relate to the moral urgency demanding an immediate end to all funding for the Iraq War and Occupation. However, we expect that you do share our devotion to the constitutionally guaranteed rights of speech, assembly, and petition for redress of greivances which are designed to breathe strength and vitality into American democracy.

Consequently, we thirteen are both puzzled and disturbed by the order your office has requested from the Portland Police, banning us from the premises of your “constituent” office at any time for any reason. For better or worse, we live in a representative democracy, and you are the individual who has been duly elected to represent us in Congress. When you cast your vote time and again to finance this immoral and illegal war and occupation, you do so on behalf of the citizens of the First District of Maine. For that reason, we consider our rights of speech, with you as the audience, to be fundamental and indispensable. The order you have requested from the Portland Police Department, which has been issued to each of us in writing, is an unconstitutional restriction on our First Amendment rights of speech and assembly. For that reason, we request that you contact the Portland Police Department immediately, asking that the orders be rescinded. We also ask that you formally respond to this letter, confirming in writing whether we thirteen are, or are not, welcome at your Portland office.

We thank you and urgently await your reply.


Sincerely,
Bath-Brunswick Occupation Project Affinity Group

Susan Andersen
Portland

Stephen Carroll
Portland

Kathe Chipman
Harpswell

Carolyn Coe
Blue Hill

Christine A. DeTroy
Brunswick

Mary Donnelly
Peaks Island

Bruce K. Gagnon
Bath

Mair Honan
Portland

Dexter Kamilewicz
Orr's Island

Natasha Mayers
Whitefield

Mary Beth Sullivan
Bath

Karen Wainberg
Bath

Rhonda Wilson
Portland


cc: Maine media outlets
Maine anti-war activists

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