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.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

THOUGHTS AND IDEAS

Ok so it continues. Here are some more of your comments. Lots of thoughts from the great unwashed.

Bruce



  • To truly bring about an intelligent, more lasting change to the u.s., individuals must clear themselves of all the brains-washings, all of them, not simply the political and economic crap. There needs to be a psychological revolution. We are human beings who innately want to co-exist more harmoniously and understand real cooperation, not simply how cooperation is defined by authorities.

Joe Ciarrocca, Brunswick, ME




  • March of the People
    June 21 – September 11, 2007
    800 miles
    Chicago, IL to Washington, DC

    We have lost our nation
    And it’s time to reclaim it!
    We march:
    to call for an end to the illegal occupation of Iraq
    to call for impeachment of George Bush and Dick Cheney
    to bring truth and justice back to our nation
    On June 21st, refuse complacency.
    On June 21st, refuse the lies and bloodshed.
    On June 21st, BE the solution that takes back the nation.
    Rally with us in Chicago and send us on our way!
    Walk with us at the beginning, join us along the way, or meet us in DC and help us bring it home!
    We need your help!
    Do Something!
    It’s up to you!
    Get involved now:
    http://www.marchofthepeople.org/

Ymani Simmons





  • The US must examine how it is creating global insecurity [often aided and abetted by other states, and transnational corporations]. In response to George Bush's pack of 52 cards of targeted terrorists, I devised a pack of 52 cards outlining the ways that the US has contributed to global insecurity. Only when the US is prepared to eliminate these practices will the world begin to move towards true security - Common security peace, environment human rights and social justice. True security- is not "collective security", or "human security" which has been extended to "humanitarian intervention" and used along with the "responsibility to protect" notion to justify increased military spending and increased military intervention in other states.

Joan Russow, Canada




  • Even though these are not history books as you suggest in step #9, I think many could be included on a suggested reading list for anyone developing or expanding a world view that would be a reflection of where we have come from and where we are headed.

"THE 9/11 COMMISSION REPORT: DISTORTIONS & OMISSIONS" - David Ray Griffin

"PALESTINE: PEACE, NOT APARTHEID" - Pres. Jimmy Carter

"AN INCONVENIENT TRUTH" - (book) Al Gore

"A PRETEXT FOR WAR" - James Bamford

"A PEOPLE'S HISTORY OF THE UNITED STATES" - Howard Zinn

"CRIMES AGAINST NATURE" - Robert F. Kennedy, Jr.

"BLACKWATER: The Rise of the World's Most Powerful Mercenary Army" - Jeremy Scahill


Jim & Carla Christianson, Ormond Beach, FL




  • You truly make sense about Oligarchy. Bush lacks the intelligence to forsee the mess his administration has gotten us into and is bullheaded enough to continue down the primrose path. He must not have any other source of information other than the spoon fed pablum his close advisers give him. I believe he really thinks he is saving America.
    With the media as it is, I see no way for rank and file citizens to ever get a true picture as to what has transpired and what the future will bring. Most folks are too far in debt to worry about LITTLE THINGS happening around the world.
    Among others, the real power I believe is the AIPAC. They own congress and who is left to lead?

Unsigned




  • I take exception with step #2 in your article. It may be true that "we" in the US use a disproportionate amount of resources compared to other nations, but to claim that "we" benefit from the US's military and economic policies is just plain wrong. As long as "we" spend $500 billion a year on the military then "we"will never have the money for jobs, health care, education, housing and other key issues. "We" don't benefit from NAFTA, CAFTA or the WTO. "We" don't benefit from a declining dollar that is the result of government policy. The problem is that a tiny minority at the top benefits from all these policies. It is they, the capitalists, who make all the decisions. It's in their interest that the US government acts and shapes its policies. If "we" benefited from the US government's policies then explain why50 million lack health insurance, why the minimum wage is at it slowest level since the 60's (adjusted for inflation), or why an entire city was abandoned to death and destruction after Katrina (and why survivors and refugees are still struggling after over a year). No, step #2 should be to realize that *we* live in a class society. Most of us are forced to sell our labor power in order to secure a living and a tiny class of parasites, the capitalists, exploits and profits from our labor. It is they who own and operate the US government. they own both major political parties. They own the media. They select which candidates are "electable." They bankroll their campaigns. They dole out cushy jobs in the private sector after elected officials leave office. And they hold the ultimate power over the government with their control over the economy and their massive fortunes. If ever we were to elect 535 Greens to Congress and 2 to the White House, then the wealthy would sabotage our economy, move their capital overseas and blackmail the government into doing their wishes.We need to realize that we live in a class society and that the state is an instrument of the ruling class, used to keep all other classes in their place. Our supposed democracy is an illusion--a placebo for the toiling masses. The state operates at the behest of the capitalists and we need to dispel our illusions that we can control what it does through mere voting (particularly voting for corporate candidates).We don't need guilt trips for policies over which we have no control. We need information that will help us realize our subservient role in society and the need to organize and struggle to win real change. http://nickhart.com/mie/

Nicholas Hart




  • Thanks for your article. It was both clear and heart felt. I agree with your analysis of our addiction to war and power. Ever since the sixties when I lived for about a decade in Brazil and understood what our government was doing in Latin America, where my friends were being tortured by people trained at the School of the Americas, I have also carried this weight of guilt and shame. Those feelings are motivators, and I have tried to keep playing them out in actions.
    Our WILPF group in Santa Cruz keeps working, but we have less faith in its effectiveness, since the press is so bought into the empire. Even as I write this, I'm thinking I won't tell you what our next action is, because I am sure our email correspondence is being monitored. I think that your audience is well aware of our culpability. I've recommended Kinser's latest book, Overthrown, to give others a historical perspective on regime change. But I'm not sure how effective guilt and shame work right now to urge us on. We feel discouraged, and for me, not as pure of heart as when I was younger. Some stories of specific strategies or actions that actually move us toward positive change do more to keep us moving. I've been interviewing local WILPF women to write up their actions and protest successes. If you would like to read any of these, let me know.
    Keep it up, and tell Mary Beth that I like her articles very much too.


Ruth Mota, Santa Cruz, CA




  • Fabulous article. Thank you for a really positive, motivating read.

BlueBerryPick'n, Canada




  • Thanks for your article. It brings the anti-war, anti-imperialism, issue down to human scale, answering what some people think of as nightmare (probably correctly) with common sense.
    I am a big believer in local action as not only the easiest place to start, but maybe the only arena we can be effective in, and the only truly democratic one.

Bob Wrubel, Sausalito, CA




  • You ask for ideas, so of course I have to reply. I'll keep it short. 1) We must start to consider peaceful secession as an option to end the empire. If enough states broke away, the revenue to do this kind of damage would stop. In order to protect the values of the Declaration, it may be necessary to break down the gross mutation that has taken place in their names, i.e, freedom and democracy. 2) We will never have sufficient clout without a political party that honestly reflects the enormous white hot rage at the state of affairs that exist. If not Greens, who? Greens now are small and weak, but they are small and weak, not because people don't agree, but because millions have held back from switching and building it into a formidable force to protect the environment, civil liberties, and end warfare. 3) Read the new Chris Hedges book American Fascism!

Jon Olsen, Jefferson, ME




  • Thank you for the 10-Step Plan for Antiwar Activists. I am always struggling to find ways to be more activist, having exhausted my welcome with most friends and family, or at least the ones who refuse to "buy" my conspiracy theories that 9/11 was an inside job...one that simply served to create the ruling platform into our indefinite futures (and with Presidential directive 51, we are now more a fascist empire state than EVER!). So, I have learned to read again, discovering the TRUTH of what has and IS happening and tried informing as many as possible, but with limited success. Now, I am mostly isolated from loved ones and have been "forced" into a sense of communal living with the chicanery occurring in the stock markets, where I had hoped to become a source of financing to wage my battle against the disinformation and misinformation. I have to say I prefer living alone, but mostly b/c the two dopes I live with are totally convinced Bush is doing the right thing. Jeez. But, I now realize that Rugged Individualist is not the right way...it's never going to solve any problems, unless you simply want to perform a Ghandi-like self-burning ceremony to get the message across. No, the only way we have a chance is as you say...forming bonds with like-minded individuals and charging ahead in order to improve the world as much as possible and hopefully having some fun along the way. (I have also forgotten that last part too, after losing most of my savings to unfair practices occurring in the markets). Thanks for the ray of hope.

Brent Brewer, Austin, TX/Corona, CA




  • Get drive through and walk-through impeachment tables set up in every major city.
    Sponsor these and teach other ordinary people to stake out territory and get signatures
    At public places: In front of art museums, In front of libraries, In front of cultural/entertainment complexes, Large city parks, Maybe sports facilities.
    In Denver, we have the 16th street mall with lots of workers traveling on foot or by bus every weekday.

Nancy Griffith, Denver, CO




  • Good ideas in "So what do we do now?" Here is one thing I am doing: impeachment teach-ins in our region, and giving out Impeachment house party kits that include fact sheets, instructions on how to give a party, a petition to impeach Bush and Cheney to send to their member of Congress with copies to Conyers and Pelosi, and a DVD of John Nichols' talk The Genius of Impeachment. I am about to deliver a pile of signed petitions to our Congress member here in NE Pa. The group called "Waynepeace" that a friend and I founded in 2002 (http://www.waynepeace.org/), gives educational programs once a month at our local library, as well as other special events to tell the other side of the "news." We sponsor non-violent communication workshops. We march in the local Memorial Day parade as a presence for peace and justice. What better way to honor those who have died by trying to prevent new wars?
    We read the names of the fallen each month and include names of some of the thousands of Iraqi children killed. We have held special events on Veterans' Day with family members of troops killed speaking out about their feelings.
    We work on sustainability and equity issues. (See our platform on our website.)
    We partner with other groups to sponsor events such as 3 recent showings of Gore's Inconvenient Truth.
    One thing I tell people who feel so overwhelmed: focus on what you feel passionate about. Don't try to tackle it all, or you will burn out or go crazy. The other thing I tell them is that my way of coping with bad stuff is to get involved and accomplish something that makes me feel good about myself.
    Letters to the Editor in our local papers almost always get printed. A great way to get your thoughts and feelings out there.

Katharine Dodge, Wayne County, PA




  • This was forwarded to me by a friend.
    I agree with the overall premise – the problems are much deeper than Bush, and go to the heart of who we are as a country.
    But I also know, from my reading of history, that this is not a completely nonpartisan or bi-partisan problem. There really is a party that in the last 100 years, more often than the other party, has stood up for the little guy, resisted wars rather than provoked them, signed global treaties and even honored them, and has a generally better record on human rights than the other one.
    To pretend the blame is shared equally is not entirely accurate, and I’ve just got this thing for accuracy.
    But I commend you certainly for seeing beyond the mainstream mishmash of hogwash and realizing that the true story of America is much more unpleasant than many are willing to admit. So that’s a big step forward. http://realhistoryarchives.blogspot.com/

Lisa Pease




  • I enjoyed this article. It says a lot of what I try to help facilitate with other people in various groups I belong to.
    Would you mind if I was to add your article to a "Second Life" web-blog? (Second life is a forum that uses 3d graphics to bring people together from all over the world).
    We have created a group within Second Life Left Unity which is working to bring together activists from all over the world and help empower people who have become disempowered. Also - would it be possible to edit your article and use Blair and the British Government/History rather than Bush and the US Govt/history for a personal blog?
    www.slleftunity.blogspot.com/


Neil Scott, Glasgow, Scotland




  • I just read your article titled 'A 10-Step Plan for Antiwar Activists'. It is a great sincere advice. I appreciate it and thank you for writing it. I am a Muslim and have lived in the US since 1980.
    I very strongly agree with you on many points in your article. There is no doubt that general population here has NO clue what is happening in their own country, let alone in the rest of the World. The prime reasons for this state are apathy and high rate of 'political illiteracy'. It is easy to write volumes about consequences of such illiteracy, but engaging public is the real challenge.
    I hope your article and future writings reach a large number of people and things improve.

Ali Naqvi, Orange County, CA




  • I enjoyed your 10 points. I have been contacting people like you concerning the depleted uranium issue. I can see your in a position to get the word out to more people then I can. I have been following this problem since the 1991 Gulf War. I don't expect you to take my word on this issue. I recommend you start your research at (http://www.netctr.com/) and (http://www.amnestyinternational.org/). Netcenter has this problem very well documented and proven. Another site you maybe interested in would be (www.iraq-war.ru/) which covers the war better than any other site I have found. Please check this depleted uranium issue out. Its not only a threat to the troops but to mankind also.

Norman S. Davis, (Vietnam vet)

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