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'll be taking an 'unpaid leave of absence' from my job at the Global Network from December 15-March 15, 2020 in order to help my friend Lisa Savage on her campaign for the US Senate in Maine. She's running as a Maine Green Independent Party member and needs to gather 2,000 petition signatures of registered Greens during that period. I'll be back to GN after March 15.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

WHAT IS THE ACHILLES HEEL?

It's been awhile since I had to write anything for the blog. I have never had such a response to anything I've written before as I got to the last piece, So What Do We Do Now? It is obvious that it touched a strong chord in people. I didn't post all the comments I got but tried to put up most of the ones that offered ideas, critiques, etc.

My own observation of what I learned from the whole thing is that people are extremely frustrated, and in spite of the fact that most activists are still working hard, many of them have a sense of loss as it feels like the country is slipping from between our fingers.

Bush is likely to attack Iran and the Democrats aimlessly talk but do little to challenge him on anything. Once again in my local paper yesterday is another article quoting another U.S. general in Iraq saying we will need to be there for 10 years.

Also is my local paper yesterday is a big photo of high school students protesting in a nearby small town that just voted at annual town meeting to cut the school budget by $400,000. This will likely mean teacher lay-offs. Sadly the town, and the students, are not connecting this to the occupation of Iraq which is now costing U.S. taxpayers $8.5 billion a month. Maine's share of this war cost is now over $1.2 billion. According to the National Priorities Project we could pay 21,676 music and art teachers in Maine with our share of the Iraq war cost. (Music and art programs are the most likely candidates to be cut by the local schools.)

I am convinced that the cost of the Iraq occupation is the Achilles heel of the whole war/empire issue. Activists need to be talking more about that.

One small town in Maine, Arrowsic, just did and voted 71-17 at their annual town meeting last week on a resolution calling on Bush and Congress to "act swiftly and decisively to immediately stop all funding for the war in Iraq, end the occupation of Iraq, and bring all U.S. troops safely home." They got quite a bit of media coverage across the state.

Another big story in my local paper last week is that the Navy wants to turn to nuclear power propulsion for its entire ship fleet due to the fact that oil is becoming scarce and expensive. That means that the "Aegis destroyers," made here where I live in Bath, could cost up to $800 million more each. You think the military budget is high now? You think cutbacks in social programs are bad now? Just wait til the Navy wants all our money so they can convert their ships to nuclear.

See what I mean by Achilles heel?

This whole Pentagon budget crisis will be coming to a head soon. It is an organizers dream. The contradictions are perfect. The trade-offs are so obvious. Let's see here - should we have health care, food, jobs, public transit, housing and education for the people? Or should they live in the streets while we project power around the world with our newly revamped nuclear Navy? Which would you pick? Hummm.......

Why aren't the Democrats talking about this? It's because they are in the bag of the bankers, the oil corporations, and the weapons corporations that are making big money off this endless war cycle.

Wake up America and smell the coffee......not that you will long be able to afford to buy a cup!

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