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.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

SYSTEM IS BROKEN

I was back on the street again today in Portland handing out leaflets about the upcoming Sept 25 rally and sit-in calling on our Congressman to support the impeachment resolution in the House of Representatives.

Today was better than two days ago. I had many more meaningful discussions with people during the time I was there. Over and over again I heard very sympathetic people tell me "the system is broken. There is nothing we can do. Neither party will listen to us."

I did have the usual business suit types fly by me in a huff telling me to get screwed or that they loved Bush. These kinds of folks are invested in the system. At some level they are making money these days as profits from the war and oil corporations are shared with them.

Several young people stopped to talk with me today. One young man who was turned down from joining the Coast Guard, because of a felony conviction, said the Army has waived his conviction and will take him. He only wants money for college. He said he is against the Iraq occupation and wished us success. I told him to be careful that the Army does not steal his soul. He took my hand, and my leaflet, as he left.

Another young guy, who is 18 years old, said he didn't care about all this stuff. "I'm having enough trouble just taking care of myself," he told me. I reminded him that we all need to take care of each other. He still blew me off. It was only when I told him that a British polling agency has determined that more than one million Iraqi citizens have died as a result of the Iraq war that he paused. I asked him how many more people should we let Bush kill?

I found that when I added the phrase "Bush wants to attack Iran next" people would take notice. Even those who did not want the leaflet would momentarily pause. In their hearts they can feel it coming and they know that the madness will only get worse.

After mentioning Iran I would ask them a simple question: "What does it say about us American people that we've killed one million Iraqi people and now we want to attack Iran?" Several people, at first cynical and negative, would linger and talk more with me and I could see life again in their eyes.

I am utterly convinced that many people are shutting down their hearts in order to not have to deal with all of this. Asking them about Iran today seemed to bring some of them back near to reality.

But then the question remains: The system is broken...what can we really do?

Capitalism lives and thrives on endless war and control and domination of resources and markets around the world. We can replace one politician with another but then how do we really change the system?

Impeachment is important, an important first step if we are to honor the Constitution. If we are to pretend we have a democracy then we must hold Bush-Cheney and their pirate crew accountable. But beyond that we have to change the system. That means acknowledging that capitalism is a death system - chewing up the planet, driving the Mother Earth to death.

How do we talk with the public about this? How do we talk about a sustainable culture that protects the future generations on this planet? How can we get folks to open their hearts again?

(Click on the photo above to read the T-shirts).

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