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

Thursday, February 08, 2007

CONGRESSIONAL OFFICE OCCUPATIONS BEGIN

The photo above comes from the office occupation of Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) that was one of the kick-off actions that took place on Feb 5 as the national Campaign of Sustained Nonviolent Civil Disobedience to End the Iraq War began. (Click on the link in the headline above to see more details about events underway around the country.)

Here in Maine we have undertaken the formation of several affinity groups that are planning the non-violent occupations of our congressional offices during the coming weeks. We are planning non-violence training on Feb 10 and 17 in Portland as we move forward to try to prevent Congressional approval of Bush's request for $100 billion more for the occupation of Iraq.

I hope that readers of this blog will be working in their local communities to be part of this six-week national campaign. We can talk all day long but unless the American people begin to non-violently challenge the Congress, and keep them from forking over more money to Bush, then this war will never end.

Just in the past week we've heard that Bush's budget proposal for the next fiscal year calls for more massive cuts in health care funds for the poor and other social spending cuts. Bush is intentionally creating the massive budget deficit knowing full well that he can then come back to Congress and say, "Hey we've cut to get spending under control."

Any Congressperson that says we can fund the occupation of Iraq and still afford to fund human needs in this country is a liar. Pure and simple.

And if we let them get away with those lies then we are complicit in the whole game. Time has come to fish or cut bait.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

A BIT OF THIS AND THAT

My favorite band is The Kinks from the UK. It was founded by Ray and Dave Davies back in the early sixties. They broke up the band a couple years ago and now Ray and Dave have their own careers. I was checking out their websites the other day and wanted to use this album cover on one of my blogs. I don't have any particular big story to write about today. I'm tired of writing about how lousy the Dems are and how my liberal congressman is a phony. So today I need something different.

We had a party and a meeting at our new house last Saturday. About 90 people came for the surprise birthday party for our 85-year old friend Loukie Lofchie. Then following that 50 stayed for the anti-war meeting. Our new place, built in 1790, held up quite well under the strain. We wondered if the floors would cave in with all the extra weight on them.

My Internet connection has been off and on since we moved in. Not sure exactly what the trouble is/was but I've had three different experts look at it and they each have done different things to get me back on-line. Let's hope now it will stay on. It's sadly amazing how reliant I am on the Internet - I can hardly do any of my work without it these days. I wonder how I ever managed before I got email. And I was a late comer to the Internet.

If you click on the link above you will hear one of my favorite songs (20th Century Man) by The Kinks. Ray Davies performs it during a recent appearance on Austin City Limits.

Sunday, February 04, 2007

KUCINICH VISITS MAINE

Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) visited Maine this past Friday and I was invited to appear with him on a local cable access TV show in Portland that was filmed live, with over 80 people in the studio audience. Kucinich and I were asked primarily to comment on the U.S. occupation of Iraq and we both particularly focused on the important issue of calling on Congress to cut the funding for the war.

Kucinich was quite passionate in saying that any Congressperson who says they are against the war, but continues to vote for the funding, is misleading the public. Kucinich said that you can't oppose the war and keep enabling Bush by giving him hundreds of billions more dollars.

I was also able to talk about Kucinich's past efforts to introduce legislation to ban the U.S. from putting weapons into space. In addition I also talked about the need to convert the military industrial complex - that we'd never end war as long as weapons production was the # 1 industrial export product of the nation as it is today. (Click on the link in the headline above to see a short animated cartoon about what conversion might look like.) After the show Kucinich asked me to send him more of my thoughts on the conversion issue and I was quite happy when he said he'd like to integrate that message into his overall campaign as his presidential effort grows.

Lu Bauer, one of Kucinich's key campaign volunteers here in Maine, later told us that he will be coming to Maine frequently in the coming months as he focuses on Maine and New Hampshire. He did well in the Maine caucus in 2004 and figures that he can build on that for the 2008 campaign.

While I am no longer registered as a Democrat, I do think that Kucinich has been good on most of our issues and deserves support by the peace community. His presence in the race for the Democratic Party nomination does ensure that the anti-war message will get more coverage than it otherwise would.