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

Friday, March 02, 2007

EUROPE SPACE CONFERENCE COMES AT IMPORTANT TIME

The Global Network's annual space organizing conference for 2007 will be held in Darmstadt, Germany. It is being coordinated by GN board member Regina Hagen (pictured above) who lives in Darmstadt. Regina has been one of our most loyal and active leaders on the space issue for many years now and was able to find full-time work as the director of the International Network of Engineers & Scientists Against Proliferation.

Having our meeting this year in Europe could not have been better timed as the U.S. moves to encircle Russia with so-called missile defense systems by establishing new bases in Poland and the Czech Republic. (Tony Blair has joined the club by requesting that the U.S. also consider putting these son of Star Wars systems in the UK as well.)

We've always maintained that "missile defense" is a Trojan horse. These systems have never been intended to serve as a defensive shield because any honest review of them indicates that they could easily be overwhelmed or tricked in a real world situation. But they would have value in two other significant ways.

One, by claiming to be defensive shields, they help bring massive amounts of research and development dollars into a program that is really about creating offensive space weapons technologies. Thus, the Trojan horse claim.

Secondly, if used as part of a first-strike attack scenario, then these systems would not have to worry about picking off every missile that comes toward it because their job at that point would be to offer the threat of only having to take out a couple lone missiles that might get launched in retaliation after a U.S. attack.

Now some might find it hard to believe that the U.S. would launch such a first-strike attack on another sovereign nation. That would be against international law you say. But international law does not seem to stop the U.S. militarists and recent history shows the U.S. quite willing to invade Panama, Grenada, and Iraq without provocation. The Pentagon now annually wargames a U.S. first-strike attack on China - set in the year 2016.

One goal of our March 23-24 conference in Germany is to help make contact and offer support to those in Poland and the Czech Republic who are organizing opposition to the U.S. plan for Star Wars bases in their country. In that regard we've just heard from Dave Webb, the convener of the GN's board of directors, that he has made contact with a Green Party leader in the Czech Republic and has invited him to come to Darmstadt for the conference. Dave, who lives and teaches in Leeds, England, has been doing extensive work like this throughout Europe in hopes of expanding outreach to those not yet connected to our growing international network of communities that are resisting Star Wars.

Thursday, March 01, 2007

EMBARRASSED

I spent nearly 8 cold hours on the street yesterday from 2pm til 10pm in downtown Portland holding a sign and handing out literature just outside the office of our congressman Tom Allen. There were over 30 of us on the street.

Inside the office sat six of our friends who were risking arrest while calling on Allen to vote against Bush's $100 billion request. They entered the office at 3pm and when we left at 10pm they had still not been arrested. We found out this morning that the police arrived at midnight and took them away. They paid $40 and were released from jail around 3am.

The reason Allen's staff waited til midnight to arrest them was because Channel 13 in Portland was sitting outside the office from 6pm till 11pm waiting to film the arrest. They did live broadcasts out on the street at 6pm, 10pm, and then again at 11pm. On their 11pm broadcast the office occupation was their lead story and then they followed it with a wonderful piece showing in detail just how much money has been spent on the Iraq war each year since the 2003 U.S. invasion.

The news yesterday reported that the Democrats, now in control of Congress, have come up with a brand new strategy to end the Iraq fiasco. No, they don't want to cut the funding. No, they are not calling for the troops to immediately come home. It is something bigger, bolder, more effective! The Democrats are going to embarrass George W. Bush. They are going to shame him into ending the war!

Brilliant! Fantastic! Incredible you say? So amazingly astute. They are going to embarrass Bush!

Just exactly how this embarrassment of Bush is going to end the war they have not yet spelled out. It reminds me of Richard Nixon's secret plan to end the Vietnam war. But don't laugh, the Democrats have come up with a whopper I am certain.

The Democrats have stumbled onto something none of the rest of us realize. They have figured out that George W. Bush has a conscience. Bush can be shamed. Bush can be made to change course because he cares what the people of the world think of him.

This is the most absurd, idiotic notion I have heard yet. It just goes to show that the spineless Democrats have nothing left in their hearts and souls to offer the nation. They have no desire to end this war. They don't have the guts to stand up on behalf of the people. This is so sad and so childish that there is only one word to describe this new Democratic plan.

It is simply embarrassing.

Monday, February 26, 2007

WE HAVE BECOME DEATH

The U.S. now has more firepower stationed in the Persian Gulf than at any time since the beginning of the Iraq war.

The photo above is the crew of the USS Eisenhower which is today on alert in the Arabian Sea.

Last night before going to bed I read the latest article by Seymour Hersch at the New Yorker magazine on U.S. plans for Iran. I now have absolutely no doubt that Busy-Cheney will attack Iran along with Israel.

But even more so the article clearly spells out the larger plans to widen the war in the region by funding Sunni terrorist groups in Lebanon, Syria and Iran to create more turmoil in those Shiite dominated nations. The plan is to create an Iraq-style civil war between Sunni and Shiite throughout the Middle East in hopes the U.S. can then divide and conquer the entire region.

Just like the crew member in the photo above, with the very sick death mask on his face, the U.S. is now without a doubt the leading death agent on the planet. Our foreign policy is war and death. And the fact that the weapons corporations can make a substantial profit at it - all the better they say.

This is worse than Hitler. This is the most horrendous display of evil that one can imagine.

According to Hersch, the Bush-Cheney cabal have asked Saudia Arabia to fund Sunni terrorist groups to go into these Shiite countries and create civil war. These are the same Sunni groups that are killing American GI's right now in Iraq. Do you see the insanity here?

You must do something immediately. You have to get people to read and publicly discuss this article by Seymour Hersch linked above. People must come to grips immediately with the pure evil of current U.S. plans for endless war in the Middle East.

We are in big trouble at this moment.

Get busy.

Sunday, February 25, 2007

WHICH SIDE ARE YOU ON, TOM?

This picture above was taken after the four of us on the left had just been released from jail. They are from the left Carolyn Coe, Mary Beth Sullivan, Mary Donnelly, me, and then our good friend Richard Rhames who was the first person to meet us as we left the jail. Richard is a vegetable farmer and Maine's top public access TV activist who films most progressive events and then puts them on his TV show in Biddeford. He has a wonderful dry Maine sense of humor and is one of my favorite people in the state.

(Click on the link in the headline above for a TV news clip of the arrest.)

Last night was the annual Peace Action Maine supper which about 300 attended. I was given their annual Peace Maker Award (the individual award) and Maine Veterans for Peace was given the group award. After receiving the award I got up and led the group in singing a song I had adapted for the occupation of Tom Allen's office. I took an old labor union song, "Which side are you on?" and changed some of the words and it went "Which side are you on, Tom?" We sung it in Allen's office and in the paddy wagon after getting arrested. As the police took us from Allen's third-floor office in downtown Portland about 9:00 pm on Wednesday, a group of about 30 supporters had assembled and people entering the nearby coffee shop also stopped to watch the show. Our supporters sang the song too as we were loaded into the paddy wagon.

Several folks told me the song has gotten inside their heads and they have been singing it to themselves a lot these last few days. Glad to hear that.

We just took the morning off and went to the beach for a walk with some friends. Nice sunny day though the wind kicked up by the ocean. Our dogs loved it. The entire parking lot at the state park was a sheet of ice like an ice rink. Very fun to slide along as the dogs pulled us toward the sandy beach.