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

Sunday, March 18, 2007

ROUGH SLEDDING AHEAD

I leave on Monday for our annual GN space organizing conference in Germany. Will be back on March 26 and not likely to do any updating of this blog during that time.

Yesterday 100 local vigils were planned here in Maine as part of the national/international protest to stop the occupation of Iraq. We had a snow storm Friday night and Saturday it turned into a cold rain but here in Bath eleven of us still went out onto the steps of city hall for an hour-long vigil at noon. We got cold and wet and invited folks back to our house for soup afterward. We had our wood stove going which was a nice way to warm our hearts and cold fingers and toes.

This morning I've been surfing the Internet looking at some of the coverage of the DC demo. It is striking to see the attention given to the counter-protesters who reportedly turned out in "large" numbers to "protect" the Vietnam war memorial from anyone wanting to "deface" it. A rumor went out over the Internet that anti-war people were going to trash the memorial so these motorcycle guys all came down to defend it. If this isn't part of the Rove-Bush plan then I don't know what is. The war machine knows that their support nationwide is rapidly sliding so they are now working vigorously to round up all the help them can muster by creating false issues like this. As I watched video of these counter-protesters screaming at the anti-war marchers I couldn't help but think of the chaos in Baghdad.

In Baghdad the Bush team has successfully turned Shiite against Sunni to the point they are killing each other like crazy. I fear that Bush, if left to his own devices, would do the same in this country. Turn American against American as a way to maintain control.

I am utterly convinced that the corporate globalization pirates, that Bush ultimately works for, are out to turn the world into a 21st century feudal order. While preparing for the GN space conference in Germany I read several stories from space industry publications calling on European countries to cut funding for social programs so that they can join the U.S. in building a "missile defense" system throughout Europe to protect themselves from Iran. Iran today has zero nuclear weapons. And why would Iran fire nuclear weapons at Europe?

The corporate militarists are out to defund social progress globally, to maximize their profits internationally, and are out to militarize the entire planet. Why?

Resource wars.

With oil and water (and other important resources) diminishing on our strained planet, those who have the biggest guns will control access to these resources. And it will be expensive to have endless mobilization for war and fund social progress at the same time. Something has to give.

A friend of mine here in Maine said it well to me the other day. He said the Democrats have an ideology that says capitalism and economic growth will create a system where all boats are lifted - meaning that if fairly administered the capitalist system can provide for everyone. But that philosophy, he says, requires constant access to raw materials that ensure an ever growing economy. Thus the Dems, he says, must support resource extraction wars like the occupation of Iraq. In other words, empire is supported by both parties. Maybe each party articulates their reasons a bit differently, but in the end they both support empire and endless war.

I was watching Democracy Now via the Internet and I heard the mother of a dead soldier tell the story about how peace folks began lining up at 6:00 am the other day so they could get into the House Appropriations Committee hearing where they voted to give Bush $124 billion for Iraq - fiscal year 2007. (If you click on the link in the headline above you will see an excellent analysis from Military Families Speak Out on the bill that was passed.) She said the Democratic Party politicians came by and saw them standing there and the next thing she knew a large number of congressional staffers showed up to take the seats in the hearing room. That meant many of the citizens in the hall way could not get in. Usually the staffers do not attend these meetings in large numbers and if they do they sit behind their bosses on the dais. This story shows me what the Dems think of the peace movement.

We are in for a period of rough sledding ahead. The sooner we end our illusions about our political system the better off we will be. As I have said so many times on this blog - we have to run peace movement folks for office as Independents or Greens so that we can challenge these two corporate controlled war parties. Please have a meeting locally to discuss this. We must give the public a real alternative. Use the campaigns in 2008 to offer another vision of our future while we still have a chance.

As the Native Americans used to say, put your ear to the railroad tracks and hear the train coming.