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, April 13, 2007

THIRD OFFICE SIT-IN PLANNED IN PORTLAND

In order to protest on-going funding for the U.S. occupation in Iraq, a third Congressional office sit-in is planned on Tuesday, April 17 at 2:00 pm in the Portland office of Rep. Tom Allen.

Rep. Allen maintains that he opposes the war in Iraq but has now voted eight straight times to support George W. Bush by giving him all the money that he has requested for the occupation. (Similar office sit-ins have also recently been held in the office of Sen. Susan Collins in Bangor.)

I will be one of those who will enter Tom Allen's office to sit-in. I will likely be arrested and intend to take my arrest to trial before a jury.

Rep. Allen, who is planning to announce that he will run against Maine's current Sen. Susan Collins (Republican), will be going around the state saying that he is against the war and that Sen. Collins must be taken out of office because she is in favor of the war and keeps giving Bush a blank check.

Rep. Allen's public posturing on this has been quite remarkable. I don't know how the man can sleep at night.

Here is what Tom Allen said in Congress when he voted for the 8th time to fund Bush's war. "Maine people expect us to say where we stand on the War in Iraq. By supporting the Iraq Accountability Act, I am voting to use the long-neglected powers of Congress to bring U.S. involvement in the Iraqi civil war to an end.”

Democratic party operatives are now setting up front group efforts in Maine who are posing as active peace people and who will be attacking Collins repeatedly on her support for the war. These operatives will be cynically saying that Tom Allen has always been against the war and if elected to the Senate he will help end the war.

The public is quite confused by all this posturing. While I strongly disagree with Sen. Collins on her war position at the very least she is somewhat honest in admitting that she supports Bush and the war.

Tom Allen though is doing something I cannot abide by. He is using anti-war rhetoric but at the same time enabling Bush. He and his party have no scruples when it comes to trying to achieve power. In many respects the Democrats have learned to model the deceptive character of the Bush administration.

It is my hope that there will be an Independent candidate to run against Collins and Allen in the 2008 Maine U.S. Senate race. The public needs and deserves to have an authentic anti-war voice in the race, someone who can cut through the bullshit and clearly articulate the need to cut the funding for the occupation of Iraq, using the $8.5 billion a month now being wasted there on programs here at home like national health care, education, public transit and the like.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

THE NEW WORLD ODOR

My dear friend Dave Webb from Leeds, England has been visiting us the last few days. He is the chair of the Global Network Against Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space and also serves as our web master.

Yesterday I interviewed Dave for my cable TV show This Issue. It was fun to have him on the show as I rarely get to interview anyone who knows much about space issues. We'll have the link to the show up on the Internet soon and you can watch it yourself.

Dave talked about what his group, Yorkshire CND, is doing to organize opposition to the two U.S. Star Wars bases at Menwith Hill and Fylingdales in his part of England. (Click on the link in the headline above to see the Yorkshire CND web site.)

Last night we had a pot luck supper for him here at our Addams-Melman House and then he spoke and answered questions. He talked about the serious disillusionment that progressives have in the UK with Tony Blair and the Labor Party over a whole series of issues. Obviously the Iraq occupation is one key concern but also the recent decision by the Labor Party to build a new generation of Trident nuclear submarine missiles, despite universal opposition in the country, has led to further outrage with the Labor Party. Blair is also offering to Bush that the UK would love to host U.S. "missile defense" bases.

As Dave said, here you have this supposedly Socialist Labor Party leader carrying water for this aggressive U.S. war making president Bush. He said British activists are in a state of disbelief over the whole thing.

I saw folks nodding their heads around the room as Dave spoke last night. It's clear that we in the U.S. are feeling the same things about the Democrats.

So there is a lesson to be learned here I think.

Most of the governments around the world have been taken over by corporations as part of globalization. Democracy is being set aside to the interests of the international oligarchy.

Under corporate globalization the Pentagon has said every country will have a different role. China will make things, Iraq will give up their oil, England will be Bush's lap dog, and the U.S. will do "security export."

Thus the U.S. Space Command becomes the military arm of corporate globalization. The U.S. Star Wars bases in Dave's back yard in Yorkshire, along with many others sprinkled around the world, will help create the ability for the military to see everything on the Earth, hear everything on the Earth, and ultimately target everyone and every place on Earth. Full spectrum dominance they call it. And all to the benefit of corporate globalization.

Anyone who dares stand against the oligarchy will be taken out in a preemptive strike.

Welcome to the new world order. Or should I say, welcome to the new world odor?

Monday, April 09, 2007

ON THE STREETS

They say tens of thousands of Iraqi citizens took to the streets today calling on the U.S. to "quit" the country. That expression was the one that Gandhi used in India during the campaign to have the British "quit" their colonization. In the end Gandhi was successful. In the end the Iraqi's will drive the U.S. out of their country. The only question that remains is how many more must die and how much more money must be wasted until the inevitable happens.

I read with interest a quote from some U.S. military brass in Iraq about the protest. He said that the protest goes to prove that the U.S. has brought democracy to Iraq. They couldn't do this four years ago he maintained. Ugh.

Today I went to Portland to offer support for a group called Maine Lawyers for Democracy as they held a news conference to call for the impeachment of Bush and Cheney. The group, made up of 65 lawyers across the state, did a good job of articulating the strong legal case to support impeachment. They called on the Maine legislature to pass a resolution supporting impeachment and they requested Maine's congressmen also support impeachment in the House of Representatives.

After the news conference some of us went out on the street to gather signatures on an impeachment petition that will be presented to Maine politicians. The goal is 10,000 signatures and so far over 6,000 have been gathered. (See the web site linked in the headline above.)

While I was on the street I ran into Jon Hinck who was just elected to the Maine State House of Representatives in the last election. I had interviewed him a couple of years ago on my cable TV show. At that time he was working at the Natural Resources Council and I interviewed him about environmental issues.

Hinck defeated the only Green Party member in the Maine legislature after the Portland newspaper did an extended trashing campaign to get the Green member, John Eder, ousted.

I asked Hinck, a Democrat, to sign the petition and he refused and then we had an intense 15 minute discussion about impeachment and the occupation of Iraq. His basic position was that our "strategy" was all wrong and that we needed to back off, stay quiet, and let Bush just collapse on his own weight. He said organizing against the war and calling for impeachment was a mistake because it only gave "right-wing radio" the ammunition to organize against us.

When I asked him if he meant that the Democrats were just intending to lay back and use the anger against Bush to take the White House in 2008 he said yes. He told me "you people are nuts" to criticize the Democrats around the war and impeachment.

He told me that criticizing our local congressman Tom Allen, because he keeps voting to fund the war, was a mistake. He said that Rep. Allen is against the war. When I asked him to explain how Allen's votes to fund the war were different from our Republican senators Snowe and Collins he maintained it was different though he never gave me any solid reasoning as to how they were different.

This very emotional, but restrained, conversion between us was a real wake up call for me. It confirmed that the Democrats have absolutely no intention of ending the war. And probably most importantly, it told me that the Democrats have absolute contempt for the peace movement as we push them on this war. They think we are nuts.

They think we are nuts because they believe that we are their minions. They think we should blindly vote for them because they are the Democrats and we have no other choice. They think we are nuts because we publicly criticize their deception. They think we are nuts because they could never imagine themselves standing up in public to take a moral stand on the Iraq occupation.

For them it is a purely political equation. No heart and no morality is involved.

To me this is confirmation that the Democratic Party is a bankrupt political institution.