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

Saturday, May 26, 2007

FROM LOUISIANA

I am writing from a hotel in Alexandria, Louisiana and am worn out. I slept in the truck last night as I couldn't see paying $135 for a hotel room when I stopped in Ft Walton Beach, Florida around midnight. So I parked the truck in the local Wal-Mart parking lot and actually slept fairly well. The Memorial weekend hotel rates were just too much for my taste.

I had to post today though because I am so damn upset with the game the Democrats just played to deceive all of us when they voted on a procedure that allowed the Republican to win, with significant Dems support, the Iraq occupation funding vote.

In the Washington Post story, linked in the headline above, the Dems bragged how they skillfully pulled the bait and switch off. Ugh.....

Now people like my Congressman Tom Allen will go around talking about how he voted (finally) to cut the funding but the truth is his more important procedural vote was to enable the whole ugly process. Few in the public will know about the deception though. Unless it gets explained to them. That is your job. Click on this link to see how your member of congress voted on the procedural vote.

We can't let these clowns get away with this one.

Watch this bit on Ron Paul as he does an "action" at the recent Republican debate and on Bill Maher show.

I'm making great time on my trip so far. Left my mom's place in Titusville, Florida at noon on Friday and drove to Gainesville and had dinner with some old friends there. Then took off about 6:30 pm and got as far at Ft Walton Beach (in the panhandle). Had hoped to go to the beach today but when I saw late last night what they have done to Okaloosa Island I didn't have it in me to hang around. The once quiet fine white sandy beach community is now overrun with high rise hotels and time share condos. I used to deliver newspapers on this island in 1968 while in high school and there were just a few cottages and a couple apartment buildings there along with the Gulfarium full of dolphins. Very sad but this is Florida these days - totally overrun with a devastated environment.

In the morning I head to Texas and will get a chance to visit my son who goes to college there. Will be great to spend some time with him on my way west.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

WE MUST COME ALIVE NOW

In recent days the papers have reported that the troop "surge" in Iraq will essentially double the numbers of U.S. troops there. This comes as more than 70% of the American people want us out of Iraq now.

The Democrats are expected to vote very soon, along with the Rpublicans, to appropriate more money for Bush's occupation. A few Dems will vote against the supplemental but the majority of the Dems will go along to get along. This is what the nation gets as a thank you from the Dems after putting them back into power. They rode the anti-war horse during the 2006 elections and once in control of Congress they have dismounted it and taken the reins of the war horse.

Democratic party leader Nancy Pelosi is calling this sell-out funding vote a "victory" on the path to ending the war. Other Dems are saying this is the best deal they could get. Actually it's really not fair to even call it a deal. The Dems have caved in to Bush. They have even pulled their wimpish "optional" demand for a withdrawal timeline from the Iraq occupation funding bill. They have no fight in them.

Lately we've been hearing the words "10 more years" from various sources describing how much longer the U.S. military will have to be in Iraq. I've seen Tony Blair make similar statements. The Dems are working with Bush to ensure that we are so bogged down in Iraq that it will be virtually impossible to get us out. The empire builders want U.S. control of Iraqi oil at all costs.

About the likely U.S. attack of Iran the Dems are silent. On impeachment the leadership of the Dems tell us to forget it. They say this in spite of the fact that 14 state Democratic parties have voted in favor of impeachment. But the Dems don't care what their grassroots base wants. They only listen to their corporate pay masters.

No matter what the people think. Damn public opinion - full speed ahead into disaster!

I leave on Thursday for Florida where I load up a rental truck and drive my mother's belongings to Las Vegas. She is moving out there to live near my sister. I will be gone til June 2. I probably will not have a chance to do a blog while gone although I will try to get in a report from the highway if at all possible.

As I make that long slow drive in that truck I will be doing a lot of thinking about the serious condition of our so-called democracy. Our people's republic is in critical care right now. We face a Congress largely bought and paid for by the weapons, oil, banking, pharmaceutical, and insurance corporations. The people have been cut out of the deal.

While I drive west I'll be thinking about what more I can personally do to stand against this corporate domination of our nation and the world.

How can I work with others to ensure that we don't give up the fight like the Dems have done? We must continue to build national and international resistance to the oligarchy that now controls our world. We must take back control of our governments from the corporations so that we can ensure the future generations have a decent chance of living.

Nothing could be more important.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

A VERY GREAT VISION IS NEEDED

When I was a boy my family lived in South Dakota, just near the Black Hills. We arrived at Ellsworth AFB in a blinding blizzard one winter. I became completely mesmerized by Indian history, culture, and religion. I read everything I could get my hands on about the "people" as the Indians called themselves.

Our Sunday drives into the Badlands and the Black Hills, and my hunting trips with my dad into the Black Hills, provided me with up close contact with the land the Lakota called the "paha sapa" - the heart of the Earth.

All of my adult life I have continued to read about Native Americans and I try to return to South Dakota whenever I can. The oldest poster on my wall in my study is one I got in 1980, when my son Julian was in his mothers womb, at the Black Hills International Survival Gathering. The poster says "Don't weep for the earth - fight to save her!" At that time we drove from Florida to the Black Hills to participate in this event that was held just outside the gate of the B-52 bomber base at Ellsworth - the same base I had lived on as a kid. The circle was complete.

A wonderful book I'd highly recommend is Crazy Horse: The Strange Man of the Oglalas by Mari Sandoz. I want to share one story from the book.

After gold was discovered in the Black Hills the U.S. Army was sent in to clear the Indians out of their paha sapa even though they had been promised in a previous treaty that they would "own" this territory as long as the grass grew green. The inevitable battle led to Custer's last stand and the resulting major military campaign to bring the "hostiles" onto reservations in the dusty lands of southwest South Dakota.

Crazy Horse and Sitting Bull held out as long as they could. But the cold winters and diminishing buffalo and other wild game forced them ultimately to surrender. This process literally broke the hearts of the people. The conditions of surrender were that they had to give up their guns and their horses - essentially their very way of life.
The government was to provide them with all they needed from then on. Food, clothes, and even tepees. But they soon found out the promises were not honored. The blankets they were given were so thin they could not keep the people warm at night. The flour had bugs in it and the bacon was rancid. The people could not even go and hunt anymore as their guns and horses were gone. They continued to starve and die. But they honored their word to the white man's government and stayed peaceful.
The weapons contractors, that had grown rich from the Indian wars in the 1860's, were getting restless. This peace with Crazy Horse and Sitting Bull was cutting into their previous enormous profits. So they came up with a plan.
They created a national public relations campaign and had artists create renderings of Crazy Horse on the war path again killing farmers and raping white women and children. These stories were placed in the big newspapers across the country and the public became outraged. Soon the Congress appropriated more funds to return the "hostiles" to the reservation.
In fact, during this campaign of deception, Crazy Horse was sitting in his tepee on the reservation without a gun or horse to his name.
When you think about it the story is virtually the same today in Iraq. The government creates a pubic relations campaign about weapons of mass destruction and then sells the story using the mainstream media to justify a war and make enormous profits for the weapons corporations.
When I was in the Air Force, during the Vietnam War, I learned how they did the same thing to sell that war as I read The Pentagon Papers - the government's own secret history of how they lied to create that war.
The process is again under way today in Asia as we see the U.S. beginning to provoke and demonize China in a new arms race that would bring huge profits to the war industry.
They say that every criminal has an MO - modus operandi - method of operation. When I was young I wanted to be an FBI agent when I grew up so I could fight against organized crime.
Then one day I woke up and realized that the military industrial complex was the essence of organized crime. So I took myself to the peace movement where I could fulfill my boyhood promise to work for "truth, justice, and the American way."
Sometimes I wonder if the fate of Crazy Horse and Sitting Bull and the other native people will be the fate of the American people of today as well. In order to pay for endless war the government, clearly under the control of the military industrial complex as former President Dwight Eisenhower warned us, is now moving to destroy social progress in our country as they cut education, health care, and the like. In a way I wonder, are we now being brought onto the reservation too?
Under the New World Order job # 1 of corporate globalization is to maximize profits internationally. Allegiance to country is a thing of the past. Corporations move overseas to seek the lowest wage workers possible. Unemployment grows and the local tax base drys up as jobs leave the U.S. The process of corporate disinvestment in America is underway. The Pentagon says that "security export" will be our role under corporate globalization. Endless war.
What can we learn from the time of Crazy Horse and Sitting Bull?
Crazy Horse is remembered for these words: "A very great vision is needed and the man who has it must follow it as the eagle seeks the deepest blue of the sky."
What is our vision for the future of North America and for our Mother Earth?