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, June 02, 2007

BACK IN COOL, GREEN MAINE

I got home at 4:00 am and slept til noon today. There was a big storm in the New York City area yesterday and the plane I was on had to circle for an hour and then sat on the runway for another hour waiting for the JFK airport congestion to ease a bit. Then my plane back to Portland got delayed twice making it a long trip back from Las Vegas.

My two older sisters and I successfully got my mother into her new place in Las Vegas where she will be close to my oldest sister Karen who is a nurse. Mom is 81 and has been suffering from cancer and heart problems the last couple of years. My major contribution to the effort was the 5-day drive from Titusville, Florida to Las Vegas with the rental truck loaded down with ma's belongings. Then unloading the truck in 100 degree heat......and unpacking. But I was glad to be of help to the family effort.

It was a long, hot drive but I took notes of things that struck my fancy along the way. In a day or two I will write something about what I heard and saw during the trip.

Obviously I spent quite a bit of time thinking about the direction of our anti-war organizing, especially following the Cindy Sheehan resignation announcement. It seems that Cindy has caused some level of reflection across the land and that is a good thing.

One thing that I saw in my long list of emails waiting for me today was the story about Secretary of War Robert Gates saying we are going to be in Iraq as long as we've been in Korea. When I saw this I remembered hearing dear Hillary about two years ago on Faze the Nation one Sunday morning saying, "The American people need to relax. We've been in Korea for 50 years. We are going to be in Iraq for a long time." Today she'd probably not want to say that considering it wouldn't do much for her presidential campaign, but I know that if elected to the White House she will govern that way.

What I see happening right now is that Bush is putting out there that we are not coming home from Iraq. Then once in charge of the White House, the Democrats will say, "Well we can't pull the troops out now, if we do the Republicans will say we are weak on terrorism." That's how they play good cop - bad cop with our heads.

Anyway, it's great to be back in Maine where it is green, it rains, and it is not 100 degrees everyday. I could not live long in Las Vegas. More on all that later though.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

BOTH POLITICAL PARTIES ARE RESPONSIBLE

I arrived in Albuquerque, N.M. last night and am at the home of longtime friends Bob Anderson and Jeanne Pahls. As soon as I finish up with this blog entry I'll hop back into the truck for the last leg - an 8 1/2 hour drive to Las Vegas. It's been a long haul - I'm tired of driving!

I was sad to see the emails this morning about Cindy Sheehan quitting the peace movement although I can't say I blame her. She is right to be criticial of those elements in the movement that are slavish to the Democratic Party. When Cindy first got started it appeared to me that the Dems found her useful and wanted to use her to bash Bush. Then when she began to take a position of integrity, calling both parties to blame, the Dems put their dogs on her.

I only wish Cindy would come out and name some names, tell some detailed stories about who some of the worst offenders are. Give a detailed description of those who claim to be peace activists but who ultimately are working for the interests of the Dems. Talk about how the Dems funnel money to those good folks in the "peace movement" who do their bidding for them.

I am absolutely convinced that the Dems have long ago placed people in the peace movement to keep some level of control on the national anti-war message.

The truth is, as the sign in the photo above rightly says, politicians lie. Not just the Republicans are lieing to us. But the Dems are as well.

I am getting a bunch of emails these days asking me "What do we do now that the Dems have given in to Bush?"

My answer is destroy all your illusions that the Dems, or any politician is going to save us.

Get out of bed with the two-party bait and switch, good cop-bad cop game. Be critical of all the political hacks, make strong demands on both parties. And finally, recruit good hearted trusted members of your local peace and justice community and have them run as Independents for Congress and the Senate in the 2008 elections. Use the campaigns to lay out our message. Stop worrying about, "But what if we help the Republican win?" So what.....what is the ultimate difference anyway?

I think Cindy Sheehan was just hitting her stride. She had recently been to South Korea where she met with farmers who were having their land taken so the U.S. military can build a new base. Cindy was connecting the dots in a good way and this began to make her a danger to the Democrats who only wanted her to chant the mantra "Bush is bad......Bush is evil.....Get rid of Bush."

The corporate empire builders in the Democratic Party had to push Sheehan off the stage because they could not have such a public personality holding them equally responsible for Iraq with the 2008 elections looming.

Welcome to democracy in America. Don't let Cindy's work die. Pick up the call and hold both parties responsible for the occupation of Iraq, the expansion of Pax-Americana, and the disinvestment in our own country.