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, August 31, 2007

CHECKING IN

I did my first talk last night at the Trades Club in Hebden Bridge. This afternoon Dave Webb and I take the train to London for the Star Wars confab on Saturday. Long time resister Helen John was there last night. She and Sylvia Boyes go on trial soon for walking onto the U.S. spy base at Menwith Hill in violation of the new "anti-terrorism" law. They face one year in jail.

I'm still waiting for my big bag containing all my literature and books. It was not on the plane when I arrived in the UK - it's amazing that one bag gets on the plane but not the other. Might have been because it weighed ten tons and they decided the extra weight would make the plane crash.

Dave and his wife Lesley took me for a great walk yesterday afternoon through a beautiful wooded park nearby their home in Leeds. I rarely get to go on such walks when I travel so it was much appreciated.

The poster above is advertising one of my talks in Wales. If you read the caption, it pretty much sums up what my speeches are about. It's amazing what you can say in just a few words. (Click on it to read it.)

People here are wondering if Bush is going to attack Iran. They are also wondering how their new Prime Minister Gordon Brown is going to come down on all these issues - will be maintain the recent tradition of being the lap dog of the American empire?

When I talk about how the Democrats are refusing to really take on Bush they nod and say their Labor party is just the same. Further evidence of corporate takeover of virtually all governments around the world. You hear the same story no matter where you travel these days. Time for global democracy movement to step it up.......

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

LEAVING FOR UK TRIP

I take a bus this morning to Boston and then hop on my flight to Manchester in the UK. I will do nine talks in England, Wales, and Scotland over the course of 10 days. On Sept 1 I will speak at the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND) national conference in London called U.S. Missile Defense - towards a new Cold War?

This conference follows on from the 150-strong Prague Conference in May which saw delegates from 14 organisations spanning 9 European countries come together to formulate strategies and joint campaigns to oppose US plans for National Missile Defence, or so-called ‘Son of Star Wars’, bases in Europe.

With speakers and delegates expected from the U.S., France, Germany, Poland, the Czech Republic and Hungary, the conference will discuss why we should oppose the latest aggressive project by the U.S. and how we can work together in building opposition.

Already the U.S. is upgrading Star Wars facilities at bases in the UK like Menwith Hill (pictured above) and Fylingdales. These bases use space technology to help direct surveillance, reconnaissance, and ultimately targeting of weapons. In addition, the U.S. has talked about putting missile defense interceptors in England and is now moving to put them in Poland and new Star Wars radars in the Czech Republic.

European activists rightly understand that these moves by the U.S. are really about the Pentagon developing a global "first-strike" military capability. And as these systems are used to surround Russia (as the ones in Poland and Czech Republic are) then we are in fact creating the conditions for a widening arms race between Russia and the U.S. For Europe that means danger as they end up being right back in the middle of the fight.

Besides speaking, one thing I will be doing is trying to bring home the stories and energy from this rapidly expanding European movement on space issues. Here in the U.S. activists are still not fully making the connections between U.S. empire building and the role that space technology plays in that military expansion.

My last talk is at Faslane in Scotland. Faslane is the Trident nuclear submarine base where a huge campaign has been going on this year called Faslane 365. It has been the goal of UK activists to have civil disobedience at the Faslane base every day - 365 days - this year. The purpose of Faslane 365 is twofold: to bring people to witness and impede the nuclear base where Britain's nuclear weapons are deployed, and enable them to demonstrate the range of serious concerns - from human rights to climate change - that people in the real world consider to be the vital challenges for the 21st century.

It will be an honor to hold Global Network banners at the front gate along with GN chair Dave Webb (Leeds, England) and others. (See my recent cable TV interview with Dave when he visited Maine by clicking on the link in his name.)

Will try to make a post to the blog while gone.

Monday, August 27, 2007

MORE PHOTOS FROM K-PORT PROTEST


If you click on the link in the headline above you will find quite a few more photos from the Saturday protest in Kennebunkport.

Cynthia McKinney, in the photo above, is rumored to be running for the Green Party nomination for president. I think she'd be outstanding. Hope it works out.

I watched a video tape by IVAW from the march and at the end they zoomed in on folks standing behind the bushes at the Bush family compound at Walker Point. One person, watching us with his binoculars, looked much like King George I. It illustrated for me that they do pay very close attention to these events. I bet they worry that at some point we are going to come onto their compound and roust them out.

Just heard Alberto Gonzales has resigned - probably so he could go home and spend more time with his family.

Col. Ann Wright was at the demonstration this weekend. I asked her if she'd like to speak at the Global Network's April 11-13, 2008 annual space organizing conference and protest at StratCom headquarters in Omaha, Nebraska. She said yes. This event is going to turn out to be quite exciting. Put it on your calendar now. StratCom is the base now preparing for the U.S. preemptive attack on Iran. They also run all the NSA electronic spying on us. So we can save them some time and money and just show up at their front gate and they can hear from all of us at once!

Sunday, August 26, 2007

GREAT EVENT IN KENNEBUNKPORT

It was a great demonstration in Kennebunkport yesterday. The police said there were 4,000 people there which is just what the lead organizer Jamilla El-Shafei was predicting.

In the photo above is Carlos Arredondo holding a photo of his son Alex who was killed in Iraq two years ago yesterday. Carlos, and his wife Melida, now spend their lives traveling around the country trying to end this insane occupation of Iraq.

My favorite speaker at the rally was former Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney from Atlanta, Georgia. The Democratic party ran her out of the Congress because she kept standing up and asking the hard questions. She was the first to enter a Bush impeachment resolution into the House of Representatives. There is some talk now that she might run for President on the Green Party ticket or for her old House seat as a Green. Either way she is staying in the middle of things.

Our march went well considering we had the 40 or so Gathering of Eagles and other Bush supporters to contend with. As we passed by them during the march they had about a dozen guys on motorcycles revving up their engines and making lots of noise. They were taunting us, screaming in our faces, trying to provoke folks but our peacekeepers got between us and them and we had no problems. I saw the "Eagles" go hardest after women who were members of Military Families Speak Out. They were calling them vulgar names and saying very hurtful things to them.

The Portland newspaper this morning had two large articles and quite a few photos. Look at here at this link: http://pressherald.mainetoday.com/

Our next big demo in Maine is the September 15 protest in Brunswick of the Blue Angels air show at the Navy Base. I am coordinating the event for Maine Veterans for Peace and we hope you will come out and march with us then.

If anyone doubts that those running this Iraq occupation scheme don't intend to bring the troops home take a look at this Washington Post story that acknowledges that the powers that be are planning at least a 10-year occupation - I'd suggest they intend for it to last til the oil is all gone.