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, October 12, 2007

POWER STRUCTURE CONTROLS SELECTION OF PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATES

The media is promoting the inevitability of a Hillary victory to be the Democratic party nominee for president. The decision has been made at the top long ago.

Almost two years ago, at the Rev. Billy Graham's last big evangelical rally, Hillary and Bill Clinton were sitting in the front row. Graham stopped in the middle of his preaching and said, "Bill you would have made a great preacher. And Hillary, you are going to be a great president." Knowing Graham's history as the primary "spiritual advisor" for Richard Nixon and the Bush family this was quite an endorsement. The very next day I watched on the national news as Bill Clinton flew to Maine to play golf with George. H. W. Bush in Kennebunkport. Was a deal being cut?

Just last week I twice saw Hillary say on TV that she'd not be bringing the troops home by the end of her first term in 2013. Hillary isn't talking to you and me - she is letting the power structure know that she will play ball with the big boys.

Obama, I predict, will be Hillary's vice-presidential running mate. He has alot of grassroots support and since Hillary has so many negatives he would balance that all out a bit. Obama would provide energy for Hillary's otherwise lack luster attraction to voters. It would be the mod squad ticket - one black, one white, one blond (?). If for some reason Obama falters along the primary campaign trail (by showing to much independence and integrity) then Gov. Bill Richardson (a Hispanic) from New Mexico is being readied in the wings. He has long ago shown his loyalty to the military industrial complex which rules his state.

On the Republican side I think it will be Rudolf Gulianni for president and very possibly Gov. Mike Huckabee from Arkansas. Gulianni is a shill for the corrupt forces that run the country and would continue the militarist policies of the Bush administration while proclaiming that he is a social moderate. Huckabee, a real hard-line conservative from the south, would balance the ticket out and make Gulianni more acceptable to the fundamentalist elements within the Republican party.

So at the top of the two parties you'd have candidates that are not really popular with the rank-and-file of their parties but really are the choices of the power structure. Thus the need to put someone in the V-P spots that would help keep their core voters loyal to the ticket.

This race, as much as any in American history, will be about ensuring the continuation of the U.S. war for control of oil and to continue the massive profits of the weapons industry.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

PROTESTING THE SPACE WAR SHOPPERS

Local activists in Omaha made a huge shopping cart yesterday and stuffed it with mock missiles and boxes labeled as depleted uranium and other weapons now being produced by the weapons corporations gathering inside the Quest Convention Center.

The convention, called Strategic Space and Defense 2007, is billed as The Global Security Conference for Space and Defense Professionals. Translated that means several thousand uniformed military brass and weapons contractors filed into the convention center yesterday while our group held banners outside. The truck pictured above, with the shopping cart mounted on top drove up and down the street in front of the convention center and pulled a small trailer with hay bales on it. Seated on the hay bales were several activists singing songs calling on the conventioneers to "stop shopping" for war in space. (Click on the photo above for a better view of the shopping cart. It was quite a piece of work.)

One full {bird} Colonel stopped by our vigil for some time and talked, and debated, with several of our folks. In the end he told them that it was true that StratCom is in charge of preparing the attack on Iran and that in order to stop others {like Iran} from having nasty nuclear weapons we have to hit them first and if necessary to suspend civil liberties in the U.S. to ensure full compliance at home. We later heard that as the conference inside began the master of ceremonies started his talk by thanking Nebraskans for Peace for holding their demonstration outside - just once more proving that the military guaranteed our precious right to assemble.

Next time any of you run into trouble getting a permit to protest please just call your local military installation and they will come right over and take care of the situation. Their job, after all, is to make it possible for us peaceniks to protest!

No media showed up which appears to be normal these days for such events as the corporate dominated mainstream media runs cover for the new arms race in space. It is a subject that is not to be publicly discussed, especially the fact that there are people standing outside the convention holding signs and banners. It would be a danger if the tax payers found out that the new arms race was going to be "the largest industrial project in the history of the planet Earth" necessitating the destruction of social progress in order to pay for it.

More protests were planned today but I had to stay in the home of my host to do a 40-minute radio interview with a station in California's Mendocino County. I got a very nice response from the people who called into the show and the host proved to be well studied with excellent questions to lead the discussion. It's always encouraging to see a progressive radio host make an effort to really familiarize themselves with the issue. All the callers were interested and supportive. They just need to learn more about the issue and help others learn about it as well. I suggested they check the Global Network website and turn people onto the Space Video section of our menu.

At 4:30 pm today we do another vigil on the campus of the University of Nebraska-Omaha which has a StratCom facility on campus. I'm told the facility, built largely with public funds, is top-secret and is one more example how our academic institutions across the country are being militarized as is the rest of our culture.

This is the way fascism lives and grows. Secrecy, fear, flag-waving, and aggressive military interventions. The resistance to this growing fascism must grow as well or we will in the end find ourselves in even deeper trouble than we are today.

We have to stop being sheep that are being led to slaughter.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

SEEING THE GODS OF METAL

Yesterday my hosts in Omaha took a couple of us visitors to the Strategic Air Command (SAC)museum just outside the city.

There were loads of elementary school kids running around the place being prepared for a future of war in space. A local boy, turned NASA astronaut, has prominence in the place and you even get to see his flight boots inside a glass case.

Inside the museum, when you walk in, is an SR-71 "blackbird" suspended from the ceiling. It is a now retired surveillance and reconnaissance plane. My step-dad worked on the plane's spy cameras when he was stationed at Beale AFB in California in 1969-1972. I remember once he took me inside of the high-security work place where they repaired and loaded the cameras. He was not thrilled when I became a peacenik.

The museum has displays of the bomb dropped over Hiroshima and Nagasaki and a huge number of planes are inside the museum - B-52, B-1 bomber, and others dating back to WW II. I told my friends that a large photo, with some of the older planes, had been on my bedroom wall when I was a kid. My dad, who worked in the early years in a SAC photolab, had mounted the picture for me and I carried it with us as we moved from one base to another around the world.

I, like most kids, never thought about what these planes did and who they did it for. I lived behind the shelter of the barbed wire fences on SAC bases and regularly saw the sign outside the gate that read "Peace is our Profession." Maybe that message, drummed into my head over and over again as a youngster, led me to work in the peace movement. I suppose I can thank SAC for my career.

Today I go talk to a high school class and then in the afternoon we will hold a vigil outside the Strategic Space Arms Bazaar that begins in Omaha. We will hold protests there each day for the next three days.