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: Brunswick, Maine, United States

I'm back to work for the Global Network. Will continue to help Lisa Savage for US Senate campaign on my free time. Trying to self-isolate as much as possible. Best wishes and good luck to you all.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

PROGRESS REPORTED FROM PRAGUE

Activists at Union Square in New York City on Monday

Day five of my solidarity hunger strike

We had nine on the street in downtown Brunswick today for the hour. Reception was better than yesterday but still people are unsure about this "hunger strike" about Star Wars bases in Central Europe - and just where is Central Europe?

We got the following message from Prague this morning:

"We have obtained the dialogue we were looking for!!! Tomorrow, Thursday May 29, there will be a meeting with the Minister of Foreign Affairs, the one who will have to sign the agreement with Condoleezza Rice.

After the open letter of Dennis Kucinich, we have received also a letter from Luisa Morgantini, Vice-president of the European Parliament, who supports the protest against the space shield and commits herself to inform the Parliament about it.

There is also more space in the mass-media.

For all these reasons our friends in Prague think that it is not necessary now to send protest letters to Czech embassies and to the president Klaus. It seems that in these days hundreds of mails and fax have arrived to their embassies all over the world and perhaps this has contributed to this first opening."

I would venture to guess that the Czech government figures they must stem the tide now before this hunger strike, and growing support, becomes more of a political problem. While I'd like to hope that this means some level of negotiations and compromise by their government I would venture to guess it is more of a public relations move. They likely just want to appear in the Czech media to look like they are "listening" to the opposition rather than seriously changing policy.

But even with that said, this is a great step forward because at the very least this meeting will likely insure major media coverage for the hunger strikers. It really is a strong signal of recognition, always the first step that is required before negotiations can seriously take place.

So clearly the European and worldwide protests are having some effect on the government. My feeling is that now is the time to step up the pressure. Now is the time to sign the on-line petition at http://www.nonviolence.cz/ and it is also a good time to send a solidarity message from your local peace group to the hunger strikers in the Czech Republic.

As for me, I am doing fine today. Went for a short walk after the vigil today which felt nice. But now I am back on my bed with my laptop getting my work done. My energy level is low and I've lost 10 pounds already. Having a high metabolism like I do makes me burn the pounds away fast I guess.

More tomorrow.

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