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

With a new administration in Washington it will be a challenge to get the 'liberals' to hold Biden-Harris to the few 'progressive promises' they made during their campaign. Biden is bringing back many of Bush's neo-cons to head his foreign policy. I'll be on this case without hesitation.

Monday, June 23, 2008

JUNE 22 PHOTOS AND AN EMAIL FROM THE COLONEL

Menwith Hill U.S. Spy satellite base in England

Folks met in Brunswick, Maine on the town green for an hour of sign holding, writing letters to Condi Rice (who goes to the Czech Republic on July 10 to sign the Star Wars radar agreement), and we closed with a circle and everyone shared why they had come. Most of those in the photo fasted on June 22.
New York City

Blue Hill, Maine

Rome, Italy


Albuquerque, New Mexico out in front of Kirtland A.F.B. for an all-day fasting camp.


St. Paul, Minnesota


In dozens of cities all over the world the June 22 global day of fasting brought people out onto the streets in creative displays of solidarity with the 70% of the people in the Czech Republic who are working hard to reject U.S. plans to deploy a Star Wars radar facility in their country.

Thousands of signatures were gathered for the petition at http://www.nonviolence.cz/
In many places statements were written on paper plates to Secretary of State Rice and will be sent to her before her visit to Prague in early July.

You can find many more photos, and reports, at this web site.

At the end of the day I received an email from Col. Robert Suminsby, Jr. in which he said, "The point I made, and will continue to make, is that the country is on an unsustainable course. The growth of entitlement spending, left unchecked, will eventually crowd out all other parts of the federal budget."

Col. Suminsby worries that people like me are taking a fixed position of ”hands off entitlement spending”........"You see, I’m prepared to make sacrifices to fix national problems. I think others should expect to make sacrifices as well," he said.

I want to assure the Colonel that I too am ready to see "sacrifices" made for the good of the nation. I'd like to see the $14 billion of month we are wasting in Iraq and Afghanistan brought home to build rail systems, solar, and windmills. I'd like to not see us attack Iran. I'd like to see an end to tax cuts for the rich and the corporations. I want an end to the NSA's "warrantless wiretapping" of American citizens and people all over the world. I'd like to see at least a 50% cut in military spending for starters. (Just yesterday an article was sent around about the increases in funding for the Pentagon's high-tech black "secret" budget. I'd like to see the black budget shut down.) I'd like to see the 750 plus U.S. military bases around the world shut down.

Living at a time where we face increasing corporate media consolidation many of us have to rely on email, websites, and blogs to get our messages out to the general public. Newspapers are now in dire financial straits, in part, because people rely on the Internet as their primary source of information.

Col. Suminsby concluded his email to me by saying, "There’s precious little difference between you and any number of right-wing blowhards on talk radio…on either end of the ideological spectrum, if you insist on creating your own version of someone’s position and then attacking it, you’ll succeed only in making yourself feel good, and convincing those who already agreed with you."

I would thank Col. Suminsby for sending me the email. He should know that increasing majorities of the people in the U.S. and around the world are now quite uncomfortable with the escalating U.S. military empire. There is a growing backlash against U.S. militarism both here at home and abroad.

I noticed that the Colonel is soon to be transferred to Germany. I lived there in the mid-1960's when my Air Force father was stationed in Wiesbaden. One day our middle school class was taken to the Rhine River to view the ruins of a castle. The tourist guide informed us that the stone slab we were standing on had once been the barracks of Roman soldiers. I remember wondering to myself, "What were those soldiers doing so far from home?" Even at that young age I intuitively understood that empires are a contradiction and in time can not stand. They are destined to fall.

In our case the U.S. empire is now collapsing. One clear sign is that in the U.S. there is growing competition for the federal tax dollar. Will we fund the Pentagon or social progress? We can't serve two masters.

It appears that the debate will go on.

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