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.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

OBSERVATIONS FROM MARY BETH


By Mary Beth Sullivan

Written on Day 8 of her hunger strike - today is Day 9


It’s a strange feeling, to be on a hunger strike while sitting at home.

The whole purpose of the strike part of the hunger is to be working hard to attract attention, media, sympathy for the cause. But I’m not so comfortable drawing attention to myself. And, to be honest, beyond the two weeks of hour-long vigils we held when Bruce was striking, I’m not so sure what else to do. I wrote an op-ed and sent it off to the local Times Record. They should publish it sometime in the coming week. And the focus at this point is to encourage the one-day solidarity fast on June 22. Our local gathering on the mall in Brunswick will bring a good energy to us all, I am sure.

Meanwhile, I’ve been reflecting on an article that appeared in Z Magazine, and circulated around the internet recently: “Radar, Star Wars, & the Czech Republic” from May: http://www.zcommunications.org/zmag/viewArticle/17496 In it, Andre Vitchek brings us to the Czech Republic. It appears that he spent time walking through the countryside and interviewing people. He takes us to Brdy Highlands to visit with some of the residents of the local small villages near the proposed radar site. They have strong opinions. One small village (42 permanent residents) held its own referendum. One hundred percent were against the radar (and foreign troops) settling in just a couple miles from their homes. The area has a history of Nazi bases and Soviet missiles in their hillside. The mayor is quoted as saying, “We’ve had enough of foreign troops on our land and this time we are going to fight to the last drop of blood to prevent it from happening.”

There are other quotes from villagers that keep me motivated as I strike:

“…the naturally pristine Brdy Highlands are the source of drinking water for the entire Western part of the Czech Republic.”

“We are sick of living next to a pile of weapons belonging to foreign powers.”

“We love this land. All we are asking for is tranquility and peace and no foreign troops. But the Americans are already here; they are surveying the area, periodically and secretly.”

“Czechs have to finally be on their own. We were for too long under the military boots of others.”

“I have nothing against the American people, but I can’t stomach American expansionism.”

“The government has already invested several millions in a PR campaign…to convince Czech citizens that the base will be good for the country.”

“For several years, negotiations were done in secrecy.”

“…recently the Minister of Foreign Affairs suggested that the radar can be used as surveillance against Russia.”

Vitchek then quotes a reporter in the U.S. media: “The Czechs generally have been receptive to the idea of the U.S. installing missile-tracking radar southwest of Prague.”

Up is down. Down is up. Two-thirds of Czechs are opposed to this radar base; against any foreign base on their territory. The media at home tell us the opposite.

The article makes me want to walk the hillside; visit the local pubs; be near a people who, once again, the U.S. is pressuring its government to betray.

I am grateful for a populace that has not given up; for the creative nonviolent efforts that has sparked so much activity. Truth is such a powerful force.

I have no idea what the final outcome of this struggle of the Czech people will be. I am certain that the seeds it is planting are being nourished in fertile soil. May my hunger today offer a drop of water on those thirsty seeds.

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