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....

My Photo
Name:
Location: Bath, Maine, United States

I grew up in a military family and joined the Air Force in 1971 during the Vietnam War. It was there that I became a peace activist.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

ON THE LAST LEG

I am sitting in a hotel near the Copenhagen airport. I arrived about two hours ago from Oslo, Norway after three days there. In the morning I catch a plane to Amsterdam and then home via Boston.

I had a brief shock tonight as I was leaving Oslo when the airlines discovered I was at the wrong airport to catch my plane to Copenhagen. I had flown into the main Oslo airport and everyone had assumed I would be flying out of the same airport. But that was not the case. Instead they said I had to go to another airport, which I of course had never heard of, or pay a severe fee to change the flight. They told me I'd have to call the travel agent, in Sweden who had made the initial trip arrangements, and they gave me a number to call. Sadly the phones did not work, or I did not know what I was doing when I dialed the number with my credit card. Either way I crawled back to the airline agent who by this time had talked with her boss and they decided to be kind to this worn out American and scheduled me for another flight and all the rest was without alarm. For a bit though I was in panic mode and very unhappy as you can imagine.

On Friday night I spoke at a well-attended event in Oslo organized by the Norwegian WILPF chapter. In the audience were representatives from several peace groups and an elected member of parliament who also represents her socialist party as their foreign policy minister in the ruling government. A journalist who has covered the "missile defense" issue for his newspaper also made a presentation about Norway's growing role in the U.S. program and space technology in general.

My talk was well received and people really responded to my big picture approach which did not get stuck on technology but instead focused on the larger strategic direction the U.S. was heading.

On Saturday Agneta Norberg and I were taken into the hills beyond Oslo for about a 6-7 mile walk through the beautiful countryside that was busy with hikers and bikers. In the winter I was told this is a big cross country skiing area as the very active Norwegians love the outdoors.

This morning Agneta and I met with three leaders of the WILPF group to do brainstorming and planning for their expanded effort to bring the space issue to the Nordic region. Then following that meeting, Dr. Dagmar Sorboe who is the president of Norway WILPF, took four of us out in her boat for a ride in the fjord (inlet from the ocean) to see sights which included old ruins from the time of the Nazi occupation during WW II.

I'll write more about all of this in my report once I get home. For now I am watching the last two innings of the Baltimore Orioles final baseball game of the season via the internet. They have finished in last place making it 10 or 11 losing seasons, can't remember which and at this point it doesn't really matter. The final record for the year in case you were wondering is 68-93. Very bad.

Throughout the trip people were asking about Obama and the upcoming U.S. election, Sarah Palin (they are universally not impressed and usually laughed), the banking bailout, NATO expansion, and wondering if the U.S. is going fascist. I've had some fascinating discussions as you can imagine.

So for never having been in the Nordic nations before I think things went very well. I made many great new friends and excellent contacts for future work. Agneta Norberg was pleased too as she will now do follow-up throughout the region helping to keep the wind in people's sails. I owe her many thanks for making it all possible and I think the Global Network and our space work will benefit from her having brought me here.

0 Comments:

Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home