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

Saturday, November 01, 2008

A NEIMAN MARXIST

OK so I couldn't resist one more pre-electoral blog-joke-spot about Sarah.

You must click on this link: http://www.dresslikepalin.com/

and then play the dress like Sarah game.

Happy shopping and voting.

Friday, October 31, 2008

PEACEFUL PUMPKINS


Thursday, October 30, 2008

TRYING HARD TO MAINTAIN

I am trying hard to stay serene. It's not easy. The tensions are mounting on the left. The pressure is building. The words are flying. Get in line people say. Do as we do, do as we say, follow the crowd, we know what is best.

I've never been a good pack animal.

On the local PeaceWorks list serve there is a lively debate going on about Maine's U.S. Senate race. I've written about it before. The incumbent Republican Susan Collins and the Democrat's Rep. Tom Allen. There is a write-in candidate Herbert Hoffman who was bounced off the ballot by the Maine Democratic party for collecting signatures the same way everyone else in Maine does. The Secretary of State put Hoffman on the ballot. The Dems challenged it in court and lost. Then they appealed to the state Supreme Court and were "successful" in kicking Hoffman off.

Because of these Democratic party shenanigans many people in the progressive community can't vote for Tom Allen, the "liberal" Democrat. So the words are flying back and forth on the list serve.

I was trying to stay out of it.....I wanted to remain peaceful and above the fray. I didn't want to get into the down and dirty of state politics. After all, I am a peacenik. But some of the emails from folks have just been so ridiculous that, well, I just could not remain in my state of orange blossom honey harmony. So I jumped in.....

Last night I wrote: "I find it hard to believe that many people in the progressive community have stood back and watched the Maine Democratic party do what Karl Rove and the Republicans have become known for - electoral dirty tricks - and not said a mumbling word. When the Republicans pull dirty tricks people get all inflamed as they well should.
But when the Dems do it people turn their heads and look the other way. What was done to Herb Hoffman is one of the worst cases of electoral fraud that I've ever witnessed.
But what is the saddest part of the deal is that people who claim to want free and fair elections have walked away from this case because they don't want to be critical of the Dems.
Many people on the right claim that people on the left are hypocritical. They say we complain about Republican electoral fraud and don't criticize it when it is done on our side. In this case they are right. I am not going to look away. I will vote for Herb Hoffman for the US Senate."


I tried to keep the tone polite but firm. Respectful but direct.

This morning a response came from one woman. She said, "and you will be throwing your vote away because any normal thinking voter will realize that Hoffman cannot possibly win...so you will be voting FOR COLLINS AND AGAINST ALLEN...good going ...way to go...make your big point...don't try to make a change in government...just keep thinking like all the small minded talking heads....."

Now let me be so bold to analyze this response. First of all I have to say that I've lived in this community for 5 1/2 years and do not know who this woman is. She is on the list serve but never comes to events. But now that it is "election season" she uses the group's list serve to promote Democratic party candidates with PASSION. It's not the first time I've seen her respond in this debate. Some folks call people like this "trolls" I believe.

What, pray tell, is a "normal thinking voter"? A pack follower? A crowd pleaser?

Next, she didn't address my point which I think at least merits some level of acknowledgement and discussion. But loyal Dems can't, they must follow the party no matter how corrupt they have become.

The last point, about throwing my vote away. Susan Collins has more than a 10 point lead over Tom Allen. She remains very popular in the state and Allen has made no progress in his run against her. He is going to lose big. My vote ain't going to beat Allen.

Dems are frustrated and want to lash out at someone. Why not blame people like me, or Herb Hoffman, for the fact that he is going to lose? It makes life easier later on. This way the Dems don't have to reflect on the real reasons for Allen losing people who should be part of his base.....his long support for funding for the Iraq occupation.....his refusal to consider impeachment......refusal to support single-payer health care, his arrogance in general.......his refusal to stand up to his own party when they continued to enable Bush, especially during the past two years.

This same kind of discussion is going on around Obama as well. But since Obama now appears to be winning it is less intense. Daily though I get emails telling me that if Obama loses it will be people like me - independent thinkers - who will be responsible. It's a very simplistic take on politics. It's actually very presumptuous and could likely split the left badly over time if it continues.

OK, there, it's off my chest. I can try to return to my meditative state again.

Ohm................

Until the next email flies........

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

MCCAIN LOSES TO PALIN


It appears that it would take the biggest election coup d' cheat in the history of the world for McCain to win at this point.

I don't think anyone can argue that McCain-Palin have probably run the worst presidential campaign in U.S. history. From calling Obama a "terrorist" and "socialist" to McCain's debate "pacing" performance, to Palin's lack of basic political expertise, and her Saks Fifth Avenue clothes problems, this Republican campaign is a mess.

Yesterday we heard that one of McCain's staffers was saying that "Palin had gone rogue" and was basically feathering her own presidential aspirations for 2012. Nothing like a loyal running mate. It appears that McCain is drawing smaller crowds than Palin in these final days of the campaign. The Christian fundamentalists, pro-gun folks, anti-abortionists, anti-tax, and pro-war enthusiasts have already picked their favorite for the next time around. The 2012 campaign has officially begun.

It just goes to show how forgiving the right-wing is. Even though Palin has been charged with corruption in Alaska, has a $20,000 (in the first two weeks of October) hair stylist with her on the campaign plane and wears elitist clothes, none of that matters. Abortion, prayer and wolf killing trumps all that. The working class hard-right folks want a champion and they have found one. They are going to ride her as long as they can.

So McCain not only will lose to Obama, but he will lose to Palin as well.

With the major shift that is likely to happen in the U.S. Congress on election day the Republican party is going to be hurting for some time to come. The Senate will be close to a 60 vote majority for the Democrats and they are expected to pick up as many as 30 seats in the House.

There will be no reason now for the Dems to idle along as they have done since returning to power in 2006. To his credit Rep. Barney Frank (D-MA) has just called for a 25% cut in military spending. Admittedly Rep. Frank is not one of my favorite politicians. His efforts to lead the $700 billion Wall Street bailout being just the latest example of his cronyism.

The fact is though that George W. Bush doubled military spending while in office. So a 25% cut is really just a start on what is needed if we truly want to have serious change. The public is going to have to get behind this call for Pentagon cuts and push like hell.

It will be good to rejoice on November 5 that the worst Republican-era in American history has finally ended.

On November 6 the celebrating needs to end and we must begin to immediately made specific and determined demands on the Democrats. To do any less will mean an abdication of our role as citizens.

Monday, October 27, 2008

HELP NEEDED FOR GN'S 2009 SPACE ORGANIZING CONFERENCE

You might recall me previously mentioning that the Global Network will hold it's 2009 annual space organizing conference in Seoul, South Korea. Our event will be on April 2-4 and while there we will also hold a protest in Pyeongtaek which is a new U.S. military base presently under construction that will serve as a hub for all U.S. forces in the region.

It is now my task to raise $10,000 as quickly as possible so that we can make plans for the conference. We will have to offer travel assistance to activists so they can get from Europe, India, the U.S., and other places to South Korea. We must also try to offer our Korean friends some financial help as our host sponsors are taking on the bulk of financing the conference.

Korea, Japan, and Australia are becoming major participants in U.S. "missile defense" plans in the region as the Pentagon dramatically increases its military encirclement of China. The Asian-Pacific is fast becoming a trigger for war between the U.S. and China.

Our conference will help the Global Network expand the links between our members groups around the world and those who live and work in the region. We continue to believe that an increasingly coordinated and active global peace movement is necessary to organize against the dangerous U.S. military empire.

During the same early April period of 2009, peace groups in Europe will be observing the 60th "anniversary" of NATO by holding large protests and alternative conferences. The U.S. is now calculating to expand NATO's role into a global military alliance and many believe that it will soon be looking to move into the Asian-Pacific. So our conference in South Korea on April 2-4, 2009 will also be discussing these disturbing realities.

Even though we will have a new president in 2009 I strongly believe that the peace movement must be more active than ever if we are to stem the tide of U.S. militarism for resource control. Only by the constant building of new peace alliances across the globe can we ever hope to turn our world toward sanity and provide a real future for our children.

I hope you can help us by making a donation toward our conference fund. Your support will enable the Global Network to ensure that this important, and for us, groundbreaking event will be a success. You can send a check to the address below or click on our red Donate Now! button to give a secure credit card donation via our website.

I thank you for your support. Working together we can prevail for peace. We must!


Bruce K. Gagnon
Coordinator
Global Network Against Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space
PO Box 652
Brunswick, ME 04011

Sunday, October 26, 2008

THE ELECTORAL MAP

Click on graphic for full view