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

Saturday, November 29, 2008

ANOTHER TRADITION

Sung-Hee Choi from South Korea sent us this photo of her mother, her 97 year old grandmother and a friend making kim-chee. Fifty cabbages from her father's garden went into making the traditional Korean dish. Sung-Hee promises that when the Global Network meets in South Korea next April 16-18 for our annual space organizing conference that she will make 100 different varieties of kim-chee. We probably won't hold her to that promise.

Today three of us from our house went to a local church to learn how to make interior window insulation panels. We made three for our house and one for the church. All together it took about four hours of work. After our recent home energy audit we were told we have the equivalent of a four square foot hole in our house so these window panels will help close some of that gap. The problem is we have about 40 windows in our big house so at this rate we should have them all finished by 2015 or so.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

GIVING THANKS FOR ALL LIFE

This turkey was pardoned. Actually a friend in northwest Florida sent me this photo of a wild turkey on their land out in the country.

Today housemate Karen and I drove out to a local organic farm and got an 18 pounder for our Addams-Melman House dinner tomorrow. We are expecting about 17 people. Family and friends to celebrate what is one of my favorite holidays.

I love turkey. My father was a chicken and turkey farmer in Maryland before he met my mother. He was a back to nature kind of guy. No TV and other trappings of wealth and comfort. A humble and simple man. When he married my mom he spiced the place up but she quickly grew tired of the farm life and got him to sell it. He was never the same after that.

I love Thanksgiving because I love the fall. I love family and friends coming together to share with one another and the fact that we are not buying a bunch of presents that people don't need makes it even better.

I like the idea of Thanksgiving, giving thanks for all our blessings. Giving thanks to the Mother Earth, to the wind and the sun and the water. To the plants, trees, animals and more. It's sad that our industrial, techno society loses touch with all that. Thanksgiving reminds me of what evil things we did/still do in this country to Native Americans.

Housemate Maureen's mother died yesterday and she was down in Cape Cod to be with her when it happened. She is back now in time for Thanksgiving.

Karen has been down in Florida for the past six weeks helping a lifelong friend pass on from cancer. She came home for Thanksgiving and her friend died yesterday as well.

So our house is filled with a spirit of reflection and appreciating life. We are thinking about all those we love, near and far away, and sending them our best.

My favorite musician Ray Davies (The Kinks) wrote a song called Thanksgiving Day while he was living for a time in New Orleans a couple of years ago. You might check it out here.

I send Thanksgiving greetings and blessings to all of you out there. However you spend the day, if you do at all, I wish you the best.

Bruce

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

CHANGE?

President-elect Obama's team today leaked that Secretary of Defense Robert Gates (on the right) will stay on in his administration. Gates has long-standing ties to the Bush crime family.

This is the change people voted for?

How will be Obama apologists explain this one?

I know, I know, Obama has a secret plan that he will spring on us at just the right time. I've heard it all before.

This whole thing is looking worse every day......

Google the Crown family in Chicago.....General Dynamics weapons corporation and early Obama supporters.

Monday, November 24, 2008

OBAMA SIGN-ON LETTER OPPOSING "MISSILE DEFENSE" BASES

I sent around a letter today to our Global Network contacts in the U.S. inviting people and/or organizations to sign-on to a letter I have written to President-elect Obama urging him to reject Bush's "missile defense" deployments for Poland and the Czech Republic.

So far I am getting an excellent response.

If you live in the U.S. and would like to have your name/group on the letter let me know at globalnet@mindspring.com right away.

Be sure to include your city/state along with your name and organization.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

SYMBOLS AND MESSAGES

I just read a profound piece by Chris Hedges about the more than 42 million Americans, 20% whom are high school graduates, who cannot read.....50 million read at a 4th or 5th grade level. He lays out a frightening but real case about how this "post-literate society" can be easily manipulated by politicians and political campaigns that rely on images, slogans, entertainment, and distortions of the truth in order to keep people in a state of illusion and amnesia. Hedges says, "We prefer happy illusions....We confuse how we feel with knowledge."

Maybe the most radical thing someone can do is become a volunteer for the local literacy society.

Last night I went to hear Jim Scott sing at the Unitarian Church in Brunswick. I worked with Jim back in the late 80's and early 90's when we came to Florida to participate in our peace pilgrimage that walked from the Florida-Georgia border south to Cape Canaveral. Over the years Jim would sing at various protests we held at the space center calling for an end to the militarization of space. Jim, former guitarist for the Paul Winter Consort, has traveled the nation for years playing and writing songs about peace, the environment, and the spiritual side of life. It was a real pleasure to see him again after so many years. He had been living in the northwest but has moved back east to Massachusetts and comes up to Maine now and then.

This morning I heard from another old friend from Florida, Tom Levine, who I knew when I lived in Orlando 15 years ago. Tom, a real character, ran for city council while I was there and had the best homemade campaign signs ever. I remember one that really got the public's attention - "Save Water, Shower with a Friend." I used to put his signs in my front yard but a city worker who lived in the neighborhood kept taking them down....that was life back then in conservative Central Florida. Tom has a new book about the unrestrained development that has ruined Florida. He is calling it Paradise Interrupted.

One way the progressive community can do a better job in communicating our message with an increasingly illiterate public is through music and the use of public art. We all need to think about that and talk with local artists about how we can involve them in finding creative ways to "talk with folks."