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

Monday, October 12, 2009

SPINNING THE WEB

On my trips to big cities like New York or Seoul I am always a bit overwhelmed by the sheer numbers of people and motor vehicles moving around. Living as I do in a city with a population of about 10,000 (Bath), and a state with about 1.4 million (Maine), helps create this sense of awe.

When I am in the big cities I think about all the water that is used, and all the toilets that are flushed each day (where does all the waste go?), and all the gasoline that is used, and the pollution that is created.

I think about the 50 people in one place that I will speak with, or the hundred folks in another. Maybe a few thousand will read an article about my work in some publication. (In fact one activist in Seoul sent my current speech to an email list of 4,000 in recent days.) But these numbers are a drop in the bucket in a city of over 10 million people.

It's rather humbling to think about it. How does one go about really reaching the people I wonder? Corporate advertising and corporate media have this down to an art. They have the resources and the abilities to fix an entire city, an entire country, and an entire world on a particular subject in a moments notice if they wish. That is real power.

It's no wonder that you see so many people in big cities moving from one shop to another buying the expensive products that have been marketed to such an extent that their logos are branded in the brains of most people. At the Seoul train station there is a huge McDonald's hamburger joint and the place is packed to the gills. The younger generation has been brainwashed to believe that McDonald's is the happening place, just like I was at their age.

But there are still the fruit and veggie carts all along the streets here in Seoul too. They have the big fat sweet purple Korean grapes that are served with most meals I've had since arriving here. They have those over sized apples and melons that dwarf the ones we have at home. I wonder if they are so big because of some super-duper pesticide or are they natural? I'm afraid to ask.

In my talks I've found a way to weave in the issues of peak oil and climate change. I talk about US military policy now being all about control of global resource extraction. Control the distribution of fossil fuels and you control the keys to the global economic engine even if the American economy is collapsing at the same time.

I talk about how space technology now ties this whole US global military empire together, net-centric warfare they call it at the space command. I'm trying to help people put the pieces of the puzzle together so we all can share the full picture with the masses of people who are just rushing by in their daily grind of living life.

It's a bit-by-bit process for sure. The Internet helps us spread these messages a lot. But the people need to have a hunger for information, for truth, and for change and I don't see that right now.

I see a lot of resignation, fear, and conformity to the prevailing ethic of consumerism and upward mobility. Sure people would rather have a nice clean environment, more trees, clean air and water, but they don't necessarily want to have to fight for real democracy, peace, and social justice. It's easier to go along and get along. Demand real change so we can deal with global warming? Too big for most people to take on. Same goes for peace in spaceā€¦..

The whole Obama Nobel Peace Prize thing is still stuck in my throat. I can't get over the picture of him gathering his Afghanistan war council together soon after hearing that he won the prize. Cognitive dissonance is defined as psychological conflict resulting from incongruous beliefs and attitudes held simultaneously.

Still we press onward and I am so damn proud to be with those all over the world who keep faithful to the task.

I have been ending my talks here in Korea with these words. Thought I'd share them with my blog readers:

What does it mean to be a human being in the world? What is the most important job for those of us living on our Mother Earth today?

I think of the spider, spinning the web. The spider never grows weary, never gives up, no matter the difficulties. Even if the spider has to spend its whole life just making one web it will do so. The spider understands its role in nature.

I've come to see my role as a spinner of sorts as well. My job is to work with people all over the world, linking us to one another, sharing information with one another, encouraging one another, all moving together to bring peace and sanity to this beautiful but fragmented world. My job is to never give up, to always keep spinning, and to try to remember to love, even when my heart feels hard.

Love our enemies. Treat others, as we would like to be treated. Honor our elders and the children. Protect our Mother Earth from harm. Forgive those who have hurt us so that we too might be forgiven when we hurt others.

I keep praying to the Great Spirit, asking for the wisdom and the strength to keep doing my spinning work. I pray that I can touch some hearts, that I will be understood. I pray that others will find their paths and help us build the peace here on Earth.

I pray that someday the people of Korea will live in a unified nation, as one people again.

The Native American Indians said that the sacred hoop, the sacred circle, was broken. The time has come for us to heal the sacred hoop and our broken spirits.

2 Comments:

Blogger BuelahMan said...

Beautiful, Bruce.

10/12/09, 9:42 AM  
Blogger Loring said...

Good words for us all to live by.

10/12/09, 6:17 PM  

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