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, November 29, 2009

CRUNCH TIME FOR PEACE MOVEMENT

Protests have begun across the country to take a stand against Obama's coming announcement to surge in Afghanistan.

Here in the midcoast of Maine ten of us signed a letter to the editor of our local paper outlining our opposition and informing the community about our planned protest in Brunswick next Wednesday right after Obama's announcement.

This announcement will be "do" or "die" time for the peace movement in America. If we simply take it without significant push-back then Obama and the rest of the war hawks will feel empowered to continue their expansion of the Afghanistan-Pakistan war. Instead, if they see significant and growing opposition that could translate into the House of Representatives finding the courage to cut funding for these wars then a whole new dynamic comes into play.

As soon as Obama makes his announcement, and we now generally have a good idea what he is going to say, then the ball moves to the court of the House. It is there that we must focus our energy and our protest in the coming months.

Yesterday we had a planning meeting of a committee here in Maine to develop a 3-month Afghanistan war campaign that would begin soon after the new year begins. Our committee came up with a good proposal and tomorrow we will be sending it out widely in Maine for local activists and peace groups to review and discuss. Our hope is that we will have strong support from folks statewide to target our two members of the House to get them to vote against the $50 billion Afghanistan war supplemental that is expected to come to the Congress in the early spring. We also want to push our two Congresspersons to become stronger leaders in the House as one belongs to the conservative Blue Dogs and the other to the Progressive Caucus. Both of them did vote against the last Afghanistan war supplemental bill - but they do it quietly, almost sheepishly.

All of us in the US must do more in the next few days to make a statement against this war. We need to call Congress, write a letter to a local paper, hold a sign in a street protest opposing Obama's surge, and help build a wider and deeper movement to end this war. And I believe that we must connect the war to the growing fiscal crisis in America.

The public understands that we have a fiscal crisis here at home. They know school funding is being cut, they know real health care reform is not going to happen, and they daily see the crumbling infrastructure all around us as roads, bridges, public buildings, and social services are left to fall apart.

It's all hands on deck time for us. The question for each of us to answer is, am I going to come alive at this crucial point in history, or am I going to be a spectator?

INFO UPDATE: The $120 billion Afghan-Iraq war supplemental (and now part of the 2010 Defense Bill) was already approved but has yet to be finalized by conference committee and not yet signed by Obama. It must be done by Dec 18 or money starts to run out....so this must go back to House and Senate for second approval before going to Obama.....

Then following this new Obama surge in Afghanistan another war supplemental will be needed and would likely be brought to the House some time in the spring, probably before May.

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