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, December 19, 2009

US HISTORY OF OPPOSING SPACE WEAPONS BAN TREATY

Summary: The Prevention of Arms Race in Outer Space (PAROS) treaty resolution submitted in the UN First committee yearly since 1982 has always overwhelmingly passed. United States voted "no" twice, then has abstained 21 times, each year
from 1984-2004, when it started voting *no* again (4 times), until again abstaining in 2009.

It is quite clear that the military industrial complex does not want the successful negotiation of a new treaty to ban weapons in space. They are the source of US blockage of any progress.


2009: abstain (US & Israel)

Yes: 176, No: 0, Abstentions: 2, Non-Voting: 14, Total voting

membership: 192


2008: no (US) abstain (Israel)

Yes: 177, No: 1, Abstentions: 1, Non-Voting: 13, Total voting

membership: 192


2007: no (US) abstain (Israel)

Yes: 178, No: 1, Abstentions: 1, Non-Voting: 12, Total voting

membership: 192


2006: no (US) abstain (Israel)

Yes: 178, No: 1, Abstentions: 1, Non-Voting: 12, Total voting

membership: 192


2005: no (US & Israel)

Yes: 180, No: 2, Abstentions: 0, Non-Voting: 9, Total voting

membership: 191


2004: abstain (US, Israel, Haiti, Palau)

Yes: 178, No: 0, Abstentions: 4, Non-Voting: 9, Total voting

membership: 191


2003: abstain (US, Israel, Marshall Islands, Micronesia)

Yes: 174, No: 0, Abstentions: 4, Non-Voting: 13, Total voting

membership: 191


2002: abstain (US, Israel, Micronesia)

Yes: 159, No: 0, Abstentions: 3, Non-Voting: 29, Total voting

membership: 191


2001: abstain (US, Georgia, Israel, Micronesia)

Yes: 156, No: 0, Abstentions: 4, Non-Voting: 29, Total voting

membership: 189


2000: abstain (US, Israel, Micronesia)

Yes: 163, No: 0, Abstentions: 3, Non-Voting: 23, Total voting

membership: 189


1999: abstain (US, Israel)

Yes: 162, No: 0, Abstentions: 2, Non-Voting: 24, Total voting

membership: 188


1998: abstain (US, Israel, Marshall Islands, Micronesia)

Yes: 165, No: 0, Abstentions: 4, Non-Voting: 16, Total voting

membership: 185


1997: abstain (US)

Yes: 128, No: 0, Abstentions: 39, Non-Voting: 18, Total voting

membership: 185


1996: abstain (US)

Yes: 128, No: 0, Abstentions: 39, Non-Voting: 18, Total voting

membership: 185


1995: abstain (US)

Yes: 121, No: 0, Abstentions: 46, Non-Voting: 18, Total voting

membership: 185


1994: abstain (US)

Yes: 170, No: 0, Abstentions: 1, Non-Voting: 14, Total voting

membership: 185


1993: abstain (US)

Yes: 169, No: 0, Abstentions: 1, Non-Voting: 14, Total voting

membership: 184


1992: abstain (US, Micronesia)

Yes: 164, No: 0, Abstentions: 2, Non-Voting: 13, Total voting

membership: 179


1991: abstain (US)

Yes: 155, No: 0, Abstentions: 1, Non-Voting: 10, Total voting

membership: 166


1990: abstain (US)

Yes: 149, No: 0, Abstentions: 1, Non-Voting: 9, Total voting

membership: 159


1989: abstain (US)

Yes: 149, No: 0, Abstentions: 1, Non-Voting: 9, Total voting

membership: 159


1988: abstain (US)

Yes: 154, No: 1, Abstentions: 0, Non-Voting: 4, Total voting

membership: 159


1987: abstain (US)

Yes: 154, No: 1, Abstentions: 0, Non-Voting: 4, Total voting

membership: 159


1986: abstain (US)

Yes: 154, No: 0, Abstentions: 1, Non-Voting: 4, Total voting

membership: 159


1985: abstain (US, Grenada)

Yes: 151, No: 0, Abstentions: 2, Non-Voting: 6, Total voting

membership: 159


1984: abstain (US)

Yes: 150, No: 0, Abstentions: 1, Non-Voting: 8, Total voting

membership: 159


1983: no (US) abstain (United Kingdom)

Yes: 150, No: 0, Abstentions: 1, Non-Voting: 8, Total voting

membership: 159


1982: no (US) abstain (Australia, Belgium, Canada, Israel, Luxembourg,

Netherlands, United Kingdom)

Yes: 138 , No: 1 , Abstentions: 7 , Non-Voting: 11 , Total voting

membership: 157

Friday, December 18, 2009

COLD BUT STILL WALKING

* Actually I am getting a bit tired of taking on Senior Obama but it seems rather important these days. Our world is crumbling around us and this guy is working overtime to ensure that he does the opposite of everything that we truly need to wrest control of our country and planet from the hands of the corporate oligarchy.

* It's very cold here in Maine, the wind is blowing and the temperatures are hovering at the zero mark as I write this. I need to go out and bring more wood into the house for our now fully functioning wood stove. I went for a long walk in this weather yesterday and most people thought I was just a bit crazy for doing so. I keep remembering the words of our Florida friend Julie Netzer when we were moving to Maine almost seven years ago: "You wait til you get to Maine with that thin blood of yours after 30 years here in Florida. I'll give you one year, no, you are pretty stubborn, I'll give you two years and you will be back." But actually I love the cold weather.

* I taped another edition of my cable TV show the other day and noticed that December 18 is the sixth anniversary of the show we call This Issue. During this period I have had 74 guests. What a pleasure it has been. I thank all those who help produce the show: Eric Herter, Selma Sternlieb, Dan Ellis, Samantha Herter, and Bob Lezer. Without that volunteer crew it would not be happening.

* The new space war film Pax Americana and the Weaponization of Space is now scheduled to soon be aired on the French public TV network, Flemish public network, in France and Germany on the ARTE network, in Finland on the national public network, Sweden on national public network and in Israel on the YES cable network. A good start I'd say. They are now lining up key film festivals in the US to premier the film here.

* Tomorrow we have the next planning meeting of our Maine Campaign to Bring Our War $$ Home here at the Addams-Melman House in Bath. I promised to make a big pot of veggie soup for everyone as many of us will be standing for an hour before the meeting in the cold in front of Bath Iron Works for the Advent disarmament vigil.

* The radio show I do each week with Peter Woodruff has been moved to Wednesday from 6-8 pm (EST) on the Bowdoin College station. You can listen to the show live on-line by clicking on this link at WBOR and then hitting the yellow Listen Now button on the top right corner. We were doing the Sunday morning shift (we called ourselves the Sunday step-children). We play political music and talk shop. Tune in if you can.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

THE REAL WORLD LEADER



Democracy Now interviews the real leader of the global movement for peace, justice and environmental sanity.

Bolivian president Evo Morales calls for the end of capitalism because it is killing our Mother Earth. He calls on the US to end its wars abroad and instead invest the massive war funding on ways to deal with global climate change.

This man shows the world what a real leader is in comparison to the phony Barack Obama.

TELL THE TRUTH BROTHER KEITH

Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Barack Obama is now finished...his presidency is dead. He has destroyed the last vestiges of support he had out in the hinterlands.....he is officially a lame duck president after less than one year in office.

And the Democrats in charge of the House and Senate are dead on arrival as well.

Time for real hope and change - bring on the revolution. Start by pulling out of the two corporate capitalist political parties. Re-register as a human being for a start. You can't do any worse than what we have now.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

PINGREE & MICHAUD TAKE A DIVE

So far the answer is NO - the Dems will in fact expand the war(s).

The House of Representatives voted Wednesday to pay for wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Pakistan. Maine's two Democratic Party congress persons Chellie Pingree and Mike Michaud voted in favor of the war money.

The $636 billion Pentagon bill includes $128 billion to pay for the occupations in Iraq and Afghanistan but leaves until next spring the vote to pay for the 30,000 additional troops recently ordered to Afghanistan by Obama.

The measure passed 395-34 with almost no debate.

Those voting NO on the military budget and war funding bill were (23 Dems and 11 Repubs):

Baldwin
Bishop (UT)
Campbell
Chaffetz
Clarke
Costello
Duncan
Ehlers
Ellison
Filner
Flake
Gohmert
Grayson
Johnson (IL)
Kagen
Kucinich
Lee (CA)
Lewis (GA)
Lofgren, Zoe
Lummis
McDermott
Nadler (NY)
Paul
Payne
Polis (CO)
Quigley
Serrano
Shimkus
Stark
Towns
Velázquez
Welch
Woolsey
Wu

It's a sad day for Maine's peace loving people. Our congress persons say they are opposed to Obama's war surge but then vote for it. Typical cynical political manipulation of voters. Most folks don't pay close enough attention and will never know how they voted.

The political hacks count on that.

HOWARD DEAN IS VERY ANGRY

Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

A REAL HERO

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

BATH WEEKLY VIGIL BEGINS

We began our new weekly peace vigil (every Tuesday from 5-5:30 pm) tonight here in Bath. Since I moved to Maine almost seven years ago I have vigiled in Brunswick (about 10 miles away) on Friday nights but we have not had a weekly vigil here. With Obama's surge in Afghanistan underway it was clear to me that we needed to get one going in our town of just over 9,000 people.

Five of us set up on the busiest corner in town for the 1/2 hour tonight and got about 12 honks from cars going by. One woman, stopped at the light right in front of me, had her window down a bit and I could hear the Credence Clearwater Revival anti-war song "Fortunate Son" playing and then as she drove off she flipped us her middle finger. I saw that she was also singing along with the song - talk about cognitive dissonance! Most people driving by just tried to avoid eye contact.

So we will hold this vigil in Bath every Tuesday no matter the weather....rain, snow, cold......we will be there, even if it is only a couple of us.

We all need to step it up these days. Those twelve cars that honked were moved to push on their horns and our hope is that seeing us out there week after week will move some folks to take a step beyond the current political box they reside in.

We don't need everyone, we just need enough.

RADIO UPDATE: David Swanson and I did a one-hour radio interview together today on WBAI in New York City. You can listen to the audio here

THE WAR ON OUR CONSTITUTION



Paul Craig Roberts is an economist and a nationally syndicated columnist for Creators Syndicate. He served as an Assistant Secretary of the Treasury in the Reagan Administration earning fame as the "Father of Reaganomics". He is a former editor and columnist for the Wall Street Journal, Business Week, and Scripps Howard News Service.

Monday, December 14, 2009

CONGRESS MUST STOP FUNDING THESE WARS



Rep. Dennis Kucinich speaking at the anti-war rally in Washington DC last Saturday

EMPIRE DISSOLUTION TRAVEL STORIES (another exciting episode)

On the train ride back to Maine after speaking in wet New Haven, Connecticut last night I noticed that water was dripping quite steadily onto me from the right and left sides of my seat. I moved to another row.

Soon after I moved the train came to a dead stop and a couple of minutes later the conductor announced that we were waiting for a boat to pass under a draw-bridge and that as soon as it passed, and the bridge went down again, we’d be on our way.

The next announcement was that the draw-bridge was stuck in the upright position and we would be further delayed…..but we were promised, maintenance teams were on the scene to fix the bridge as quickly as possible.

(We eventually got going again after about a 45 minute ‘pause‘.)

While in New Haven I was told by one gentleman, who is being forced into early retirement by wealthy Yale University as a budget cutting mechanism, that a middle school in the region is now only teaching reading and math to their students. All other subjects have been cut from the school curriculum. Is there any wonder why working class kids are quitting school before graduation in record numbers? They know that they are getting an inferior education and that they have virtually no job prospects upon graduation - with the exception of a free trip to Iraq, Afghanistan, or Pakistan. The return to feudalism in America is full-bore on the way.

I spoke to a peace group in New Haven that has been in conflict for the past couple of years. I didn’t know before I made the trip that the group had been in a legal battle for control of a considerable endowment they had been sitting on. My talk was their first annual meeting in several years and the small attendance was clear evidence of their struggle to reestablish themselves again.

I fashioned a talk about connecting the dots between space warfare issues, endless war for control of declining resources, climate change, the dissolution of social progress, and the great necessity for the peace movement to talk about jobs - using conversion of the military industrial complex as the key vehicle to create more jobs. After all the public wants jobs, don’t they? Why can’t we confidently proclaim that we have a much better way of dealing with the collapse of corporate capitalism? The people are anxiously waiting for someone to stand up and tell the truth about a better way……

In the 24 hours before my talk I spoke with several activists in the New Haven area who told me that many in the “progressive” movement in the city (unions, environmentalists, social justice, etc) were not particularly interested in talking about our current wars or cutting military spending. Their powerful Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro, a Democrat, also doesn’t want to discuss those issues with representatives of the peace community. The subject is essentially verboten.

This is one snapshot of a crumbling America in total denial about the elephant in the middle of the room. We are not supposed to talk about our wars and historic levels of military spending, especially with the Democrats now in charge. And amazingly there are some elements of the “progressive” community who go right along with the jolly minstrel show - because they don’t want to piss the Democrats off! Just stick to your single issue focus and pretend that everything else is gonna be alright.

The idea of real solidarity does not exist within significant portions of the “progressive” movement in the US. Sure we sing about it (Solidarity forever, solidarity forever, solidarity forever, our unity makes us strong) but we don’t practice it much. The Indians used to say “put your ear to the railroad tracks and hear the train coming.” Here we are in the middle of two endless wars that are chewing up scarce resources like a river full of piranha, and some declining organizations are too damn afraid to speak the truth about what is coming down all around us.

(I hear a faint voice in the back of my mind…..power corrupts, even among the powerless.)

It’s like people are frozen in time just hoping for change. One thing I’ve learned over the years is that you have to make things happen - change doesn’t just take place because the oligarchy suddenly decided to “make nice”.

The missing ingredient in all of this is courage. The only way we are going to get out from behind the eight-ball is to find the will to pull ourselves out of our collective isolation and move together into purposeful action. Look at the way Latin American movements have taken power in recent years by building multi-issue coalitions that connect the dots.

We could begin by talking to everyone we come across about bringing our war money home to help deal with our crumbling nation. I tried it with one of the chimney guys that came to our house the other day and discovered his son is in Afghanistan. By the end of the conversation he was expressing real doubts about the war and its costs. I’d bet anything that few people ever ask him how he feels about the whole mad situation.

Speak up, where ever you are, and see how much better you will feel for having done it. We need your voice.