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

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

THE HIPPIES WERE RIGHT

* I had an email this morning from a Catholic nun in the Midwest who shared her frustration with the media and Obama. "I am so frustrated with all the news media, even public radio which I usually like, in the way they present our country's actions as great and other countries as wrong. It's the same words about Iran's nuclear ambitions without mentioning or admitting our own that are worse -- about our working for 'peace' and everyone else wanting war when we are guilty of most of it ourselves."

My first phone call this morning was from a woman in Central Maine who is helping us with the New Spring Peace Walk (I volunteered to coordinate the Maine portion of the walk) that will pass through the state from March 24 - April 1 on its way to New York City in time for the international conference and protest prior to the start of the UN's Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) Review Conference. The woman also expressed her utter frustration with Obama and we both concluded that those who put party before movement issues are doing us all a great disservice.

* It appears to me that the NPT Review Conference is in big trouble as we see Obama's 2011 military budget calls for increases in funding for the nuclear labs across the country and his expansion of "missile defense" in Eastern Europe. In spite of this the U.S. continues to arrogantly lecture Iran and North Korea about building nuclear weapons. While in the U.S. Senate Obama voted in favor of the U.S.-India Nuclear deal that will help that country build more nukes in a very unstable region of the world. Talk about hypocrisy!

Russia’s military Chief of Staff, General Nikolai Makarov, yesterday said that the new START treaty with the United States on nuclear arms limitation was being hindered by US plans to deploy missile defenses along the Russian frontier. General Makarov’s comments echoed those of Deputy Prime Minister Sergei Ivanov over the weekend, who insisted that “it is impossible to talk serious about the reduction of nuclear capabilities when a nuclear power [the U.S.] is working to deploy protective systems against vehicles to deliver nuclear warheads possessed by other countries.”

I have never believed that Obama and the U.S. was serious about these negotiations. I have always been convinced that Obama's now famous "Prague speech" calling for elimination of nukes was just international posturing. If negotiations do break down the U.S. will blame it on Russia just like today we see Obama saying, "I tried to talk to Iran but they wouldn't listen. Now we are going to have to squeeze the hell out of them."

* We had our weekly peace vigil here in Bath last night and as I was walking home with Karen Wainberg a pickup truck drove by and the driver yelled out, "Why don't you move to Canada?" I told Karen that in all my years as an activist I'd often been heckled while holding a sign on the street but had never been heckled while walking home. I take it as a compliment that our vigil, which began on December 15, is starting to have an effect.

The sad thing is that the pickup truck driver is likely one of those who complains about the collapsing economy and the nation's growing debt. He is probably an anti-tax guy who often grouses about "big government spending" yet like many "fiscal conservatives" never goes near the issue of military spending. He should get himself one of those T-shirts that my next door neighbor wore last summer that said, "The hippies were right".

2 Comments:

Blogger erich said...

As readers who follow your link to Greg Mello's Bulletin article will discover, Obama's Prague speech was more of an assurance to the nuclear weapons industry that new weapons would be funded than it was a commitment to seek a zero nuclear weapons world. In the later sense, Obama follows all previous presidents who have reject UN resolution #1 to eliminate nuclear weapons, adhering to the strategy coined by St. Augustine when he stated, "Lord grant me chasity, but just not yet ".

Obama had already made that position clear, when he agreed to keep Bob Gates on as Sect. of DOD, after Bob Gates stated in an Oct. 28, 2008 speech:

To be blunt, there is absolutely no way we can maintain a credible deterrent and reduce the number of weapons in our stockpile without either resorting to testing our stockpile or pursuing a modernization program.

http://www.defense.gov/Speeches/Speech.aspx?SpeechID=1305

"Modernism" is the current euphemism for "new nuclear weapons"

2/10/10, 1:27 PM  
Anonymous Brother Jonah said...

When the 'necks invite me to leave the country and ask why I don't, I say it's because then they would be able to screw it up unchallenged.

2/11/10, 6:16 PM  

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