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.

Friday, March 19, 2010

CORPORATE AGENDA CONTROLS BOTH PARTIES

* Today marks the seventh anniversary of the US-led invasion of Iraq. It should be called the "forgotten occupation". We now have "continuity of government" in Washington as the Obama-team has embraced the Bush war machine and successfully neutralized a significant part of the left. Obama has done what Bush could never dreamed of doing - expand the war in Afghanistan and quieted the anti-war fervor across the country. Whether it is war or corporate health care plans, Obama has shown that he works for the rich in this country. Normally the left fights those who champion the interests of the rich and powerful, but the magician in the White House has changed that. The Democrats have now become appendages of corporate power and significant segments of the "progressive" community have become apologists for Obama and their weak-willed party.

Jane Hamsher writes about all this on her blog at Fire Dog Lake, "Whatever Barack Obama wants to do will be the farthest left any piece of legislation gets, and if anyone should try to challenge from the left, the unions and the liberal organizations and party blogs would rise up to condemn them and whip them into line — even if it means completely reversing themselves and devolving into total incoherence. And they’ll be rewarded with carve-outs and corporate money and expensive advertising and personal sinecures for playing their role in facilitating the corporate cash pipeline. Because that’s the job of the ever-expanding veal pen: cover Obama’s left flank and shut down progressive opposition."

I would call it corruption - and spiritual decay.

* Some of us though remain obstinate and continue to make demands on the corporate Democrats who now run the country as Republican-lites. Just this past Wednesday 25 of us gathered in downtown Portland to hand out 400 leaflets for our Maine Campaign to Bring Our War $$ Home. We spread out to several busy lunch time street corners and held signs and talked with the public about endless war spending. Then we took letters up to the office of our Congresswoman Chellie Pingree (D-ME) and told her staff that we are working hard across the state to organize the public to demand that she, and Maine's other member of Congress (Rep. Mike Michaud), become leaders in the House of Representatives against any more war funding. They both voted last December in favor of another $137 billion for Iraq-Afghanistan-Pakistan war funding as part of the 2010 Pentagon appropriation bill.

* Last night I was asked by the local group PeaceWorks to moderate a wind power forum that drew 125 people. Wind power has become a hugely controversial issue in Maine as big industrial corporations want to build wind farms on the tops of some of Maine's most spectacular mountains. Local folks are organizing in communities across the state to slow down the push to build these industrial wind farms that would export the energy via the grid to other New England states. Opponents of these big corporate wind farms instead suggest that we must let communities decide for themselves if they want to host wind turbines and allow them to benefit from the profits rather than have corporations take control of everything.

* I will be on two conference calls today. The first one is to help plan the International Conference for a Nuclear Free, Peaceful, Just and Sustainable World that will be held in New York City on April 30-May 1 just prior to the UN's Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) Review Conference. Activists by the thousands will be coming from all over the world for the events. I, along with Global Network Chairperson Dave Webb from the UK, am coordinating one of the workshop tracks for the conference. We are being overwhelmed with requests for workshops.

The second conference call today will be of the national No Bases Campaign committee. Last year we organized a national conference in Washington DC and have not done much since. The call today is to try to reenergize the effort and I have suggested that we might consider holding an annual meeting in a different part of the country near a key U.S. military base as a way to highlight the particular role of that base and as a way to begin to broaden out the No Bases movement.



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