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'll be taking an 'unpaid leave of absence' from my job at the Global Network from December 15-March 15, 2020 in order to help my friend Lisa Savage on her campaign for the US Senate in Maine. She's running as a Maine Green Independent Party member and needs to gather 2,000 petition signatures of registered Greens during that period. I'll be back to GN after March 15.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

PENTAGON HEARS THE TRAIN OF CUTBACKS COMING


Obama has ordered his Secretary of War Robert Gates to tinker around the edges of the bloated Pentagon budget in order to create the illusion that they are making serious cuts. While the nation's economy is collapsing the Congress is starting to squirm as the public begins to demand an end to war spending and a halt to massive investments in the big ticket weapons systems.

The public is coming to the conclusion that we can't have guns and butter anymore. Obama, ever the magician, has chosen to instruct Gates to play the classic shell game.

According to the Washington Post:

Although the moves will save an unspecified amount of money, defense officials characterized them as a political preemptive strike to fend off growing sentiment elsewhere in Washington to tackle the federal government's soaring deficits by making deep cuts in military spending. The Obama administration has exempted national security from its budget reductions, but Gates said he fears that Congress might not be able to resist for long.

"It is important that we not repeat the mistakes of the past, where tough economic times or the winding down of a military campaign leads to steep and unwise reductions in defense," Gates said. He cited threats from Iran, North Korea and other countries -- in an implicit reference to China -- as justification for continued overall growth in the Pentagon's budget.

Despite soaring federal budget deficits, the Obama administration has asked Congress to increase defense spending next year from $535 billion to $549 billion, not counting the cost of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

This story does illustrate though that the peace movement is having some impact in Washington. The proposed October 2 march in Washington for jobs and peace called by the AFL-CIO and NAACP strikes fear in the hearts of the warmongers because they are deeply concerned about the real possibility of a grand coalition of labor, people of color, and the peace movement.

Some in the labor movement have figured out that if we stop spending money on endless war that we'd be able to build rail systems, buses, wind turbines, and other sustainable technologies that would be good for the environment and actually create more jobs here at home.

This is the time for all peace activists to put the peddle to the metal - step on the gas. Pump up the jam. Demand cuts in military spending. Reach out to teachers, union workers, communities of color, the unemployed, environmentalists and make a collective demand in your local community to convert the military industrial complex.

Don't be fooled by the trickster though as the Obama administration throws a couple of crumbs in front of the angry crowds. These cuts they are proposing are minuscule. We must demand an end to war spending in Iraq-Afghanistan-Pakistan and we must demand that this aggressive U.S. military empire of bases be dismantled.

An army of principles can penetrate where an army of soldiers cannot.
Thomas Paine

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