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.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

WHERE DO CITIZENS TURN IN THESE HARD TIMES?


This recent poll (above) gives us a good sense that neither the Republicans nor the Democrats are exciting the public. Neither party has a vision. They both are leading the nation into the toilet with their war spending and corporate policies. The public is losing confidence in both of them.

As this video below spells out the Tea Party is mostly a white, older person, conservative organization. Younger people are on the opposite side of the political fence but don't get the media coverage that the corporate sponsored Tea Party does. Young people are not yet organized on a mass scale though they ought to be.

I spoke this morning to a Sociology class at the University of Southern Maine in Portland. The students are almost all in debt trying to pay for college and they fear the declining job market. Some of them have been in the military and others have family members who have, or are now, serving in war zones.

Suffice to say they are not particularly optimistic about the future.

The instructor interviewed me in front of the class. Because I studied Sociology in college he asked questions about institutional power, the media, the military, and the like. He asked me what the connections were between declining social progress and the expanding military budget.

Near the end he asked for questions. One student asked how I knew if I was right about what I thought. Another asked if we would be successful in our efforts. Another asked why I was not enamored with Obama.

My responses would be familiar to those of you who read this blog. I said that we have to change our values away from a consumerist, greedy, money-oriented society to one that puts respect for all life (water, air, land, animals, plants, people) before money and power.

I said that we have to be in this for the long-haul and that we have to redefine "success". For me to be speaking to a class of 35 young people was a success.

We must dismantle the military empire, cut military spending, and invest in social progress. We must learn the definition of corporate oligarchy - those are the folks that control the world today.

As I often do I asked the students, "What is America's #1 industrial export product today?" One student meekly said weapons. Yes, I said, and then asked, "When weapons are your #1 industrial export product, what is your global marketing strategy for that product line?" War, said the same young woman in the same meek voice. Right.

In answer to the question about my feelings about Obama I told them the oligarchy runs two horses in every race so they make sure they win. I told them that we are returning to the days of feudalism that I learned about while living in England and Germany as a kid. I still have the images of the castles in my mind. And there was always a thatched hut village at the bottom of the hill to serve the lords and ladies in the castle. We are heading back to feudalism I said, except this time you get a color TV, a car, and massive credit card debt. We are still indentured servants - this time to the corporations. It's called 21st century feudalism. Rattle your chains I told the students.

The class and the instructor will evaluate today's discussion early next week. I look forward to hearing what they thought.

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