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, February 27, 2010

THIS ONE STANDS OUT


Yes there are actually a few Democrats trying to get their party to end war spending. One of them is Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-OH). Let's see if his party, that was so critical of Bush, will support this effort.

Here in Maine we are seeing push back from some inside the Democratic party against the peace movement's effort to get our two members of Congress to vote against any more war funding.

Let me state clearly that you can't have an independent peace movement unless you are willing to call on both political parties to stop wasting the national treasury on war.

There can be no such thing as a bad war (when Republicans are in power) and acceptable war (when Democrats are in power). We can't and won't be lackeys of any party. The wars must stop and war funding must end. Period.......

It is disingenuous of elected Democrats (local, state or federal) to say they agree with us about the need to bring our war $$ home but then they cower when it comes time to go on record on the issue.

The Democrats in Augusta, Maine and Washington DC are now in power and are essentially presiding over the dismantling of social progress. They don't want the peace movement to challenge them because they fear they will lose power. It appears to me that their priorities are misplaced. I'd rather see them fight against war funding and fight to hang onto social progress as hard as they fight to stay in power.

See this article about the left party in Germany that was kicked out of the Bundestag for protesting their growing role in the war in Afghanistan.

According to the article, "Some 69 per cent of Germans want soldiers to pull out, according to a December poll for ARD public television, up 12 per cent in three months."

Friday, February 26, 2010

HIDING MR. BIG BY CREATING ILLUSIONS ABOUT THE PAST

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Even Better Than the Real Thing
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Political HumorVancouverage 2010

The power structure knows that in just a few years blacks and Hispanics will be the majority population in America. They fear that people of color could create a huge voting bloc that would change politics in this country in a big way.

That is why we saw the corporate oligarchy go out and recruit the weak-minded Obama who as president would give Mr. Big everything he wants (endless war, bank bailouts, nuclear power subsidies, more NAFTA, continued torture and detentions, continued destruction of civil liberties, continued social program cutbacks, corporate health care plan, and a whole lot more) but at the same time make people of color think that the nation was open to them.

Glenn Beck is being used by Mr. Big to whip up the angry white voters who are losing their jobs and seeing their middle class way of life collapse under their feet. They feel powerless and want to blame someone. Beck is being paid by Mr. Big to tell his TV and radio followers that the blacks and Hispanics and "progressives" are really at fault. The progressives have ruined the country because they believe in socialism and ideas like "community" and sharing our resources with each other.

Glenn Beck is an actor whose job is to create hatred amongst the people in order to distract them from the fact that Mr. Big is really their true enemy. Beck's job is to create the conditions for civil war in America.

The whole affair is being scripted by Mr. Big and his minions. Obama has a role to play as well. Beck and Obama are doing the dirty work of the rich people who pull the strings behind the curtains. The best thing we can do is pull the sheet from the modern day version of the KKK and expose those who are stirring the hatred and trying to destroy this country.


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CPAC 2010 - Rage Within the Machine
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A RARE POLITICIAN WHO QUESTIONS THE NATIONAL SECURITY STATE


Congressman Ron Paul (R-TX) speaks on the House floor about assassinations of Americans by their own government.

JEJU ISLAND HEATING UP AGAIN

The South Korean Navy Chief of Staff (center right) met with the governor of Jeju Island (center left) earlier this week. The bottom line is that the South Korean government wants to begin construction of the naval base on Jeju sometime in March.

The Yonhap news reported that the South Korean national defense minister said, “The Jeju naval base is essential for strengthening the control ability on the southern area.” [Southern area is basically the sea lanes that China uses to import 80% of its oil.]

“If the base is set up, it could become the tremendous special benefit to the Jeju Island people, such as population being increased by 10,000 and the economy being vitalized.”

The villagers are banking that a lawsuit they are now pursuing, centered around environmental consequences of the base construction, will help them stop the base from being established.

The U.S. and South Korean government are expanding their military alliance - what they are calling "strategic flexibility" - to make it a more mobile alliance.

Strategic flexibility is a transformation of, or critical departure from the traditional U.S. - South Korean military alliance, which was originally aimed at North Korea, stipulated in the US-SK Mutual Defense Treaty in 1953, right after the Korean war.

NATO will be utilized and expanded into East Asia to effectively surround and control China just as it is now being expanded eastward in Europe to surround Russia. Strategic flexibility also means that South Korean military forces will become more expeditionary as we today see them being sent to Afghanistan to augment the U.S. military occupation.

Thus the Navy base on Jeju Island will play a key role for the U.S. in its strategy of integrating the South Korean military into the broader U.S. imperial agenda. They call it "interoperability".

The villagers of Gangjeong on the island, who will suffer from the base, will now sit in the middle of a dangerous chess game as the U.S. makes a move to checkmate Russia and China in the region.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

WHO SHOULD RUN A DEMOCRACY?

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

PUSHING FOR WAR WITH IRAN


Michel Chossudovsky, who's from an independent Canadian policy research group called Centre for Research on Globalization, believes that what Iran says hardly matters, because the U.S. is planning for war.

UNDERSTANDING OUR ROLE IN NATURE


The ants understand their role in nature. Perpetuate the species at all costs.

What does it mean to be a human being? What is our role in nature? Get the best job, the best house, the best car? Throw ourselves into the 'dog-eat-dog' practice that is the key to "success mythology"?

Should we not begin to reevaluate what our human role should be if we hope to live in harmony on our Mother Earth?

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

PROACTIVE ORGANIZING GETS BEST RESULTS

I had an email this morning from a very well intentioned activist in another part of the country urging people to turn out today for an "emergency" vigil to mark the death of the 1,000th U.S. GI killed in Afghanistan.

Without trying to put down this effort I must say I don't think it is the most effective way to organize to stop endless war. Why is it an emergency when the 1,000th soldier dies? What about the 500th GI or the 10,000th innocent civilian killed in that war torn country? And probably most importantly, in what way is the organizer of the "emergency" demo educating his fellow local citizens about the real impacts of these wars?

I'm not against demos, I love them and think they have their important role, I organize a weekly vigil in my town. But most peace vigils have not changed the message on their signs since the 2003 shock and awe began. By now the public has read the signs that read War is not the anwer, No blood for oil, or Bring Our Troops Home Now. OK, they get it. So let's adapt the message and advance the agenda to a new level.

We often in the peace movement are in a reactive mode. But in order to successfully achieve our goals of ending war we have to flip the switch and become more proactive and force those in power to be reacting to us. Unless we begin to have a strategic discussion within the peace community then this will not likely happen.

The Bring Our War $$ Home campaign is just one illustration of this proactive process. In the state legislature in Augusta, Maine there are now a couple of state representatives circulating a letter amongst their peers that calls on our Congressional representatives in Washington to vote against further war funding. We now have local peace groups all over the state urging their state senators and representatives to sign onto this letter. This is causing some intense reflection on the part of many of these folks as they are having to deal with two key issues. One is that local and state politicians like to maintain that foreign policy is not in their area of responsibility. The other is that some of them have a hard time asking a fellow Democrat to stand up and buck the president on war spending. So this puts all of these elected officials in a reactive posture.

Just today we heard that last night in Bangor, Maine an activist stood up during their town hall meeting and spoke about the Bring Our War $$ Home Campaign. About 20 others stood with him and his high school age daughter passed a petition through the crowd and had folks sign it. She and another high school friend have been widely circulating the petition which calls for funding things like public education and the girls intend to bring this to their congressman asking him to stop voting for war funding.

This is an example of bringing the war message right into the daily life of the public and connecting it directly to their concerns about declining local government services. These local organizers are connecting the war to the local "emergency" and people can begin to understand that link and they can react to it.

What is also happening is that our two Congresspersons from Maine that represent us in Washington are starting to feel the heat from this campaign and they are having to "react" outside of their usual boxes. So when we crawl outside our normal safe organizing boundaries, by creating a proactive anti-war campaign, it causes ripples that force everyone else down the line to readjust. That is what you would call a movement. It's physics really, every action out of the ordinary causes a reaction.

Yesterday fellow Veterans for Peace member Tom Sturtevant from Winthrop, Maine came by the house to borrow our Bring the War $$ Home campaign banner. He is introducing a resolution in his community and wants to hold the banner in front of the town hall for a week or so prior to bringing the resolution to the city. So he is ensuring that some new kind of debate is going to happen in Winthrop about the war - not just the old "bring our troops home" that by now is stale and lifeless. Instead its a new and vital message he is interjecting into the consciousness of his town - a message they are not used to seeing from the peace movement and they will now have to think about it.

This same kind of organizing is now happening in Portland, Brunswick, Bath, Windham, Augusta, Deer Isle, Solon, Showhegan, Freeport, Farmington, and many other communities across Maine. Letters are appearing in virtually all the newspapers across the state on this theme and people are being forced to think about the wars in a new way.

All of us, if we truly want to advance our peace movement, must reassess whether our local work is reactive or proactive. The sooner we begin to do that the less "emergency" demos we will have to organize when the numbers of dead U.S. GI's reach 1,500 or 2,000 or more.

WOMEN GATHER TO RESIST MILITARISM

Women met in Guam to share their resistance efforts to militarism all across the Pacific region

Monday, February 22, 2010

SPACE AND BASES

* We've learned of another Japanese community that PAC-3 "missile defense" systems will be likely deployed in. Called Kurume-City, activists there are now working hard to raise debate about the destabilizing nature of these deployments. I was asked to write a letter to the mayor of Kurume and I immediately did and the letter was sent to the local newspaper and they printed it. In my letter I told the mayor that the PAC-3 is part of the U.S. first-strike attack program now under development that is ultimately being aimed at China as the Pentagon surrounds them.

* I am fighting a bad winter cold that seems to be making its rounds here in Maine. Our weather is so messed up these days, very warm temperatures for this time of year and we have not had any snow in almost a month. Tell me climate change is not real.

* I will be participating in a national No U.S. Bases conference call tomorrow. This is the group that organized the excellent conference at American University last spring but since then all activity has been suspended. It is good that things might be picking up a bit. This No Bases work is extremely important as we see a tremendous amount of money being spent on expanding U.S. military outposts around the planet to the benefit of corporate globalization. The stories of the people, who are daily suffering as their lands are being stolen from them, must be shared with the people in the U.S. and the No U.S. Bases network is the right process to make that happen.

* I just finished an hour long interview with a couple of college age activists out in California using Skype. It was really exciting to hear these two guys have such interest in the space weapons issue and to learn that they have been following the work of the Global Network for some time. It seems that they had cut their teeth on our 2003 video Arsenal of Hypocrisy . Producing that video was the best investment the Global Network ever made as we have seen literally thousands and thousands of people over the years who have learned from that video and shared it with others to turn them on to the space issue.

INCREDIBLE STORY


This story proves these endless wars mean the troops are worn out and the military is coming apart at the seams.

YOUR WAR $$ WASTED


Is it any wonder that states are now in fiscal crisis? Is it a coincidence that local school boards are now talking about closing schools and firing teachers.

All across America public hospitals are closing and libraries are being shut down. The reason? You can't throw away hundreds of billions of dollars - trillions - on endless war and not have it come back to bite you in the seat of your pants.

We can't afford guns and butter anymore. Anyone who tells you otherwise is either telling you a lie or has no idea what they are talking about.

We've got no choice - either speak out now or face the music next week or next year.

Bring our war $$ home - now. This call has to go out to all elected officials at every level. War spending is indeed a local issue.

We've got to call for closing down the 1,000 U.S. military bases around the world. We've got to dramatically but the $1 trillion Pentagon budget. We've got to create real jobs in this country by converting the military industrial complex to peaceful production.

We've got to stop being fooled by politicians who tell us we can have social spending and continued funding for endless war.

See this important article entitled Bad Economies in States to Worsen here