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....

My Photo
Name:
Location: Bath, Maine, United States

Saturday, September 18, 2010

ORGANIZING AND MAKING DEMANDS


Another sign of the times...the Native Americans used to put their ears on the railroad tracks so they could hear the white man's Iron Horse (trains) coming as they moved west to take the Indian lands and kill their buffalo.

Corporate globalization is the Iron Horse today. It is about global militarization, privatization, destroying social progress (particularly public education), and grabbing up the remaining natural resources left on the planet.

These students in Argentina are not sitting on their rear ends but are organizing and making demands. We should all learn from them.

Friday, September 17, 2010

LET THERE BE LIGHT


If you are not familiar with Building 7 at the World Trade Center on 9-11 just click here

Thursday, September 16, 2010

LOYALTY OATH COMING TO ISRAEL?



The Israeli Knesset is debating a bill proposed by David Rotem of the extreme right Yisrael Beiteinu party that would require all Israeli citizens to swear loyalty to Israel as a “Jewish and democratic state.” This bill is targeted at increasing pressure on the twenty percent of Israelis who are Palestinian citizens while forcing the ultra Orthodox Jewish minority who reject the legitimacy of any state not based on Jewish biblical law to accept Zionism. If passed in its proposed form, citizens unwilling to take the loyalty oath would be at risk of losing citizenship.

With a fascist mood permeating Israeli government and society, we set out into the streets of central Jerusalem to engage young revelers on the issue of loyalty. Because Israel is debating legislation claiming that it is alone the Jewish sovereign state and has the authority to speak in the name of the “Jewish people,” we thought that the opinions of supporters of Israel from the Jewish diaspora were an essential element in any discussion about the proposed loyalty bill. Given the already simmering controversy over ‘dual loyalty’ in the United States, the topic needed to be explored thoroughly and unflinchingly. Did the Zionist loyalty oath represent a fulcrum point in the ‘dual loyalty’ debate for diaspora Jews? Would diaspora Jews have any objection to taking an oath to defend the Jewish state? If so, did that put their allegiance to their country of residence in question?

- Max Blumenthal

See his full article here

CRABS FULL OF OIL


Who could be surprised by this story? But still the corporations who have the government in lock-down make sure they keep the scientists away from the evidence that BP's toxic oil disaster is indeed killing wildlife. Something BP wants to deny.

GETTING READY TO WALK FOR PEACE



Dan Ellis and I drove the walk route again yesterday to finalize the maps and to meet with local coordinators in each location where the peace walk will stop. Things are moving along well and the excitement is growing. We've added another stop to the walk that will now go from Farmington-Skowhegan-Waterville-Bangor-Belfast-Rockland-Bath-Freeport-Portland.

We now have to do more to promote the walk across Maine and beyond. In addition our media work must now begin in hopes that we can get some advance stories about the peace walk. We want the public to know about the walk so that when they see it passing through their community they have some idea what it is all about.

Because some of the distances between the towns we will visit on the walk are so great, we will have to sometimes shuttle a bit each day. In the end the actually walk distance will add up to just over 127 miles from Farmington to Portland. We don't expect people to walk every inch of it, though a few likely will. But many will walk an hour, or a day, or a couple of days. They will do what they can and we will have a blister van trailing the peace walk to pick up folks when they get tired.

We will begin things with a kick-off program on the evening of November 2 (election night) at the University of Maine-Farmington. Doug Rawlings is already working on that event. It will be kind of fitting that we begin the walk with an event on election night - essentially saying that no matter how the Congress changes we in Maine are staying focused. We will continue our work to end war, and cut military spending, no matter which party takes control of Congress after the election. Veterans will still need care and the environment will still be harmed by the U.S. military empire's toxic footprint.

We hope that you will find the time to walk with us during this hike through Maine. It will be cool out, the colorful leaves will be falling from the trees, and our strong and determined hearts will beat to the sound of the drum of the Buddhist monks and nuns from Nipponzan Myohoji who will lead us on the walk.

As I always say before these walks (and I have organized many of them over the years) it will be a life changing experience. Something(s) always happen to open the door to people in the community who get inspiration from just seeing the walk in action. It's grassroots organizing in its elemental form.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

KASHMIR HEATING UP



At least 18 people have been killed in demonstrations in the last 24 hours alone.

But the long simmering dispute over independence was not the only fuel for Monday's fury.

Anger about threats to burn the Quran in the US led to attacks on Christian schools in the territory.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

LAUNCHING HYPOCRISY - AGAIN

Here they go again. The Pentagon has announced plans to launch another Minuteman III nuclear ICBM from Vandenberg AFB, California toward targets at Kwajalein Atoll in the Marshall Islands. The test is scheduled less than three weeks after the official UN International Day against Nuclear Tests (August 29).

Imagine the smirks, laughter, and back slapping going on inside the Pentagon as they yuck it up over this test. I can hear the generals now - "We can do what the hell we want because we are the USA! But those other damn pipsqueaks in Iran and North Korea had better watch out. We'll nail them when they practice launching missiles! We are the big dog and they ain't!"

So that is the way we think in Amerika these days. We can flout international norms, we can talk smack about WMD's being "evil weapons", but don't you damn well dare launch them (unless of course you are a junior partner of the U.S. empire.)

Our friends out in California will valiantly hold another peaceful protest outside the front gate of Vandenberg Air Force Base at 11:55 pm on September 14. They will once again attempt to pull the veil off the nuclear devils face - reveal to the world this utter hypocrisy.

Truman-Eisenhower-Kennedy-Johnson-Nixon-Ford-Carter-Reagan-Bush I-Clinton-Bush II-Obama, it's all the same. We can do what the hell we please! Don't you try matching us or we will take your ass out!

American foreign policy, simple and clear.

Hypocrisy.....

INFO ALERT: ICBM launch postponed to Sept 17 at 3:00 am

Monday, September 13, 2010

BRAINWASHING THE KIDS FOR ENDLESS WAR

With unemployment growing across the nation local school systems are increasingly turning to the Pentagon for support and funding. This means an increase in the Junior ROTC programs in middle and high schools.

Global Network board member Bob Anderson (a Vietnam vet) from Albuquerque, New Mexico sent me a message this morning saying:

Recently I followed a link off an Albuquerque Public Schools (APS) web page for more JROTC information, each school has a separate JROTC web page.

I wanted to see what the kids are seeing when the JROTC gets to them. One of the things our kids can sign up for is a web blog called Military.com. I signed up for it and want to urge you to also (just open one of the links below and click on the sub button at the top).

Major Barker, who is an employ at APS earns over $107,000 running the JROTC program that he says gives APS students leadership and citizenship training. I think if you subscribe to military.com and look at the types of things they are putting before children you will be horrified. This is as near smut porno as one can get and we taxpayers are footing the bill for this. I am outraged.

The videos at this site are the ones that Bob refers to that are now linked to the public school web page. Can there be any doubt that young people are being given the message - "This is all you can be." They are basically being told that your future will be endless war. This is normal. This is your future. Violence is fun and patriotic.

The rich kids will still go to Yale and Harvard and a few exceptional working class kids will get a scholarship to those schools as well. But the majority of American working class and poor youth are now being funneled into the military to fight the wars for control of the declining resources around the world.

We must talk more about this military infiltration of our public schools and resist it in our local communities. Call if what it is - teaching our kids to be killers.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

IMPORTANT EVENT

Click on graphic to enlarge

WARMING OCEANS BLEACH ASIAN CORAL


Scientists have said that the first seven months of this year brought some of the hottest combined sea and land temperatures on record to parts of Southeast Asia.

The high temperatures have led to some of the worst coral bleaching the region has ever seen.

BUILDING A CONGRESSIONAL ANTI-WAR COALITION


Kudos to Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) and Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX) for their efforts to build a real bi-partisan anti-war coalition in the House of Representatives.

The fact is that if the House cuts war funding then we can stop the wars. Local peace organizing around the nation needs to focus on the House. Force your member of Congress to Bring Our War $$ Home.

The difficulties are real of course as both parties are largely under the control of the war machine's corporate campaign donations. Until the American people begin to see that military spending creates fewer jobs than war spending it will be tough to move most members of Congress who are in the go-along-to-get-along frame of mind.

It really comes down to getting those in Congress who know the truth to take more leadership educating their constituencies. That is a challenge we face here in Maine at this time. Even though our two members of the House voted against the last war supplemental they are not yet willing to use their offices to educate the public about this reality. Instead they still beg for overall military spending increases for our state and have yet to work with us in our effort to help the public understand that war spending is actually bad for the economy.

HEDGES AT VFP BANQUET


Veterans for Peace 2010 Portland Maine annual conference.

Keynote speaker Chris Hedges -speaking about the moral imperatives of local resistance and building sustainanle cooperative communities.

The speech by Hedges created more discussion at the confab than any other talk. In fact people are still talking about it.