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

Friday, September 24, 2010

KEEP SPACE FOR PEACE WEEK ACTIONS LIST GROWS

October 2-9, 2010

International Week of Protest to
Stop the Militarization of Space

- No Missile Defense
- Stop the Drones
- Convert the Military Industrial Complex
- Bring Our War $$ Home

Local Events (List now in formation)

1. Agra, India (Oct 13) Bruce Gagnon speaks with local activists about space issues jnrao1936@rediffmail.com

2. Albuquerque, New Mexico (Oct 2) Protest at Kirtland AFB, Truman Gate, 10:00 am-noon stopthewarmachine@comcast.net

3. Albuquerque, New Mexico (Oct 2) Showing of Pax Americana & the Weaponization of Space, Guild Theatre, 1:00 pm stopthewarmachine@comcast.net

4. Argentina - Pax Americana and the Weaponization of Space will show in a Cordoba cinema during space week denis@intrepidofilms.com

5. Bath Iron Works, Maine (Oct 9) Vigil across from administration building on Washington Street, 11:30-12:30 am Smilin’ Trees Disarmament Farm (207) 763-4062

6. Bhopal, India (Oct 11) Bruce Gagnon speaks with local activists about space issues jnrao1936@rediffmail.com

7. Bradford, England (Sept 27-Oct 8) U.S. Missile Defence Exhibition at Bradford Library, Yorkshire CND info@yorkshirecnd.org.uk

8. Bradford, England (Oct 5) Showing Pax Americana and the Weaponization of Space, Desmond Tutu House, 2 Ashgrove, Bradford, Yorkshire CND info@yorkshirecnd.org.uk

9. Chile - Pax Americana and the Weaponization of Space will show in 5 cinemas across the country during space week denis@intrepidofilms.com

10. Colorado Springs, Colorado (Oct 8) Vigil at noon outside the office of the Chamber of Commerce and Economic Development Council. Theme will be opposition to current dependency on military spending, especially Star Wars and Cyber War spending with a strong suggestion that we move the money to other endeavors bsulzman@juno.com

11. Colorado Springs, Colorado (Oct 8) Demonstration at 3:30 pm outside the gates of Schriever AFB, home of the Space Warfare Center and numerous other Star Wars programs bsulzman@juno.com

12. Duluth, Minnesota (Oct 7) Pax Americana and the Weaponization of Space showing at Labor Temple, Andy Anderson (218) 724-1891

13. Florence, Oregon (Oct 9) Showing Pax Americana and the Weaponization of Space at Siuslaw Public Library, 4:30 pm shenderson88@hotmail.com

14. Fylingdales, England (Oct 4) Guided walk to launch the new guide to Fylingdales U.S. radar facility. Bring weatherproof clothing and sturdy footwear. Meet Ellerbeck Car Park, A169, near Whitby. Yorkshire CND info@yorkshirecnd.org.uk

15. Fukuoka, Japan (Oct 3) Public forum on space weaponization at Salon de Sofia, 2:00 pm, seamesky@sand.ocn.ne.jp

16. Jalgaon, India (Oct 4) Round table discussion of space issues in the Nutan Marathi College jnrao1936@rediffmail.com

17. Jammu, India (Oct 15) Bruce Gagnon speaks with local activists about space issues jnrao1936@rediffmail.com

18. Jeju Island, South Korea (Oct. 2) During one-day Island of Peace march, screenings including ‘The Life and Peace Village, Il-Gangjeong is Alive’ (produced by Kim Min-Soo) and ‘Pax Americana and the Weaponization of Space’ (translated in Korean) in the Joongduk coast, Gangjeong village where the struggle against the Jeju naval base plan has been going on, 7pm. Contact Go Gwon-Il kkipopo@naver.com and armha5156@gmail.com

19. Leeds, England (Oct 6) Showing Pax Americana and the Weaponization of Space at Leeds Metropolitan University, Yorkshire CND info@yorkshirecnd.org.uk

20. Menwith Hill, England (Oct 2) Demonstration at NSA Spy Base in Yorkshire, Sponsored by CAAB mail@caab.corner.org.uk

21. Nagpur, India (Oct 3) Demonstration in the Railway Colony jnrao1936@rediffmail.com

22. Nagpur, India (Oct 7) Space issues meeting in the Matru Seva Sangh Institute of Social Work jnrao1936@rediffmail.com

23. Nagpur, India (Oct 9-11) National conference on Achieving a Nuclear Weapons and Missile Defense Free Asia jnrao1936@rediffmail.com

24. New York City, New York (Oct 7) Noon educational event in local park nyleaf@verizon.net

25. North Andover, Massachusetts (Oct 4) Bruce Gagnon speaks at Merrimack College about Raytheon’s role in Star Wars, John Schuchardt (978) 356-9395

26. Omaha, Nebraska (Oct 16) Nebraskans for Peace annual peace conference will feature Mike Moore & Loring Wirbel on “The New StratCom's de facto motto: Warfighting Is Our Vocation” WalteRinne@neb.rr.com

27. Oslo, Norway (Sept 27) Pax Americana and the Weaponization of Space film showing with panel discussion to follow, Literary House, 6:00 pm d-soerb@online.no

28. Oxford, England (Sept 25) Pax Americana and the Weaponisation of Space film showing at East Oxford Community Centre, 8.00 pm, oxonpeace@yahoo.co.uk

29. Prague, Czech Republic (Oct 9) Demonstration in the Wenceslaw Square against demanded USA military base and anti-rocket center in the Czech Republic, Citizens Initiative No Bases czechpeace@volny.cz

30. RAF Croughton, England (Oct 2) Rally at U.S. communication base, noon-3:00 pm, Oxfordshire Peace Campaign, oxonpeace@yahoo.co.uk

31. San Francisco, California (Oct 10) Codepink March and Rally on Golden Gate Bridge, noon, walk eastern walkway and meet in middle. Keep Space for Peace, Stop Drone Warfare ratherbenyckeling@comcast.net

32. San Jose, California (Oct 8) Program on Drones=Terrorism and showing of Silent Screams video, WILPF, at San Jose Peace Center 7:00 pm grannies@wilpfsanjose.org

33. Seattle, Washington (Oct 8) "Keep Space For Peace!" is the focus, featuring street theatre by The Loose Nukes and music by the Seattle Raging Grannies to raise awareness of and stop the militarization and weaponization of space, with a special focus on local military aerospace contractor Boeing. 11:00 am - 1:00 pm, at Westlake Plaza, 4th and Pine. Ground Zero Center for Nonviolent Action subversivepeacemaking@comcast.net

34. Spain – Pax Americana and the Weaponization of Space will show in 47 cinemas across the country during space week denis@intrepidofilms.com

35. Srinagar, India (Oct 17-19) Bruce Gagnon speaks with local activists about space issues jnrao1936@rediffmail.com

36. Tokyo, Japan (Oct 8) Symposium: How to construe the military plan under the Democratic Party of Japan 6:30 pm at PPS Conference Room kojis@agate.plala.or.jp

37. Tucson, Arizona (Oct 1-4) Workshops on “Space war business” during Southwest Catholic Worker gathering http://encuentro.catholicworker.biz/schedule.html

38. Tucson, Arizona (Oct 4) Vigil at Raytheon during Southwest Catholic Worker gathering nukeresister@igc.org

39. Tucson, Arizona (Oct 9) WILPF forum and action meeting from 2-4 pm in the Himmel Park Library including film 'A Space for Peace' edelsky@earthlink.net

40. Uruguay - Pax Americana and the Weaponization of Space will show in 3 cinemas across the country during space week denis@intrepidofilms.com

41. Valley Forge, Pennsylvania (Oct 9) Nonviolent resistance at Lockheed Martin, the world's largest weapons corporation and space weapons contractor, noon brandywine@juno.com

42. Vandenberg AFB, California (Oct 6) Vigil at Vandenberg AFB main gate 4:00-5:00 pm jdapel@yahoo.com

43. Washington DC (Oct. 1) Bruce Gagnon speaks at Dorothy Day Catholic Worker House on space issues, 7:30 pm, Art Laffin, artlaffin@hotmail.com 202-360-6416

44. Washington DC (Oct 4) Vigil at the Pentagon from 7:00 - 8:00 a.m. Art Laffin artlaffin@hotmail.com

45. Washington DC (Oct 8) White House vigil from Noon - 1:00 p.m. Art Laffin, artlaffin@hotmail.com

Keep Space for Peace Week is co-sponsored by the Women’s International League for Peace & Freedom and the International Network for the Abolition of Foreign Military Bases.

Download the full space week poster at:
http://www.space4peace.org/actions/ksfpw10.htm

NEW COLD WAR ZONE IN ARCTIC


Because there appears to be major oil and natural gas deposits in the Arctic there is growing conflict over who will control this region for exploration.

U.S. researchers have warned that global warming could leave the Arctic region ice-free by 2030, opening the area up to oil and gas exploration.

The Pentagon has recently been increasing its military maneuvers in the Arctic. The Obama administration has been encouraging Canada, Norway, and Denmark to join the U.S. in an anti-Russian effort in the Arctic.

Just what we need - more conflict over fossil fuels. Imagine the money wasted on this new power struggle that could instead be poured into conservation and alternative energy development. The oil industry intends to ensure we remain dependent on their monopoly fuel until the last drop is gone.

And sadly, the oil industry helps run politics in America as we have dramatically seen in recent years.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

OBAMA TOO WEAK TO DEAL WITH MILITARY

COLBERT TO BECOME FARMWORKER (LIKELY FOR A FEW HOURS)

The Colbert ReportMon - Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c
Arturo Rodriguez
http://www.colbertnation.com/
Colbert Report Full Episodes2010 ElectionFox News

Stephen Colbert interviews United Farm Workers Union President Arturo S. Rodriguez and takes his challenge to go work in the fields to see how hard the job is. Mostly illegal immigrants are migrant farm workers because American "citizens" don't want to work that hard for such low pay in lousy working conditions.

I don't expect Colbert will last very long as a lettuce picker. Let's hope he doesn't cut his fingers off.

THE STRATEGY IS IN THE NUMBERS

New poll numbers are out about American citizens feelings about endless war. They don't look good for the oligarchy. Obama's job was to cool off the left, de-mobilize the peace movement, and he did a good job of it in his first two years in office. But the tide is turning against him as even his own supporters are coming to the realization that he is the magician who says nice things but continues the basic Bush plan.

In a new CBS News/New York Times poll (Sept 10-14) the following was found:



  • Do you think the war with Iraq was worth the loss of American lives and other costs of attacking Iraq, or not?

23% said worth it and 71% said not worth it, 6% had no opinion




  • Do you think the U.S. is doing the right thing by fighting the war in Afghanistan now, or should the U.S. not be involved in Afghanistan now?

38% say right thing and 54% say should not be involved, 9% no opinion




  • What is your impression of how the war in Afghanistan is going now?

2% say Very well, 36% say Somewhat well, 34% Somewhat badly, 21% Very badly, with 7% no opinion




  • In answer to the question, "What do you think is the most important problem facing the country today?" people responded as follows:

32% Economy, Jobs 28%, Other 11%, with a host of other responses at 1-3%....Afghanistan got 1%


These responses indicate a very clear organizing strategy to me for the peace movement and its allies.

Coming at the Afghanistan issue directly is not going to get the public's attention. They have their minds fixed on the economy and jobs. So the peace movement must take the tack that the Maine Campaign to Bring Our War $$ Home is using which is to connect the collapsing economy to spending on endless war. When that is done people get it.

The campaign has been spreading slowly but steadily across the country. The city council in Northampton, Massachusetts has recently passed a Bring Our War $$ Home resolution similar to the one passed by the Portland, Maine city council. Just today I got an email from an activist in Broome County, New York who said, "I have been active in New York with our cost of war sign on City Hall, but want to expand to Bring our War Dollars home this fall."

So you local activists out there in TV land who are looking for a way to get the public stirred up, the answer is in the poll numbers. Give the people what they want - talk about the economy and jobs with every breathe you take and they will start to listen.

Be sure though to finish your rap with the need to convert the military industrial complex to building rail, solar, wind turbines, weatherizing homes, etc.... show that while the Republicans and Democrats have no vision for the future, we in the peace movement do. And the data clearly shows that such conversion plans would create more jobs than we presently get from militarism and endless war.

This message has to be like a heart beat - never ending - always pounding away. Giving life to our movement and the nation. Let it beat.

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.

UK EVENT TO MAKE SPACE ISSUES VISIBLE



Keep Space for Peace Week event planned at U.S. Menwith Hill spy satellite base in North Yorkshire, England on October 2.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

COMING TO PBS



On Tuesday, October 5, following a 5-month run in more than 140 theaters nationwide, The Most Dangerous Man in America has its broadcast premiere on the POV series on PBS, at 9pm (check local listings). A special videotaped panel discussion with Daniel Ellsberg, former Times editor Max Frankel, and current editors of The New York Times, will immediately follow the film as part of the broadcast.

GERMAN ANTI-NUCLEAR MOVEMENT TURNS OUT


Ther German government has promised to phase-out nuclear power. They are back-sliding on the promise.

So rather than give in to despair the German anti-nuclear movement organized a protest in Berlin of 100,000 people in recent days.

In a peaceful march around Berlin’s government quarter, protesters converged on Angela Merkel’s chancellery to call for a stop to her plans to extend the life spans of nuclear power stations by an average of 12 years.

Sociologist Klaus Hurrelmann said the wave of anti-nuclear sentiment could be "the match capable of sparking a new political movement."

This is the way to deal with broken political promises.

Stand up and fight back.

SWEDEN DRIFTS RIGHT


The Sweden Democrats, a party that has been compared to the Nazis and labelled as racist, has won seats in the Swedish parliament for the first time on Sunday. The anti-immigration party is the latest in a number of far right organisations to gain representation across Europe. Al Jazeera's Laurence Lee reports from Stockholm, the Swedish capital.

Monday, September 20, 2010

GAGA OVER GETTING IN THE MILITARY

Lady Gaga (Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta ) came to Portland, Maine today for a rally to put heat on our two Republican women senators as the vote to repeal "Don't Ask Don't Tell" (DADT) is fast approaching in the Senate.

Gaga, who is gay, told the thousands who appeared at the rally on very short notice, "Equality is the prime rib of America. Equality is the prime rib of what we stand for as a nation. And I don't get to enjoy the greatest cut of meat that my country has to offer."

As the large and diverse crowd was waiting for Lady Gaga to appear on stage a series of other speakers took to the podium. One speaker was Rep. Chellie Pingree (D-ME) who voted for an amendment to kill DADT when it was tied to a military appropriations bill in the House of Representatives a few months ago. She told us later that she "had to" vote for the $159 billion war spending bill for 2011 in order to kill DADT.

The Democratic Party leadership is very slick about tying certain popular issues together with military spending packages.

"Our military is stretched very thin. The last thing we should be doing is kicking out skilled men and women who have volunteered to fight for their country. Last thing we should be doing, telling troops we've spent hundreds thousands to train, we just don't need you anymore," Pingree told the crowd.

"DADT threatens our national security ... It goes against the values our military embodies."

What values are those? Killing, torture, environmental destruction, illegal detention?

One other speaker told the throng of Gaga admirers that if he hadn't been kicked out of the military because he was gay, "I could have been flying planes over Iraq and Afghanistan."

There is the rub for me. I am opposed to kicking gays out of the military or any other place. Equality should be for everyone, sexual preference should not matter. Gays should be allowed to serve in the military like anyone else if they wish to do so.

But I am extremely uncomfortable with the dangerous trend to ignore the sordid reality of U.S. wars by those at this pep rally in Portland today. There was alot of over-the-top patriotic BS going on at that rally.

The comment by the man who claimed he could have been flying planes over Iraq and Afghanistan is but one example. One might want to ask him - just what are those planes doing? Delivering milk and bread?

I wonder if Lady Gaga has feelings about our war policy? I wonder if she feels at all conflicted about sending gay people to die in a resource war for the oligarchy? I wonder if the thousands who turned up in Portland today to catch a glimpse of Gaga ever wonder about that either?

Life can be so complicated.

TALKING BACK TO OBAMA



Some of Obama's fans are starting to speak up...these folks tell Obama directly that they have had enough.

Isn't it time that we all stop giving Obama a free pass on his corporate policies.

The man is so arrogant...."I'm having so much fun" he says.

Well Obama, you might be having a good time but the unemployed are not and neither are the innocent civilians in Afghanistan who are being killed by your surge.

Time to rattle your chains folks.

PLUTOCRACY ALWAYS FALLS


Bill Moyers signed off his last broadcast in May with an editorial discussion on why plutocracy and democracy don't mix.

Facebook friend Brian Willson wrote this morning about MAYAN Lessons: Why did Mayan civilization collapse?

"By 800 AD its society had too many elites demanding exotic trinkets. More temples were needed & higher caloric demand on workers required more food production & more slave labor from other city-states. Slaves were overworked & underfed. Confidence in the nobility collapsed. Workers abandoned the centers & fled. The nobility starved. Mayan civilization collapsed. Lessons?"

Sunday, September 19, 2010

THE SOAP & OLIVE OIL BUSINESS IN NABLUS


This is a fascinating inside look at how Palestinian businessmen in the West Bank's historic soap and olive oil sectors face severe challenges due to Israel's occupation.

Whether they are dealing with the expansion of Israeli settlements that destroy olive orchards or having to struggle with the many check-points that inhibit their ability to send their products to market, the Palestinian businesses face constant pressure.

It is not often you get such a close look at the daily challenges of those trying to create an economic future for their beleaguered people.

KILLING FOR SPORT IN AFGHANISTAN

The Washington Post reports that the Pentagon has acknowledged that members of a U.S. Army platoon in Afghanistan have killed civilians in Afghanistan for the sport of it.


According to charging documents, the unprovoked, fatal attack on Jan. 15 was the start of a months-long shooting spree against Afghan civilians that resulted in some of the grisliest allegations against American soldiers since the U.S. invasion in 2001. Members of the platoon have been charged with dismembering and photographing corpses, as well as hoarding a skull and other human bones.

The subsequent investigation has raised accusations about whether the military ignored warnings that the out-of-control soldiers were committing atrocities. The father of one soldier said he repeatedly tried to alert the Army after his son told him about the first killing, only to be rebuffed.

This is one of the reasons I absolutely hate it when people in this country call U.S. combat soldiers "heroes" when they return from war. People have no clue what these troops did while in Iraq or Afghanistan. At one point in the article it says one of the accused soldiers, "confided to his new mates that it had been easy for him to get away with 'stuff' when he served in Iraq in 2004."

We know that this kind of random "sport" killing has been going on for years. Seldom is anyone caught and prosecuted.

This is what happens when you put soldiers in a war zone and dehumanize the "enemy". This is what happens when soldiers are trained to kill, kill, kill - some of them begin to like doing it and make a game out of it. This is what happens when the Army repeatedly ignores the pleas of a father, who tried to report the killings, after being told by his son that this was going on in the platoon.

The Army knows it is "business as usual". Indirectly they encourage it in their training and in their supervision of the soldiers in the war zone. They always try to ignore it.

The only way this will ever stop is to end the wars now.

When will Obama and the Democrats do so?