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

Thursday, October 07, 2010

AWAKE AND READY TO SWIM

U.S. servicemen sit inside a C-17 Globemaster waiting to take off for Afghanistan at Manas Air Base near Kyrgyzstan's capital Bishkek

  • I am in New Delhi suffering the reality of an up-side-down time zone sleep deficiency. I've been waking up in the middle of the night since arriving and having a real challenge getting back to sleep.
  • I am struck by the photo above of US troops being ferried from a US base in Kyrgyzstan into Afghanistan. The Pentagon's footprint in Central Asia is growing as Obama expands his "right war" into Pakistan and beyond.
The news in recent days about US supply convoys being twice destroyed inside Pakistan following the killing of Pakistan's security forces by US helicopter attacks suggests to me the decision will next be made in Washington to increase the process of moving the war into that broken country. The US will never be satisfied just turning Afghanistan to rubble as long as Pakistan sits next door. The Caspian Sea oil and gas pipeline routes, long desired by the corporate oligarchy that calls these shots, must pass thru Afghanistan and Pakistan if their devious plans are to come to fruition. Thus Pakistan must be taken out. In the national media in the past few weeks you can see signs that the American people are being prepared for just this next step in the global endless war for resource control. (See the Washington Post story entitled "Obama: We need to make it clear to people that the cancer is in Pakistan")

  • I was impressed to read and listen to the commentary by one of the nation's best journalists, Glen Ford, about the October 2 "One Nation" protest in Washington. You can find it here. In recent days Ford and Chris Hedges have written strong words about how the event, as was expected by many on the left, was turned into a get-out-the-vote rally for the Democratic Party that made virtually no demands on Obama and his party. There has also been an exciting back and forth email exchange about this on the Internet so at least some strategic reevaluation is happening amongst some leaders in the peace movement.
  • A plan is surfacing to hold a conference in early April in Washington DC under the title of "Dismantling the Permanent War State". Journalist Gareth Porter has sent around a letter proposing the event and says, "The conference will seek to reverse the process of demobilization of organized opposition to that system that has been so effectively carried out over the past decade by the forces supporting the system. My sense is that we are a point in history at which, for a host of reasons, the Permanent War System is now supremely vulnerable and that vulnerability will continue to grow."
I am in favor of any conference or discussion that leads to real progressive strategic review. The present "inside-outside" strategy of engagement with the Democratic Party is bearing little fruit. When you are drowning the idea is to let go of the weight that is pulling you under and begin swimming for shore. It's time to get started.

NO ECONOMIC RECOVERY UNLESS WE CUT MILITARY BUDGET


It ain't about "defense" anymore.....it's about the US military empire whose job is to protect the interests of corporate globalization

No serious cuts in Pentagon budget = no money for economic recovery at home

Wednesday, October 06, 2010

SPACE WEEK VIGIL - TUCSON


Southwest Catholic Worker meeting takes a break to vigil outside of Raytheon space weapons production facility in Tucson, Arizona

GAGNON TALK AT CATHOLIC WORKER HOUSE


My talk at the Dorothy Day Catholic Worker House on Oct 1.
Parts two and three are here and here
Thanks to Ellen Thomas for taping and putting on Internet

Tuesday, October 05, 2010

RAYTHEON TALK GOES WELL

I am in the Boston airport soon to head to Delhi.

Last night I spoke about the work of the Raytheon Corporation to activists from six different peace groups in the communities near the companies production facility in Andover, Massachusetts. They make the "missile offense" interceptor missiles and radars that are now being deployed in South Korea, Japan, Poland and other countries around the world.

The audience was a mix of wonderful folks who are very determined to witness against and resist the production of these very destabilizing systems. We spoke at some length about on-going work with the Global Network and I think we will have some exciting news to report about that in the next couple of weeks.

I spent the night at the House of Peace in Ipswich, Ma. run by John and Carrie Schuchardt. It is a place of refuge and hospitality. Over the years, hundreds of people have sought shelter and support from John and Carrie at their spacious and historic home, built in 1728 by Rev. Nathaniel Rogers as a place of refuge for those suffering persecution.

I look forward to working with them in the future.

Sunday, October 03, 2010

DONALD DUCK FALLS ON HARD TIMES

VFP ACTION IN DC


Great action by Veterans for Peace in Washington DC

There is a surprise ending to the video as Obama's entourage zooms by....sadly the banner had been cut down from the building before he had a chance to see it.

SPACE WEEK EVENTS IN ALBUQUERQUE


Our friends in Albuquerque, New Mexico had a double-header on October 2 to open up Keep Space for Peace Week.

They first held a protest outside the gates of Kirtland AFB which is the directorate for the Air Force space laser development program. In the photo above the local Grannies for Peace are singing at the vigil.

Then after the protest was over they held a public screening of the new documentary Pax Americana and the Weaponization of Space.

Here is a bit of what local organizer Bob Anderson wrote to me about people's reaction to the film:

We had about 60 people at the theatre and some of them were new people who were not at the demo at the base. One was our ex-Republican city councilman who saw the notice in the theatre literature and said he was interested in the topic too.

Over all it is a real quantum leap for people – they said they knew very little of how this all fit together and now it is taking shape for them. It really helped them understand the issue well, it seems.

The Starfire [laser being developed at Kirtland] and KAFB sections seemed to impress folks here and make some connections that have till now been abstract. How did they get into the Air Force Academy and Starfire facility for those scenes?.... Amazing. The manifest destiny religious message seems to come across clear, disgusting one person said to see they are doing that there.

I liked the section on the Nazi background to space war. That came over well for people it seems. Where did they find those meeting tapes....!

SPACE WEEK ON JEJU ISLAND


Jeju Island, South Korea (Oct. 2-9) Prof. Yang Yoon-Mo, one-man protest in front of the makeshift gate of the planned Jeju naval base area, Gangjeong village, for one hour, everyday during the Keep Space for Peace Week. The slogan is, “No Jeju naval base from our bloody tax, which will contribute to arms race and militarization & weaponization of space!”

TAKING WAR $$ ISSUE TO THE LOCAL TOWN


I've been so busy I forgot to post my most recent Public Access TV show interview with Debbie Atwood.

Debbie is a longtime member of PeaceWorks in Brunswick and also serves on the Brunswick Town Council. She has been very involved with Maine's Bring Our War $$ Home campaign and has taken these issues to her town in a big way.