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

With a new administration in Washington it will be a challenge to get the 'liberals' to hold Biden-Harris to the few 'progressive promises' they made during their campaign. Biden is bringing back many of Bush's neo-cons to head his foreign policy. I'll be on this case without hesitation.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

COMES DOWN TO THE JOB ISSUE

Resting before pot luck/program in Worcester Photo by VV

We walked almost 15 miles today and ended up in Worcester, Massachusetts. Coming into town I noticed closed mills, stores, gas stations and the like. Worcester was a major textile mill town years ago and had a strong reputation as being an anti-union town.

We had a nice pot luck (with a wonderful Moroccan chicken, potatoes, and peas dish) and a good political discussion afterward. I've not been talking alot during these discussions but tonight felt the call to speak up about the idea that conversion of the military industrial complex creates more jobs than military production. One man had been talking about a good friend he has who works for the military production system, likes his job, and feels like he is doing good things. The man said he was reluctant to challenge his friend and seemed to feel that we basically have to accept the way things are at this time. I reminded the group that the great abolitionist Frederick Douglass said, "Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will."

The Boston Globe reported in December 2010, “The defense industry generated $26 billion in economic activity in Massachusetts last year, supporting more than 100,000 jobs and accounting for 85% of all federal contracts awarded in the state.” A report, funded by Raytheon Co., found that military contracts in the state have nearly tripled over the last 10 years. Only four other states (Virginia, California, Texas, and Maryland) received more in Pentagon contracts than Massachusetts did last year.

Another study, done by the University of Mass-Amherst Economics Department found that spending $1 billion on military production creates 8,555 jobs, but if that same amount of money had been invested in building public transit systems 19,795 jobs would result. Which would you rather have from your tax dollars? We need to be asking this question over and over again as the public is increasing begging for job creation.

It was bitter cold this afternoon (we walked until about 5:00 pm) and it began to snow just a bit near the end. In the morning we head for Woonsocket, Rhode Island. The weather is expected to be sunny and windy and still a bit cold with snow in the evening.

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