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 26, 2011

GOT TO MAKE THE LINKS

It snowed some last night so when we started out this morning the road was slushy and slippery. We walked to Hingham just outside of Boston. Tonight we are on the floor at a local Unitarian Church. In the morning we will be out early so we can get to the Old South Church in downtown Boston by 11:00 am to participate in the Sunday service. MB is taking the bus down to Boston to meet us at the church and then we will both head back to Maine after the service is over.

The walk officially ends on Monday when they go to the office of the governor to present a letter about the walk and the concerns that local hosts shared with us along the way. An issue we heard over and over again was that the people would like their governor to initiate a process to explore how Massachusetts could move away from its addiction to military spending in order to create more jobs.

I talked many times along the journey about the University of Mass-Amherst Economics Department study that clearly indicates that military spending creates less jobs than any other kind of investment. I challenged activists throughout Massachusetts to do more to make the important findings of this study widely known by the public. You can see the results of the study here We should all be talking about this study non-stop as the public's #1 concern these days is jobs.

The war machine has us locked in a form of economic slavery where the taxpayers pump their hard earned dollars into perpetual war and get few jobs in return. It's my belief that standing on the street with signs and banners that say things like Peace or War is Not the Answer are fine and dandy but these messages don't link the peace movement to the primary concerns of the public. Of course the moral and ethical questions about war are important, but the public as evidenced by the current events in Wisconsin, is crying out for an economic analysis that protects the people from the corporate scalpel.

I read the other day that 23% of America's debt is due to military spending and endless war. But few in the country are making the links between Pentagon spending and the virtual impossibility of an economic recovery as long as we are spending $12 billion a month in Iraq-Afghanistan-Pakistan.

The peace movement must accelerate this debate by making these key connections. And we can't just do it once or twice and then move on to some other hot issue. We've got to stay on the case long-term and keep pounding away with the information from the UMASS-Amherst study.

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