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: Brunswick, Maine, United States

I'm back to work for the Global Network. Will continue to help Lisa Savage for US Senate campaign on my free time. Trying to self-isolate as much as possible. Best wishes and good luck to you all.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

CARE-A-VAN IS A HAPPENING DEAL

We got the word yesterday that Peggy Akers (Maine Veterans for Peace) will loan us her van for the 30-day Bring Our War $$ Home (and put 'em to work) Care-a-Van that we are now organizing. I plan on doing most of the 30 days, driving from one end of the state to the other, attending as many events as possible. Already local peace groups are lining up events.

September 11 - October 10 will mark the 10th year of the U.S. occupation of Afghanistan which is still costing you taxpayers out there more than $10 billion every month. A steep price to pay for just one corner of this crumbling empire.

On days that the Care-a-Van has no special event to connect to we will drop our big banner over a highway overpass or go leaflet the students about tuition increases and growing student debt at a nearby college campus. Or we might go stand in front of a local unemployment office with our banner or even take it to the entrance of a local hospital or shopping mall. I love doing things like this - thinking and putting in motion ways to capture as much public imagination as possible around a particular issue. It's a challenge I really get up for. Some will yell "Get a life!" but this is my life and I enjoy it.

It's really all about making folks have to deal with the cost of endless war. Many people in our country don't want to think about it or they do their best to push the reality of war and occupation away from them when the subject impedes their mind space. I want to do lots of impeding during this Care-a-Van.

Now that we have the van the next step is to find a crew of folks who will come along for the ride to help hold the banner, hand out leaflets, attend the local group events we visit, and more. It's kind of like a peace walk except alot more mobile. It should be tons of fun.

I organized something like this back in the summer of 1997 prior to the Cassini space mission plutonium launch. We called it "Cassini Camp" and had a good group of friends come to the space center in Florida for a week of door-to-door leafleting, holding signs at busy intersections during rush hour, vigils at the Kennedy Space Center tourist facility, and more. We got alot of media coverage as we took the plutonium launch question right into the heart of the "Space coast" community. Just before the launch happened 74% of the Central Florida "space coast" community voted against the plutonium mission in a Sunday telephone poll done by the Orlando Sentinel newspaper where more than 1,200 people responded to the question. So we felt that our hard work had paid off.

It's real grassroots organizing except this time it will be done on a statewide basis. Imagine that we'll have radio ads running at the same time as the Care-a-Van will be cruising around the state. One will reinforce the other. I'm getting excited. It's an organizers dream come true.

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