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'll be taking an 'unpaid leave of absence' from my job at the Global Network from December 15-March 15, 2020 in order to help my friend Lisa Savage on her campaign for the US Senate in Maine. She's running as a Maine Green Independent Party member and needs to gather 2,000 petition signatures of registered Greens during that period. I'll be back to GN after March 15.

Monday, August 29, 2011


We lost our electricity at our house last night during dinner with several local ministers who had come to talk about holding a public service of atonement in Bath during the period of Sept 10 - Oct 10 when we will be organizing a statewide Bring Our War $$ Home Care-a-Van across Maine.

It's now 1:30 pm the next day and I write this blog post from a local coffee shop that has a generator running so I am able to have some power to run my laptop. A great deal of Maine seems to have lost their power from Hurricane Irene that was mostly rain and strong wind by the time it got this far north. The worst seems to have hit western Maine.

Thinking about power and powerlessness makes my mind connect to Jeju Island in South Korea. The police clamp down on the villagers by the right-wing government continues as they have now served 39 people with injunctions threatening $2,000 fines each time they go onto any "property" claimed by the Navy. (This property was previously the farm land of the villagers that has been taken by the government to build the Navy base for U.S. warships.) The government has also banned the chanting of slogans if you can believe it.

In the photo above you see many government police sitting in the middle of the villagers Catholic mass that is held each day. Clearly they are trying to intimidate and frustrate the people. Instead the villagers and supporters just sat down amongst the young police and the service went on.

Father Moon, just out of jail, addressed the mass and said the following:

"Right now there are two flags in Gangjeong. One is the flag of the National police agency chief Cho Hyon-oh, symbol of the violence of police power, another is the flag of Bishop Kang U-il of Jeju Diocese, symbol of peace and solidarity. Cho Hyon-oh's flag is the flag of unreasonable use of force to suppress the villagers. The flag of the Bishop is the flag of the powerless, taken away by violence,... being ignored and ridiculed. . They can take our lives but they cannot take our alive hearts longing for peace. Now the dictator's end is seen. The flag of power, the flag of Cho Hyon-oh will be broken. . . not so long....Look at Herod who cut the throat of John the Baptist . . . John the Baptist was dead, but alive until now in people's hearts. Do not need to be scared of the dictator. We will go the way of peace that we have to make."

This whole Jeju Island fight is indeed a classic story about the little guy up against the big bad bully state. The villagers are staying non-violent, creative, humble, and determined. Support for them is growing worldwide. Information is flowing from the village to supporters around the world even after many key persons have been put on ice by the corporate bully President Myung-Bak Lee. (Often called the "Bulldozer" or MB2 which stands for "2 Megabyte brain")

I heard today that the Mayors for Peace application has been submitted to the international organization on behalf of Gangjeong village Mayor Kang who is now hunger striking from his jail cell. Mayors for Peace intends to promote the villagers struggle in upcoming international correspondence with their member mayors around the world. Their staff remarked how impressed they have been as they followed the non-violent efforts of the villagers to maintain the integrity of their community and way of life.

The Bulldozer will likely order his forces to become even more repressive and brutal during the coming weeks because all he knows to do is to get meaner with every passing minute. But each of these harsh steps will only serve to increase the global solidarity levels.
In fact President Lee is now powerless and the Gangjeong villagers hold the power. MB2's government only knows to use the tool of anger - the hammer. The villagers have many tools in their non-violence tool kit.


Blogger Amanda said...

It is sad to hear that the villagers continue to be strongly oppressed simply for protecting their home and community. I'm glad to know that creativity and hope flows amongst the villagers.
This weekend I was talking to friends about how each of us might react during an "Apocalypse" where all authority and structure is lost in our society. There was much negativity, but in the end, those who remain positive and creative seemed to think they would have the best outcomes. Thank you for sharing these stories and words Bruce. I will continue to use these examples when I am speaking with those around me.

8/29/11, 2:24 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you to blog on this.

Here are mayor Kang Ding-Kyun's words from custody cell on Aug. 28, 2011

'The accident this time is of state power’s repression on local villagers, which is not only of naval base issue.
It is merely a beginning. I see the 2nd 4. 3
I see state power’s enormous conspiracy.
Fighting, villagers and activists!
And you should be tight in solidarity.
We can do. No, we should do.
That is the mission given to this era and to us.
That is the test that God has given to us so that our descendents can live in this beautiful world.
I emphasize again.
We can do! We can win! No, we have already won!
If we overcome a little more hardships and adversities, a permanent peace will wait for us in the future.
Fighting! Villagers! Activists!'

No Base Stories of Korea

8/29/11, 4:40 PM  

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