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.

Saturday, October 08, 2011

PEPPER SPRAY AT SMITHSONIAN AIR & SPACE MUSEUM

New York City police commissioner: Police overtime has cost $1.9 million so far


Karen Wainberg and I went to Portland today to join the Occupy Wall Street event. It's been going on for a week. When we arrived there were just a few folks in Monument Square but more were gathered at their camp site about one block away. We stood on the side of the road facing traffic and held our signs and handed out flyers to passing motorists.

After a few hours more began to arrive. It was a hot day for October, 89 degrees, but seeing the buses go by with rubber necking tourists inside made it bearable. Very few people were negative as they passed us by during the 4 1/2 hours we were there. By the time we left about 75 people were protesting in the square. We heard that last night about 200-300 people had come to be a part of the Occupy Wall Street action.

Many young people either came to the square to hold a sign or to see what is going on. I handed many of them a flyer. It was good that today we had several of us there from the peace movement holding signs that connected the dots between endless war and economic crisis here at home. Many of the younger activists have been working on environmental or corporate power issues, and while they are against the war, they've not had many chances to make these important connections. So it is vital that peace movement people go into these spaces and help make these links. Everyone is totally receptive.

When I got home I saw an email from friend David Swanson, one of the leaders of the Occupy DC effort that began this week in Washington. He posted several videos like the one below on his web site and wrote this:

We intended to hold signs and sing inside the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum, protesting its promotion of unmanned drones, missiles, and bombs, including its sponsorship by and promotion of weapons corporations. We don't have any museums promoting health coverage or education or retirement security.

We had marched from the Freedom Plaza and McPherson Square occupations, taking over the streets of DC. The museum knew we were coming. Some of our group got in and dropped a banner. Hundreds of us did not. Instead, we were greeted at the door with cans of pepper spray.

There were three sets of entrance doors. I was among the first to open the third set of doors. A guard shook a can of pepper spray in front of me and demanded that we back out. But a dozen feet away at the second set of doors, people were staggering out and collapsing in pain, having been pepper sprayed in the face. I started to go toward them, but began coughing and vomiting. A lot of people were effected, directly or -- like me -- indirectly by the pepper spray.


2 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

This video certainly shows a different version from what the "official" mainstream media (CNN) is displaying complete with their Smithsonian spokeswoman Linda St. Thomas:

"Some started to enter the museum to demonstrate against displays of military drones used during the war in Afghanistan. St. Thomas said that one of the protesters pushed a museum security guard against a wall, prompting another guard to respond with pepper spray to force demonstrators outside."

http://www.cnn.com/2011/10/08/politics/dc-protest-museum/index.html?hpt=hp_t1

I don't know why, but I am still continually amazed.

Dan

10/9/11, 6:56 AM  
Anonymous Brother Jonah said...

There's now a report that one of the editors of the Might-makes-right wing blog "The American Spectator", Patrick Howley, actually DID incite that shoving act as an Agent Provocateur in order to drum up condemnation of the Occupy movement. That's from T.A.S. and from his facebook page. He was also critical that he only found about ten people out of maybe a thousand who were willing to do that.

Yeah, getting your fellow Americans gassed is somehow a good thing but not wanting to hurt your fellow humans no matter how distasteful their views and actions is "cowardice".

But then, the far right mantra has been that we're "not REAL Americans" for some time now. Tear gas and pepper spray can be lethal to elderly, to very young, and to people with breathing disorders like Asthma, COPD and emphysema just to name a few. What he's so proud of is inciting a response of "gassing their own people" which is one of the crimes assigned to Saddam Hussein.

And most of the people affected were uninvolved parties or, worse for his cause, those who were there admiring American WMDs. The ones whose support he craves.

10/10/11, 1:55 AM  

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