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.

Monday, November 21, 2011

BITS AND PIECES


  • Much is being made about the Congressional Super Committee not being able to come to an agreement on their job of relieving the entire Congress of making tough fiscal decisions. According to the Super Committee’s Democratic co-chair, Sen. Patty Murray (Wash.), Bush tax cuts were “the one sticking divide.” Murray, often called Boeing's senator, didn't say attacks on Social Security, Medicare, or whether or not to cut Pentagon spending was an issue. Largely both parties agree that the Pentagon will only get minor cuts over a 10 year period and that Social Security and Medicare will in fact be taken down a couple of notches. It is just the issue of tax cuts that remain in conflict. Could it be the tax cut issue is being used to distract the public, and mainstream media, from the bigger stories like Social Security cuts and Pentagon escapism?
  • There is a growing campaign to force UC Davis Chancellor Linda Katehi to resign after she unleashed pepper spraying police on non-violent students who were sitting down during an Occupy protest on campus. I signed a petition today calling for her resignation. She is supposed to make a public statement today. Imagine how furious students, parents, and faculty at UC-Davis are. See this excellent article on the subject here
  • The word is that the many letters of support for the villagers in Gangjeong have, at least for the present moment, stopped the explosion of the rocky coast by the Navy and the construction contractors (including Samsung) who are building the Navy base. It appears that Jeju Island Gov. Woo felt the heat and stopped the planned Nov 18 blasting. We hope this holds but at least the people got a small victory for now and the governor got a feel of the growing international solidarity movement's outrage. Next up will be the Nov 23 sentencing of Gangjeong village Mayor Kang and two other villagers who were unfairly arrested and tried for their non-violent actions against base construction. See more here
  • After Mary Beth picked me up at the bus station in Portland yesterday we stopped by Occupy Portland to visit with a couple of friends who have been with the encampment for some time. They are feeling a bit overwhelmed as the numbers of homeless and people with mental conditions have been growing dramatically in proportion to the activists who are at the camp. This past week there were a couple of incidents where some homeless got into a scuffle and were arrested at the camp and of course the media and the city have used this to justify demands that the camp be shut down. A meeting between Portland city officials and Portland Occupy is happening this afternoon and it will be interesting to see what comes out of it. The truth is that the homeless are obviously very much a part of the 99% but it is exceedingly unfair for people to think that the Occupy movement should have to be adept at feeding, housing, and offering professional mental health counseling to the very population that society has cast aside. This is an issue that is playing out at every Occupy in the nation - some are dealing with it better than others - but will remain a challenge into the future.

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