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.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

HEADING HOME

Cops on a pepper spray rampage at University of California-Davis

  • I am on the bus from Boston to Portland having just returned early this morning from Toronto, Canada. My talk yesterday in Toronto was sponsored by a group called Science for Peace and I enjoyed my stay at the home of Judy and Jim Deutsch who were wonderful hosts. Yesterday Judy and I walked the 45 minutes from their house to the University of Toronto and it was a nice treat to get some good exercise on a cool and crisp day. I've only been to Toronto once before and never got much of a chance to see the city so the walk gave me that opportunity. It is quite an international city and the many local shops owned by immigrants were exciting to see.
  • The talk program was an interesting challenge since I am not an expert on climate change. There were three speakers: Bob Lovelace, a First Nations representative, addressed the re-indigenizing of the commons; Danny Harvey, a professor from the University of Toronto spoke about what we can do to deal with climate change; and I was asked to talk about the links between militarism and climate change. It was fun to see how each of us came at the climate change topic from such different directions. I felt a real affinity with the words of the two other speakers and I think we each learned alot from the other. The audience discussion after the talks was also quite good.
  • After this event Judy and Jim took me to the annual dinner of the long-time anti-nuclear weapons group called Pugwash (named after the small town on the north shore of Nova Scotia where it was formed). The dinner was held in the Officers Dining Hall at the Canadian Forces College, not a usual venue for a dinner celebrating the work to eliminate nukes from the world's military arsenals. The president of the group, Walter Dorn, heads up the Dept. of Security & Int'l Affairs at the staff college and he hosted the dinner. Interestingly, Dorn came to the founding meeting of the Global Network 20 years ago when we met in Washington DC but we never saw him again. He was welcoming people as we walked through the door last night as was a bit startled to see me. I think the fact that I remembered him startled him even more.
  • The dinner speaker at the Pugwash event was the famous Canadian activist, and former senator, Doug Roche who gave a very upbeat and traditionalist speech about getting rid of nuclear weapons. I was surprised that he never mentioned the growing problem of missile defense (offense) as these deployments by the U.S. are going to surely put a screeching halt to any more real nuclear disarmament agreements. Russia and China are unlikely to sign major deals to reduce their nukes while the U.S. is surrounding them with these systems. Already Russia is threatening to pull out of the recent START treaty with Obama if he continues his frenetic pace of MD deployments.
  • Following the dinner Judy and Jim took me for a quick visit of Occupy Toronto. It was quite large and they had several yurts on the grounds next to a large church. Inside one yurt, being used as the library, we talked to a few young people about the links between corporate globalization and an ever expanding global militarization. Then today in Boston, while waiting for the bus at South Station, I crossed the street and walked through the Occupy Boston encampment which again was quite large. Occupy is everywhere.
  • After two weekends in a row of serious traveling I am ready to go home and rake leaves. Next Wednesday I meet my cousin Bob Gagnon in Boston to attend a Ray Davies (singer/songwriter from The Kinks) concert. Bob and I both like The Kinks, and the Baltimore Orioles, and should have a great time together.

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