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.

Sunday, December 04, 2011

CONNECT ALL THE DOTS


We had our statewide meeting yesterday of the Maine Campaign to Bring Our War $$ Home. The meeting was held in Augusta and we invited folks who have been involved in the Occupy Maine movement to join us as we spent time discussing the links between war spending and the economic collapse. Much on the minds of the twenty people who attended are the current local government attacks in Maine (and beyond) against the Occupy movement.

As I noted yesterday the government attempts to draw the Occupy movement into the vortex of permitting and regulation is a calculated attempt to strangle the energy and creativity of the effort. Any organizer, when they see this government strategy, should immediately turn away because once you fall into that black hole there is no beating it. The system is built by, and controlled by, the oligarchy and has been constructed to ensure corporate control of anyone who challenges it.

I was the last to talk in our go-around, and as I usually do, took the many good ideas I heard from the people sitting in the circle and put together a consensus action proposal. Tom Sturtevant had suggested we bring a resolution before the state legislature during the next session that would be a statement against "corporate personhood". I suggested that this resolution idea be broadened to include all of the key demands of our growing movement - end corporate power over our government, tax the rich, regulate the banks, create jobs by investing in physical and human infrastructure, end war spending (including the $12 billion we spend every month in Afghanistan), and so on.

During the last two years the Bring Our War $$ Home campaign held rallies in the state capitol Hall of Flags where we tried to model an inclusive process of connecting all of these dots. Sadly, when most progressive groups go to Augusta and hold rallies they usually just focus on their singular issue - unions, senior citizens, poor people - and they seldom make the effort to bring together the "grand coalition" that ultimately will be necessary if we wish to seriously take on the 1% who now control the nation and world - the corporate paymasters.

Our Republican Tea Party Gov. LePage will surely be coming into the next legislative session with calls for further dismantling of public education, social services, union rights, unemployment, and the like. He's already begun a public attack on those drawing unemployment (51,000 unemployed in Maine) saying they don't want to work. His strategy is to pit those who work against those who need help. Divide and conquer. It's cruel stuff.

It is my hope that we can create an effort in Maine that will bring together these diverse constituencies who are willing to connect all these dots and thus build a movement that makes serious demands that would go a long way toward alleviating the problem. We aren't going to have the funds to fix our bridges, fund education, or create jobs doing home weatherization (Maine has the oldest and leakiest housing stock in the nation) unless we tax the rich and Bring Our War $$ Home.

We decided to meet again on Saturday, January 14 at noon in Augusta to continue planning this process. It should be interesting.

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