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: Bath, Maine, United States

Saturday, July 09, 2011

WAR $$ VOTES



  • I am running out the door and will make this quick. Yesterday the House of Unrepresentatives voted 336-87 to pass the 2012 Pentagon Appropriations bill that will fork another $649 billion into endless war. Of the 336 votes in favor were 112 Democrats. Only 75 Dems voted against the bill (including both our representatives from Maine). Many members of the Congress Progressive Caucus voted in favor of the military spending bill. They are the same people complaining about cuts in social spending. You can see how your member of Congress voted by clicking here

  • I heard yesterday that the City Council of Los Angeles, California has voted in favor of the Bring Our War $$ Home resolution. Good news there.

Friday, July 08, 2011

BREAKING NEWS FROM JEJU ISLAND

Famous South Korean Catholic priest Father Moon arrives in Gangjeong village on Jeju Island on a new scooter given to him by the nation's head bishop.


Latest news from an activist in Gangjeong village:


Yesterday the Republic of Korea's defense minister pushed the prime minister to accelerate the heavily dangerous construction of the Gangjeong naval base.

As you may know that military base is meant to be one of the main center of weaponry deployment in all Asia and Pacific…

Today we, activists struggling within the construction zone, faced three strong attacks led by the Korean-US government:

1. The national government is on his on way to cut the local electrical power lines that help us to broadcast the situation to all of you internationally.

2. The destruction of the touristic lovely trail that pass in our resistance camp, in front of the construction site has been announced.

3. Articles have been published today in several famous national newspapers, dishonestly qualifying us as "a bunch of dangerous pro-North Korean government communists". National media brainwashing... Here, there is no so-called dangerous people, among us Gangjeong activists, but only conscious beings that work for peace.

Soon the trial of 8 of our most devoted and influential activists will start (15th of July), they are accused of obstructing the military construction works. They are accused of being active humanists.

Now we are reaching the Zenith of the Struggle for Peace in Asia, in the World.

If you have not yet signed the petition in support of the villagers please do so by clicking here

An interesting bit of coverage below thanks to Twittering friends.....

HEADING TO DC FOR TRIAL


This weekend I will head to Washington DC to participate in a trial for the non-violent civil disobedience I took part in last March in front of the White House. It was the second time I was arrested for protesting Obama's wars in the last year...the first time all charges were dropped.


VETERANS FOR PEACE

For Immediate Release: July 7, 2011

Contact: Ann Wilcox, (202) 441-3265, wilcox_ann@yahoo.com,

Elliott Adams, President, Veterans for Peace, (518) 284-2048, elliottadams@juno.com

Veterans, Peace Activists to Challenge Arrests in Pro Se Trial on July 11th

Washington, DC:

On Monday, July 11, 2011, 19 veterans, members of the Catholic Worker community, and other long-time peace activists will have a pro se trial in DC Superior Court, stemming from arrests on the White House sidewalk on March 19, 2011. The March 19th action raised issues of the ongoing wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the cost of the wars to American society, and the continued detention of whistleblower Bradley Manning. One hundred thirteen persons were arrested on the White House sidewalk by US Park Police, and 19 of those will proceed to a trial on charges of Failure to Obey a Lawful Order and Unlawful Assembly-Disorderly Conduct.

At 8:00 a.m. on Monday, July 11, 2011, the veterans and peace activists will be available to speak with the media. They will then proceed to a trial, which will be held in Courtroom 313 of DC Superior Court.

The activists have traveled from as far away as Maine, North Carolina, and throughout the Eastern US. Veterans range from World War II veterans, to the Vietnam era and beyond. The trial will highlight the defendants' desire to petition their government for redress of grievances in prosecuting two costly wars; their First Amendment Right in doing so; and other legal arguments. Although there are some first-time activists, many of those going to trial have opposed war for most of their lives. They have continued to "speak truth to power" as they did on March 19th at the White House.

Elliott Adams, President of Veterans for Peace, stated: "I am proud to stand with other veterans of America's military, along with committed peace activists, to oppose the illegal and unnecessary wars that are currently being fought, and to highlight the cost to our society. We, who have experienced war, can help to highlight the costs of war, and the importance of ending these wars now!"

Elliott and other defendants will be available to speak with the media at 8:00 a.m. on Monday, July 11th, at DC Superior Court (500 Indiana Ave., NW).

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LATEST THIS ISSUE GUEST



In my latest public access TV show I interview Global Network board member Regina Hagen from Darmstadt, Germany.

Regina has been one of our outstanding leaders for many years - both on the issue of preventing the launch of NASA nuclear power missions into space and on the militarization of space.

Regina holds the distinction of hosting the most Global Network annual space organizing conferences in her country - three times.

OBAMA CAVING IN ON SOCIAL SECURITY



It appears that Obama is quickly betraying the working class on the holy grail of Social Security. To claim that cuts in Social Security will help solve the debt crisis is a complete fabrication. But who could be surprised?

Obama was put in office by the oligarchy for a reason. His job was to finish off social progress and expand militarism. He is doing what he was told to do. He is a man of no inner core and, quite obviously, no conscience.

But somehow there still is a group of people out there who defend him. The oligarchy likes that some defend Obama as he cuts their throats. They laugh all the way to the bank.

Thursday, July 07, 2011

LAND OF (USED TO BE) LIBERTY

THE PEOPLE WANT TO STOP MILITARISM

Can you imagine 57 of these monstrosities being plunked down in Gangjeong village to build the Navy base on Jeju Island? This caisson is being built in a nearby village. People there have begun to protest as well.

Professor Yang receives an Indie movie award as "this year's face"


  • As you can see in the photo above Professor Yang is looking good as he recovers from his 70-some day long hunger strike. I've recently heard that some Gangjeong villagers, who had sold out to the Navy, have asked if they could return to the village. A discussion was taken and they have been accepted back. This likely means a couple things: first, that maybe life away from the village was not so green after all and secondly, maybe they are seeing a growing movement against the Navy base and their hopes for success are building. It is obvious that something is happening in the village as many new people are coming there and staying to help with the fight. The beauty of the place and the determined non-violent struggle is touching the hearts of many. You can keep up with all this on the Facebook page that is a great resource.
  • There is now a petition on-line to support the Jeju Island campaign. These signatures will be presented to South Korean President Lee at the end of July when an international delegation holds a news conference at the Blue House in Seoul before heading to Jeju Island. You can sign the petition here
  • Yesterday I spent the day working on getting things ready for a national and international mailing to promote our annual Keep Space for Peace Week. I wrote a cover letter, talked several times with an artist who is doing our poster, and then worked with our design person who is doing the flyer and is our contact with the printer. Lots of loose ends to tie up to get it all together. The poster this year is going to be very different from those we've made in the past.
  • As I write this Congress is close to making final decisions on the Pentagon budget for 2012. It appears that $648.7 billion will be passed for the military budget, including $118 billion to continue the wars. The Washington Post reports, "Obama is proposing significant reductions in Medicare spending and for the first time is offering to tackle the rising cost of Social Security, according to people in both parties with knowledge of the proposal. The move marks a major shift for the White House and could present a direct challenge to Democratic lawmakers who have vowed to protect health and retirement benefits from the assault on government spending." No surprise here, more of the same accommodation and sell-out by Obama. Polls have shown over and over again that the public massively opposes cuts in Medicare and Social Security but do support tax increases on the rich and cutting war spending. Obama is proving to be the best president the Republicans could ever have because he not only gives the corporate oligarchy everything they want but he also keeps the "left" neutralized. The best the Democrats seem able to do is pass a non-binding "resolution" that says the rich should pay their fair share. More showmanship as they join their president in cutting the throats of the poor and working class.

Wednesday, July 06, 2011

VETERANS SING AGAINST WAR



Great new video just created by Boston-area Veterans for Peace members and their supporters.

When was the last time you heard a peace song on the radio? It is virtually impossible to get these types of songs on the air. People like Pete Seeger, Joan Baez, Bob Dylan, Phil Ochs etc. would never be heard today. The vast majority of radio stations today are owned by corporate media giants like Clear Channel and these wonderful artist would never make it onto today’s play lists.

The song: War is Not the Answer, Never Was, Never Will was literally written on the 30th anniversary of John Lennon’s death. The word “imagine” is in the song. The song is totally financed by Veterans For Peace chapters, individuals, national and local peace groups. We have forty-five people singing on the chorus, we had a fabulous time recording it. We think it is pretty good- you be the judge – please watch and listen.

Lets put some music back into the peace movement. Please pass this music video on to all of your family, friends and contacts. Ask them to pass it on to their friends and contacts, so on and so on. The lyrics and cords are listed at the end of the video, please copy and share the song with friends. It is up to each of us to help make this happen by passing this music video on to everyone you know and ask them to pass it on.

Thank you,
Pat Scanlon and all the folks that made this music video possible.

OBAMA'S DRONES DELIVERING TOXIC CHEMICALS TO PAKISTAN



The Global Network's annual Keep Space for Peace Week (October 1-8) will this year feature the growing use of drones in waging war. The UK and U.S. anti-drone networks will co-sponsor the week of local actions.

This video, for the first time that I am aware, introduces the issue of toxic chemicals being distributed during U.S. drone strikes in Pakistan. It is becoming obvious that Obama's relentless attacks on civilian populations is intended to serve as a tool to clear territory by wiping out whole communities.

Some would call it genocide.

If George W. Bush was doing this the liberal activists would be screaming their heads off and calling for impeachment. When Obama does this the liberals are largely silent. Party trumps truth and conscience. Very sad indeed.

There is no way on god's green earth that I could ever consider voting for Obama - or any other sniveling Democrat - under these circumstances. They have become the party of toxic prevarication.

Tuesday, July 05, 2011

LEARNING TO TALK TO POLITICIANS

JULY 4 PARADE IN BATH






We had 30 of us peace-niks in the Bath, Maine July 4 parade. The enormous peace dove was up near the front of our group and the Earth Mother puppet, carried by me, was near the back. In between we had banners and signs and some dressed as vegetables.

The white peace dove, our first time using it, was a beautiful thing to behold but was an engineering nightmare to put together. It took 1 1/2 hours and thank god for Mark Roman who bailed us out with his patience and skill in helping to make sense of the whole thing.

The response from the crowd was generally polite, some enthusiastic, but many just numb with no reaction. That is to be expected at such a "patriotic" feel good parade. Behind us were the local emergency vehicles - ambulances and fire trucks with their constant sirens blaring. A real drag. I can't see how anyone thinks that noise is fun.

Most of the more than 120 entries in the parade were dull and lacking in imagination. I've written in past years about how local business people use the parade to promote their products and services. What does pest control have to do with liberty?

Of course the idea of liberty (real freedom to think, assemble, speak out, free media) has been trampled and replaced with "support the troops" messaging by the military industrial complex. This blind patriotism has done much to destroy our country. It was heart warming though to occasionally see some in the crowd who really appreciated our group and who applauded us with vigor. We heard of only one person who turned his back on us as we passed by.

INDEPENDENCE FROM AMERICA



The top secret US military base, Menwith Hill, is a little piece of America in the heart of the UK’s Yorkshire Dales. For years it has been a protest hotspot for Britons who are demanding their country’s independence from America.

Monday, July 04, 2011

MORE NUCLEAR VICTIMS - HOMELESS AND UNEMPLOYED

JEJU IS A GLOBAL ISSUE

The governor of Jeju Island is not happy that people are arriving from all over South Korea to protest the Navy base construction
Big rally held yesterday in Jeju City
People are coming from all over the nation to Jeju and many are staying. Father Moon (famous activist Catholic priest with beard) has recently arrived and announced he will die in Jeju and wants his body buried under the cement that will cover the rocks along the coastline

Latest report from Jeju Island: On July 1st, on the second day of the big action day gathering in Jeju City. Members of Minkahyup (a very old democracy action/human rights group in Korea) approached the car of Woo Keun-min the Governor of Jeju and showing a banner saying, "Retract your cancellation of the conservation area" [He cancelled the original status of Gangjeong village as a conservation area, this is the phrase that everyone chants to him all the time].

The governor got out of the car and asked the activist, “Where are you from?” and she said, “I came from Seoul.” Then he suddenly declared, “This is a Jeju issue, Don’t worry about this, Jeju people will handle this problem.” She replied back, “The Jeju Naval Base issue is not only a Jeju issue. This is about Korea’s peace and security. Whoever wants peace in Korea must worry about this issue. If you [the governor] do not solve this problem more actively then you will be criticized by all the people in the nation.”

Woo Keun-min answered, “I will handle it well.”

In fact the governor has handled it poorly. When he ran for office he gave Jeju Islanders the impression that he would bring fairness and peace to the contentious Navy base issue. In fact all he has done is become a tool of the big corporations (like Samsung who is the lead base building contractor) and the South Korean Navy.

As Secretary of War Robert Gates leaves office he gives a justification for the expansion of U.S. military presence in the Asia-Pacific region. The Navy base on Jeju is obviously connected to this larger strategy of U.S. control and domination. See it here

Sunday, July 03, 2011

THE ARTIST LANDS IN JAIL FOR LOVING THE VILLAGE



Sung-Hee Choi lived in New York City for about 10 years and while there became an active member of the Global Network. In 2008 when the GN met in Omaha, Nebraska for our annual space organizing conference, Sung-Hee insisted that we come to South Korea the following year. So we did. She and our other GN board member from South Korea, Wooksik Cheong, organized one of our largest and best annual meetings ever in Seoul in 2009.

Since that time Sung-Hee has been working hard to make the connection between Jeju Island and the U.S. plan to expand "missile defense" systems in the Asian-Pacific region. About a year ago she moved full-time to Jeju Island to help defend the village as construction began to speed up.

For the protests seen in this video Sung-Hee found herself in jail. She stands trial on July 15. The video reflects the deep admiration the villagers have for her as she has been instrumental in shepherding people from throughout South Korea and around the world to come support the village.

SUNDAY SONG