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

Friday, November 18, 2011

THE WRITING ON THE WALL



Last night, tens of thousands of Occupy Wall Street protesters marched throughout New York City, many making their way on to the Brooklyn Bridge, carrying LED candles and chanting. As Occupiers took the bridge in a seemingly endless sea of people, words in light appeared projected on the iconic Verizon Building nearby.

See the interview with Mark Read, who organized the "bat-signal" project here

TRAINING FOR CD ACTIONS



A film by Charles Light & Daniel Keller that shows the deliberateness, planning, training and preparation for the 1977 nonviolent occupation of the Seabrook, New Hampshire nuke site by 1,414.

SLATER ON U.S. MILITARISM IN PACIFIC



Alice Slater in New York City on RT talking about U.S. militaristic moves in the Asia-Pacific region. She has long been an active board member in the Global Network.

POLISH PROTEST LAUNCHES DRONE TO WATCH COPS



During protests in Warsaw last weekend, one crafty activist deployed a flying drone to spy on riot police.

THIS IS PURE EVIL

Japan to use disaster area food for overseas aid

TOKYO — Japan will send canned foods from the areas affected by the March 11 [Fukushima] disasters to developing countries as official development assistance (ODA), the Foreign Ministry said.

Canned foods will be tested in advance for excess radiation and their safety confirmed before they are sent, the ministry said.

The ministry has applied for a budget of about 5 billion yen ($65 million) to carry out its plan, which it hopes will promote produce from the Tohoku region and also dispel rumors about Japanese food safety.

Ministry officials said they have set up a project to give priority to products made in the Tohoku Region. It is envisioning using canned mackerel as food assistance or medical equipment such as endoscopes or wheelchairs made in Tohoku.

The ministry hopes to receive funding for the project for the current fiscal year.


This is the same Japanese government that has been telling the residents in the Fukushima contamination zone that the levels of radiation they are getting are within "safe" limits. This is disgusting and evil and should be denounced.


Makiko Sato from Japan, a Global Network board member, writes: If you know some African people, please let them know about this. This can hardly be called a humanitarian aid, as it is out of government's intention only to soothe local industries in the damaged areas in Japan by buying up foods which awakened citizens here avoid buying. Additionally, it must be intended to null the normal sense of the general public here and beyond, regarding low-level dose radiation. No matter how much food is needed over there in some famine-stricken countries, it is bad and shameful for Japanese government and our industries to give away such kind of contaminated food, especially without their knowledge about it, which will surely result in serious damage to human gene in future generations. I'm afraid there may be no domestic monitoring system of such canned food for free delivery overseas.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

NYPD ARRESTS RETIRED PHIILY POLICE CAPTAIN




Retired Philadelphia police captain Ray Lewis joined the Occupy Wall Street movement in Zuccotti Park this week and was arrested early this morning. Here Lewis voices serious criticisms against Mayor Michael Bloomberg and the New York Police Department over their handling of the protests.

JEJU ISLAND UPDATE

[Nov. 18] It is told that the police have turned down the companies' request for the blast of the Gureombi rocks for three times. It is told that the reasons were: 1. insufficiency of the documents; 2. concern about the incident during the blast; 3. requirement for the agreement with the Island governor.

We think your continued pressure to the Island Governor Woo (lmw2828@jeju.go.kr) really greatly helped to at least to delay the blast but we don’t know yet when the navy would suddenly conduct the blast without the consultation with the Island governor as the navy has done on Oct. 6 under the excuse of ‘test blast,’

We so thank you for your solidarity and want to ask to you to continuously pressure the governor Woo. We also want to ask your pressure to the Ministry of Defense (S. Korean Defense Attache: defenattache@yahoo.com) to revoke all the naval base construction policy and not to blast the Gureombi, South Korea so that the military don’t commit crime unilaterally.

The Headline Jeju reports this morning that the chief of the naval base business committee would be changed on Nov. 23. The newly appointed person will be the guy who has been a vice-commander of the 2nd Fleet, Pyeongtaek base where the large U.S. military base locates.

Otherwise, there is a trial of the three including mayor Kang Dong-Kyun, villager Kim Jong-Hwan and photographer Kim Dong-Won at 3pm today. There will be the final statements of the three and I will inform on it later. The court decision will be on Nov 23 and many people here are starting to send the appeal letters to the judge.

More update later.

I have to hurry for my own appeal at the court at 2pm, too.

Thanks everyone,

Sung-Hee Choi
Jeju Island, South Korea

SUPER COMMITTEE SCAM



Democrats on the Congressional super committee are willing to continue Bush tax cuts on the rich despite claiming to want a reduction in the federal budget deficit. The Young Turks host Cenk Uygur explains why.

PORTLAND OCCUPY




Four of us from Bath went to Portland today to join the Occupy solidarity event. People stood at Monument Square with signs for two hours and then had a march into the Old Port to the office of banksters Merrill Lynch who have been feasting off the taxpayers in Maine.

We first went inside their lobby but were pushed out onto the landing where I held a door open (that the bank workers tried unsuccessfully to close) and we all chanted for some time. Eventually the police came and moved us off the landing, onto the sidewalk, where we resumed our chants and read a script in Occupy-repeat-fashion that outlined the history of the bank's transgressions against Mainers.

We thought maybe Merrill Lynch would open their bank vault and give us a pallet of shrink-wrapped $100 bills that the Portland Occupiers could put around their tents as insulation from the coming cold and snow. But they offered us nothing.

Several media outlets came along to film and scribe before we moved on to the offices of TD Bank where we chanted some more. At this bank we saw people popping their noses up to the windows on virtually every floor in the big building above us. One guy a few floors up opened the window and flashed us the peace sign.

A couple of us are hanging around Portland for our evening monthly meeting of Maine Veterans for Peace.

Tomorrow I head to Boston for a plane to Toronto, Canada where I will speak on Saturday at the University of Toronto. I will talk about the mostly ignored deadly connections between the U.S. war machine and climate change. The Pentagon is the biggest polluter, and energy user, in the world but exempt from Kyoto Protocols and all other agreements that are supposed to limit greenhouse gas emissions.

It's quite remarkable that you almost never hear any environmental group mention the military when they talk about preventing global warming. Why the virtual silence?

PEPPER SPRAYED BY SEATTLE'S "FINEST"



Eighty-four-year-old activist Dorli Rainey tells Keith Olbermann about her experience getting pepper-sprayed by the police during an Occupy Seattle demonstration and the need to take action and spread the word of the Occupy movement. She cites the advice of the late Catholic nun and activist Jackie Hudson to “take one more step out of your comfort zone” as an inspiration, saying, “It would be so easy to say, ‘Well I’m going to retire, I’m going to sit around, watch television or eat bonbons,’ but somebody’s got to keep ’em awake and let ’em know what is really going on in this world.”

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

"LINKING ARMS IS NOT NON-VIOLENT CD"

CORPORATE WALL STREET MOCK TRIAL



Recorded November 3, 2011.

The People vs. Goldman Sachs mock trial people's hearing held at Liberty a/k/a Zuccotti Park with fiery commentary by Dr. Cornel West, eloquence by Chris Hedges, and testimonies from people directly affected by Goldman Sach policies. Among the topics discussed, education, housing, prison industrial complex, etc.

STAY THE COURSE - DESPITE THE MILITARIZED RESPONSE



Tuesday, November 15, 2011

HELP STOP BLASTING OF ROCKS ON JEJU ISLAND



Dear friends of Jeju Island,

On November 18th, the South Korean Navy will blast Gureombi, the smooth volcanic rock along the coastline of Gangjeong village where the local people have been fighting day and night almost for 5 years to stop the naval base. Please take 5 minutes to be part of this global collective effort to stop this destructive blast.

Jeju was recently selected among the New Seven Wonders of Nature, which with its UNESCO triple-crowned status makes the island among the world’s most precious cultural and national treasures. In addition, the marine ecosystem that lines Gureombi is an absolute preservation area designated by the South Korean government because of the many endangered species that inhabit Gureombi, including the red-clawed crab and soft coral. The spring water that bubbles up from Gureombi provides up to 80% of the drinking water for residents of Seogwipo City, the southern half of Jeju Island. The destruction of Gureombi threatens the surrounding marine life and the clean water that farmers and villagers depend upon for their survival.

Please take action now and send an email to Jeju Governor Woo urging him to halt the blast and construction of the naval base. The Jeju Island governor should protect Jeju’s pristine nature from being destroyed. Although Governor Woo has the authority to order the Navy to halt construction, he is overseeing the destruction of this pristine coastline.

Gangjeong villagers are pleading for our help to prevent the Gureombi blast at whatever cost. Your contacting the Governor now will not only encourage them but also help save their village and lives. As one villager says, “Gureombi is Gangjeong, Gangjeong is Gureombi.”

STOP the BLAST

Cut & Paste this email and write to Gov. Woo:
lmw2828@jeju.go.kr

Dear Governor Woo,

You have the power to stop the blast of Gureombi, a government-designated absolute ecological preservation area. You also have the power to order the Navy to stop construction of the naval base and release innocent citizens. Will you leave behind a legacy of overseeing the destruction of a UNESCO preserve site and ancient Korean relics, or will you be remembered as a protector of democracy and peace on Jeju Island? Uphold your promise to those who elected you and stop the blast and construction immediately. We don’t want the ‘New Seven Wonders of Nature’ to be brutally destroyed.

Sincerely,

WHAT'S NEXT FOR OCCUPY?





Dan Siegel was a friend and legal adviser to Oakland Mayor Jean Quan, but he resigned his post the same day police cleared the Occupy Oakland encampment.

Siegel is a civil rights lawyer and activist who has lived and worked in Oakland for many years.

WE WILL NOT GIVE UP



The cops in New York City "cleaned" out Zuccotti Park in the middle of the night. They kept media away as they surrounded and then beat up many of the people in the Occupy movement. Even media helicopters were banned from the airspace overhead. It was a military operation.

Mayor Bloomberg in NYC said he was doing this to "protect" the Occupy movement as undesirable types had contaminated the park in recent weeks. But the truth is that the mayor and his agents for weeks had been telling homeless and mentally ill people released from NYC jails to go to the park. Thus the city helped to create the conditions they then used to bust up Occupy.

The slimy mayor of Oakland, California let it slip during a radio interview that mayors from 18 cities across the country had coordinated the raids on the Occupy movement while on a recent conference call.

It is sad how the cops are allowing themselves to be used to brutalize their fellow citizens. Now and then cops go on strike and seek public support in their quest for pay raises and better working conditions. Then they turn on the very public who pays their salaries and treat folks like this. Inexcusable.

There is no doubt in my mind that a war has been declared on anyone in America that stands up against the oligarchy. These moves to clear Occupy from public spaces across the nation are an attempt to put us all on the reservation.

But they will not succeed. The mayors of cities and out-of-control cops across America have only steeled the determination of legions of the people. We are the many, the 99%, and they are the few...the 1%. We will not give up. Never.

Monday, November 14, 2011

BULLISH ON OCCUPY MOVEMENT

RESISTANCE IS FERTILE

I was invited to go to Hawaii as one of the many speakers at the conference called Peoples of the Asia-Pacific vs. APEC/TPP that was organized by the International Forum on Globalization (IFG). APEC stands for Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation.

Victor Menotti, Executive Director of the IFG says, "APEC is a corporate agenda. It's about the industrial economy with policies that read as if they're straight out of the WTO rule book. This is trade liberalization and getting governments, which are supposed to express the people's will, out of the way of 'economic freedom' which is code for corporate rule. This is corporate rape and pillage."

The TPP (Trans-Pacific Partnership) is a free trade agreement currently being negotiated between the U.S. and eight other APEC members. Last week Japan announced they will join the TPP despite strong opposition from farmers and other citizens in their country.

The three-day alternative conference that I attended began with a full day of meetings under the banner of "Strengthening Indigenous Practitioners' and Advocates' Relationships to Our Lands, Peoples, and Resources". Held at the Calvary Church by the Sea we were just feet from the warm ocean waters as indigenous leaders from across the Pacific discussed the fundamental meaning of life - to live as a human being in harmony with nature. They told stories about colonization and resource extraction and made clear that the goals of capitalism - endless and mindless growth - are in direct opposition to sustainable living.

On the second day the conference moved to another church closer to downtown Honolulu where a series of plenary panel discussions were held. I spoke on the panel called "Militarization & Resistance in the Pacific" and began with the story about the Global Network's support for the villagers on Jeju Island in South Korea. I also spoke extensively about current Obama administration moves to expand "missile defense" throughout the Asia-Pacific as a way to militarily surround China and Russia. I got a nice response from many of those in the audience after the panel was over.

On the third day of the conference the event moved again, this time to the University of Hawaii (Hawaiian Studies Department) theatre. This open-air venue was right next to a beautiful traditional Hawaiian cultural garden that was the perfect setting to ponder the important questions raised by the speakers who further outlined the issues surrounding globalization, resource extraction, and unrestrained trade agreements.

I'd like to highlight some key points that I noted during the conference (in no particular order of importance):

  • The Pacific Ocean is not what separates us, but is what binds us.

  • APEC - plantation owners negotiating among themselves.

  • Guam - New U.S. plan calls for military base expansion that will ensure that 40% of the island's land will be under Pentagon control.

  • An Afghanistan village has been built on Oahu, Hawaii and drones will be brought in and used for war games.

  • Building more military housing on the most fertile land on Oahu will make islanders even more dependent on corporate agriculture food imports. Hawaii imports 90% of its food today.

  • U.S. and China are forming competing trade mechanisms to control resources and markets.

  • Henry Kissinger on the removal of the residents of the Marshall Islands in 1969: “There are only 90,000 people out there. Who gives a damn?”

  • There are 748 Superfund (contaminated) sites in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. The Pentagon has 113 military installations across the Hawaiian islands.

  • European and U.S. hedge funds are buying up African lands in the name of "securing" Africa's food supply.

  • The Air Force flyover of Honolulu on 11-11-11, during the APEC conference, felt like the end of the world. The massive rumbling of power also sounded to me like the insecurity of a declining power.

  • China is currently using one-half of the world's coal. Indonesia is becoming China's coal colony.

  • APEC sees cultural evaluations, environmental impact statements, local sovereignty, etc as "barriers to investment".

  • Obama is unwinding the United Nations regime to reduce green house gases.

  • TPP objectives: Seamless process to remove all restrictions that interfere with profits from resource extraction, production, to markets. TPP wants "transparency" which means governments must be fully under corporate control. TPP would trump all government regulations.

  • U.S. has lost 5 million jobs, and 42,000 factories have left, since these "Free Trade Agreements" have been created.

  • China makes $6.50 for each $178.96 iPhone it builds while Apple gets the rest.

  • George Soros says that the crisis of capitalism creates an opportunity for "global restructuring" which means expansion of corporate control.

  • Gao Feng, China's head climate negotiator from 2000-2005, reports, "Years ago a now-retired senior German official became agitated when I remarked that if the Chinese wanted to combat climate change, his country's car manufacturers could go home and the Chinese could return to their bicycles. This would not do, he said, the Chinese should keep buying cars, but only drive them once a week."

That was just a tiny flavor of some of the things discussed during these remarkable three days in Honolulu.


We know that the only way humans, and most animal and plant life, can survive on our Mother Earth is for the hard-charging bulldozer of endless growth to be subordinated to a human scale and sustainable way of being. In order to have a livable planet we must all decolonize our minds, change the way we live, and we must reject this unforgiving system of capitalism that is leading to the decline of life on our spaceship Earth.


I am heartened to meet so many wonderful people who are working across the Asia-Pacific to bring sanity to our lost world. We must all become part of this change if we hope for our natural world to survive. There is no other way.


I was moved to tears at the concluding ceremony of the conference when Native Hawaiians sang traditional songs. In that moment I realized that during my 15 months living on Oahu in 1973-1974 I had come to love the ocean, the lands, and the people of this magical place more than I had ever thought. The familiarity of their ways touched me deeply and formed a circle of closure as I have long been on a journey to reconnect with all the places and people from my wandering life. In the end I've learned what a gift it has been for me to have moved so often during my days. I was given the gift to see that all the people of the world were the same in many ways - they all love their homelands, they love to eat, laugh, and to sing, and they love their children. We indeed are all one.


We each have a sacred responsibility to protect the "place" where we live. Resistance is fertile.

AEPEC WORLD LEADERS DINNER GETS OCCUPIED



Honolulu- A change in the programmed entertainment at last night's [Nov 12] Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) gala left a few world leaders slack-jawed, though most seemed not to notice that anything was amiss.

During the gala dinner, renowned Hawaiian guitarist Makana, who performed at the White House in 2009, opened his suit jacket to reveal a home-made “Occupy with Aloha” T-shirt. Then, instead of playing the expected instrumental background music, he spent almost 45 minutes repeatedly singing his protest ballad released earlier that day. The ballad, called “We Are the Many,” includes lines such as “The lobbyists at Washington do gnaw.... And until they are purged, we won't withdraw,” and ends with the refrain: “We'll occupy the streets, we'll occupy the courts, we'll occupy the offices of you, till you do the bidding of the many, not the few.”

Those who could hear Makana’s message included Presidents Barack Obama of the United States of America, Hu Jintao of China, Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono of Indonesia, Prime Minister Stephen Harper of Canada, and over a dozen other heads of state.

“At first, I was worried about playing ‘We Are The Many,’” said Makana. “But I found it odd that I was afraid to sing a song I’d written, especially since I'd written it with these people in mind.”

The gala was the most secure event of the summit. It was held inside the Hale Koa hotel, a 72-acre facility owned and controlled by the US Defense Department; the site was fortified with an additional three miles of fencing constructed solely for the APEC summit.

Makana was surprised that no one objected to him playing the overtly critical song. “I just kept doing different versions,” he said. “I must’ve repeated ‘the bidding of the many, not the few’ at least 50 times, like a mantra. It was surreal and sobering.”

Makana’s new song is inspired by the Occupy Wall Street movement, which has taken root in cities worldwide. Last Saturday, eight protesters were arrested when they refused to leave the Occupy Honolulu encampment at Thomas Square Park. Occupy Honolulu has joined other groups, including Moana Nui, to protest the APEC meeting, and while Makana performed, hundreds of people protested outside.

After facing large-scale protests in South Korea, Australia, Peru, and Japan, APEC moved this year's event to Hawaii, the most isolated piece of land on earth. In preparation for the meeting, homeless families were moved out of sight and millions of taxpayer dollars were spent on security—including over $700,000 on non-lethal weapons for crowd control. In a bitter twist, the multi-million dollar security plans backfired when a local Hawaiian man was shot and killed by a 27-year-old DC-based federal agent providing security for dignitaries.

Makana’s action was assisted by the Yes Lab and Occupy the Boardroom. In recent weeks, Occupy protesters have been showing up at corporate events, headquarters and even on the doorsteps of those in power. “Makana really raised the bar by delivering the Occupy message inside what is probably the most secure place on the planet right now,” said Mike Bonanno of the Yes Lab.

“My uncle taught me to feel out the audience and play what my heart tells me to,” said Makana. “That’s what I did tonight.”



GROSSMAN ON PLUTONIUM LAUNCH



Renowned journalist Karl Grossman on the upcoming NASA plutonium launch.

NASA intends in coming weeks to launch a rover to be deployed on Mars fueled with 10.6 pounds of plutonium. Opponents of the launch in Florida, concerned about an accident releasing deadly plutonium, such as the explosion of the rocket that’s to loft the rover, have created a Facebook page warning people not to visit Disney theme parks in Orlando during the November 25-to-December 15 launch window. “Don’t Do Disney brought to you by NASA,” the Facebook page is titled. Other actions are planned.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

SUNDAY SONG