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.

Friday, January 20, 2012


  • The environmental community is claiming a great victory following Obama's decision to deny the Keystone XL TarSands permit because the current pipeline route would pass through Nebraska and significantly impact the Ogallala Aquifer. It is a vast yet shallow underground water table located beneath the Great Plains. One of the world's largest aquifers it reaches portions of South Dakota, Nebraska, Wyoming, Colorado, Kansas, Oklahoma, New Mexico, and Texas.

Protest leader Bill McKibben said, “Assuming that what we’re hearing is true, this isn’t just the right call, it’s the brave call. The knock on Barack Obama from many quarters has been that he’s too conciliatory. But here, in the face of a naked political threat from Big Oil to exact ‘huge political consequences,’ he’s stood up strong. This is a victory for Americans who testified in record numbers, and who demanded that science get the hearing usually reserved for big money."

Obama's press secretary told the media that the president suggests Keystone XL reapply for the pipeline permit but route it around Nebraska which is the state with the largest part of the aquifer beneath it. It would take some time of course to redesign the route - probably would not be done until after the November presidential election.

My guess is that the magician in the White House would then approve the pipeline and the big machine in the photo above, that is used to rip up the Tar Sands in Canada, could then get back to work. I know the environmental groups are trying to put a positive spin on their successful effort to slow down this pipeline but I think I'd be a bit careful about suggesting that Obama had just shown an unusual display of courage. I think it was a classic case of Obama's shifty hands.

  • The South Carolina Republican primary vote will be tomorrow and the "clown show," as one conservative pundit called it, is beginning to send huge waves of fear through elements of the Republican party. There is talk that the evangelical wing of the party is trying to create an "anybody but Romney" movement in hopes they can slow down what had seemed to be an inevitable anointment of the former Massachusetts Governor as the party's presidential candidate. The Obama-ish Romney, moderate and swinging in the wind like a weather vane, is not the top choice of the more conservative Republican rank-and-file. He was the candidate of the oligarchy. But his campaign is proving to be inept and his failure to connect with people in a human way has become legendary. The talk is now that there could be a brokered Republican convention this summer and that someone from the outside will emerge to save the day. I still maintain that the puppeteers are happy to watch the clown show proceed as they intend to have Obama reelected and the dysfunctional Republican primary process just helps to make that end come true. It's all theatre - interesting for sure - but still theatre and destructive. The Republicans are warming up to their role to divide the American people against each other - working class whites against people of color, anti-union, anti-female, anti-science, anti-democracy, pro-corporate - it's a return of the 1850's Know Nothing Party.


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