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

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

GREAT TURNOUT ON KAUAI


The Kauai Alliance for Peace & Social Justice organized a great turnout last night of over 100 folks who came to hear talks by Koohan Paik, Dave Webb, Lynda Williams and myself. The two hours of presentations were patiently listened to by virtually everyone. It was a big step forward for their group and their island.

The Pacific Missile Range Facility (PMRF) is one of those isolated and not frequently challenged manifestations of the military industrial complex. It sits along the coast of Kauai and takes a long time to drive to. Few ever go there and many have been intimidated over the years into grudgingly accepting its presence because of the "jobs" issue. Even many of those who are inclined to oppose PMRF have learned to live with it and this unpleasant acceptance has largely become the norm. (I heard that next month PMRF is sponsoring a health care weekend where they will offer to provide check-ups for those without insurance. Isn't that sweet? The military, who has socialized medicine, is going to offer to give the poor folks a bit of a taste of the good life. All of course intended as public relations.)

Koohan Paik, one of the leaders of the Kauai peace group, led things off with a blistering denunciation of PMRF and its mission to test the Aegis "missile defense" (MD) interceptor system. Obama has decided to additionally create the "Aegis Ashore" program where they will put the usually ship-based MD systems on land. After testing at PMRF these Aegis Ashore interceptors will be deployed in Romania and other locations in the growing encirclement of Russia and China. Koohan also did a powerful slide show of the struggle on Jeju Island and won over the hearts of those in the audience for the struggling Gangjeong villagers.

Dave Webb did a slide show that showed how the Space Command has set up the global system of satellites, radar stations, MD bases, and more that now weave the full spectrum dominance plan into place. He showed how PMRF fits into the larger Pentagon's grand scheme of things and was able to put to rest the myth that the Navy testing missile installation on Kauai had anything at all to do with defense.

Lynda Williams, physics teacher from California and long-time Global Network board member, is also an entertainer. She writes songs about space and science as a way to help her students and the public understand these issues. Her song "War in Heaven" was my favorite of the four numbers she performed to her adoring audience last night. I woke up at 4:00 am singing it........

I wrapped up the event by telling a number of stories that illustrated the mission and dangers of PMRF, the agenda behind the current U.S. "pivot" into the Asia-Pacific to surround China, and more. I concluded by taking on the jobs issue by reminding people that military production is in fact the worst way to create jobs with our tax dollars.

After the event was over I was surprised to be approached by a woman who said she grew up visiting a lake in Maine. Then she said she wrote the famous Vietnam-era anti-war song Universal Soldier. It was none other than Buffy Sainte-Marie. She was very kind and humble.

Earlier in the day we had a swim at one of the most beautiful beaches I've ever been to. Kauai is a wondrous mix of mountains and breath taking beaches. One of my favorite things was the abundance of wild chickens roaming around the island - the true free-range chicken. It appears that a hurricane in 1992 had smashed all the chicken houses on the island and they've been "liberated" ever since.

I'm at the Honolulu airport waiting on my flight to South Korea. Dave Webb is also on a flight to South Korea but left two hours earlier than me. It's a 10-hour journey to Seoul and then we must transfer to a domestic airline for the trip to Jeju Island. MB and Natasha Mayers are coming from Maine and will meet us on Jeju Island along with a bunch of other Global Network leaders.

Our Hawaii visit was a huge success and I must thank Lynda Williams who got the whole idea brewing for the Global Network. I think our activist friends in Hawaii, who often feel so isolated, very much appreciated our visit and our solidarity. I think that we will see more collaboration in the future.

1 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mahalo for shining your light, which imbues inspiration and hope on our island, as well as the world, for a brighter future.

2/22/12, 11:56 PM  

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