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.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

EVERY CONSTITUENCY FOR THEMSELVES - A LOSING DEAL

  • I went to a rally this morning inside the State Capital in Augusta, Maine that was called to protest a state budget that eliminates health care coverage for more than 20,000 people, cuts prescription drug coverage for senior citizens and reduces funding for Head Start..  I spoke to one young woman who has Epilepsy and without support she is not able to afford her medication which helps her function.  Our Gov. LePage and the Republican controlled legislature are throwing her off the Maine Care program with their cuts.  The protest brought about 200 people into the hallway between the House and Senate chambers and folks chanted for about an hour and a half and then left.  I'm afraid it was too little, too late.  
  • The way it seems to work here in Maine is that each different constituency goes to Augusta on a different date to protest their piece of the action.  The unions, then the senior citizens, then the teachers, then the environmentalists, then the social service providers make their trek to the capital and plead their case.  All those groups are allied to and are essentially led by the Democratic Party. They don't really like to have the peaceniks involved since we are critical of both the Republicans and the Democrats for funding endless war.  Under the banner of the Maine Campaign to Bring Our War $$ Home we have tried to organize (and model) a real coalition effort that makes the case that until we stop spending $10 billion every month in Afghanistan there will be no money for social progress back here at home.  But that is "controversial" because we are challenging a Democrat President Obama.  (Except take into consideration that 66% of the American people actually want us out of Afghanistan.)  So the left-wing in Maine remains divided around the issue of political party and virtually everyone is getting their ass kicked because we can't organize an effective resistance to the corporate dominated right-wing that runs state government.  Very sad and a bad organizing strategy.
  • I have just started working on the next edition of the Global Network's Space Alert newsletter - deadline June 15. Much to my utter delight my son Julian just submitted an article entitled "Space Missile Defense's Implications on PAROS and FMCT." Makes my old heart proud - the first time he has ever written something for the newsletter. He's spent the past year doing extensive research on space weapons issues as the high school debate world, where he coaches, had that as their topic during their debate season. He knows this stuff better than I do.

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