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

I grew up in a military family and joined the Air Force in 1971 during the Vietnam War. It was there that I became a peace activist.

Saturday, June 02, 2012


I've gone through my note book from my recent trips and have found some bits that I wanted to share.  Somehow they are all connected.  Also a few news items as well.

  • Maine's state Democratic Convention began last night and Rep. Mike Michaud told the assembled that he is fighting for a bill to require U.S. military uniforms be made in America.  Now that's vision!?  What about a solar society?  What about a national rail system?  No, this is just one more sign that the Democrats accept that our role in the U.S. will be "security export" under corporate globalization but maybe we can make the uniforms here in Maine.  Ugh.  (A perfect illustration of my last point below.)
  • 60% of Pakistan's national budget this year will go to cover their debt service and pay for their military.  No wonder the people are revolting against their government.
  • Well over $60 million was spent in Chicago to pay for the NATO summit.
  • Activists in Chicago are occupying health clinics that are being closed to make the connection to endless war spending.
  • In his new book "Strategic Vision: America and the Crisis of Global Power", Zbigniew Brzezinski says that a "greater west" can control China in the years ahead.  This is why we see NATO expanding into the Asia-Pacific.  
  • Our traditional organizing strategies and tactics to bring about change are increasingly blocked by the privatization of domestic, foreign, and military policy and the corporate drowning of democracy.  We need more local discussion/reflection/brainstorming/strategizing about how to deal with this reality.
  • Increasingly national progressive foundations are insisting that grant recipients not connect the dots between issues and not get outside of the Democratic Party box.  This severely impacts our ability to deal with the previous point.
  • 80% of new loans to Greece go to pay for previous debt and 20% to buy weapons from Germany, France and others.
  • The opposition to austerity is taking a progressive and a reactionary direction.
  • We've globalized capital, globalized phones, globalized war, and now we've got to globalize the resistance.  (This came from Jesse Jackson during the Counter-Summit in Chicago but it's not a direct quote because I missed some of it because he was talking so fast.)
  • The German elite is not excited about "missile defense" but because the Obama administration wants it they go along.  But they will contribute as little funding as possible to the program.
  • The resource extraction issue is not included in the U.N.'s Outer Space Treaty while the Moon Treaty (which the U.S. never signed) has a slight but undeveloped reference to the issue.
  • Current U.N. and international technical and legal tools are inadequate to deal with the commercialization of space.
  • 60 countries today have satellites in space.  The U.S. owns 46% of all satellites in orbit.
  • India, with more than 600 million people living in poverty, is expanding its space program and will concentrate on missions to Mars.  The U.S. has been urging India to join Pentagon military space efforts and India has created a "Space Command".
  • By 2018 there will be 43 missile defense capable Aegis warships in the U.S. Navy.  They would have 500 interceptor missiles on-board.  These could be used as anti-satellite weapons or as the shield after a U.S. first-strike attack on Russian or Chinese nuclear forces.
  •  There is an adjustment going on within NGO's as we witness the drowning of democracy.  To be an "insider" you have to either go along with this way of accommodating to corporate domination or you are marginalized as someone who is unrealistic and the "enemy of the possible".  Limits are being imposed on what is possible, whether it be securing a single-payer health care system or a treaty to ban weapons in space.  NGO's are being sorted into two columns - those who fit into the new "realistic" box or those who don't.  Those who are willing to accommodate, and make fewer demands, don't enjoy having those around who challenge this accommodating style.


Blogger Unknown said...

Some pretty good points Bruce. Are you going to bring up any of this at the BOW$H meeting next weekend (assuming you are going, that is)?

6/3/12, 7:30 PM  

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