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.

Monday, October 29, 2012


I am laying on my bed inside my simple tiny log cabin on the edge of Black Hills national forest. My cabin has no heat (except for a space heater), is not insulated (I stuffed newspaper in the cracks in the door jam), and the toilet and shower house is 1/2 mile away.  But amazingly the cabin has Wifi....go figure.

From my window, through the trees, I can see the tops of one of those jagged rocky eruptions that make this place so wondrous and special.  When you look closely at them you see images of people - and when you look at the faces of the old Lakota they often look like the rocks.

Each day I've been driving to different parts of the Black Hills, paved mountain roads and dirt logging roads. Yesterday I saw prairie dogs, coyotes, buffalo, deer, wild turkeys, various birds, a hawk, and antelope.  I love to go walking through the woods collecting firewood - I feel like it is my spiritual practice. 

I brought along a small hot water maker and have been eating instant oatmeal and tea for breakfast each morning.  (I am getting tired of oatmeal.)  For lunch it has been bread and peanut butter and a couple times canned sardines.  For supper I've been going out to local restaurants but the pickings are slim.  I've eaten buffalo three times.  Most places are shut down as the tourist season is over.  The roads are largely deserted.  This is my favorite time of year to come here.

My rental car is covered with dust from the many gravel roads I've been on.  The snow we had the day after I arrived when I drove to the Russell Means memorial is now mostly melted.  The colder temps are now gone too and today it will hit 62 degrees.  Climate change for sure.  Not the usual weather for fall.

I'm reading alot and thinking alot too about the disintegrating condition of our politics and environment.  I just watched a video of postal workers protesting against the coming privatization of the post office.  I noticed it was just postal workers - every group on their own - every person for themselves - dog eat dog culture - the business model of organizing.  We can never win anything as long as we are all separated and isolated, each doing our own thing.

As I drive around I've been listening to the Lakota KILI radio station.  The first words out of every Lakota's mouth are always Mitakuye Oyasin which mean All My Relations or We are All Related. It is a simple but profound Lakota prayer. To pray this prayer is to petition God on behalf of everyone and everything on Earth.

Mitakuye Oyasin honors the sacredness of each person's individual spiritual path, acknowledges the sacredness of all life (human, animal, plant, etc.) and creates an energy of awareness which strengthens not only the person who prays but the entire planet.

I wish our organizing model could reflect this powerful truth.  Alone we are nothing....what happens to one will surely happen to another.....we need each other.....victory in our struggle for life, fairness, truth, justice, peace, environmental sustainability can only come from a deep unity.

We have to come together like never before - locally, regionally, nationally and internationally.  Mitakuye Oyasin.


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