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

Friday, November 16, 2012

DEC 15 MEETING TO DEFEND SOCIAL PROGRESS



Dear Friends,

We are writing to invite you to an important meeting to discuss the "sequestration" and "fiscal cliff" issues coming up in January.  This is another chapter is the ongoing deterioration of the federal government's commitment to using federal tax dollars to support the basic human needs of our people. It is time to "take back our government" by insuring the safety and security of all who live here, rather than emphasizing the needs of corporations and an overreaching military.

We will meet on Saturday, December 15 from noon until 3:30 pm at the Mediation and Facilitation Resources building, 11 King St., Augusta, Maine (off State St. at corner with Pat's Pizza, a few blocks south of the State Capitol).  Snow date will be same time on December 16. 

Please bring food to share (or for yourself) while we have lunch and get to know each other between noon-1 PM. The planning meeting will follow. If you are unsure of the location or directions, contact Larry Dansinger at (207) 525-7776.

Reports are already surfacing that President Obama will move quickly to sign a deal with the Republicans in Congress to cut Social Security, Medicare/Medicaid in return for some tax increases on the rich.

On Election Day the Budget for All question won overwhelmingly in all 91 cities and towns across Massachusetts in which it was on the ballot, averaging a 75% yes vote, 25% no -- even passing in towns carried by Scott Brown.  This ballot question called for an end to social program cuts, an end to costly wars ($8 billion a month in Afghanistan), and for increased taxes on the rich.  Clearly the public is seeing these important connections.

We are not proposing to start a new group.  We do think though that by bringing together people who have not worked together in the past we can all be stronger than we are now.  Our new senator Angus King will play a key role in these budget negotiations and we should be developing a coordinated campaign to mobilize the public so that Congress and President Obama hear from the people in Maine soon.

The goal of the meeting will be to listen to one another and discuss strategy options to protect social progress from becoming the victim of the debt crisis in Washington.  By building and expanding our networks we can resist budget cuts to social programs and transfer any cuts to the bloated military.

We hope that your organization will be able to send one or more representatives to this strategy and action meeting.  We will be sharing this invitation with labor, religious, peace, social justice, women’s, environmental groups, and more.  Please feel free to pass this letter on to others who you think might be interested.

The time has come for us to connect the dots to survive and bring greater harmony and equality to our country. The only way we will be able to effectively deal with the massive corporate money now being poured into Washington is to get beyond our traditional single issue organizing and move toward a more cooperative and collaborative model.

We look forward to seeing you on December 15. 

For peace and environmental and social justice,

- Peggy Akers (Nurse practitioner)
- Professor Doug Allen, University of Maine (Peace & Justice Center of Eastern Maine and Maine Peace Action Committee)
- Rev. Bill Bliss (Neighborhood Faith Community, United Church of Christ, Bath)
- Michael Brennan (Mayor of Portland)
- Read Brugger (Team 350 Maine)
- Chris Buchanan (Environmental activist)
- Richard Clement (Maine Veterans for Peace)
- Kenny Cole (Maine visual artist)
- Larry Dansinger (ROSC)
- Jacqui Deveneau (Maine Greens)
- Denise Dreher (Pax Christi Maine)
- Bruce Gagnon (Global Network & Bring Our War $$ Home Campaign)
- Betsy Garrold/Bob St. Peter (Food for Maine's Future)
- Judy Garvey/Jim Bergin (Maine Prisoner Advocacy Coalition)
- The Rev. Carol L. Huntington (Deacon, Episcopal Diocese of Maine & Social Worker)
- Jennifer Lunden (Social worker)
- Jessica Moore (Peace Action Maine)
- Rosalie Tyler Paul (American Friends Service Committee, Maine)
- Ilze Petersons (Peace & Justice Center of Eastern Maine)
- Jason Rawn (National War Tax Resistance Coordinating Committee)
- John Rensenbrink (Green Horizon Magazine & Maine Green Independent Party)
- Mike Reynolds (AbilityMaine)
- Richard Rhames (Biddeford City Councilor)
- Judy Robbins (Peninsula Peace and Justice)
- Lisa Savage (CodePink & Bring Our War $$ Home Campaign)
- Robert Shetterly (Americans Who Tell the Truth)
- Mary Beth Sullivan (Social worker)
- Rev. Mark D. Wilson (Bath, Maine)
- Donna Yellen (Social worker)

* Groups are listed for identification purposes only

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