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....

My Photo
Name:
Location: Bath, Maine, United States

Saturday, February 18, 2012

KILLING OURSELVES FOR OIL



Amidst all the political wrangling over the Keystone XL pipeline, some may lose sight of what the fight is ultimately about. And that, of course, is one of the most environmentally devastating projects ever undertaken: the tar sands mining operation in Alberta, Canada.

THE STORY INSIDE SYRIA



The EU states are calling for creating humanitarian corridors in Syria, which some fear could open the door to foreign intervention. But Asia Times correspondent Pepe Escobar says it's already underway.

See additional analysis from Escobar here

Friday, February 17, 2012

PARKED IN NEUTRAL


  • I am in the Los Angeles airport with a five-hour wait for my plane to Honolulu. It's been a long day already and still a long way to go. Just sitting at an airport eatery and talked to two young black women that were interested in where I was going. Told them about Jeju Island and handed them each a village brochure. Fortunately I got a stack of them in the mail on Thursday so the timing was good to bring them along on the trip. Looks like I will arrive in Hawaii around midnight which will be equal to about 5:00 am back in Maine. I was able to get some cat naps on the plane which is unusual for me. My overhead cargo compartment on the plane to L.A. got stuck so I was the last person to get off the plane as they had to bring a guy from maintenance to pry it open so I would get my back pack and coat. Won't need the coat in Hawaii but had better hold onto it for Jeju Island.
  • While in Hawaii I will be talking alot about the Navy's huge Pacific Missile Range Facility based on the island of Kauai. Their website brags that "PMRF is the world's largest instrumented multi-environmental range capable of supported surface, sub-surface, air, and space operations simultaneously. There are over 1,100 square miles of instrumented underwater range and over 42,000 square miles of controlled airspace." It is here that they test the "missile defense" systems on-board the Navy Aegis destroyers that are made in Bath, Maine and will be ported on Jeju Island. So this trip is truly about connecting the dots. (The Pentagon is porting these ships in many other places as well including Japan, Australia, the Middle East, the Black Sea, and the Mediterranean.) The Navy now has a big public relations campaign on national TV where they call themselves "A global force for good." They are using our tax dollars to brainwash the public into supporting their aggressive "full spectrum dominance" program that only benefits corporate globalization.
  • Just got an email from fellow Maine activist Ed Friedman who is one of the leaders of the anti-SMART meter campaign in our state. He shares a New York Times article called Congress to Sell Public Airwaves to Pay Benefits. Ed quotes the article and comments:

    "The measure would be a rare instance of the government compensating private companies with the proceeds from an auction of public property". Say that phrase to yourself three times. The "tell" about this measure was the coordinated decision to sell it to the compliant mainstream media as a long-neglected, post 9-11 public safety measure and a means to pay for the payroll tax and unemployment benefit extensions. They couldn't sell it on its own. If you want to give a windfall to already enormously profitable companies, you better tell people it's necessary to keep us all safe, help poor people and be fiscally responsible at the same time. Keep those media conglomerate and telecommunications company campaign dollars rolling in. Make no mistake. That's what this is about. We deserve better from Washington and from the coverage of political machinations.
  • This sell off of the public airwaves is coming under the Obama administration. The magician continues to pull rabbits out of the hat on behalf of the corporate oligarchy. I must again remind folks that if Bush did half the things that Obama does the grassroots Democrats would be howling. But Obama keeps them parked in neutral and all you hear from them is "Well, we have to vote for Obama. You don't want the Republicans to get into power do you? They would start more wars and privatize what public services we have left." Does anyone remember Tony Blair? Hello, is anyone home??!!!!!

Thursday, February 16, 2012

BLINDED BY OUR HYPOCRISY


I'm doing a radio interview at 9:10 pm tonight with a station on Kauai, Hawaii to promote our event there on Feb 21.

Earlier this evening we had our weekly radio show on WBOR in Brunswick. Had one of the students from Bowdoin College on to discuss her involvement with Occupy Maine. She was very articulate.

Getting up at 4:15 am to make my way to Portland. From there I take a bus to Boston and plane to New York. Then I'll switch to a plane to Los Angeles. Then another plane to Honolulu. It's going to be a 24 hour trip. Let's hope for no delays and some sleep in the sardine can.

I'm sure I'll have a chance to post something while waiting at an airport gate. Wish me luck.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

ASSORTED NEWS



  • I leave early Friday for Hawaii and then South Korea. This video is from today in Gangjeong village. There are huge numbers of police there and lots of plainclothes security too. The younger man in the red mask appears to be one of the goons hired by Samsung (the lead contractor) to harass the people. We are going there at an important time.
  • Professor Yang Yoon-Mo is back in a Jeju jail and is now on his 10th day of hunger striking. Last summer he fasted for 74 days and nearly died. Many people are convinced that this time he will not end his hunger strike unless the Navy base construction stops.
  • The Jeju Island prosecutor has released his proposal of punishment for the accused Catholic Fathers who have been struggling against the Jeju naval base.
Fr. Mun Jeong-Hyeon - Two years’ imprisonment
Fr. Lee Young-Chan - One and half year imprisonment
Br. Park Do-Hyun - One year imprisonment
Fr. Lee Kang-Suh - One and half year imprisonment

Fine 700,000 won for all 9 Catholic priests. The court decision will be made on Feb. 24, the date that our conference is to begin on Jeju Island.

  • An interesting new poll by the conservative United Technologies/National Journal has some interesting information. Not really what the right-wing wanted to hear. It goes to show that in spite of the fact that the corporations control the mainstream media the public is still able to separate wheat from chaff.

When asked to identify the biggest reason the federal government faces large deficits for the coming years, just 3 percent of those surveyed said it was because of “too much government spending on programs for the elderly”; only 14 percent said the principal reason was “too much government spending on programs for poor people.” Those explanations were dwarfed by the 24 percent who attributed the deficits primarily to excessive defense spending, and the 46 percent plurality who said their principal cause was that “wealthy Americans don’t pay enough in taxes.”

IT'S THE CORPORATE BANKERS



The devastation wrought upon Greece by international bankers acting through the IMF, EU and other institutions once again shows that governments have two choices: they either govern FOR the people and AGAINST the Bankers.... or they govern FOR the Bankers and AGAINST the People....

Adrian Salbuchi, author and consultant talks to RT, suggesting it's the bankers, who are responsible for the economic downturn in the first place.

WHAT IS THE SAFE LEVEL?



We recently removed the wireless connection in our house and went back to the more standard DSL. We had five cable connections put in throughout the house to help us get over the loss of wireless mobility.

We did it because we have become convinced that the electromagnetic signals (microwave radiation) from WiFi, SMART meters and cell towers are bombarding our brains and our bodies. I understand those who say there is nothing we can do about it - that these signals are now everywhere around the globe and that mass communication is totally dependent on this technology. I hear that.

But I think we know little about the long-term impacts of these technologies and until we have a better idea of things we need to step back a bit. (Like so many other things in our "modern" lives.)

Maybe we might be the only ones on the street who do this. Maybe though if we speak out about it others will join us. We can learn from each other. In this series of videos Barrie Trower reports that in several European countries they are now taking the WiFi out of schools.

This video above blew me away. I kept thinking of the two little kids that run around our house. I thought of the recently born that are daily exposed to these signals.

You could say I am pro-life in a way. After the mother chooses if she wants to have a child I think it is the absolute sacred task of the village to do everything it can to protect the future generations. They are life.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

SHUT DOWN MONSANTO



A French court has found U.S. biotech giant Monsanto guilty of the chemical poisoning of a French farmer, in a case that could lend weight to other health claims against pesticides.

The farmer, Paul Francois, said he suffered neurological problems including memory loss, headaches and stammering after inhaling Monsanto's Lasso weedkiller in 2004.

He said the company was at fault for not providing adequate warnings on the product label.

NONVIOLENT SOLUTIONS ARE NEEDED



Yamani Simmons offers 'A Doorway To Persia' and encourages citizens everywhere to insist on the truth from governments and media.

Sincere diplomatic dialogue has been abandoned and replaced with more threats of war. Please join Yamani in demanding nonviolent solutions.

Monday, February 13, 2012

WE SUPPORT GANGJEONG VILLAGE

Karen Wainberg and Maine artist Natasha Mayers made this banner today. Karen will carry it to Jeju Island for the conference. (Click on photo for a better view)

INT’L PEACE GROUP TO HOLD MEETING ON JEJU ISLAND, SOUTH KOREA

WILL SUPPORT VILLAGERS' FIGHT AGAINST CONTROVERSIAL NAVY BASE

The Global Network Against Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space will hold its 20th annual space organizing conference in Gangjeong village on Jeju Island in South Korea from February 24-26. The group is made up of 150 peace groups around the world who are working to oppose the development of a new arms race in space. The theme for the conference will be Jeju for Island of Peace.

The South Korean Navy is building a base just 300-miles from the Chinese mainland. The base will become a port for U.S. Navy Aegis destroyers outfitted with “missile defense” systems that are key elements in Pentagon first-strike attack planning. The 400-year old Gangjeong fishing and farming village on Jeju Island is being destroyed to build the base. Endangered soft-coral reefs offshore will also be destroyed when the seabed is dredged to make it possible to bring U.S. warships into the port.

Activists will come to Jeju Island from as far away as India, England, Sweden, U.S., Japan, Taiwan, and from throughout South Korea. Of particular interest this year will be discussions about the Obama administration’s “pivot” of U.S. foreign and military policy toward the Asia-Pacific region and its controversial “missile defense” deployments that are now being used to surround Russia and China.

Global Network Coordinator Bruce Gagnon stated, “When I, and other Global Network members, called the South Korean embassy in Washington DC to express support for the Gangjeong villagers fighting to save their way of life we were told, ‘Don’t call us. Call your own government. They are forcing us to build this base.’ It is clear that the current doubling of U.S. military operations in the Asia-Pacific region is going to have severe implications for people who live there and for world peace.”

Dave Webb, National Chair of the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament in the UK said, “The people of Gangjeong village on Jeju Island have been living under a dark cloud of military invasion for some years now. The threat is not coming from some ancient enemy but from their own government, influenced and encouraged by the U.S. military. Like millions of people around the world they have found themselves on the front line of the struggle against empire, greed and militarism. It is so important that their courage and resistance is recognized and supported. We are meeting on Jeju Island in order to do just that.” Webb also serves as the chair the Global Network.

Each year the Global Network holds its space organizing conference in a different part of the world. Several Global Network leaders will stop in Hawaii for a series of public meetings (Feb 18-22) before heading to South Korea. The Aegis warships test their “missile defense” systems at the Pacific Missile Range Facility located on Kauai, Hawaii.

Full conference details are available at the Global Network’s website click here

BLASTING FOR PEACE?



Samsung, the lead contractor, resumes blasting the sacred rocky coast of Gangjeong village on Jeju Island in South Korea for the proposed Navy base.

It's a sickness called militarism.

NEXT IN LINE


“In order to facilitate the action of liberative (sic) forces, ...a special effort should be made to eliminate certain key individuals. ...[to] be accomplished early in the course of the uprising and intervention, ...

Once a political decision has been reached to proceed with internal disturbances in Syria, CIA is prepared, and SIS (MI6) will attempt to mount minor sabotage and coup de main (sic) incidents within Syria, working through contacts with individuals. ...Incidents should not be concentrated in Damascus …

Further : a “necessary degree of fear .. frontier incidents and (staged) border clashes”, would “provide a pretext for intervention... the CIA and SIS [MI6] should use … capabilities in both psychological and action fields to augment tension.”

- Joint US-UK leaked Intelligence Document, London and Washington, 1957

Canadian activist and professor Michel Chossudovsky has a new article out that I highly recommend. In Syria: NATO's Next "Humanitarian" War? he writes, "The 'protests' did not emanate from internal political cleavages as described by the mainstream media. From the very outset, they were the result of a covert US-NATO intelligence operation geared towards triggering social chaos, with a view to eventually discrediting the Syrian government of Bashar Al Assad and destabilizing Syria as a Nation State.

"Since the middle of March 2011, Islamist armed groups --covertly supported by Western and Israeli intelligence-- have conducted terrorist attacks directed against government buildings including acts of arson. Amply documented, trained gunmen and snipers including mercenaries have targeted the police, armed forces as well as innocent civilians. There is ample evidence, as outlined in the Arab League Observer Mission report, that these armed groups of mercenaries are responsible for killing civilians.

"It is important to underscore the fact that these terrorist acts --including the indiscriminate killing of men and women and children-- are part of a US-NATO-Israeli initiative, which consists is supporting, training and financing 'an armed entity' operating inside Syria."

It's Yugoslavia, Iraq, and Libya all over again. They say every criminal has an MO (Modus operandi) and this criminal syndicate now running corporate globalization and NATO surely has one. It reminds me of reading the Vietnam war-era "Pentagon Papers" while I was in the Air Force. Those ugly pages (but thank god they were released to the public by a courageous Daniel Ellsberg) helped turn me into a peace activist. I learned that the CIA had done these very same kind of "destabilization" tactics that eventually lead to the balkanization of Vietnam and overt U.S. intervention.

Hopefully people are getting smarter these days and not falling for the hook. The corporate media drum is loud and pervasive but many are turning away from that sound machine and toward alternative media sources.

EXCITING LOCAL WORK IN MAINE



  • It was a busy weekend here. On Saturday we held our statewide meeting of the Maine Campaign to Bring Our War $$ Home. We decided to organize a rally inside the state capital in Augusta on March 20 from 2:00-4:00 pm. Since college basketball has a big thing called "March Madness" we decided to call our rally Marching Against Fiscal Madness: Fund Human Needs. I've put the call out to artists to design us a graphic of our rotund Gov. LePage in a tight-fitting basketball uniform with the team name Big Shots and $$ on the jersey instead of a number. Can't wait to put it on our flyer.


  • Last night Occupy Brunswick held a public meeting at the local library that was attended by 75 people. Many new faces were there. We broke up into 10 small groups to get feedback on what we should do next. Lots of good ideas emerged. One that I was particularly impressed with was that we should organize local citizens forums to give Mr. & Mrs. Average the chance to publicly talk about their current financial struggles. We could hold them in various local towns. Very exciting.


  • Everywhere I go these days I am talking about the need to keep "connecting the dots". Corporate domination of the political system is at the core of most of our collective problems today. The old business model of organizing where each group goes at it alone with their relatively isolated constituency is playing a losing game. We must step up our efforts to work together across organizational lines if we hope to be able to create the kind of momentum to push back against the increasingly mean-spirited politics being aimed at all of us. There is no substitute for smart organizing. Anything else is a waste of our energies and precious resources. Not saying that activists shouldn't still work on their primary issues but that we have to learn how to integrate our work into the larger framework. We can thank the Occupy movement for helping folks see the light and the value in working in unison. About time for sure.

  • I drive to Pittston tonight for a meeting of the three new committees we've just appointed for Maine Veterans for Peace. I will co-chair the Outreach/Membership committee along with Dan Ellis. Our first task is to divide the work between the three committees and then move it along from there.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

WELCOME TO EAST HAVEN



Four police officers in the U.S. state of Connecticut have been charged with using race as the primary reason for alleging that people had committed a crime.

Members of the community say racial profiling issues such as this have created fear for the police.

The U.S. government has noticed a growth in these types of civil rights violations by police around the country, and is investigating 17 different law enforcement agencies, all in different cities, for the abuses.

SUNDAY SONG