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

Saturday, August 18, 2012

POLITICS AS PROFESSIONAL WRESTLING



I did this wide ranging interview with local video activist Regis Tremblay last Thursday.

Regis has a son in Afghanistan at this moment and is highly motivated to help the public develop the ability to become independent thinkers.

HERE IT IS


Thanks to the computer doctor - Dan Ellis for securing this photo of the new Cinemax series.

Talk about anarchy....corporate style.

SELLING THE WARS TO THE YOUNG



I went to Bowdoin College last night to participate in a Theatre of the Oppressed workshop led by our summer housemate, and Bowdoin student, Phui Yi Kong.  While waiting for it to start I was flipping though the latest edition of Sports Illustrated that was sitting on a table in the college dance studio where we held the workshop.

On page three was a full page advert for a new Cinemax series called Strike Back: Diplomacy is overrated.  The ad has two white guys, not in uniform, looking macho with their machine guns.  Explosions are in the background.  I tried to lift the image off the Internet but they are only available as posters for sale.  They are also selling T-shirts that carry the same message.

One description of the movie that I found called them two secret intelligence agents (one Yank, one Brit of course - coalition of the killing you might call it) from "Section 20".  One wag wrote: "REASON TO WATCH Bullets, bombs, breasts, bloodbaths."

Note in the action trailer above the scene is set in Kenya - African continent - the place that Obama is now leading us into endless war to secure precious declining resources.  But of course these "brave agents" are only there chasing terrorism and bringing freedom and democracy to these backward people.

And the other indoctrination point - all this is coordinated by military surveillance satellites flying overhead.  The message?  Military domination in space helps the good guys stay alive and beat the bad guys!

But the thing that grabbed my attention was the sub-headline - "Diplomacy is overrated".  It reminded me of the words from Thomas Barnett some years ago when he told a packed audience of military officers during a presentation I watched on C-SPAN that the U.S. won't be doing international treaties anymore because they would restrict "our" ability to do what it (corporate oligarchy) wanted done around the world.

This show should be analyzed along with the other new war promotion series on NBC called Stars Earn Stripes. (In addition to all the other mind-bending violent shows on TV.)  There can be no doubt that the next generation is being prepared for a life of "security export".  It makes me heart sick.

This also makes me even more clear that our Thunderbird airshow protest in Brunswick on August 25 is the right place to be.

Free the youth from a future of endless war!

Thursday, August 16, 2012

GOD AND GLORY


  • I drove south to Biddeford last night for an hour long interview on a public access TV show called Out in Left Field.  Today I do another interview with Regis Tremblay who is becoming a prolific public access TV producer here in Maine.  Next Monday I do a radio interview on WERU which is north of here.  On each of these interviews I am promoting our Veterans for Peace protest on Saturday, August 25 of the Air Force Thunderbird airshow at the former Navy airfield in Brunswick.
  • Growing up in an Air Force family I saw alot of these airshows.  I witnessed a couple plane crashes over the years and also understand how these events serve as recruiting tools to bring young kids into the military.  They also pump up the drumbeat for endless war.
  • As a kid I learned to idolize these "Gods of Metal".  My dad worked in the base photo lab and brought me home a large framed picture of about 20 Air Force bombers, transport planes and fighters all nicely lined up on the flight line.  That picture was one of the few things I kept as our family moved to Florida-Germany-England-South Dakota-Germany-Florida-California while I was growing up.  It was on the wall right near my crucifix.  God and war.  Like apple pie, baseball and Chevrolet.
  • It wasn't until I joined the Air Force myself during the Vietnam War that I finally put all the pieces together.  With the help of GI war resisters in the barracks at Travis AFB in California (an airlift base for the war) I was able to finally see that those planes were about killing innocent people so U.S. corporations could take their land and resources.  Finally reading the Pentagon Papers while in the Air Force helped me see how our government lies its way into war over and over again.
  • So I've come full circle from being a recipient of the war propaganda, mindless entertainment, and military psychological operations aimed at the youth to becoming an active war resister.  My guess is that a some of the kids that see our Veterans for Peace protest on August 25 will themselves some day see the light as well.
  • Last night Richard Rhames asked me about the connection between the recent Batman movie massacre in Colorado and our nation's endless wars.  I said that the fabric of our nation - the soul of our nation - was woven together by violence from the genocide of the Native Americans, slavery, Civil War, and then from imperial attacks on the Philippines to the present.  We are a killing culture.  War is what we do.  We make enormous profit from selling violence.  It's no coincidence that ultimately it turns inward and we start killing each other.  It is what we know.
  • The only way out is to recognize the addiction.  Raise your hand and repeat after me, "Hello, my name is America and I am addicted to war and violence."

"I NEVER STOPPED TRYING TO FIX IT"



These interviews were recorded at the Texas Keystone Convergence by participants who came from across Texas and across the country to be a part of the Tar Sands Blockade.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

NBC PROMOTING VIOLENCE ON TV



NBC has come up with a new show, which the critics say 'glorifies war.' It debuted last night and is called "Stars and Stripes" but has a cast of people you can barely call stars. It can be sold as way to honor US troops but many don't see it that way. Jody Williams, a long time peace activist and 1997 Nobel Peace Prize winner, joins RT's Liz Wahl for more.

My Take:  One can only hope that the 10 former Nobel Peace Prize winners will request that a certain Obama-nator join them in denouncing NBC.  One can always hope!!!!!!

MILITARIZING OUR CULTURE


Protest in NYC against new NBC-TV "Reality Show" called Stars Earn Stripes

By Joan Wile


In a remarkable display of unity, a number of New York peace groups joined together in just a few days to plan and carry out a protest at NBC headquarters in Manhattan regarding the debut of the new reality show, "Stars Earn Stripes."  The program is an abomination that touts war as a game, as a sort of sports competition, an entertainment where minor on-their-way-down celebrities along with military personnel compete with each other in carrying out simulated missions, using real ammunition in demonstrations of war maneuvers -- long-range machine guns blowing up mock human targets, for instance.


This demonstration of the deadly capacity of modern monster weapons is hosted by none other than retired Gen. Wesley Clark, an anti-war candidate for President of the U.S. in 2004.  One wonders how a person proclaiming to deplore war could get involved in such a display of seemingly almost psychotic militarism.  Among his so-called celebrity participants are Sara's husband, Todd Palin, celebrated for ... exactly what?

Among the 50-60 participants in the action were MFSO (Military Families Speak Out) mothers with sons deployed in Afghanistan; Veterans for Peace; Gray Panthers; Brooklyn for Peace; U.S. Labor Against the War (USLAW); OWS Anti-War Committee; World Can't Wait; PANYS (Peace Action New York State); and  peace grandmothers groups including the Granny Peace Brigade, Grandmothers Against the War, and the Raging Grannies, who sang their spirited anti-war songs throughout the demonstration. 

Reviews of the show were mostly negative.  In addition to being objectionable as gung ho war propaganda, it was a profoundly boring mishmash interspersed by seemingly a zillion commercials. 

Said the New York Times:  "The teams race to complete missions under conditions that include live ammunition and explosives, the claim being that this will give the stars a taste of what real soldiers experience. That is an absurd overstatement, of course, since no one is shooting back or planting roadside bombs intended for them."

"The show is treacly, exploitative military porn, according to the early reviews" said a writer for WIRED.

The protesters had with them a petition launched by Roots Action, with approximately 18,000 signators (so far) urging that NBC "air an in-depth segment showing the reality of civilian victims of recent U.S. wars."  When women of Military Families Speak Out attempted to deliver the 500-plus-pages petition to an NBC executive, the head of security, Jim Kelly, lined up near the protest with six other security officials throughout the demonstration, insisted that they could not do so.  There was a stand-off for over an hour while the women negotiated with him as he stalled them.  Ultimately, the only thing he would allow was for them to give it to him personally, which they did.  Will it ever be seen by a top NBC executive?  Unfortunately, probably not.

The cause to shut down "Stars Earn Stripes" was aided immeasurably by nine Nobel Peace Prize winners, including Archbishop Desmond Tutu, who sent a strongly worded letter to Robert Greenblatt, Chairman of NBC Entertainment, Gen. Clark, Producer Mark Burnett, and others urging its cancelation. 

In part, the letter read:  "We call upon NBC to stop airing this program that pays homage to no one, and is a massive disservice to those who live and die in armed conflict and suffer its consequences long after the guns of war fall silent."  Tutu's huge reputation attracted media coverage in the thousands all over the world to the Nobel Prize recipients' opposition.

Encouraged by passersby's sympathetic responses to the protest as well as the enormous media attention, the coalition decided to proceed with further actions.  They plan to continue their Monday protests throughout the four-week run of the series, initiate a letter-writing campaign to NBC top-level people, and launch a boycott of the many sponsors.

A FLEET OF WHAT?



We saw a series of these fly over at low altitude, no sound, slower than commercial airliners fly, going westward. After someone posted a comment saying 'Delta MD-88', I did some research, then decided to go out to the airport [appears to be in Arizona] to see any Delta jets out there. What I found was a bunch of planes painted to look like Delta planes.

Obviously they're not top secret, anyone with binoculars from the community around could see what is up. Anyway, comment what you will, just keep it cool.

Peace,

Mark Allen Channel (4GUESTS.COM)

THE DAILY GRIND




You might have to click on start button several times to get it running.....

At around 2:30 you will see Professor Yang Yoon-Mo in his brown traditional Korean clothes up against the construction gate. Yang has been arrested multiple times and while in jail in 2011 and earlier in 2012 did extensive hunger strikes nearly leading to his death.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

THE CORPORATE WINNERS!


UP AND AWAY

  • I've been working on the initial list of Keep Space for Peace Week actions that will be held worldwide during October 6-13.  It always starts out slowly and I have to repeatedly send the list out before many folks get their information to us but the list always keeps growing.  You can see the 2012 space week poster here
  • I've been emailing today with renowned peace activist Kathy Kelly.  She is coming to Maine next week for a speaking tour and will come for an interview on my public access TV show on Aug 22. That same evening she will speak in nearby Brunswick at the public library at 7:00 pm.
  • On Aug 25 Maine Veterans for Peace will organize a protest at the Air Force Thunderbirds airshow in Brunswick.  We will begin at 9:00 am with a march from the Joshua Chamberlain statue at Bowdoin College and end up at the front gate of the former Naval Air Station (now called Brunswick Landing) for a vigil until noon.  The theme is Stop Recruiting Our Children for War.  Our flyer reads: War Plane Air Shows - Expensive, Polluting, Propaganda, Military Psychological Operations, Promote Idolatry & False Patriotism, Mindless Entertainment, Glorify War.  Join us if you can.

STOMPED ON THE BODY OF CHRIST

 Father Mun picks up the sacred "body of Christ" after police stomped on the Eucharist" on August 8 during a mass in front of Navy base
 On August 13 the Catholic community gathered in Seoul for a protest mass calling for President Lee to apologize for the Eucharist incident days before in Gangjeong village.  They also demanded that Navy base construction be halted.


Regina Pyon reports from Gangjeong village:

Korean Catholic Priests' Association for Justice held a mass on August 13 near Seoul city hall and said, "the Eucharist damage incident (of August 8 at the gate of Jeju military base building site) is the incident that President Lee should apologize to Korean Catholic church....Police has destroyed thoroughly the dignity of Christ, the core of our faith."

National Justice and Peace Commission of Korean Catholic Bishops' Conference issued a statement in the name of Bishop Lee Yong-hoon, chairperson of the commission, on August 10, regarding "the trampled Eucharist" at Jeju naval base building site. It said that the damage of the Eucharist is "a serious challenge and outrage toward Catholic church" and urged the apology by those responsible, prevention of recurrence, and immediate stop of Jeju naval base building. 
In the process of Catholic mass on August 8 [in Gangjeong village], the Eucharist was trampled by the police, and Fr. Mun, who officiated the mass, didn't leave the place for two hours until the priest of Jeju, Fr. Koh Byong-Su, has come to collect the "trampled Eucharist."
Fr. Koh is co-chair of Korean Catholic Solidarity for the Peace Island Jeju which all the 15 justice and peace commissions at diocesan level participate since last October. Catholic Confederation for Justice, one of the largest lay umbrella group belonging to the Solidarity, also issued a statement. 

You can watch a video that tells the story here

Monday, August 13, 2012

GET BIG MONEY OUT OF POLITICS



The money-ruled American political system has a pretty straight-ahead Wall Street agenda and is designed to eliminate opposition the way dictatorships do, Jill Stein, the US presidential candidate for the Green Party, shared with RT.

WALL STREET BALL



Wall Street's least favorite baseball team "The Tax Dodgers" prepare their performance tactics for a big upcoming game. Citizens for Tax Justice illustrate the problem of corporate tax dodging, a former police captain fights against "corporate sociopaths," and The Yes Men and Common Cause detail the corporate hijacking of the US political system through devious means.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

ON WAY HOME FROM CONVENTION

A cut-out of an Aegis destroyer overlooked the sacred rocky coastline of Gangjeong village on Jeju Island before the Samsung construction division began blasting to prepare for covering the rocks with cement.

I am on the bus from Boston to Portland.  I am tired but happy after having what I would consider a very successful trip to Miami and the Veterans for Peace convention.

My reunion with Barbara Buck and Linda Raymer, both great friends from my days working at the Florida Coalition for Peace & Justice, was a joy and we talked about old friends and past protest campaigns.  It was Barbara who taught me how to organize walks after her experience being on the Great Peace March that went across the nation in 1986.  In 1987 she did advance work for our large Florida Peace Pilgrimage from the Kings Bay nuclear sub base in St. Mary’s, Georgia to Cape Canaveral.  Linda was one of our most active and consistent walkers on our many Florida peace walks and she was arrested several times at the space center over the years.  Barbara lives in Miami and Linda in Ft Lauderdale – so Barbara hosted both Linda and I at her home during the convention.

Also staying at Barbara’s home was Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein who was invited to speak at the convention.  On Saturday I went to a well attended “Meet & Greet” event that was organized on behalf of Stein at a private home in Miami so I got to hear her full campaign speech and came away not only impressed but quite confident that voting for her in November would not be a wasted effort.  It would be a vote of conscience and a vote supporting a real vision of a way out of this ecological-economic-endless war nightmare we are currently living through.

Romney’s choice of political lightweight Congressman Paul Ryan as his running mate indicates to me that the description of our current “two-party” system as being similar to professional wrestling, where they script the matches between the forces of “good and evil”, is more than accurate.  It’s ever the more clear to me that the oligarchy is pleased with Obama and for the second time in a row they will ensure victory for the Democrat by cobbling together a Republican ticket of less than inspiring candidates.  Obama gives the oligarchy everything they want and keeps the left under wraps.  In a second term Obama is likely to go after Social Security, Medicaid, and Medicare, and continue the wars, and the opposition will remain at some level neutered because “liberals” still won’t want to stand in opposition to their president.

The mood at the VFP convention was much similar to that of the Occupy movement of last fall and winter – contempt for the current political institutions and rejection of the lame opposition being offered to us by the Democrats in Congress.  Many of the veterans at the convention, leaders in their own communities, are solidly behind Jill Stein and are continuing to reach out to what remains of the Occupy movement.  The Veterans Peace Team, a project of the national organization, is a growing effort to put the voices and bodies of veterans on the line in local communities to stand between the up-armored cops and dissenting activists.  I have joined this effort and will continue to participate in their resistance efforts whenever I can.

In each of my four times speaking in various venues during the convention I tied together Obama’s recently announced pivot of military operations into the Asia-Pacific, the struggle on Jeju Island, plans for “missile defense” to surround China and Russia, and the importance of calling for the conversion of the military production system if we ever hope to stop endless war.  I can say that the Jeju message appears to be penetrating the very busy and overloaded agendas of many VFP activists and that gives me hope that support will continue to grow for this very important campaign.

Barbara is currently tearing up her grassy front yard in North Miami and turning it into a vegetable and flower garden - she's calling it "Occupy my yard". She has hired her yoga teacher, who is also a gardener, to help her with the big project.  This morning as we were leaving Barbara's home to take me to the airport her garden helper told us that she was so moved by the Nagasaki event (on Aug 9 at a church where I and others spoke) that she talked politics for the first time during her hour long yoga class yesterday.  She told the 50 people in the class that they need to get on the ball.  This is a sign to me that our present crisis moment is calling people to reach their highest self and many are indeed responding.  Very exciting to hear.

SUNDAY SONG