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....
- Name: Bruce K. Gagnon
- Location: Bath, Maine, United States
Get the revised version of my book "Come Together Right Now: Organizing Stories from a Fading Empire" - updated thru the end of 2008
Saturday, September 01, 2012
THE KNOW NOTHING PARTY
For a fictional show (based on actual events), this is the truest news story you have ever seen.
We've seen this script before in American history. And it's come back around full circle.
The Know Nothing was a movement by the nativist American political faction of the 1850s, characterized by political xenophobia, anti-Catholic sentiment, and occasional bouts of violence against the groups the nativists targeted. It was empowered by popular fears that the country was being overwhelmed by German and Irish Catholic immigrants, who were often regarded as hostile to republican values and controlled by the Pope in Rome. Mainly active from 1854 to 1856, it strove to curb immigration and naturalization, though its efforts met with little success. Membership was limited to Protestant males of British American lineage. There were few prominent leaders, and the largely middle-class and entirely Protestant membership fragmented over the issue of slavery.
Friday, August 31, 2012
MAKING ART TALK
Graffiti is a thriving life force in Oakland. Meet GATS (Graffiti Against The System), an artist for whom the city is one endless canvas to connect with the people. Times are rough in "The O," as GATS plans to write a poem throughout the city.
WHO WILL SPEAK FOR THE ENDANGERED CORAL?
Contact: Sung-Hee Choi (Gangjeong, South Korea) firstname.lastname@example.org
Koohan Paik (Jeju Emergency Action Committee) email@example.com
Save Jeju Campaign website http://savejejunow.org/
A petition will be delivered to the IUCN by villager leaders. You can sign it here
Thursday, August 30, 2012
- It's been a busy week with my chores inside and outside our intentional community. I've also been occupied with some writing I promised to do for a New Zealand environmental publication that requested an article linking Obama's "pivot" into the Asia-Pacific and the resulting impact on the environment. They seemed to be happy with what I sent them. Once I get a link to the article I'll post it here. Today I drafted a news release for the Save Jeju campaign about the World Conservation Congress coming to Jeju Island. I'll post it on the blog in the morning. Be sure to check out the brand spanking new web site for the Save Jeju campaign here
- Tomorrow I will do a TV interview with Green Party presidential candidate Dr. Jill Stein who is in Maine for the next few days. I'm going to ask her about her foreign policy positions.
- No question that Obama has been good for the military industrial complex. The New York Times ran a story on August 26 entitled U.S. Arm Sales Make Up Most of Global Market and reports that in 2011 weapons sales by the U.S. tripled to a record high of $66.3 billion. In second place on the global market was Russia with sales totaling $4.8 billion. In 2010 the U.S. sold $21.4 billion worth of killing products. What does it say about the soul of our country that weapons are our #1 industrial export product? "We are a killer nation - we can kill them fast or we can kill them slow," says Sr. Ardeth Platte from Jonah House in Baltimore.
Wednesday, August 29, 2012
Tuesday, August 28, 2012
NATURE STRIKES A BLOW
This weather related "disobedience" will surely slow the whole destruction process by a step or two.
Next up for the village will be the meeting of the World Conservation Congress that will bring about 7,000 people to Jeju.
The villagers request to address the environmental event and to have an information booth have been rejected by the conference leadership. (The story is that conference organizers asked the South Korean government to decide on the speaking and booth requests and of course the right-wing corporate dominated government said hell no. It's no coincidence that Samsung not only is the lead base construction contractor but is also helping to fund the conference.)
How anyone can take this WCC seriously when it is absolutely clear that they are under the control of corporate forces? It will be interesting to see if the thousands of delegates, who have now been notified about the official snubbing of the environmental issues on Jeju Island, will have backbone enough to stand up against Samsung's lackeys who are running the show.
SKULL & BONES VIEW OF REPUBS
This is a video by Washington Post columnist Dana Milbank. He is funny but also strongly adheres to the oligarchy power line. Milbank is a Skull & Bones Club member from his days at Yale University.
Here we see Milbank making fun of the crazy direction of the increasingly insane Republican Party.
I've long maintained that the corporate oligarchy is quite pleased with the job Obama has done for them. Just like Clinton, who pushed through "welfare reform" and NAFTA (as well as renaming Reagan's Star Wars program BMDO - Ballistic Missile Defense Organization and kept it humming), Obama has kept Wall Street welfare flourishing and continued the strategic occupation of Afghanistan.
The oligarchy would be happy with the corporate Romney as president but Obama gives them the big bonus of keeping his "liberal" base under control and very quiet as social progress is dismantled and the militarization of America's culture continues apace.
Milbank's role is to be "entertaining" as he puts the dagger into the Taliban-like Republican Party. It's not that Milbank is a progressive - he's just part of the show. His job is to help keep the public cynical about "government" and politics in general. The oligarchy wants the public to lose faith in government and thus leave the decision making process to the elite whose interests the government now represents.
Monday, August 27, 2012
GOOD MAN PASSES ON
We were sad to learn today of the death of Joshua Casteel, a veteran of the Iraq War who sought early discharge as a conscientious objector.
Joshua was an Army veteran and former interrogator at Abu Ghraib.
Joshua was diagnosed in early November 2011 with stage IV lung cancer (adenocarcinoma), that was also present in his liver, spine and adrenals. He died in New York City where he was seeking experimental treatment, on August 25th at 3:30 PM accompanied by his mother Kristi, and sisters Rebekah and Naomi.
HELP ILLUMINATE THE NATION
A note from the activists:
The Illuminator, in case you haven't heard, is a tactical media machine (aka a van with a really powerful projector, sound system, and library) that has been roaming the streets of New York City and beyond, bringing the spirit and message of the #occupy movement to street corners and public squares everywhere.
On November 17th, 2011, the two month anniversary of Occupy Wall Street, a group of artist-activists pulled off an epic light projection action that came to be known as the "OWS Bat Signal". The video went viral, and the story got picked up by news outlets all over the world.
The success of this action led to the creation of The Illuminator, and since March 3rd, we’ve been on the streets of New York City and beyond. Our all-volunteer collective, comprised of artists, technologists, librarians, biologists, etc… have been staging spectacular interventions in public spaces, supporting a wide range of struggles, making the news, and reminding people that the crises that brought people into the streets last fall are still very much alive. It has been an incredible journey.
Unfortunately, due to differences in vision with the funder of the project, our access to this van will end after September. This clearly demonstrates why it’s vital for our movement projects to be accountable to all of us, to the 99%, rather than any individual funder. (You can read our statement about this here.)
That's where you come in. Together, let’s seed funding for "The Illuminator 2.0." This time around, it will be all of you, all of us, that bring our beautiful imaginings into being. This time, we want to expand the project to other cities, to groups of committed activists and artists in places like Boston, San Francisco, and Baltimore who are ready to utilize the tactic of mobile guerilla projection. And there's undoubtedly lots more of them - of you - out there that we haven't heard from (if you have a committed group with the background and skills, write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org! We'd love to expand this Kickstarter campaign's reach).
SLASH THAT WAR BUDGET!
Secretary of War Leon Panetta warns us that cutting the Pentagon budget would create a "doomsday" scenario for the U.S. military. However, wait until you learn how they're really spending your money.
In addition to the video, how about cutting that vast recruiting budget? And all the toxic imperial military bases around the world. (Remember that the Pentagon is the biggest polluter on the planet.)
Don't fall for the military industrial complex's job scare tactics. Cut that damn Pentagon budget and create real jobs weatherizing homes, hiring teachers and medical workers, repairing our bridges and local water systems, build a national rail system and a solar society.
Help us demand conversion of the war machine to peacetime production. Deal with climate change - end the wars for resource extraction.
It's your $$$ we are talking about here.
Stand up and be counted.
Sunday, August 26, 2012
TWO DAY AIRSHOW PROTEST
|The march from Bowdoin College to the former Navy base on Saturday|
|Walking uninterrupted through the airshow crowd on Sunday|
We walked from Bowdoin College to the former Navy airfield and then stood with signs and banners while the much smaller crowd than normal drove into the show. One policeman told us that only 1/4 of the crowd that came in the past had ventured in this weekend. The likely reason is that when the Navy base was still open the airshows were free to the public. Now that the base is closed, and a redevelopment agency is running the place, they are charging $20 a head to enter. Since most of the folks going to these airshows tend to be working class they are being priced out of the equation.
Then this morning 14 of us (mostly members of Veterans For Peace) bought tickets and went inside the airshow to carry the powerful banner made by Maine artists Natasha Mayers and Nora Tryon and to hand out flyers. Six of us were prepared to risk arrest while the others had the roles of taking photos, video, and handing out flyers.
Much to our surprise those running the airshow did not try to stop us when we unfurled the banner in front of the biggest plane on the tarmac, a B-1 bomber flown in from Texas for the occasion. Since they left us alone we spent the next hour or so walking back and forth through the large staging area giving the crowd an up-close view of the banner. Our leafletting team trailed along with us and kept offering literature to the public.
We got a few hostile comments ("get a job; you can only do this because the military protects you") but many more actually took the flyers. Two times I saw men in military uniforms request a flyer. Finally after the first hour of walking through the crowd we went back to the B-1 and stood in the shade under one of the wings. It was then that several security men came up and ordered our photographers to stop taking pictures of us in front of the plane - a "Homeland Security" matter they said. When our photographers challenged them to explain why the general public was allowed to take unlimited photos of the bomber, they were told it was because of what we "would be doing" with the pictures.
It was a great action, one that Maine VFP member Tom Sturtevant wanted to do last year but we weren't able to get it together at the time. So this year we were determined to take a banner about military recruitment (Tom's favorite issue) into the airshow. We tip our caps to you Tom. Presente!
See alot more photos here and here