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, September 08, 2012

THE BIG QUESTIONS


My sister Lynn modeling our Bring Our War $$ Home T-shirt that we will be selling at the Common Ground Country Fair on September 21-23 in Unity, Maine.

Our campaign will share a booth with Veterans for Peace who will be offering kids the chance to make buttons.  Should be a busy weekend and a good way to promote our messages.

Why don't the fiscal conservatives, who always complain about huge national debt, ever mention military spending?  For that matter why don't environmentalists, who are deeply concerned about climate change, ever mention that the Pentagon is the biggest polluter on the planet?

RE-OCCUPY


LATEST VIDEO FROM JEJU



Paco writes from Jeju: 
Dunguree's Film about Sept. 8 and the march to the WCC Convention Center in Jungmun. No Subtitles but you can see the video to see what it was like.
Today was an incredible and great day. We had many visitors from the IUCN WCC, both people that came on their own and people that joined the tour. The village was filled with colorful graffiti and artwork. The police mostly hid, trying to pretend state oppression and violence is not a daily occurrence but I'm sure no one was fooled.

The Eco-Cide Tour planned for IUCN members was great. We had more participants than we expected and had to take the boat out twice. Everyone was very interested in and supportive of our struggle. Many of them plan to come back to the village again if they have time. They all bought and wore our new yellow "endangered species" Gangjeong shirts, some of them buy lots of them.

During the tours, a decent sized group marched from Gangjeong to Jungmun where the IUCN WCC convention is being held. There they had a big rally. The Eco-Cide Tour group also joined the rally as did other friends and supporters inside the IUCN. The rally was really exciting and fantastic, a really huge party with lots of colorful signs in English and Korean, chants in English and Korean, music, speeches, and of course the usual dances as well as the new "Gangjeong Style" dancing twice.

Overall it was a very positive and fantastic, although tiring, day for everyone. One particularly good news is related to our emergency motion we are trying to get passed in the IUCN WCC. We need 10 IUCN member group sponsors to get our motion considered. We got over 25! The response was fantastic, especially from many Latin and South American groups who work with environmental issues and fight with indigenous peoples against mega corporations.

There is a lot of energy here and even if this motion doesn't eventually pass we are all filled with new spirits just to see more people from around the world caring passionately about us and our movement and struggle.

Keep spreading the word!

GROW YOUR OWN


Peter Woodruff and I are downloading lots of GMO related interviews and music in preparation for our weekly radio show on Bowdoin College's WBOR.  Our show (called Truth Radio Underground Experience- TRUE) is next Wednesday from 6:00-8:00 pm (EST) and the entire show will be dedicated to the important fight against GMO's.  You can listen live online from WBOR's web page.

The more I learn about GMO's the sicker I feel.  This is insane stuff and we all need to be more vocal about not wanting GMO food.

Fortunately the good folks in California have gathered the required signatures and have forced a statewide referendum on the labeling of any products with GMO in it.  You'd think it was an acceptable compromise - give the consumers a choice.  But agri-business is going nuts and raising massive $$$ to fight against the growing anti-GMO public.

Watching the California anti-GMO referendum from afar I've learned alot about how big corporations have bought up so-called "organic" brands like Morningstar Farms and are using them in their public relations campaign against the anti-GMO forces.  After many years of buying Morningstar Farms I will now put them on my boycott list.

Last night I made beet burgers from the garden.  Included in them was a carrot we also grew and we had green beans on the side from our garden patch.  Grow your own as they say and beware of the doctored foods.

Friday, September 07, 2012

THE TWEETS TELL THE REAL STORY

The right-wing South Korean government won't allow the Gangjeong villagers to have a booth inside the World Conservation Congress (the largest environmental confab on the planet) but they did make sure that the Korean Coast Guard got to set one up.  WTF????

So why is this so?  This group called the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) is running the conference.  But who are they?  Who does the IUCN answer to?

This Facebook post last night from our dear French friend Benji (who got deported from South Korea for his acts of non-violent resistance to the Navy base) shared the following info:
On #IUCN2012, here are the 3 first tweets of IUCN Director General, Julia Marton-Lefevre, a glimpse of her real motivations and who are IUCN's interlocutors:

1. #IUCN2012 started with a great opening ceremony in Jeju with inspiring speeches from [awful] President Lee Myung-bak and IUCN President Ashok Khosla

2. #iucn2012 keynote speaker Rachel Kyte of the World Bank calls for placing nature-based solutions at the heart of progress

3. RT @worldbank: "We need to build public-private partnerships to invest in our natural wealth" - @rkyte365 at #IUCN2012
I think these tweets speak for themselves.  It is evident that international corporate capital has captured the IUCN agenda and the limiting of true democracy and open debate is glaringly clear in the suppression of the voices of the Gangjeong villagers.  There could never be a better example of local citizens acting to protect the sacredness of nature than on Jeju Island but the IUCN and their corporate funders know they have to block the international delegates access to these villagers for fear they will inspire others to stand against the corporate agenda of destruction of the natural world.

In item #3 above you see the words "invest in our natural wealth" - the corporations see nature as a commodity to make profit from.  Nature has no value to them beyond money.  This is a terminal illness which could kill us all if we allow these money changers to rule the roost.

May the Gangjeong villagers and their supporters rock the IUCN flim-flam show.  Turn it upside down....speak for all of us please!
For those of you that use twitter, please follow @SaveJejuNow the new twitter account of savejejunow.org

Thursday, September 06, 2012

CORRUPTION AT DNC



Controversy erupted at the Democratic National Convention on Wednesday when party leaders forced through a platform change to reinstate references to God and the view that Jerusalem is Israel’s undivided capital. The language in question was included in 2008, but was left out when delegates approved their 2012 platform earlier this week. At the reported behest of President Obama, DNC Chair and Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa presided over a voice vote to reinstate the references through a two-thirds majority. Villaraigosa appeared prepared to automatically accept the change, but those voting "no" were so loud that he ended up holding the vote three times.


I listened to those three voice votes at the start of the video and no way did 2/3 majority support this platform change.  Just goes to show how much the Israeli lobby controls both political parties today.  What the DNC delegates really felt and wanted did not matter to those who control the Democrats.  

A FEW MORE THINGS

Villagers and supporters protest outside World Conservation Congress that just began on Jeju island.  The South Korean government won't allow the Gangjeong villagers to have an information booth inside the environmental convention.
Five activists were arrested yesterday for hanging banners at the caisson construction site on Jeju Island.

  • It's hard these days not to want to report on every single action taking place on Jeju Island as things heat up there.  The World Conservation Congress has just begun and the Gangjeong villagers and supporters are stepping up their actions.  Yesterday five activists were arrested in a port town about 40 kms from Gangjeong where caissons are built which are being placed in the ocean to help build the docks for the Navy base.  They occupied a caisson for several hours and dropped banners. (I don't quite understand the technology but there is an explanation of a caisson here.)  During the recent typhoon that hit Jeju seven caissons, that had already been placed in the ocean just offshore Gureombi rock, were broken apart and sank.  These will obviously contribute to the destruction of the soft coral reefs offshore.
  • Yesterday six of us from our local area held a two-hour vigil outside Bath Iron Works (BIW) where the Aegis destroyers are built.  We timed our protest for when the Navy's DDG 112 (The Michael Murphy) was sent off from BIW with a big ceremony.  We saw auto license plates from several nearby states.  We handed out just over 30 flyers to the workers which was an all-time high.  I held my usual sign that reads "Where do these Aegis go?"  Several of the workers told us they "Love killing people" and I got called an asshole more times than ever before - including from several women who work inside BIW.  We got a few nice remarks from some of the workers as well - one saying he liked our sign depicting a high-speed rail system with the words "Made in Bath". 
  • Our Keep Space for Peace Week (Oct 6-13) actions list continues to grow inch-by-inch.  It's always a slow process as each time I forward the list out we pick up a couple more local events on the schedule.
  • It's always interesting to see who is looking at this blog.  I often wonder how people from various countries find it.  Here is the breakdown for the past month: 
1) United States
2) Russia
3) South Korea
4) France

5) United Kingdom


6) Germany

7) India
8) Ukraine

9) Canada

10) Australia



SACRED & SPECTACULAR SOFT CORALS OF GANGJEONG



Katherine Muzik, Ph.D.
Kauai, Hawaii

We must defend the sacred and spectacularly beautiful Soft Corals of Gangjeong!

My unbearably sad experiences witnessing coral reef devastation around the world, and especially the irreversible destruction of the Okinawan reefs which I studied for over three decades, motivates me to rise in defense of these beautiful Jeju corals.  We must defend them.  They are spectacularly beautiful, and alive!

Corals have no voice of their own, but all too frequently, scientific specialists, intimidated by the government institutions in their respective countries, cannot speak out. As a specialist in Octocorallia (soft corals), it is my duty, and my honor, to help the local villagers defend their environment and their way of life, and their beautiful octocorals to which I am so devoted.

I have been studying Octocorallia all around the world, in both the Atlantic (Florida, Puerto Rico, Belize, Mexico, Jamaica, Bermuda) and the Pacific (the Philippines, Australia, Fiji, New Caledonia, Thailand, Chuuk, Hawaii, Japan and Okinawa) for 42 years. I can state unequivocally, based on my personal observations and a review of pertinent scientific literature, that Jeju’s octocoral assemblages are unique, spectacular, and worthy of special protection. They form the largest and most spectacular temperate Octocoral forests known on Earth. Particularly convincing are Dr. Jun-Im Song’s prolific and exhaustive reports on their taxonomy, reproduction and distribution, replete with numerous photographs and detailed topographical maps.  My recent communications to discuss the flourishing Guangjeong octocorals with scientists and underwater photographers, working in Australia, the Red Sea, Taiwan, Micronesia, Japan and Indonesia, all serve to confirm my words. 

So peculiar and surprisingly beautiful are Jeju’s Octocoral forests that they were designated as Natural Monument 442 and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. They feature high coral coverage on a substrate of ancient Andesite lava, and depend on the warm and rich Tsushima Current, a branch of the Kuroshio, to form diverse habitats from 5 to 60m deep. Unlike tropical coral reefs, Jeju’s temperate octocoral assemblages are unusual in being dominated by species without zooxanthellae (symbiotic algae) in their tissues.  Lacking these algae to provide them nutrients, they must capture food with their typical, eight (hence, “octo”-corals) feathery tentacles around the mouths of each flower-like polyp animal forming a coral colony. They are sessile suspension-feeders, meaning that each coral is fixed in one position for its lifetime, and its polyps capture food (plankton and dissolved organic matter) as it passes by in the ocean currents.  Their presence is quintessential as habitat for other marine life, including other invertebrates and fishes, very much like trees in a forest provide home for other creatures.

However, because they are permanently attached, octocorals are unfortunately unable to escape the threats of man’s activities. They are defenseless.  Construction and operation of the proposed 125-acre commercial port and military facility would bring them certain disaster, and in fact, already has.

Recently, typhoon Bolaven wrecked seven 8,800 ton caissons made of cement, and sent them along with thousands of huge cement tetrapods, crashing down into the sea, causing havoc and destruction which can only worsen with continued construction activities.  

Apart from the devastating typhoon, the Base at Jeju had already brought Okinawa-style destructive shoreline development. Nearly all the shoreline around the main island of Okinawa, where I lived for eleven years, is lined with cement. Huge cement tetrapods and storm walls, huge tracts of reclaimed land blanketed in cement, and massive cement port facilities characterize the Okinawan seaside. Will Jeju’s pretty southern coastline soon resemble Okinawa’s?

Construction of the proposed port activities would continue to load the waters with lethal sediments during the planned 4-year construction phase.  We must stop construction! It is destruction! These toxic sediments will be kept re-suspended by continuous ship-traffic after construction, not to mention by the storms and typhoons, which are increasing in power and frequency. And, the completed port will surely alter the currents which bring the corals their crucial plankton diet, and which are essential for distribution of their planktonic larvae.

Shoreline cement construction projects not only alter water currents and destroy corals, they also destroy terrestrial habitats. For example, the insatiable need for rock to make cement has led to decimation of mountains in northern Okinawa. Also, kilning of rock used for cement with coal has contributed to intolerable increases in atmospheric pollution and mercury pollution in our seas and our seafood, worldwide. The proposed Jeju Base construction will require massive amounts of cement. From where will the cement rock, and the coal for the Jeju port be obtained? What other habitats will be ruined? How much more air and water pollution will surely result?  

I first fell in love with the purple octocoral “sea fans”, over 60 years ago, as a child playing in the pristine blue waters of Puerto Rico. I was fascinated, watching them dance and sway in the ocean currents. To see the demise, worldwide, of these beautiful marine creatures, in just my lifetime, by pollution, global warming, acidification, and now, military-industrial greed, is heartbreaking.  Given the accelerated pace of deterioration of coral reefs everywhere, how can we allow one of the most beautiful octocoral forests in the world, which provides natural, cultural and economic resources to a community and a country, to be destroyed forever?

Wednesday, September 05, 2012

FOUR MORE DENIED ENTRY TO JEJU

Three people from Okinawa and one from Japan, on their way to Jeju Island, were denied entry into South Korea today when they landed at Incheon airport.

The South Korean government, controlled by corporations like Samsung, has drowned democracy in that country.  They are doing all they can to keep the upcoming World Conservation Congress, that will be held on Jeju Island with 10,000 delegates coming from around the globe, from hearing a peep about the Gangjeong village Navy base fight.

But like the grass growing between the cracks of concrete, nature cannot be denied.

One delegate to the WCC reports this morning on Facebook, "There will be an emergency motion [concerning the environmental impact of the Navy base] that will be presented on the floor in plenary. Many are working on it."

The right-wing South Korean government will have to deny entry to all 10,000 delegates to the WCC if they want to nip this grassroots eruption of democracy in the bud.  They can't kill the spirit.

You can help by signing a petition that Mayor Kang of Gangjeong village will deliver to the WCC.  In fact there are two petitions.  They are here and here.

Help spread the word.  This is a fight to protect our Mother Earth.  All her children are urged to join this important struggle for sanity and life.

Tuesday, September 04, 2012

CLIMATE CHANGE REPORT



Walking to downtown Bath today I saw a car with a bumpersticker that said "Global warming is a scam".

How can people ignore the mounting signs of disastrous climate change all around us?

ANOTHER JEJU SUPPORTER DENIED ENTRY INTO SOUTH KOREA


Sung-Hee Choi writes from Jeju Island:

Imok Cha is one of the board members of the Committee to Save Jeju and was to be a speaker at the International Union for the Conservation of Nature’s (IUCN) World Conservation Congress (WCC) 2012.  Imok has been denied entry to Korea.

On September 3, Imok Cha, who has been working tirelessly to spread news related to the struggle against the Jeju Naval Base project was unjustly blocked from entering Korea, upon arrival at Incheon Airport, outside Seoul. According to Imok, she arrived in Incheon Airport and had her passport scanned and then was fingerprinted.

She said, “As soon as they scanned my passport and fingerprinted me, they took me to an office. No explanation of why I am not allowed in to even see my elderly parents!”

She was then detained for 30 minutes before being forced to board a plane to Seattle, Washington, U.S.A. Save Jeju Now received this news from her while in Seattle awaiting a plane back to San Fransisco. As stated, no explanation was given for her denial of entry by the Korean Immigration Office.

The IUCN’s WCC 2012 is being held in Jungmun, Jeju, just 7 km from Gangjeong and the Jeju Naval Base project site. She had planned to join the WCC as a speaker to speak on important environmental justice issues surrounding the illegal and violently enforced destruction taking place in Gangjeong.

Furthermore she was hoping to visit her elderly parents who live in Korea. It is an inhuman act of cruelty to deny her the ability to see her parents.

With the entry denial of Cha, the total number of internationals denied entry to Korea, related to the struggle to save Jeju, since Aug 26, 2011 is now 16. This includes 3 members of the U.S. Veterans for Peace and 12 people from Japan and Okinawa.

This entry denial highlights again how much the Korean government (and perhaps the US government) wishes to hide the truth of what is happening on Jeju. This denial comes right after news that the IUCN has rejected to give an exhibition booth at their congress to Gangjeong Village due to pressure from the Korean government.

The South Korean government is clearly afraid of the increasing international solidarity as more people find out the real truth behind what is happening in Gangjeong. This pathetic and cowardly attempt to stop our movement will only increase our momentum. Or does the Korean government plan to block all the IUCN speakers?

Please help us spread this news, and denounce this oppression on international supporters as well as the continued violent and destructive naval base construction!

Imok is a physician specializing in cancer diagnosis using minimally invasive methods. She received her M.D. from Columbia University, Physicians & Surgeons. She served as a clinical professor of Pathology at University of California, San Francisco Medical Center from 1995 to 2006. She has been interested in environmental issues, especially preserving marine life, through organizations in San Francisco bay area and South East Asia. In the summer of 2011 she traveled to the village of Gangjeong on Jeju Island and has been very active in supporting the villagers resistance to the Navy base.

Monday, September 03, 2012

STAND UP


Sunday, September 02, 2012

LEADING THE LAMBS TO THE SLAUGHTER


Two dozen peaceniks interrupted the fun and idolatry yesterday in Camden, Maine when we protested the port call by the USS Normandy guided missile cruiser at the annual Windjammer Festival.

I brought along our banner from the recent airshow that says "Stop recruiting our children for war" and we held it as a long line of families waited almost an hour to be ferried out to the waiting warship.  (The photos I originally had here were from the Windjammer Facebook page but the person who apparently took them asked me to remove them.  I guess I ruffled some feathers.  People normally share photos on Facebook all the time. Our "freedom" has obvious limits when you challenge the status quo.)

Interestingly the ferry was called the "Pied Piper" which is a fitting name as the children were led out to the warship where they could get indoctrinated once again in the joys of modern warfare/slaughter/blitzkrieg.  What does a Navy warship have to do with a celebration of sailing ships?  Ugh.....

The USS Normandy was cited in 1998 for being having fired the "Most Tomahawk cruise missiles by a U.S. Navy Cruiser" during Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm.  At a million dollars each those cruise missiles killed one hell of alot of people.  But no worries - we are the exceptional nation.  Right?  We kill people so they can be free.......

There were huge numbers of people who passed by us as we held the banners.  A few grumpy white men proclaimed that we were able to protest because they had fought for our "freedom" to do so.  I asked one of them if he knew whether he had been fighting for the "Constitution or corporate interests?"  I got an unfriendly response.

Next Wednesday (Sept 5) the Navy's DDG 112 (The Michael Murphy) will be sent off here from Bath Iron Works with a big ceremony.  In addition the Gangjeong villagers on Jeju Island are calling for a week of international solidarity actions with their opposition to Navy base construction.  It is the Aegis destroyers like "The Michael Murphy" that would make ports of call on Jeju Island as they surround China's coast and pump up tensions in the Asia-Pacific.

I am planning to stand in front of Bath Iron Works on Washington Street from 2:00-4:00 pm and hand out flyers as the workers leave for the day.  My sign will read "Where do Aegis go?".

Please join me if you can.  We must continue to stand in the face of the ever growing militarization of our economy and our nation. 

SUNDAY SONG




DR. JILL STEIN INTERVIEW



My interview this week with Dr. Jill Stein who is running for president as the Green Party candidate.

She was well received at the recent Veterans for Peace convention in Miami.  Many of the folks there are on-board her campaign.

Take a look and see for yourself.