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, November 17, 2012

WE ARE DAMNED BY OUR SILENCE


Israel has become the Nazi.

Obama, the U.S. Congress and the media
have become collaborators
in this death orgy.

The American people
silenced by hard hearts
fear
ignorance
servility
and more
are accomplices
to the crime.

The weapons makers
merchants of death
count their money
covered in blood
the hearts of those who touch
the stained paper
become blinded.

The Palestinian people
are invisible
except when their death is celebrated
by the TV images
beamed from cold satellites
exploding targets
successfully "taken out"
The victory is cheered
by dark souls.

The Palestinian people
are expected to submit
passively
to their brutal treatment
a generational death trap
they are required
to accept their fate
without reaction
or protest
or emotion
or hate
or violence.

As the Palestinian lands
are stolen
their olive trees cut down
their water taken
for Israeli lawns
and swimming pools
and cool drinks
in fancy restaurants
The people are expected
to submit in silence.

We who still have hearts
who can still feel
can still see with our own eyes
can hear the cries with our own ears
we can't go in silence
to turn away once again
to act as if all is well
we are liars if we turn away
again
and again
as the children die
and their mothers weep
and their fathers sit
in rage inside Israeli jails
for trying to defend their loved ones.

We are damned by these deeds
and our long silence.

Bruce K. Gagnon
11-17-12

MORE TRUTH IN THE DARKNESS



Excerpts from a speech by Chris Hedges.

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

Thursday, November 15, 2012

ILLEGAL OCCUPATION


It was wrong when the U.S. stole land from the Native Americans and violated treaties.

It is equally as wrong when Israel keeps taking land from the Palestinian people and ignores United Nations resolutions calling their settlements on stolen land illegal.

The U.S. taxpayer funds the Israeli occupation forces.  That makes people in the U.S. complicit with crimes against humanity.

 The Congressional Research Service’s conservative estimate of total cumulative U.S. aid to Israel (not adjusted for inflation) from 1949 through 2013 is $115 billion.

TRUTH BE TOLD




ISRAEL OUT TO RESTORE FEAR



The Israeli military is converging on Gaza, as it continues to pummel the Palestinians from air, sea and land.

The Operation, dubbed "Pillars of Defence" - is on the verge of turning into a new invasion, as Tel Aviv says it's prepared to go all the way - under the pretext of self-defence.

Three Israelis and at least 24 Palestinians - including children and a pregnant woman - have already been killed.

Political scientist, activist and author Norman Finkelstein doubts that the current crisis in Gaza will further escalate.

CLIMATE CHANGE UPDATE


  • On Wednesday night everyone from our Addams-Melman House went to Portland for an event called Do the Math Tour that featured Bill McKibben and others.  More than 1,300 people turned out for the rally.  The climate change emergency tour made the following case: We can burn 565 more gigatons of carbon dioxide and stay below 2°C of warming — anything more than that risks catastrophe for life on earth. The only problem? Fossil fuel corporations now have 2,795 gigatons in their reserves, five times the safe amount. And they’re planning to burn it all — unless we rise up to stop them.
  •  McKibben promoted the strategy of getting public institutions (colleges, universities, towns and cities) to divest from oil corporations.  The president of Unity College in Maine took the stage to announce that his institution has just become the first school in the nation to vote to divest from fossil fuel corporations.
  • McKibben also announced a protest at the White House on November 18 which is intended to increase the pressure on Obama to do something real about climate change.  Plans are also being developed for more civil disobedience in the months ahead.
  • It is good to see this direct action component growing within the climate change movement.  It's very necessary.  My one disappointment with McKibben and the climate change groups is that so far they have refused to say a mumbling word about the world's biggest polluter (with the world's largest carbon footprint) - the Pentagon.  I am not saying that McKibben has to shut down the military industrial complex - but how about working it into the public education and articulation!
  • This past weekend we sold another car at the Addams-Melman House.  When we moved in we had three cars and sold one almost immediately.  We are now down to one car between Karen, MB and me.  We are walking and hitching rides more than ever.  The fatal flaw is that public transit is weak, weak, weak and almost non-existent in Maine.
  • Why doesn't the climate change movement demand the conversion of the military industrial complex so we can build rail, solar, wind, tidal power and more?

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

LOCKED BEHIND BARS



Imprisoned Jesuit priest Fr. Lee Young-chan.  Behind bars for trying to stop destruction of Gangjeong village and the environment - all for a Navy base.
Don't we wish more clergy were this dedicated and active.
If you want to help please boycott Samsung (lead Navy base contractor) and visit Save Jeju website here

UNTOLD HISTORY


Visit NBCNews.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy


Ten part series on Showtime by Oliver Stone and American University historian Peter Kuznick.  Looks like a winner.

Stone says in this video that he turned against his upbringing.  

BRING OUR WAR $$ HOME

gagnon by Maine Draw-A-Thon!

 

"My #1 choice for a better way to spend our war dollars would be a state and national rail system."
On Monday I spoke at the Draw-a-thon in Belfast, Maine put on by the Union of Maine Visual Artists.  They were drawing pictures of veterans and asking how they rather see their war $$ used back here at home.

This one is by Kenny Cole who organized the event.

BELFAST DRAW-A-THON

Suzanne Lasker by Maine Draw-A-Thon!

This one was done by Suzanne Lasker. 

My hat actually says Veterans Peace Team.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

BEHIND THE 8 BALL


Some sobering truth for today... in no state in the United States can a minimum wage worker to rent a two bedroom unit at Fair Market Rent working the standard 40-hour work week.

Let's see if the millionaires club (Congress) will raise the minimum wage?

OFF AND RUNNING FOR MORE BASES IN ASIA-PACIFIC


  • A Catholic mass was held today for the release of Jesuit priest Lee Young-chan S.J. (arrested on Oct 24) and other prisoners of conscience. About 900 people attended the mass in a Jeju Island, South Korea cathedral. Father Lee was arrested for trying to block the Navy base construction gate in Gangjeong village.
  • The Washington Post reported this morning that: "Just days after winning a second term, the Obama administration is intensifying its focus on Asia, with the Pentagon chief, secretary of state and the president himself making visits to the region to underline the White House’s foreign policy priorities for the next four years. Despite the ongoing war in Afghanistan and unresolved flash points in the Middle East and North Africa, President Obama and his senior national security team are pushing ahead with the strategic 'pivot' to the ­Asia-Pacific region that they announced at the start of the year. The second-term effort got underway Monday as Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta traveled to Perth, Australia, for two days of talks with the country’s leaders. Joining those talks will be Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton; Gen. Martin Dempsey, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff; and Adm. Samuel J. Locklear III, the commander of U.S. forces in the Pacific."
  •  The Navy base on Jeju will be needed as a port for U.S. warships as Obama's pivot will move 60% of all Pentagon forces into the region.  Thus the U.S. twists the arm of the South Korean government to get them to build the Navy base that will benefit American ambitions in the region.  To hell with the needs and desires of the people of Jeju Island, Okinawa, Guam, or any other place where U.S. bases will be built or expanded.
  • Obama isn't wasting any time in pushing his "pivot".....he wants to strike while his supporters still revel in the fantasy that his election will mean a more peaceful administration than the right-winger Mitt Romney would have delivered.  But the truth is that Obama is the wolf in sheep's clothing as he will continue to expand military operations in Central Asia and Africa; continue the surrounding of Russia which is drawing angry responses from the Kremlin; increase the testing of new space technologies for "global strike" missions; and escalate the surrounding of China.  The massive cost of all these military operations will be covered by continued cuts in social spending.  His liberal base isn't really interested in any of these details as they glow in the warm aftermath of their electoral victory which they are convinced means that peace and prosperity will return to the land once again.
  • In his new article entitled "Once Again - The Death of the Liberal Class" award-winning journalist Chris Hedges writes, "Liberals have assured us that after the election they will build a movement to hold the president accountable—although how or when or what this movement will look like they cannot say. They didn’t hold him accountable during his first term. They won’t during his second. They have played their appointed roles in the bankrupt political theater that passes for electoral politics." 

MORE ARRESTS AT DRONE BASE



On October 25 about 40 people arrived at Hancock Field, New York front gate just before the morning shift change. They quickly blocked the access road at the front gate with cones and stood behind them with hand painted banners. Seventeen individuals blocked the front gate and the gate on Thompson road while the rest stood across the street with signs calling attention to the immorality and illegality of drone warfare. A base representative came out to redirect traffic, and a while later state and local police arrived on the scene. They waited nearly an hour and a half to make an arrest.

When the 17 were finally arrested, they were charged with 2 violations, Trespassing and disorderly conduct. Thirteen members of the group were sent to Onondaga County Jail to await payment of between $250 and $1000 bail. All but 2 were freed by evening. One person decided to spend a week in jail.

See more here

Monday, November 12, 2012

HE'S GONE INJUN



Walking amongst the needles
The wind talking to Tatanka through the pines
Remembering the people
Whose faces appear in the rocks
Let’s not forget them
They knew how to live on this land

I’ve been here since the 60’s
When we pulled into town in that blizzard
The smell of the sweet grass
And the pounding of the drum
And the keening voices
Crawled inside me
My heart is with Wounded Knee

I recall telling the southern suburban kids
Back in the 80’s about the people
Drawing lines on the chalkboard
That suggested capitalism was killing
Our spirit and our mother

My son visited from the womb
But it’s in his blood now
He heard the drum too
It passes from one to another
The love for the people
Even if you don’t know it

My heart gets big when I see the hills that
Look black from a distance
The view from the wind swept butte
Reminds me that this land
Will always belong to our relatives

The arrogance of the white way
Drops dead in time
Like they say in the movies
He’s gone injun

GIVING HIS LIFE FOR PEACE



Early trailer about the life and activism of Vietnam veteran S. Brian Willson who gave his legs, and almost his life, for peace.

The documentary is being produced by
Bo Boudart
Director of: “Paying The Price For Peace”
650-644-7228

LEFT BEHIND

We Got This (Occupy Sandy) from Alex Mallis on Vimeo.

Thousands in New York City remain without clean water, food, heat, or power. Relief efforts by locals offer continuing direct aid to the neighborhoods most affected by Hurricane Sandy.

Please visit: interoccupy.net/occupysandy

Sunday, November 11, 2012

ARMISTICE EVENTS

  • Our Maine Veterans For Peace crew lined up this morning at Monument Square in Portland with our flags in order to have the veterans day parade pass by us.   In recent years the American Legion has tried to kick us out of the parade because they did not like our peace message.  They would demand that we only carry one banner with our name on it and nothing else.  So the last two years we decided to do our own thing and make the parade walk past us.
  • Tomorrow MB and I will head early in the morning to Belfast to participate in another veterans day event.   Waterfall Arts will host an Armistice/Veterans Day Draw-A-Thon from 10am to 4pm at 256 High Street in Belfast. The Drawathons, organized by the Union of Maine Visual Artists, Code Pink Maine, Maine Veterans for Peace and other organizations, have been held in different locations around the state for the past three years. The art activist organizers are concerned about the cost of war to Maine taxpayers, now at $3.5 billion, and propose that these war dollars be brought back to the US and re-purposed. 
  •  The Drawathon is being held in conjunction with Waterfall Arts’ current exhibit The War on Peace, with work by Alan Magee, Rob Shetterly and Harlan Crichton. The exhibit runs through November 21st; gallery hours are Tuesday through Friday from 10 to 5 and by appointment. For more information on the draw-a-thon, visit here

SUNDAY SONG