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, December 29, 2012

UNTOLD HISTORY OF THE UNITED STATES



Produced and narrated by Oliver Stone, this new ten-part series features events that at the time went under reported, but crucially shaped America's unique and complex history.

I think it shows the point where the US fully stepped into hell.  Ever since then the American imperial oligarchy has been killing anyone in sight who dared get in the way of manifest destiny - now called Full Spectrum Dominance.

You can find more episodes here

WE NEED A FAIR SLICE OF THE PIE




Where are the public voices of the liberals who went into the streets when George W. Bush's budgets spent even less than this on militarism?

Are the Republicans right when they denounce "liberals" as hypocrites who only complain about militarism when the "right-wing" is in power? 

If Romney had won the election would the liberals be protesting in the streets if the new president had suggested cuts in Social Security, Medicare, and much more?  If Romney kept the occupation of Afghanistan going would the liberals protest then?

Why are local Democratic Party town committees not holding public meetings to defend social progress from being knocked out with a deadly punch?  Why did one Democratic Party official in my community once tell me that "We have to kill all of them in Afghanistan"? Was the person just trying to defend Obama?

We won't get a fair slice of the pie unless and until we demand it over and over again.  The corporate banksters and war mongers will only yield to massive public pressure.

BOWING TO PROTECT NATURE

  • Save Jeju Now reports, " For cutting the naval base 2013 budget, the villagers and people had press conference in front of the National Assembly in Seoul on December 24, and also since December 24th, people have been doing peace bows continuously in front of the National Assembly as a peaceful protesting to cut the budget. December 29th is the last day for the budget talk on the Jeju naval base in the National Assembly. Thus, people in front of the Naval base in Gangjeong and in front of the National Assembly in Seoul at the same time had the peaceful 1,000 bows to request the budget cut of 2013!"  See more here
  • Shell photo and caption by Jang Hyun-Woo:
“A villager brought me these shells this morning. He said a worker in a dredging barge had taken these shells during his dredging work on a barge. Not only sands.. but shells are taken during the dredging. Are these shells empty? The villager says creatures in the Gangjeong Sea are dying…”

For more photos go here


  • Carolyn from Maine has gone to Jeju Island.  She sends the following message:

    The Gates
    I.
    Police pull back activists’ fingers, breaking them,
    sometimes along the joint, just below the fingernail.

    Since Park Geun-hye was elected president, 
    police repression of the nonviolent protest has ramped up. 
    With people dispirited, 
    And their bodies scratched, bruised, and broken,
    there’s no direct action this week.
    Just picketing now, a 19-year-old tells me.
    All last night he was in front of one of the gates.

    II.
    7 a.m.
    Cement trucks line up.
    Police move into place. 
    And security guards move the chairs and other objects blocking the entrance. 
    One guard throws a yellow No Jeju Base flag to the ground. 
    I wonder if he’ll leave it there to be run over, 
    but another guard picks it up 
    and leans it against the chairs placed on the side of the road. 

    After the vehicles pass, we move the chairs, a barrel stove, and a few placards back in front of the gate, along with a vase of lilies. 

    Just three of us are there early this morning as the rain comes down.
    We move from one gate to the other and back again 
    as cement trucks roll in and out,
    each activity logged in a thick activist notebook.

    III.
    Night falls.
    Workers continue to arrive for their shifts.
    We are sitting around a barrel stove,
    activists’ names painted on top of each wooden stool.
    Three candles flicker in the middle of our circle.
    We talk about the next day’s plans,
    about informants
    and Hawaiian history. 
    Then someone exclaims, Time to dance! 
    And in a new circle in front of the gate,
    we dance
    as workers in twos and threes pass by.
             The Hotel

    I have just stepped out of the shower and hear a rapping on the door. 
    Just a minute, I call out.
    Nae. (Yes)
    A pause. Then the rapping resumes.
    Just a minute, I call out again.
    I’m dressing as quickly as I can.
    The knocking happens two more times.
    I’m sorry, I say, as I open the door. I’ve made the hotel owner wait.
    She hands me a bag full of chocolate treats, bows to me, and walks away.
    So that was the urgent task.
    Each chocolate wrapper says Love in Jeju.

Friday, December 28, 2012

MORE FROM STONE & KUZNICK ON THE BIG QUESTIONS



RT's Abby Martin sits down again with Academy Award Winning Director, Oliver Stone, and American University historian Peter Kuznick, to talk about US foreign policy and the Obama administration's disregard for the rule of law.

WHO KNOWS THIS STORY?



This film excerpt does a great service by introducing us to a bit of American history that has largely been buried by public education and the corporate media.  But it's an essential element if one wishes to understand this nation's history.  It reveals how this underbelly of capitalist power has schemed for many years to achieve their present status as rulers of the world.

Democracy in this country, and around the world, has been largely drowned by corporate power.  Much of what we see in Washington is the facade - the illusion that democracy still exists.

We must be thankful for people like Maj. Gen. Smedley Butler.  He showed great courage and respect for real democracy.  We need more like him.

You can read Butler's short book War is a Racket here

DECIDE FOR YOURSELF


Thursday, December 27, 2012

THE GLOBAL TIDE IS TURNING


  • Protests are continuing in Canada as indigenous people fight to defend the environment from the rape and pillage of a government under control of the fossil fuel industry.  "Idle No More calls on all people to join in a revolution which honors and fulfills Indigenous sovereignty and which protects the land and water. Colonization continues through attacks to Indigenous rights and damage to the land and water, which affects all people. Idle No More calls on all of us to repair these violations, live the spirit and intent of the treaty relationship, work towards justice in action, protect Mother Earth, and create sustainable, healthy communities."  See more at the Idle No More web page here
  • Ultimately it's the same fight that is going on at Jeju Island, South Korea and many other places around the world.  There is always a tipping point and 2013 feels like a year where the protests are going to keep expanding.  So do your bit where you are and help connect to the larger consciousness that is growing.  Remember that in nature everything is in a state of change.  The tide goes out (sometimes it seems like forever) but it always come back.  The tide is beginning to turn again.
  • PressTV reports, "Jason Leopold, an investigative journalist for Truth-Out, has obtained FBI documents - through the Freedom of Information Act - relating to Occupy Wall Street. Most of the pages in the documents are redacted, and show concerns of cyber threats against the financial sector. However, there are questions of assassination plots against Occupy activists in Houston, Texas. Because the documents have redactions, it is not clear who or what group was planning the assassinations."  See much more here 

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

NETWORK OF POWER

  • The Washington Post reported early this week that  "A U.S. Army brigade will begin sending small teams into as many as 35 African nations early next year, part of an intensifying Pentagon effort to train countries to battle extremists and give the U.S. a ready and trained force to dispatch to Africa if crises requiring the U.S. military emerge."  Ironic that the black president is leading US Africa Command (AfriCom) into the military occupation of the African continent. This step-by-step militarization of Africa has been a hallmark of the Obama administration. 
  • We know that in just a few years blacks and Hispanics will be the majority population in the US.  The oligarchy long ago realized that they had to come up with politicians of color who could use popular rhetoric to appeal to constituencies of color but at the same time actually work for Mr. Big.  Obama was identified early on while he was a student at Columbia by then professor Zbigniew Brzezinski.  Brzezinski worked as National Security Adviser for Jimmy Carter and was credited with the policy to train and arm the Taliban in Afghanistan to fight against the former Soviet Union occupation.  He also wrote the book The Grand Chessboard that spelled out the need for the US to control "Eurasia" - what is commonly called Central Asia and the Middle East.  All of which are key fossil fuel sources.  I remember Brzezinski saying in his book that the military occupation of this region, in order to successfully "manage" it, would be very expensive and that the American people would never go along with such a high price unless there was a Pearl Harbor like event first that captured the public imagination and support.  Remember that this book was published in 1997.
  • So Obama was developed as a future leader prospect by the oligarchy because he was bright, ambitious, and had no real core values.  While in the Illinois State Senate there were 100 times when Obama voted "present" on controversial issues.  Why?  Because he was already being shaped for higher office and wanted to avoid angering various constituencies.  Thus when Obama ran for president he was able to appear to be many things to many different people - a phenomenon that still exists to this day.
  • Some say it is just a "conspiracy theory" to think that the capitalist corporations get together and make plans about how they will control the world.  I call it "good" business planning.  They take no chances.  Why risk the fate of global profits to the great unwashed populations.  Why not run two horses in every race?  Why not plan ahead and stay on top of the population curve?
  • Here is a list of the top 50 corporations in the world who make up what New Scientist called a "network of power" in their 2011 study.

Revealed – the capitalist network that runs the world


1. Barclays plc
2. Capital Group Companies Inc
3. FMR Corporation
4. AXA
5. State Street Corporation
6. JP Morgan Chase & Co
7. Legal & General Group plc
8. Vanguard Group Inc
9. UBS AG
10. Merrill Lynch & Co Inc
11. Wellington Management Co LLP
12. Deutsche Bank AG
13. Franklin Resources Inc
14. Credit Suisse Group
15. Walton Enterprises LLC
16. Bank of New York Mellon Corp
17. Natixis
18. Goldman Sachs Group Inc
19. T Rowe Price Group Inc
20. Legg Mason Inc
21. Morgan Stanley
22. Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group Inc
23. Northern Trust Corporation
24. Société Générale
25. Bank of America Corporation
26. Lloyds TSB Group plc
27. Invesco plc
28. Allianz SE 29. TIAA
30. Old Mutual Public Limited Company
31. Aviva plc
32. Schroders plc
33. Dodge & Cox
34. Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc*
35. Sun Life Financial Inc
36. Standard Life plc
37. CNCE
38. Nomura Holdings Inc
39. The Depository Trust Company
40. Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance
41. ING Groep NV
42. Brandes Investment Partners LP
43. Unicredito Italiano SPA
44. Deposit Insurance Corporation of Japan
45. Vereniging Aegon
46. BNP Paribas
47. Affiliated Managers Group Inc
48. Resona Holdings Inc
49. Capital Group International Inc
50. China Petrochemical Group Company

  • As this network of global corporate power consolidates its control of resources and markets they give various countries different roles.  The role of the US is "security export" which means in America we will build weapons and send our troops around the world as occupation forces for global capital.  
  • The old idea of country is being erased - our future is being "directed" by a network of power that have their own interests at heart.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

GOING HOME



In the spring of 2005, Jim Miller, a Native spiritual leader and Vietnam veteran, found himself in a dream riding on horseback across the great plains of South Dakota. Just before he awoke, he arrived at a riverbank in Minnesota and saw 38 of his Dakota ancestors hanged. At the time, Jim knew nothing of the largest mass execution in United States history, ordered by Abraham Lincoln on December 26, 1862. "When you have dreams, you know when they come from the creator... As any recovered alcoholic, I made believe that I didn't get it. I tried to put it out of my mind, yet it's one of those dreams that bothers you night and day."

Four years later, embracing the message of the dream, Jim and a group of riders retraced the 330-mile route of his dream on horseback from Lower Brule, South Dakota to Mankato, Minnesota to arrive at the hanging site on the anniversary of the execution. "We can't blame the wasichus anymore. We're doing it to ourselves. We're selling drugs. We're killing our own people. That's what this ride is about, is healing." This is the story of their journey- the blizzards they endure, the Native and Non-Native communities that house and feed them along the way, and the dark history they are beginning to wipe away.

SANTA IS HERE


Monday, December 24, 2012

THE POSTERS




When war between Israel and Iran seemed imminent, Israeli graphic designer Ronny Edry shared a poster on Facebook of himself and his daughter with a bold message: "Iranians ... we [heart] you." Other Israelis quickly created their own posters with the same message -- and Iranians responded in kind. The simple act of communication inspired surprising Facebook communities like "Israel loves Iran," "Iran loves Israel" and even "Palestine loves Israel."

MY GIFT



This is an unusual studio cut of The Kinks.  First 2:10 is them pretending to be in Las Vegas.

After that is one of my favorite Kinks songs - Uncle Son.  It's a tribute to the Davies brother's favorite uncle.

It sums up the way I see the world as well.

Uncle Son

Written by: Ray Davies  

He was just a workin' man,
Simple rules and simple plans,
Fancy words he didn't understand,
He loved with his heart,
He worked with his hands.

Liberals dream of equal rights,
Conservatives live in a world gone by,
Socialists preach of a promised land,
But old Uncle Son was an ordinary man.

Bless you Uncle Son,
They won't forget you when the revolution comes.

Unionists tell you when to strike,
Generals tell you when to fight,
Preachers teach you wrong from right,
They'll feed you when you're born,
And use you all your life.

Bless you Uncle Son,
They won't forget you when the revolution comes.

SHARING TIME


  • I send holiday best wishes to all of you.  Thanks for stopping by this blog.  I hope you find it interesting and learn something now and then.  This blog has become my spiritual practice.  Each day I try to learn something new and share it with others.  The Italians have a tradition that you save a few drops of wine in your glass and pour it on the ground as a way to put something back to the Earth that brought us our bounty.  I love that idea....so I try to share as well what I have - my crazy mind and restless heart.
  • I'm not big on the religious aspects of Christmas but at the same time it is one of my favorite times of year.  The cold and snow (back in the pre-climate change days) and the decorated Xmas tree.  I love the smells of the tree, the baking, the food....  I love to close my eyes and squint at the lights on the tree.  You just see the lights and no form.....I try to share this with the little kids that visit the house.  The small pleasures in life......
  • We are not big on presents and the commercialization of Christmas.  I have adverse reaction to lots of presents.....especially for kids.  Sometimes they get so many gifts they don't have time to play with them all.  When I was growing up I would get, if I was lucky, one nice gift.  I still have my Marklin train set that I got in 1959.  The best present I ever got.  I've passed it on to my son Julian but it's still in the attic.  It's not really fair for me to expect him to value it the way I did.  The Indians said the best gifts are the hardest ones to give.
  • Our favorite neighbor girl came by yesterday with a used guitar slung over her shoulders.  Her father, incapacitated and strung out on pain meds, gave her the instrument for Xmas.  She's often said she wants to be a rock star - the next Lady Gaga maybe - and when she strutted into the house I could see it for a moment.  The guitar needs new strings so that will be our gift to her - along with the fedora she wanted.  Got to start somewhere.
  • My sister Joan sent us a smoked turkey.  Each year she sends our intentional community some big food gift item.  So I will make Christmas eve dinner tonight and we will bless Joan for her kindness to us.
  • Julian is far away in Taiwan and he is feeling a bit homesick for friends and family.  You want to protect your children from emotional pain and turmoil but some things have to be lived.  I had that same feeling while far away from home during the holidays when I was in the Air Force.  We have to learn though to find peace where we are.....living in the moment is the hardest lesson to learn.
  • I could type all day on this subject but will end with this - I constantly think about how lucky I am to be doing the work that I do.  I feel so grateful that I've had to chance to make so many incredible friends all over the country and around the world.  It would be nice that we could all win our many struggles in the coming year but for me there is something even more important.  It is that we are in motion working for things we believe in - we are alive in the best sense of the word - sharing our hearts and life energy so that others may live with peace, justice, and joy.  I celebrate all of you in that memory.

Bruce K. Gagnon
president of the Underdog Club

STEALING THE VOTES?


Irregularities are surfacing in last week's South Korean presidential election.  In the electronic count the right-wing candidate, Park Geun-hye, won by about 3%.  She is the daughter of the  former military dictator Park Chung-hee and would continue the policies of the disastrous Lee Myung-bak administration.

Normally very reliable exit polls showed a very close race.  In the exit poll by OhMyNews, Moon Jae-in was projected to win the election by a 2.4 percentage point lead, beyond the margin of error.  And in fact, in the exit poll by YTN, Moon was projected to win the election by a 3.6 percentage point lead.  All these exit polls had been taken up until 3:00 pm.

Around 1:00 pm, Park Geun-hye’s conservative Saenuri Party announced they would file a lawsuit to declare invalid election even if Moon won the election, making a false accusation of unlawful acts.  According to some reports made around that time, Park’s camp and Saenuri Party were texting one another, declaring the emergency while Moon’s camp, the Democratic Party, and the supporters were in a festive mood. According to the resources available for reporters, the joint exit poll taken by KBS, MBC, and SBS up until 3:00 pm indicated a 2.2 percentage point lead for Moon (Moon: 50.8%, Park: 48.6%).

In South Korea the tendency is for older, more conservative, people to vote early with the more progressive younger folks voting later in the day - often after exit polling was finished.

Any way you cut it this whole election smells something like some recent presidential elections in the U.S.  Can anyone doubt that paper ballots are the only way to have a fair election?  Electronic voting can be manipulated in some many ways to arrive at a predetermined outcome.  Especially when the big electronics corporations like Samsung and others have direct interests in the outcome of the elections.

I got most of this information from a blog in South Korea.  There is much more to read here

Sunday, December 23, 2012

SUNDAY SONG