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: Brunswick, Maine, United States

I'm back to work for the Global Network. Will continue to help Lisa Savage for US Senate campaign on my free time. Trying to self-isolate as much as possible. Best wishes and good luck to you all.

Thursday, February 14, 2013


The American Indians used to say, "Put your ear to the railroad tracks and hear the train coming."

The signs have been around for many, many moons that the ways of the white man are killing the Mother Earth.

Yesterday 50 big names in the climate change movement took a bust in front of the White House.  Included in the group were folks like environmental lawyer Robert F. Kennedy Jr.; Bill McKibben, Founder of; Julian Bond, civil rights leader and former president of the NAACP; and Daryl Hannah, an actress.

Their action was smartly timed as a way to pump-up-the-jam for the really big rally this Sunday planned for the same location.  I've heard that four bus loads are heading to Washington from Maine.  Our housemate Karen Wainberg is already heading that way.

Among those who were arrested yesterday was Michael Brune, executive director of the Sierra Club.  Common Dreams reported on the action and quoted Brune: “For the first time in the Sierra Club’s 120-year history, we have joined the ranks of visionaries of the past and present to engage in civil disobedience, knowing that the issue at hand is so critical, it compels the strongest defensible action. We cannot afford to allow the production, transport, export and burning of the dirtiest oil on Earth via the Keystone XL pipeline. President Obama must deny the pipeline and take decisive steps to address climate disruption, the most significant issue of our time.”

Very good statement.  Glad to see the Sierra Club stepping it up.  But it brings to mind a very interesting reality.  It means that the Sierra Club, who historically loves to put Democratic Party politicians in canoes on Earth Day for photo-ops, has come to the conclusion that they can't rely on the Democrats anymore.  It means that the very president who most mainstream environmentalists worked for and voted for is now very surely going to cut our collective throats by approving the XL pipeline.

The Democrats in recent years have contributed to the corporate erosion of national environmental law.  And the Democrats have been complicit in aiding and abetting the military industrial complex (with the largest carbon footprint on the planet) in its mission to become the primary resource extraction service for corporate globalization.  So the Democrats in the US are in bed with the fossil fuel corporations, the polluters and the war makers. 

But the ties still linger.  The protesters yesterday made a point to note they were not protesting Obama per se.  They were instead just applying the pressure the president requested - as if they were helping to free an other wise captive, or restrained, Obama.

I don't think Obama is in chains.  I think he has willingly and eagerly submitted himself to serve as an agent of the corporate oligarchy.  Never during his political career has Obama shown any indication that he has core values.  His 100 votes as an Illinois State Senator, where he registered himself "present" on the most controversial issues, indicates a proclivity to avoid conflict and to instead look ahead to a larger personal goal.  He has become president.  He is a captive of the corporations.  I will be shocked if Obama stops the XL pipeline.  People will have to protest against him at some point.  Put your ear to the railroad tracks and hear the corporate train of destruction coming.

The whole system is the problem.  We have to call it all into question.  A revolutionary restructuring of "modern" society is necessary.  Now.

We start when we begin to hear, see, and act in a clear way.  The deceptive fog of democracy must be lifted.


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