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.

Monday, May 20, 2013

PLAN AHEAD - OCTOBER DRONE WALK IN MAINE


We had a meeting here yesterday at the Addams-Melman House of our Maine Campaign to Bring Our War $$ Home.  We decided to work on the drone issue for the coming period of time.

One key decision was to organize a drone walk through parts of Maine next October 10-19.  Some of that period is during the Global Network's annual Keep Space for Peace Week of local actions around the world.

Japanese Buddhist nun Jun-san Yasuda from the order Nipponzan Myohoji has offered to lead a peace walk in Maine in October if we were interested.  For several months some of us have been working with the ACLU in Maine on a bill in the state legislature to make police have warrants before they can do surveillance with drones.  It seemed like we had support of the state legislative Judiciary Committee on the bill.  But then Maine's Attorney General Janet Mills (the former V-P of Maine Democratic Party) pushed through her own bill that lets police make all the rules for drone use in the state.  In addition she put language into the bill that would allow the testing of "weaponized" drones in Maine.  

Presque Isle is trying to turn their airport into a military drone test center.  The Attorney General calls drones an "economic driver" in Maine. So we decided to organize a peace walk to begin on October 10 (during annual Keep Space for Peace Week) from Caribou to Presque Isle (about 20 miles).  We'd then shuttle south to Farmington, the area where the Attorney General is from.  We'd then walk from there stopping in several communities before ending the walk on Oct 19 at the state capital in Augusta.  Since that day is a Saturday we'd work to get people to join us that last day to walk to the capital for an anti-drone rally. We decided to call the walk "Preserve our Privacy: No Drone Spying in Maine."  We know that many conservatives in Maine are against drones because of the privacy issue.

I volunteered to coordinate the walk.  We will need a van, contacts in the Caribou-Presque Isle area, as well as walkers. (Anyone interested in working on the walk route with me should give me a shout.) We will ask Natasha Mayers to get her artist group to make some drone banners for us.  We will invite other Nipponzan Myohoji monks and nuns from other areas to participate as well.  Jun-san will also promote the walk in her circles.

Walks are a great way to take an issue out to the public.  In addition to the legions of cars that drive past it is also much easier to get local coverage on an issue when you walk through a community.  It's great exercise and a wonderful community building experience.  I am excited to get working on it.

Just since I first sent word around today about the walk I've heard from a couple members of Veterans for Peace from other states and some experienced walk organizers that want to be involved.  Already a solid core of folks forming.....going to be fun.

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