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

I grew up in a military family and joined the Air Force in 1971 during the Vietnam War. It was there that I became a peace activist.

Monday, August 05, 2013


I just returned this afternoon from several days in Washington DC attending the 90th anniversary conference of War Resisters League.  The event was held at Georgetown University where I was asked by conference organizer Leslie Cagan to speak in a workshop and a plenary panel.  (In 1987 when I worked for the Florida Coalition for Peace & Justice we organized the largest peace protest in Florida history at Cape Canaveral when more than 5,000 people marched against the first flight test launch of the Trident II nuclear missile.  Leslie Cagan then was national coordinator of Mobilization for Survival and they threw themselves fully into helping us turn the event into a national demonstration.)

On Sunday morning I showed The Ghosts of Jeju film in the final workshop session at the conference.  Much to my surprise in that early morning session 15 folks actually showed up to watch the film.  It went over very well as it always does.

After that dear friend Art Laffin (Dorothy Day Catholic Worker in DC) made sure that I got on the right metro line to head into Virginia where my cousin Diane (daughter of my mother's brother) met me and drove us someplace out in the countryside of western Virginia to their small farm.  They raise Nigerian dairy goats and I was thrilled to get the tour and hear about the whole operation.  And then last night, in the darkened barn by lantern light, it was my turn to try to milk one of the goats.  Needless to say I need alot more practice as the goat had quite enough of my poking and prodding technique and began kicking up a storm.  So I was sacked on the spot and Diane had to calm the goat down and finish the job.

Diane and one of her daughters who got into goat herding as a 4-H project, now breed them and have had quite some success winning goat shows and selling them.  They make cheese and I had goat milk in my tea this morning at breakfast.  Diane then drove me to the Washington airport for my 1:00 pm flight home and sent me back with soap made from goat milk.

It was a great visit, even though short, but I hope to return and try my hand at goat milking another time.  In the meantime I need to get some rest as I am worn out from all the recent traveling.

My next job is to get to work on our next Space Alert newsletter.  I promise not to fill the pages with photos of goats in space.


Anonymous Rita said...

Hi Bruce, I saw the film a few days ago and had mixed feelings about it. Then found out that it was Catholic Worker produced, I believe, so that explained some things.

You were great in it and I always refer to your website when discussing affairs of the day. I appreciated your talk at a local peace and justice fund raiser a few years ago. It was one of the best I have ever heard.

I also participated by running the 'home office' at Winter Park, during that historic march at the Cape.

I am surprised that I have never seen a comment on this blog. I had to say something.

Thank you so much, Bruce!

8/7/13, 12:47 PM  

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