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

Thursday, August 15, 2013


  • I've been going at a frenetic pace all week and today is my day to stop.  I've been like a man obsessed and I need to slow down.  I type this still in my pajamas. It's a good start.
  • This morning I was greeted to many back-and-forth comments in my email box relating to Bradley Manning's sort of apology yesterday at his trial sentencing for spilling the beans on the US governments deception and war-mongering.  Some folks were upset with him that he didn't throw himself on a sword and others were much more understanding and supportive, especially after the revelations about his tragic childhood.  I come down on the gentle side, the guy is facing 2-3 life in prison sentences, he's been tortured already in prison, why expect him not to want to save his skin.  He shown great courage releasing the mountains of documents, his part of the truth telling has been done.
  • I got an email from a local Bath resident yesterday after a second Op-Ed I wrote about proposed corporate welfare for Bath Iron Works (locally called a TIF) was published in our local Times Record newspaper.  The person wrote:
FYI, when BIW approached the people of Maine for initial TIF funding for the Land Level Transfer Facility [in the late 1990's] it was made quite clear that the expressed purpose of the modernization was to achieve a 1/3 decline of its workforce. That was understood by all parties, from the get-go, and publicly financed anyway. The deception, if one views it as such, was that BIW succeeded in gaining permitting by claiming that it could not modernize elsewhere than at the existing facility, while allowing the public, somehow, (by their never reading the permitting filings!) to assume that lack of public funding might prompt BIW's departure. BIW is very adept in such matters, and the public's supposed watchdogs are very lazy.
  • What we are seeing here in Maine is the local and state governments paying BIW (owned by General Dynamics) to cut the work force in hopes they will stick around anyway.  As it turns out only 500 of the couple thousand workers at BIW actually live in Bath.
  • One local friend reminded me that when BIW gets more tax cuts from the city of Bath other local towns that share the cost of the regional school district get the shaft.  That's because the share that Bath can put into the regional school pot gets reduced and then other small towns have to pay more.  My friend called this whole BIW tax credit scam "The TIF of the iceberg".  A nice turn of phrase for sure.
  • In the morning I rent a car and head to the Grafton Peace Pagoda in Petersburg, NY for the 68th Commemorative Ceremony of Hiroshima-Nagasaki by Nipponzan Myohoji.  Buddhist nun Jun-san Yasuda invited me to share some words there about nuclear power.  They are putting special emphasis on the Fukushima nuclear disaster.  New revelations from Fukushima suggest that the Pacific Ocean is becoming a radioactive mess due to the dumping of eons of nuclear waste into the sea. How could anyone still support nuclear power?
  • Word from the Philippines this morning:  "Mayor Rodrigo Duterte of Davao City was approached by the US to use the old airport as a military base, starting with its drone program, speaks of a US military design in Mindanao as part of the US pivot to Asia."  Mayor Duterte turned the US down.  Already the US has hundreds of troops on Mindanao which is the second largest and southernmost island in the Philippines. Davao City is the largest city in Mindanao.  Mindanao is the only area of the Philippines with a significant Muslim presence. Due to widespread poverty the island has been the site of a separatist movement by the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF). Fighting between MILF and Philippine forces has displaced more than 100,000 people.  US troops are there to ostensibly fight against "terrorism".


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