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.

Friday, August 30, 2013


  • Dave Webb, Chair of the UK's Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament wrote me this morning with these words, "We are so relieved about the vote in parliament last night. People are realising at last that war is not the answer. There is no public backing for military intervention! All those protests, actions and all the lobbying have been worth it after all! Keep up the good work - it is so important."  Dave also serves as the board convener of the Global Network and runs our web site.
  • Because of revelations made possible by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden, the Washington Post yesterday ran a story about the Black Budget, the secret budget that Congress is not even allowed to know about.  They reported it is up to $52.6 billion per year and gets dished out to 16 different military/spy agencies that collectively employ 107,035 people.  Yes, call that a secret government, unaccountable to anyone other than the profit-driven military industrial complex.  Tops among recipients of this black budget are the CIA at $14.7 billion, the NSA at $10.8 billion and the NRO (National Reconnaissance Office) at $10.3 billion.  And remember, this is in addition to all the other money that Congress does knowingly appropriate for them!  Can there be any doubt that this secret, private government now running foreign and military policy is nothing more than a corporate criminal syndicate?  And what will be the response of Congress now that this information is public?  Nothing, because they don't have the guts to take it on....they are happy to remain part of the decorations on the tree of "democracy" - fancy lights and bulbs that look nice but have no real power. 
  • I went to our Maine Veterans for Peace meeting last night held in nearby Brunswick.  We had a presentation by an Iraq war veteran who flew drones for the Army in those war zones.  He briefed us on all he knew about drones.  It was quite good.  The young man is now out of the military and going to college.  During the meeting I gave a report on organizing progress for the upcoming October 10-19 Maine Drone Peace Walk that VFP is co-sponsoring along with the Maine Campaign to Bring Our War $$ Home.  
  • The Maine Drone Peace Walk will end at the Hall of Flags inside the state capital in Augusta on Friday, October 18.  At 3:00 pm we will gather there for a closing ceremony with words and songs.  That evening we will have a pot luck supper at the Mediation & Facilitation Resources Center located at 11 King St in Augusta at 6:00 pm. 
  • We are looking for a seven-passenger van to use on the drone peace walk to shuttle people and carry our food.  So far we've not been able to find one.  If anyone knows someone who might loan us such a vehicle please let me know ASAP.
  • VFP also decided to call for a protest in Bath on Saturday, October 19 at 10:00 am when BIW does a "christening" of the new "stealth" Zumwalt class destroyer.  Originally 32 of these ships were planned for the class, but this was progressively cut down because of the cost so for now only three will be built. The Navy expects each ship to cost at least $3.3 billion, although I've seen some estimates of more than $4 billion each. The standard Arleigh Burke class of guided missile destroyers were costing about $1.5 billion apiece. The Navy was not really excited about doubling the cost of these destroyers but Obama insisted they build them anyway.  I believe he was repaying the Crown family from Chicago (majority stockholders in General Dynamics that owns Bath Iron Works.)  The Crown family early on promoted Obama for president and raised $$$ for him nationally within the military industrial complex and the Jewish community.
  • Early the morning of October 19 we'll shuttle the drone peace walkers to Bath to join in the protest at the shipyard against the new destroyer.


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