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

Tuesday, September 17, 2013


  • The Washington DC Navy Yard shooting yesterday appears to have been done by a man who had been discharged from the Navy active reserves after several years service.  The Navy Yard is home to the Naval Sea Systems Command and home to Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command that oversees support, integration and acquisition of the U.S. Aegis "missile defense" systems deployed throughout the Navy and around the world. It is also home to the Chief of Naval Operations for the US Navy.
  • I need to make a correction from our recent Global Network newsletter.  In our Odds & Ends section we had a bit about NATO wanting to bring Finland into the alliance.  In recent years a large drone test area has been established in Finland right alongside of Russia's border.  I made a mistake in the newsletter when I said that during the Cold War Finland had been part of the Warsaw Pact military bloc.  In fact Finland was a neutral country during that period and has, since the end of WW II, tried to maintain positive relations with the former Soviet Union and now Russia.  (Finland was used by Nazi Germany during WW II as a base of operations.)  This current drive by the US-NATO alliance to militarily surround Russia is escalating tensions and peace activists in Finland are deeply worried about the implications for increased instability between their country and Russia due to NATO expansion.
  • I taped another edition of my public access TV show This Issue yesterday.  Peace activist, and former micro-biology professor, Leonard Yannielli from Vinalhaven, Maine was my guest.  He's written a book called Moon Shadow of War about his experiences being fired from a teaching job for opposing the Vietnam War.  We mostly talked about the Syria issue and our Maine congressional delegation's positions on the war - in particular the views of Sen. Angus King which I reported on in previous posts.  Leonard was especially eloquent about the hypocrisy of the US when it comes to past use of Agent Orange in Vietnam and more recent use of depleted uranium in Iraq.
  • The Maine Drone Peace Walk will occupy most of my time in the next few weeks.  The walk route is now mapped and most of the big logistical issues (housing and suppers) are being worked on by local hosts.  My job now is to continue to spread word and recruit walkers and begin media work.  I've got to get the lead walk banner made next and a flyer to hand out to the public as we walk.  Looks like we are going to have a good number of folks walk with us.  Tarak Kauff, a leading activist with national Veterans For Peace, called the other day and said he'd be joining us near the end of the walk.  Kathy Kelly is coming as well near the end and I've heard that Medea Benjamin is going to try to join us as well.  We'll have some powerful speakers for our October 18 walk finale ceremony inside the state capital Hall of Flags (at 3:00 pm). The October 19 Bath Iron Works new stealth destroyer "christening" protest (10:00 am) will also be bigger than usual this time around.
  • We continue to hear from people ordering bulk copies of our latest Space Alert newsletter.  Just yesterday I sent bunches to peace activists in northern California and to a Veterans For Peace chapter in southern California.  We've never had a response like this to any of our newsletters before.  I'm afraid we are going to run out of them - might have to do a second printing!


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