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

Friday, September 20, 2013


  • I am sitting in the train station in Boston with time on my hands.  It's a three-hour wait for my train to New York City where I speak tonight at the Mary House.  This is the Catholic Worker house created by Dorothy Day many years ago.  It's been a long tradition there to hold an event every Friday night that they call "Clarification of Thought" where they host various folks to speak on a particular subject.  I was invited to talk tonight about the militarization of space, its costs, and the Global Network's upcoming Keep Space for Peace Week on October 5-12.  It's really an honor to be invited and I look forward to the experience.
  • I head back home Saturday on an early morning train.  On Sunday I'll be up to the popular Maine Common Ground Fair to help staff our Veterans For Peace table.  We'll be promoting the upcoming Maine Drone Peace Walk during the three-day fair.  A banner has been made for the walk and will be hung at the VFP booth during the fair.  Leaflets will be handed out to fair goers inviting them to walk with us.
  • The food stamp vote last night in Washington DC is emblematic of the kind of hypocrisy and corruption of the spirit that we find in Congress these days.  The video below by the California congresswoman clearly reveals how members of Congress use taxpayer funds to lavish themselves with expensive "fact finding" trips around the world where they enjoy the finest food and drink.  Then they come home and complain about our huge national budget crisis and "welfare cheaters".  This is the kind of corruption that revolutions are made out of.
  • From my hometown of Bath I got an email this morning from another person who is helping to organize city wide opposition to General Dynamics Corporation's (which owns Bath Iron Works - BIW) request for a massive tax break from our city of about 9,000 residents.  In the email to me my fellow Bath concerned citizen reports on a recent conversation with the city tax assessor who said that the city council has "had overwhelming input from citizens, all against the TIF [tax break]."  A growing number of concerned citizens in Bath are requesting a public forum so that the people can have a chance to learn more about the intentionally complicated formulas behind this thing they call a TIF (Tax Increment Financing) which is nothing more than a mind-numbing way of handing out real serious welfare to already well-to-do corporations.
  • Last year the CEO of General Dynamics made $18 million in compensation.  The entire annual municipal budget of our small city of Bath is about $15 million.  But in order to keep profits at high levels, at a time when the outrageous Pentagon budget is being trimmed just a teenie-weenie bit, these greedy weapons corporations are squeezing everyone they can.  The workers at BIW are being squeezed by a pay freeze, lay-offs that mean workers have to do the jobs of 2-3 others, and now efforts are being made to get taxpayers in Bath to pay for shipyard expansion.  The city is threatened by General Dynamics that they might have to pull-out of Maine if they don't get their way.  I'd call that extortion.  BIW is increasingly mechanizing their operation thus enabling them to lay off more workers and maximize profits.  So Bath residents are asked to fork over more money to help General Dynamics lay off more workers!  It's an outrage.  No wonder that the citizens of Bath are "overwhelmingly" opposed to more welfare for this fat corporation.
  • At some point it just might be good to begin talking about ending the profit making system that drives the appetite of the military industrial complex.  Where does it say that we have to make weapons production a profit making scheme?  Isn't it time to nationalize the weapons making process and begin the conversion of the industry to peaceful and sustainable production?  Let's build rail systems and not more weapons of destruction.


Blogger erich said...

Corporate welfare is understated when one uses the fictitious U.S. budget [unauditable figures per the GAO]]

More accurate is to use a figure in the $1.4 Trillion range, one that allocates 91% of the interest to Military Expenditures. Even a low of 23% allocation of interest, but including all the military expenditure items outside of DOD results in a budget exceeding 1 Trillion.

9/20/13, 10:51 AM  

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