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

Monday, September 23, 2013

MAINE DRONE PEACE WALK UPDATE

Nipponzan Myohoji monk Br. Senji Kaneda from Bainbridge Island, Washington will lead our Maine Drone Peace Walk on October 10-19
Buddhist nun Jun-san Yasuda

  • I talked with Jun-san Yasuda this morning about our upcoming Maine Drone Peace Walk.  She told me that it is confirmed that Nipponzan Myohoji monk Br. Senji Kaneda (from Bainbridge Island, Washington) will be joining us for the walk.  I walked for two days with Kaneda-shonin some years ago on their annual Hiroshima-Nagasaki peace walk out in the northwest.  So we are thrilled that he will be leading our walk.  It appears that a large delegation of Japanese will be coming as well - likely around eight or so.  It's going to be special.  The Nipponzan Myohoji Buddhist order does peace walks and builds peace pagodas all over the world.
  • I also spoke this morning to our hosts in Presque Isle, way up in northern Maine where we will stay on our second night of the walk.  They vigil weekly on a bridge in their community - about four of them.  So this small, isolated and determined peace group is quite happy about having an infusion of peaceniks in their otherwise conservative part of the state.
  • Yesterday I worked at the Veterans for Peace (VFP) table at the Common Ground Country Fair for several hours.  VFP had a booth for the whole three-day fair and I was lucky to get our banner for the walk made in time to hang it over our tables.  It was reported that 27,000 people came to the fair just on Saturday so alot of eyes during the course of the weekend read the words "Maine Drone Peace Walk" as they passed by.  While there yesterday our Maine Attorney General Janet Mills (Democrat) came up to the table with a friend and I tried to hand her a flyer about the walk.  She declined to take it.  During our effort last spring, along with the Maine ACLU, to get a bill passed in the state legislature that would require police to have a warrant before they could do surveillance with a drone it was Mills who tried to kill they bill.  It was from her that we learned about the Presque Isle airport wanting to put a "weaponized drone test bed" up in Aroostook County.  Mills claimed that drones could become "an economic driver" in the state and that nothing should be done to inhibit that from happening.  That's why we decided to start our drone walk up in that very rural and isolated area of Maine.
  • I'm having alot of fun organizing the walk.  I am getting to do some statewide work which is my greatest joy because you can often see more immediate results from your efforts.  I also love the logistical parts of organizing a walk.  I guess this must make the 7th walk I've organized, the 3rd here in Maine and while working for the Florida Coalition for Peace & Justice I put together four of them.  Each time I say "this will be my last one" but they are magical experiences.  There are always rich stories to tell about people we meet and extraordinary moments of kindness that they bring to us on these walks.  I am very excited.

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