IF YOU HAD DOUBTS....
- It's been a good day. I went to our state capital in Augusta today to the rally of the Maine Alliance for the Common Good. It's a statewide multi-issue group that some of us created last year. We had a big rally during the legislative session in 2013 and today we held a rally on just the second day of the new session at the capital. About 150 folks turned out and the event featured mostly young speakers, including a ten-year old boy speaking about Nestle that controls alot of the water in Maine. Other speakers talked about climate change, student debt, environmental devastation across the state, the need for a single-payer health care system, the need to bring our war $$ home, recognizing indigenous culture, and corporate domination of our politics. Many of the young people said how empowering it was to have an audience to hear their message. One young man said that none of his peers believe in the system anymore - it does not work for them. It chains them with massive student debt and then spits them out onto a dead job market with a declining environmental condition. He said he too felt lifted by the experience.
This alliance, unlike some others in the state that are more closely allied to a particular political party, is a group of more independent people. The big difference is that the people at today's rally are talking about the corporate domination of politics in Maine and across the nation. They are willing to connect the issue dots and hold Democrats in power accountable as well as the Republicans. Some progressive organizations are under the protective wing (they get funding from Democratic party funders) so they have less ability to freely fly in the political world. Sad but true.
- Another great thing that happened today was an email from Joseph Gerson who works for the AFSC in Boston. He helped put together the Okinawa statement (see below) that was then sent to the media on Okinawa and across Japan. I was told there was a great response yesterday with many papers covering the statement (including the Stars & Stripes military overseas paper). Here is more from Joseph along with a report from Okinawa:
This note is addressed to those whose names I solicited for the Okinawa statement, and others of you whose e-mail addresses I have readily at hand.
If you had doubts about what impact your signature on the Okinawa statement might have, please take a look at the second paragraph of our key partner Satoko Norimatsu's note below. You may also be interested to see the five pages of today's Ryukyu Shimpo. Okinawa's leading newspaper, which are attached.
Also to add that we are preparing a second round of signatures to reinforce the impact that we've already had and to take it further. If you have colleagues/peers who you think would be interested in signing, please share the statement with them and ask them to send their names and identification to me.
Thank you so much,
From: Satoko Norimatsu
Subject: Ryukyu shimpo pages from January 9
Joseph, Peter, Kevin,
Here are pages from the January 9 edition of Ryukyu Shimpo (one of the two Okinawan newspapers) with special articles on our action. Front page top news again following the previous day, a double-length editorial, comments from experts, voices of praise and excitement from within Okinawa, and the highlight is the full list of us with photos and profiles. Full text of our statement and release too.
Mayor Inamine had a rally marking the launch of the start of the campaign yesterday, and he had a copy of Ryukyu Shimpo in his hands, put it up and said something like "We are not alone! We have international support like this!" followed by a big applause by a crowd of 3,000 people. Many colleagues in Okinawa tell me everybody is talking about it in Okinawa now, even those who are normally not interested in base issues. After their sense of abandonment and despair at Nakaima's betrayal, our action seems to have re-invigorated the Okinawans. The extent of the effect of our action seems to know no limits.
Satoko Oka Norimatsu
Peace Philosophy Centre http://peacephilosophy.com