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

Thursday, January 23, 2014

PUTTING THE PEACE ISSUE ON THE TABLE


  • This art work above was made by Suzanna Lasker here in Maine.  She's become one of the most prolific political artists in the state.  Maine has a wonderful organization called the Union of Maine Visual Artists.  They support one another across the state and have been a great resource to our progressive movements.

  • The printer delivered our Global Network Space Alert newsletter today and I began filling the many bulk orders that have come in from all over the US and around the world.  We didn't used to get many bulk orders for our newsletter but our last issue had a record number of requests and this current one is right up there as well.  It's exciting to see such good interest in the newsletter.  You can see it online here

  • I got alot of feedback on the EMP story that I blogged about a two days ago.  The response from various folks was helpful and encouraging.  Yesterday morning I got a phone call from Maine State Rep. Andrea Boland from Sanford.  A friend in the state legislature got her to call me about her bill to have the state "harden" the electrical grid to withstand "nuclear attack" and/or solar storms.  I tried to disabuse her of the notion that Russia or North Korea was going to attack the US but she surprisingly (especially for a Democrat) took a very strong Cold War anti-Russia stand.  At one point she more than hinted that people like me are being led down the garden path by foreign governments - in other words that I am either very naive or a closet commie.  I learned last night from someone down her way in southern Maine that Rep. Boland only lives about 10 miles from the Pratt-Whitney aerospace facility in North Berwick.  (At the plant they make the engines for the $75 million F-35 aircraft. The government has ordered 167 of them although the jobs estimates on the project by Lockheed Martin has come under criticism for being widely exaggerated.)
  • Once I put the Pratt-Whitney piece into the puzzle I had a better sense about why Rep. Boland is so strongly pushing a "missile defense" (MD) interceptor deployment site in Maine.  She told me that a new MD site would increase the amount of government military investment in related aerospace operations in Maine. Bingo.

  • This is a standard line that you hear from politicians (Republican or Democrat) these days - we should embrace any military production facility in our state because it is the only game in town.  Militarism is the top job creation program of our government.  We don't really build much of anything else but weapons.  So, as she told me, we should grab it before someone else does.  Ugh......

  • I tried to challenge her thinking about Russia and suggested we should be investing our national funds in other ways - how about building rail, solar, wind turbines, schools, hospitals, etc rather than more weapons and endless war?  It was frustrating.  One Maine activist wrote me this morning saying that he had always found Rep. Boland to be good on most issues like the environment.  I wrote back saying yes, this is the problem we in the peace movement have today.  We have to stand against liberal Democrats who are often good on environment, consumer issues, health care, women's issues, etc but when it comes to military production the Dems are standing at the head of the line with their hands out begging for more war money for their state.  This reality often puts the peace movement at odds with politicians that other parts of the progressive community like.  The peace movement gets the reputation of being party poopers. The truth though is that one key reason there is no $$$ for the environment, health care, education, etc is because of the massive Pentagon budget!  But saying that to some people is like farting in church.

  • I also had an email this morning from the producer of the Maine Calling radio program.  I had sent them a copy of my blog post and the man said he was going to go back and re-listen to the show and would get back to me about my concerns.  I was glad to get that message and will be interested to see what the gentleman has to say.

1 Comments:

Anonymous Lynn Ellis said...

Thanks, as always, Bruce for your articulation. I, especially appreciated your comments here about Maine Dems and the push for money for building more weapons of war. I, also remember Congresswoman Pingree talking about how she was for single payer health care but we'd have to take incremental steps to get such legislation passed. In other words, it would never be accepted in the current Congress. While waiting for progressive, and in my opinion, essential and immediate change, there are those who get left waiting for health care and sicken and die; or are killed in military conflict, as we continue to work for peace in a war mentality. As Einstein said "You cannot simultaneously prepare for war and plan for peace."
Lynn Ellis, Brunswick, Maine

1/24/14, 9:03 AM  

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