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

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

INSPIRATION FROM INDIA


  • For the third time during recent weeks J. Narayana Rao (3rd from left in brown sweater) has organized another space issues workshop in Nagpur, India where he lives.  Rao is a retired railroad worker and a long-time peace activist.  He's recently created a powerpoint presentation and appears to have first used it at his Feb 18 talk at the National Institute of Social Work. His brief report about the presentation is worth reading:

Today another workshop on “Space For Peace” has been held with the help of Power point presentation in the B.P. National Institute of Social Work, Nagpur, India.  65 post graduate students,7 staff staff members and the Principal Dr. Sanjay Tulankar were present. I explained all the issues involved in the Space for Peace issue like various UN Treaties, Vision for 2020, the USSR entry into the space, danger of weaponisation of space, Space Debris, efforts to avoid an Arms Race in the Space,  Role of Global Network and the ensuing Space for Peace week in October 4-11 2014.

The Principal Dr. Sanjay Tulankar has been so impressed and wanted me to train 5 of the Lecturers of the Institute as resource persons on this issue so that they can visit schools and colleges and talk in the local language i.e Marathi. I have been thrilled with this proposal and agreed to do so. This institute will respond in a big way to observe the Space for Peace Week this year.

J. N. Rao

  • Rao is an inspiration to those of us who know him.  He is not a young man anymore but is a joyful and determined peace worker.  He rides around Nagpur on a scooter.  When MB and I toured India in 2006 it was Rao who organized our two-week visit.  And he worked us hard, sometimes doing 3-4 events per day.  We went to primary schools, colleges, service clubs and more.  Once we both spoke at a general assembly of students.  While the talks were happening MB was folding origami paper cranes and putting them on a table upon the stage where we sat.  After things were over a teacher and swarm of students wanted her to teach them to fold.  So they all sat on a cement door stoop and folding they learned.  I was sitting on another stoop signing class books of the students.  I didn't just want to sign my name so I wrote different small phrases from my talk in each book hoping that if they shared my words with one another it would recycle the key elements of my presentation and better stick in their minds and hearts.  

  • My last time in India Rao took me on an unforgettable trip via train and then van through busy and dangerous mountain roads to Kashmir. We visited Srinagar.  Martial law was declared while we were there and I saw first hand the kind of future the corporate oligarchy is making for all of us around the globe - internal conflict and growing instability.  You can see my blog post from Srinagar here. Below is just a bit from that particular blog.

As I continue to read the book by former Indian Naval Chief, Admiral Vishnu Bhagwat, he makes all this even more clear. One important strategy of corporate globalization he reminds the reader is “balkanization.” They did it in Yugoslavia when they broke apart that socialist country by fueling ethnic conflicts. Bhagwat says the global corporate agenda is now the same everywhere, fuel the rage and divide the people against one another. Then sell weapons and steal natural resources and exploit cheap labor as the people fight one another.

Bhagwat writes:

"Therefore, the big question is whether the Indian military is being nudged to reorient itself to moving away from defending India and Indian interests to such unending, quests as ‘furthering regime changes, democracy, and the smoke-screen, of the global war on terror’, under U.S. auspices."

  • I was moved to put the Bertolt Brecht poem on the blog yesterday after reading it.  (James Williamson who lives in Cambridge, MA sent it to me.) Brecht's words jumped out at me..... the same fears and haunting contradictions of living today.  And he ended it with such human clarity, trying to learn how to be friends with each other - especially at a time when Mr. Big wants to turn us into violent chaos. Reading that poem for me was like taking the wafer at communion.  Yes great spirit I do recommit to trying to be friends with myself and others on our spinning orb.  Please help me stay strong. Amen.

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