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

I grew up in a military family and joined the Air Force in 1971 during the Vietnam War. It was there that I became a peace activist.

Sunday, March 09, 2014


About 40 of us from the Pacific Life Community retreat gathered at the front gate of Nellis AFB in Las Vegas early this morning.  Because a NASCAR auto race was also beginning this morning near the base, traffic was heavy and we got a surprisingly positive response from the public - including the race fans.  Talking with others afterward we came to the conclusion that that American people are increasingly becoming anti-war.

In my talk yesterday I suggested that the peace movement needs to use our imagination more often.  We tend to get rigid at times in our work and wonder why we are not growing.  The fact that so many NASCAR fans are honking at us should make us reconsider our present organizing strategies.

Meetings continue today and then very early Monday morning we go for a vigil at the Nevada Nuclear Test site.

I thought I'd share the following story from a retreat session.

Janet Chisholm, long-time member of Episcopal Peace Fellowship, spoke yesterday.  She moved to Las Vegas in the 1950's at a very young age.  When they arrived in Las Vegas the city had just two motels and no fences.  At that time the government was doing the above ground nuclear tests here and many people, including Janet's family, used to go watch the tests as entertainment.  Many years later Janet was diagnosed with breast cancer and when she called her mother to tell her she was surprised to hear this from her mom:  "Oh my god, what did we do to you kids?  They told us it was safe."

Nevada was chosen as the nuclear test site because at the time it was the least populated state in the nation.... it was called a 'wasteland' by nuclear scientists.  The Shoshone Indians didn't quite see it that way as their sacred land was taken from them and contaminated by the tests.


Anonymous Molly Johnson said...

Prayers are with each and every hero out there putting their bodies on the line for peace - Shundahai!!

3/9/14, 12:35 PM  

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