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, June 11, 2014

FINAL VOTING DAY WRAP-UP


Yesterday while at the polls one expects to see those who are enthusiastic and party loyalists turning out for their team.  (I was there with a table petitioning against big $$$ in elections). All we had on the ballot in Bath, city of 10,000 people, was the local school budget 3% tax increase and a couple uncontested primary seats for state legislature.  The crowd was thin but steady thoughout the day.  I went there for the opening and closing hours and then another two hour shift during midday.

I had lots of reactions to folks, so many that I took a bunch of notes.  Below are some of the things I wrote down when not talking with people.  Most folks were in a hurry so few wanted to chat.

  • During my four hours maybe 40% of the people would stop and sign the petition that opposes the Supreme Court ruling that corporations are people.  Our five volunteers, working 12 hours of voting, all together got 236 signatures.  We have to get about 53,000 signatures statewide in order to get this on the general ballot for referendum.

  • Relative American affluence and consumerism has turned lots of people into virtual automatons who haven't had to politically fight for much in their lives.

  • Their fighting spirit is weak as they watch the slide into oligarchic rule.  Much to my surprise no one seemed to object to me calling our ruling class an oligarchy.  It's a new word on most people's tongue but it seemed to slide down the throat alright.
  • I was surprised at how many people say they don't mind the big money taking over our elections.  Same as it has always been.  One man told me that the nation went down the tubes when FDR abandoned his wealthly class interests and fought for the poor.  Figure that one out. The guy that said that wasn't wearing a top hat and tails.  People are confused about their own class interests.  Amazing.  Maybe the guy is a comedian and I didn't get the joke.

  • The neo-liberal parliamentary-legislative left (while mostly Democrats) are not connecting to the pain and suffering of the working class and poor in a real way.  The timid 'leadership' isn't telling the truth about our present political moment - especially when it comes to solutions.  Very sad.

  • Alot of go-along-ism with people.  The safe road to......

  • There exists a lack of inquisitiveness and much fear among most people.

  • The me-first-ism crowd can be cruel at times....

  • Many voters expressed much resignation to our condition as slaves to corporate power.  They see it, understand what it is, can verbalize it, but they have no hope and it is rather hard to reach them. "Nothing can be done," several told me.  A key problem is that they don't trust anyone.  Sense of community has broken down badly.

  • In those moments I try to recall times in history where 10% of the people were able to push through major change. How much time do we have though? 

  • There were noble exceptions - warm, compassionate, grateful and humble people who tend to be so gentle that they become meek and retiring against the tide of arrogance and greed that we are up against.... but they are so nice.

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