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, August 27, 2014

FIRST ACTIVIST IN SPACE?

Speaking at Kennedy Space Center protest in Florida in 1990





  • I had a beer with Regis Tremblay yesterday at our usual spot here in Bath.  He lives just over the bridge on the other side of the Kennebec River that separates our two towns.  He handed me back the photo above that he had scanned for inclusion in an interview he recently filmed.  He'd doing a series of short video spots with veterans talking about how their experiences in the military turned them into peaceniks.
  • This photo was taken at a protest I organized in 1990 while working with the Florida Coalition for Peace & Justice.  On that occasion we were protesting the coming NASA launch of the Ulysses space probe that carried a large payload of deadly plutonium-238.  When I arrived for the protest a friend pulled me aside and said he got ahold of this NASA flight suit and suggested I put it on.  So I did.
  • I began the space center rally by saying that NASA had recently announced a new program called "Activist in space" similar to their ill-fated "Teacher in space" flight that blew up just after launch.  I told the crowd that I had applied to be the first activist in space and had surprisingly been selected for the program.  But there is just one problem.... NASA was only providing me with a one-way ticket.... I said it with a straight face and some didn't get the joke and thought I was serious.  I guess I watched too much Jack Benny as a kid.
  • I'm currently experiencing a bit of psychic overload.  It's been a hectic and draining summer and I've yet to have any real break.  I've only been swimming once.  No vacation or time off to speak of.  The wrenching reality of Ukraine-Gaza-Ferguson have kept me riding the emotional roller coaster.  I did start taking a yoga class this week for the first time ever.  A friend here in Bath teaches yoga and talked me into giving it a try.  I enjoyed the first class and I'm going to stick with it.  I need to do something for myself that will help clear my head and keep my body flexible as I get older and stiffer.
  • MB and I were supposed to go on vacation next week.  A friend has a camp on an island in the middle of a lake here in Maine and invited us to spend a week there.  I was so looking forward to the daily swim.  But then I got a letter from the court in Syracuse, New York calling me for an appearance about my April 2013 drone protest arrest at Hancock Air Field.  So that shot a hole in our vacation plans as we'll eat up several days driving there and back.
  • Sometimes people ask me how I keep doing this kind of work without burning out.  I like to remind folks that I really wanted to be a baseball or basketball coach but could not ignore America's endless imperial wars and their impact back here at home.  I wouldn't dare turn my back on Gaza or Ferguson or the people being shelled in eastern Ukraine?  I just couldn't look the other way but the level of energy spent does take a toll on the heart, mind, and body over time.
  • I read alot and watch ball games as my escape. It seems as though I have an unquenchable thirst to learn and to discover the truth about what is going on.  I was not the brightest student in high school - much too busy working to help support my dysfunctional family to worry about studying.  I've always loved to learn.... but with learning comes responsibility - at least for me it does - and this is the life I've made for myself.  I have no regrets at all but I do want to go swimming.

2 Comments:

Blogger Ken Jones said...

Bruce - Thanks for your unending work and commitment, the intelligence and moral clarity you bring to it, the heart. Glad to hear that baseball, yoga, and swimming are on your card too. We do have to take care of ourselves, right? Love to you, brother. Ken

8/27/14, 9:15 AM  
Blogger Bruce K. Gagnon said...

Thanks Ken for your kind comments. Going to miss you when you leave Maine but know the folks in NC will be getting a good man. Best always down yonder.

8/27/14, 10:36 AM  

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