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

Friday, October 17, 2014

Peace Walk: Cars, Oil & Endless War

Walking along the road slows everything down.  Today I noticed a bird at the top of a tree on the other side of the road singing as we passed by.  We heard a big pack of dogs at a 'doggie daycare' howling as we went by - they were pleading to come along with us but the chain link fence prevented their act of solidarity.  Four graceful and powerful horses moved in unison as they intently watched us pass them by.  We were hosted for lunch by an organic farm family that gave us fresh tomatoes, peppers, lettuce, melons and a comfortable place to relax under a warm sunny sky.

But the overwhelming thing we have experienced during the walk is the car culture.  Cars and trucks zoom by us and rarely slow down even though we have our red flag waving ahead of the walk.  Everyone is in a hurry and god forbid they have to slow down for fifteen seconds because of this unusual band of people walking along the highway.

Today as I walked I made a point of looking for signs of this dominant car culture that so completely engulfs us.  Here we are in the US with 5% of the world population using 25% of the planet's resources.  We like our cars and we like them big!

Along the way I could see why we are in a constant state of war - because our entire way of life - our economy - our entire identity and being is wrapped up in the car culture.  As I walked I scribbled down the following signs of this addiction to the automobile:

  • Car insurance agencies
  • Auto detailing shops
  • Auto repair shops
  • Auto sales dealers
  • Auto body shops
  • Disabled van renovation shop
  • Auto parts stores
  • Gas stations
  • Truck stops
  • Road paving companies
  • Drive thru lanes at fast food outlets
  • Road crossing guards at schools
  • Expensive bridges over rivers

I know I must have missed some but you get the idea.  There is no enterprise in rural or urban Maine that is more pervasive than the automobile related industry.

Most people say they want to end wars though we keep using our cars.  We are all responsible for endless war.

We are killing people all over the world because we 'love our cars' more than we love our planet or the people living on it.

Update:  WERU radio here in Maine covered the walk and you can listen here.  Also the Biddeford Courier ran a nice story here


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