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.

Friday, October 31, 2014

Protest at Obama Rally in Portland

Just over a dozen people gathered in a peace protest yesterday in Portland, Maine as several thousand mostly Democrats lined up to get into a political rally that was headlined by Barack Obama.  We have a tight race for governor in our state and the Democrat Mike Michaud (who I am voting for) invited the president to come and help whip up support amongst loyal party faithful and on-lookers.

I got there at 4:00 pm and worked the front of the crowd as folks got into the very long line to enter.  Other protesters arrived after a while and eventually I got someone to help me hold the banner calling for conversion of the military industrial complex. We stayed until 6:30 pm... people were still in line when we left.   The protest was organized by CodePink Maine.

In the news spot above my short interview comes up at four minutes into the report.  I tried to make factual and moral appeals to the public.  One thing I repeatedly said was that we need the 'liberal Democrats' to call on both Republicans and Democrats in Washington to end war spending so that we can deal with climate change and growing global poverty.

Another rap I made to folks was that when George W. Bush was president we would get hundreds, and often thousands, to protests held outside places where he spoke.  But after Obama got elected most liberal Democrats quit on the peace movement because they didn't want to have to protest their own party's war policy - which has turned out to be virtually identical to the Bush policy.  I told the crowd that the choir wasn't singing the song - in fact the choir isn't in the church anymore!

It was well worth the time I put into it - you don't often get that kind of captive audience - it was an organizers dream come true.


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