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.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Ferguson: Far From Over

Protests during last 24 hours spreading all over the world.  This one in Atlanta is a winner.

This morning on steps of historic court house in St. Louis

Several of us from Veterans For Peace attended an incredible protest action today in downtown St. Louis within a stone's throw of the famous arch along the Mississippi River.  We marched from a local park to the historic courthouse facing the river that was a place that slaves were once sold.  It was also the courthouse where the famous Dred Scott case was first heard. 

At the old courthouse a moving series of young black speakers shared the many reasons that the Michael Brown case had been a betrayal of justice.  One reason cited - white privilege.  The several hundred there (mostly black with a good smattering of young white activists) then proceeded to march to the larger newer courthouses a few blocks away that are symbols of injustice for the black people that currently populate the jails in this state and across the nation.

At the four-lane intersection by these towering court buildings the organizers had us spread out to block the streets by holding hands closing both two lanes in the four directions of traffic.  One young woman organizer said that we'd have one moment of silence for each of the four hours that Michael Brown's body was left in the street after being killed by the police.  It was a profoundly moving four minutes and my heart swelled with pride to be a part of it.

From there the organizers led us a couple blocks further to St. Louis city hall where people sat on the steps leading into the building.  Immediately more than 100 riot police descended on us, and armed with tear gas, began to rush the steps of the city building.  Most people tried to get away but the police began pushing and tackling some of the crowd.  I tried to move away from the steps and was hit in the chest by a riot cop's thrusting wooden baton.  I saw police slam several young people to the ground and then other cops pounced on them like a football gang tackle.  I was able to get away with most of the others and we reassembled on the street and began heading back to the park where it had all started.

At the park a young black woman concluded the event by saying that this cause would not die.... that revolution in America was needed and was inevitable as the forces of repression escalate their attacks on those who have tried to call for real reform of this corrupt system.

By the end of the action it was snowing and cold and the young woman told us all to go home, have some hot soup, enjoy our family time, love one another, protect one another, and remember that all this is far from over.


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