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, November 21, 2014

The Face of Armageddon

The Navy's new Zumwalt 'stealth' destroyer being built at Bath Iron Works in Maine. The ship was designed to sneak up along China's coastline and blast them with 'elctro-magnetic railguns'

We had our Maine Veterans For Peace (VFP) meeting last night in Augusta - about an hour from Bath where I live.  Three of us rode in Peter Woodruff's truck.  On the way there I apologized for having forgotten my wallet and thus couldn't kick in a few bucks for gas.  Peter immediately took the next exit near Gardiner and I thought he was going to drop-kick me right there.  We all had a good laugh.  Also in the truck was Dan Ellis who does the web site and membership for the chapter.

It was a good meeting last night and we had an excellent discussion about the impending public reaction in Ferguson, Missouri when the killer-cop will likely be let off the hook by a Grand Jury after having unnecessarily taken the life of the young black man Michael Brown.  Protests are planned all over the nation at 5:00 pm the day following the Grand Jury announcement.  (I read yesterday that white folks in that area have recently been busy buying handguns fearing a race riot.  Sales are up by 50%. The media and right-wing racist web sites have been hyping that story big-time.)

During the VFP meeting the discussion was centered around the growing militarization of our culture.  Just like many countries around the world that are involved in civil conflict the ruling oligarchy in the US is pitting citizen-against-citizen.... white people against black and brown citizens.  Rather than face the growing income disparity across the land (created by corporate capitalism) the races are being manipulated into a pre-civil war mode.

America has never recovered from slavery and our own Civil War in the 1860's - which many young people know nothing about. Currently we face the neglected wound of race coming back to haunt the nation once again.  You could call it 'the old stand by' - a tactic rolled out when the heat gets a bit too hot for those in power.  Divide and conquer always works well to distract the masses.

On the way home from the meeting, while talking about endless war, Peter remarked that the Navy's new 'stealth' destroyer (pictured above) is "the face of Armageddon."  This is particularly relevant because Peter only recently retired from Bath Iron Works (BIW) after 33-plus years at the shipyard.  In 2009 he created a petition saying "We want to build wind turbines for off-shore wind in the Gulf of Maine" and circulated it amongst the workers at BIW.  He gathered 800 signatures, just about one out of every five workers there at the time.  The local Times Record newspaper wrote an editorial congratulating him for his vision and courage saying:

We agree with Woodruff and other circulators of this petition that the time is ripe for this initiative - given President Obama's emphasis on "green energy"..... Statistics released by the European Wind Energy Association show that 43% of all new electricity generating capacity built in the European Union last year was wind energy, exceeding all other technologies including gas, coal and nuclear power.

Even before he retired Peter was the first BIW worker ever to attend a destroyer 'Christening' ceremony protest and speak out for conversion of the shipyard.  He's been an active member of the local effort to convert the shipyard to peaceful production for several years.

In Peter's earlier days he fished, was an environmental leader, and has a great love for the sea.  He is deeply troubled about the growing acidification of the oceans due to global warming.  He intimately understands the close link between militarism and climate change as the Pentagon has the largest carbon bootprint on the planet.

Peter said again last night something I've heard him say often:  "Remember, there is not much time left."

We are literally holding the future generations in our hands.  What shall we offer them?


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