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.

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Defending Social Progress from the Agents of Doom

Yesterday about 60 people gathered at Ground Zero Peace Center for a five-hour meeting that included speakers and music.  I talked during the event about the program of the Global Network and my participation in the MLK peace walk through Washington state.  Following the meeting the folks broke up into small groups and I joined the one that was planning the civil disobedience action at the front gate of the Bangor Trident nuclear submarine base.

The submarine base is less than one mile down the two-lane country road from the peace center.  We walked in single file through the rain to the base and then had a moving ceremony that was highlighted by several women in black robes holding candles in front of a coffin that contained the earth.  Gregorian chants were played on a sound system as the state police and base security (one with sentry dog and machine gun) lined up to block any attempts to cross the 'forbidden line' toward the base.

After some time the casket was carried into the roadway that leads into the base and people were immediately detained by the police. A second group entered the roadway and then I was the last to step beyond the forbidden line into the road and I kneeled down and initially refused to move.  One tall state policeman ordered me to move and as I looked into his eyes I noticed that he was quite unsure of himself in that moment.  I eventually stood up and was moved to the middle of the four-lane base highway and like the nine others was ticketed on the spot for 'unlawfully' being on the highway.  A fine of $56 was handed to me for my brief moment of civil disobedience.

This morning I did a half-hour radio interview on KEXP radio (Mike McCormick show).  I've been on the show once before some years ago.

I head home early in the morning. It's been a great visit to the Seattle area and I thank Nipponzan Myohoji for the great peace walk experience.

If you want to see the American people just go join a peace walk and the public will drive right by.... people of all ages, colors, income levels.  The highway is still the one place you can have face-to-face contact with the non-choir.

It was fitting to be part of this symbolic action at the front gate of the Navy base after walking so far through the region.  The Navy (which recently acknowledged that their ship building budget is 'unsustainable') wants even more of the nation's treasury for aircraft carriers, nuclear subs, and destroyers that are all far over budget.  The only way to pay for them is to further decimate social spending across the land.  The 15 new incoming Republican senators in Washington have pledged to dismantle the food stamp program and attempts are presently being made to destroy Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid.

For me this peace walk was a living prayer and cry out to the public to defend these programs against the agents of doom who now run the US government.


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