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.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Military Public Relations or Food for Hungry Kids

  • Each branch of the US military spends hundreds of millions of $$$ each year on their public relations marketing campaigns. The idea is not only to recruit young people to join the military but to also convince the average American taxpayer that the massive amount of money wasted on our endless wars is a valid expenditure - because we are doing good bringing 'freedom and democracy' to the world.  It's all about creating illusions and mythology. 
  • The Navy has a big marketing program where they describe their branch of the military as "A global force for good".  The Army goes for the macho image with their "Army Strong" theme.  The Air Force uses the aggressive "Fly-Fight-Win" while the Marines goes with the exceptionalist tag "The Few, The Proud, the Marines?"
  • I learned today that 9,000 poor people across Maine have been kicked off 'food stamps' because they are unable to 'work or volunteer' under new guidelines forcing those getting welfare to 'earn' their benefits.  Maine is a very rural state with a population of about 1.2 million.  Many people live far out in the woods and have no reliable transportation.  Public transportation is virtually non-existent across Maine.  Thus many people are not able to travel to find jobs (that don't exist much anyway) or to volunteer with agencies that don't exist near their homes or are too far away to be able to reach on foot.  It's really just one more callous right-wing strategy to continue their relentless attacks on social progress.
  • The so-called conservatives and their neo-con partners in the Democratic Party, who claim to be worried about America's huge debt, really don't give a damn about that.  They know their unending wars are the biggest contributors to the national debt and they are in no hurry to stop creating global chaos.  The 'fiscal conservatives' know that more tax cuts for the rich also help create more debt and they don't seem to care.  The right-wing really wants to run up massive debt so they can have a stronger argument to attack social progress.
  • We had a phone call last night at our home from a local family that is on food stamps.  Due to continued cutbacks in their food stamps they now run out of food around the third week of each month.  They often ask us to help them with bread and milk which we always do.  But last night they told Mary Beth that they had no food in their house.  So today MB went to the store and bought food for the family.  You can be sure that there are millions of others across the nation in this same boat with no one to call for help.
  • I'd venture to guess that with just the public relations budget of the military our government could fund the food stamp program so children and their parents don't have to go hungry.
  • In 2009 an Associated Press investigation found that over the previous five years, the money the military spent on public relations at home and abroad had grown by 63 percent, to at least $4.7 billion that year. These numbers tell you all you need to know about the priorities of the US.
  • The US is selling 'color revolutions' all over the globe promising people if they join the side of capitalist globalization their lives will be paved in gold.  They will be free.  People around the world should be very careful about that word 'freedom'.  What it really means is that under capitalism you will be free to be on your own with no help from the government.  Corporations will be free to pick your pockets without any intervention or protection by the government.  The corporations have taken the word freedom and turned it inside-out.  


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