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 19, 2015

Jeju Island Vigil Today at BIW

Our friends Hee Eun Park and Paco Michelson arrived in Bath, Maine today on the train from Boston.  After lunch in our kitchen, warmed by the wood stove, we walked down to Bath Iron Works (BIW) for the 3:30 pm shift change.  We tried to hand out flyers to workers as they poured out of the shipyard but only about half a dozen took one.

As usual we got several comments like "Get a job" and "It's only because of the work we do here [building Navy destroyers] that you have a right to protest."  The fact is that if many of the workers had their way we'd not be allowed to vigil at BIW at all. This is interesting because the military maintains that US warships are protecting "our freedoms".  The logic actually escapes me.

Friday morning I will interview Hee Eun and Paco on my public access TV show and then in the evening they will share a new film (Gureombi The Wind is Blowing) at a local church in Bath about the eight-year non-violent protest movement in Gangjeong village on Jeju Island.  Then on Saturday they will speak at the Lenten peace vigil at the shipyard during the noon shift change.  So they are going to get their share of street time in cold and windy Maine.

Last night they both spoke at Boston College and from Maine will head to New York City, Washington, Philadelphia, Los Angeles, San Diego, San Francisco, Berkeley, Portland (Oregon), Tacoma and Seattle on their tour to share the Jeju Island, South Korea 'No Navy Base' story.

It's great to have them visit Bath - the smallest city on their speaking tour - but certainly an important place considering that the Aegis destroyers made here will be ported at the Navy base being built in Gangjeong..... a tiny 500-year old fishing and farming village that is being torn apart..... all to benefit the US's so-called 'pivot' of 60% of Pentagon forces into the Asia-Pacific region to 'contain' China.

Thanks to retired BIW worker Peter Woodruff for the photos.


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