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, May 08, 2015

On Elections and Activism

  • I am on the train heading south to New Jersey for the United National Anti-War Coalition (UNAC) conference. I will speak in a plenary panel and a workshop about US-NATO military expansion up to the Russian borders and deployments of "missile defense" systems which are dangerously linked to Pentagon first-strike attack plans. The conference is called STOP THE WARS AT HOME AND ABROAD! You can get more information about the conference here. Some parts of the event will be live streamed, get details here
  • While waiting for my train in the Boston station I ran into Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein who is on her way to Baltimore to join the 'Million Moms March'.   We talked briefly about the recent surge on the left (even though we still need alot more help) and the presidential announcement by Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT).  In the end we both agreed that the real question is once Sanders is defeated by Hillary (the choice of the oligarchy) in the Democratic Party primaries what will progressive voters do then?  Are they going to vote for the corporate puppet Clinton or move on and join the growing alternative political movement that is about creating real opposition to the money-dominated political system that currently exists?
  • I began my political life as a Young Republican for Nixon in 1968 and then voted for the anti-Vietnam war candidate George McGovern in the 1972 presidential election while still in the Air Force.  I quit voting for the Democrats years ago and can say with some pride that I never voted for Bill Clinton or Obama.  I voted for Ralph Nader twice, then Cynthia McKinney, and Jill Stein last time around.  Those who are itching to support a woman for president can still do so by pulling the lever for Stein in the next election.
  • I find it hard to argue with those who maintain that voting is a waste of time - especially after recent cheating on elections during the Bush years.  I just don't like the idea of giving up my right to vote - there have been times when I've gone to the polls on election day and handed in a blank ballot because I couldn't stomach any of the names on the lineup card.  
  • But in the end I do fully agree that elections are only one very small part of citizenship in any society.  What really counts is what you do the rest of the time in between elections.  As is often chanted during street protests and actions of non-violent civil resistance to corrupt corporate power - "This is what democracy looks like!" 
  • I am certain the UNAC conference will be a great event.  Many of the most dedicated and effective organizers across the nation will be there - a real cross section of age, color, gender, and political strategy.  All of us will likely agree that the time has come for a real revolution in America - something that won't just come from the voting booth.


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