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

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Planning for the Maine Peace Walk (Impact on the Oceans)


We had our last planning meeting yesterday for the October 9-24 Maine Peace Walk – Militarization of the Seas: Pentagon’s Impact on the Oceans.  We timed our meeting so we could attend the Boston-area Veterans for Peace (VFP) annual BBQ down in York Beach, Maine at the summer home of one of their chapter leaders.  More than 40 veterans and supporters were there from New Hampshire and Massachusetts.

Four of us drove down together to York Beach from Hancock, Hope, Lewiston and Bath.  A bunch more joined us for our planning meeting before the BBQ began that included the wonderful music by the Portsmouth-based 'Leftist Marching Band'.  While there we were able to extend an invitation to the band to join our walk on Oct 24 when we plan to march from downtown Portsmouth back over the bridge to Kittery where we will hold a protest at the Navy shipyard gate.  The shipyard repairs, overhauls, and maintains Navy war ships, including nuclear-powered ships. You can just imagine the toxic legacy of this place and the impact on ocean life.

One of the Boston-area VFP members there yesterday was a woman who was an officer in the Navy in the late 1990's.  She was assigned to a destroyer and was at one time in charge of overseeing the test firing of the weapons on board the ship.  One day it dawned on her that they were firing highly explosive shells into the sea and she wondered for the first time how animal life might be impacted.  This was one of the moments that changed her life thus she is very interested in our walk.

Many excellent outreach ideas surfaced during the meeting which we agreed to follow-up on.  The remaining days before the walk begins on October 9 in Ellsworth will be exciting and busy.  

The news from Russell Wray (artist from Hancock) is that he is redesigning his fiberglass dolphin Maka that will sit on top of our bus; his banner for the side of the bus will say 'Demilitarize the Oceans'; and he has secured two large whale windsocks that we will carry on poles as we walk.  

I can't wait to get started.

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