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

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Will You Help Challenge the Cancerous U.S. War Machine?

Sitting in front of the Camp Schwab construction gate before dawn

We moved out into the street to block construction trucks heading for the gate

This woman's face tells the whole story - click on the photo for a better view

Eriko, one of the organzers of our Okinawa schedule, tries to protect Iraq war veteran Will Griffin from the police

Back in front of the construction gate they passed the mic around.  I told the story about the No MUOS campaign in Sicily where people are resisting a new US space technology communications base making the point that people all over the world are resisting US military operations

A wonderful moment when former Marine Ken Mayers (who was stationed at this base in the 1960's) received a protest jacket from a woman who worked inside the base at the very same time.  She quit her job when a US officer told her "My business is killing people".  She comes to the base gates to sit-in every day.

In the background I am being dragged away by the police

Here I am being lifted up and carried away - I was detained up against the blue vehicle for a few minutes but at the first chance I made a break for it and rejoined the scrum in the middle of the street.  Rachel, our translator in the middle, did the same thing after being previously dragged away.

Others joined us and the police gave up and began routing construction trucks around us

The woman holding the sign later told us her story.  She is the mother of three children and said that coming to block the gates was not easy for her but she felt she had to do it to protect the environment on behalf of the future generations. 

We went to the gates of Camp Schwab US Marine base where twin-runways are planned to be built out on top of pristine Oura Bay.  These photos above are from our second visit where we again helped block the gates and street in front of the base.  They are not in proper sequence of action - first we sat in front of the construction gate and then moved out into the middle of the street and then back in front of the gate again.  But you'll get some idea of the action and the deep emotion that was there on that day.

I'll post more about our last couple of days events in Okinawa as more photos become available.  Leave it to say that our delegation was dog tired by the time we wrapped things up last night.  We were putting in close to 17 hour days - off at 5:30 am and to bed around 11:00 pm or later on most nights.  Then we also had to find time to answer emails and write blog posts.

It is more than tragic what the US is doing to the people and environment around the world with its more than 800 bases.  Everywhere you turn local people are standing against these bases.  Okinawa is one of the more obscene examples of US military colonization of a people and their land.  The spirit of the Okinawan people is simply amazing considering that they have been in active resistance to US military occupation since 1953.  Imagine that.... I was deeply moved when we visited two different museums and saw the photos of active protests against US bases during these past 62 years.

Back in the US its hard to get 'activists' to come to a protest once every few weeks.  Most Americans have never had to face this kind of adversity to their democracy nor their lands with the exception being the first Americans - the indigenous people.  Native Americans understand what military occupation feels like but the rest of us literally have no clue until we travel to Jeju Island, Okinawa, Sicily, Guantanamo, Guam or other places where the Pentagon had grabbed land for its program of 'Full Spectrum Dominance'.

Our final program last night in Naha City before about 300 people ended with questions from the audience.  They asked us:  What are you going to do when you get home to spread word about Okinawa?  How can you help us?

That question will largely be answered by our peers in the US who must be challenged to do more in solidarity with the struggling people around the world that are occupied and suppressed by the Pentagon war machine.  Will you be willing to stand up in the USA against this military machine that is the largest contributor to global warming?  Will you help us resist the military bases and military production sites in our own country?  Will you help us put pressure on an admittedly duplicitous Congress that continues to steal taxpayer dollars from social programs to fund this cancerous endless war machine?  These are the challenges that we face when we get  back home......

Photos by Ellen Davidson


Blogger Deb Reed said...

Nice blog, thank-you.. No War/No Nukes/Green Energy!!

12/15/15, 11:02 PM  

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