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

Monday, May 30, 2016

Memorial Day Parade in Maine


There was a forecast for steady rain today at the same time we were set to take part in the Memorial Day parade from Topsham to Brunswick, Maine.  Our local group PeaceWorks and Maine Veterans For Peace lined up as we do each year and thank goodness the rain held off til the end of the parade.

The theme of the parade this year was "Remember Pearl Harbor" - another incendiary memory that the military industrial complex keeps alive in order to sell endless war and weapons.

Our PeaceWorks planning committee agreed that we would riff off the 'Pearl Harbor' theme in order to bring the contemporary Japanese issue of Article 9 to the local public.  There has been a major campaign in Japan during the past couple of years to Save Article 9 of their constitution that calls on Japan to "forever renounce war".  The US is pressuring Tokyo to dump Article 9 in order to allow Japan to join Washington's war follies around the globe.  It seemed like a good act of solidarity for us to carry their message into the parade.

Understanding that most of the public would have no clue what the banner actually means I wrote an Op-Ed for the local paper that was printed last week.  You can see it here

In addition we made 1,000 flyers explaining the Article 9 issue that Morgana Warner Evans and I handed out as our group walked along the parade route.  Fearing that the rain would wash out our leafletting plan I was thrilled to see the downpour hold off during the entire parade.  We handed out all the flyers and could have used a couple hundred more as we ran out right before the end.

You'll notice in the third photo from the top two men walking with sticks in the front of our parade entry.  They are both members of Veterans For Peace (Bob Dale and Victor Skorapa) and are in their 90's.  Bob made it the entire three-mile parade route and Victor (at 93) made just over half the distance.  It was inspiring for us and for those in the crowd to witnessed these two determined peaceful men press on.

Photos by Nancy Randolph

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