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, October 20, 2016

No THAAD Peace Walk Event in Brunswick


  • It's been hard to keep up with the blog during the walk.  Not only have there been days, especially in rural Maine, with no Internet connection but I also got sick.  I found it almost impossible to sleep more than 3-4 hours each night despite being exhausted from walking all day.  Then one night I got a fever and sweated buckets.  So on Tuesday I walked in the morning and then came home and slept 13 hours.  I missed the walk into Brunswick on Wednesday and just stayed in bed most of the day although I did post a couple videos below.  Then last night I attended the pot luck supper in Brunswick since I was responsible for the program.

  • This week there has been a call for No THAAD (Terminal High Altitude Area Defense) protests across the nation against the Pentagon plan to deploy the 'missile defense' (MD) system in South Korea.  Last night I gave some background on the controversy, also included the Aegis MD equipped warships built here in Bath, and then we showed the six-minute video compilation (see posted in menu a couple days ago) of the candlelight vigils in South Korea opposing THAAD.  We took the photo above of those in attendance in our meager effort to show solidarity and denounce these provocative first-strike attack systems.

  • When I got home from the walk I found last Friday's local newspaper sitting on my desk and inside was a large article entitled:  Clinton said U.S. would 'ring China with missile defense'.  I clipped the story and took it to the event last night and read these remarks from Clinton that were revealed by WikiLeaks.  "We're going to ring China with missile defense.  We're going to put more of our fleet in the area."

  • Clinton is of course referring to the US Navy's Aegis destroyers with MD interceptors on-board and I made sure to point that clear fact out to the group last night.  So South Korean people are directly fighting against ground-based THAAD deployments on the mainland and against MD at the new Navy base on Jeju Island where these ships will be ported.  Both of these places thus become prime targets in a war with Russia and China and the people know it.  Protest and survive is their operating message now.

  • Today is a peace walk day off and our fantastic team of walkers surely need and deserve it.  But of course we can't pass up such a great chance with so many activists being around to pay a visit to Bath Iron Works. We'll go from 3:00-4:00 pm during the shift change for a vigil highlighting our demand to convert the shipyard to sustainable technology production that would in fact create more jobs than making warships.

  • We get started again on Friday walking from Brunswick to Freeport and from there our route will be directly south on US Hwy 1 to the Navy Submarine shipyard in Kittery where we will end the walk on October 26 with another protest calling for the conversion of that yard.  More walkers join every day and people come and go - some even come back for a second or third try at it.  The sense of community building is quite lovely.  We are grateful to all those across the state who have supported the peace walk helping to make it a special event.
Bruce

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