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.

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Share the Links as We March.....

I joined the women's march yesterday in Brunswick, Maine where several hundred in this relatively small community turned out.  That was in addition to 10,000 in nearby Portland and around 10,000 in Augusta.  Those were excellent numbers for Maine which only has 1.3 million people across our large state - we have alot more trees than people.

I felt good about the overall national (and international) day of protests.  The photos from these events are fun to look at - see some here

A friend sent around pictures from the Augusta, Maine event and I noticed photos of some Democratic party politicians working the crowd.  The Dems are in big trouble and they want to ride this national surge as hard as they can.  People need to watch that the Dems don't lead this movement down the rabbit hole.

I've noted that the George Soros Open Society Foundation funded about 40 of the groups organizing these protests.  Soros is not only a major Democratic Party donor but he is a primary funder/director of the 'color revolutions' - particularly in Eastern Europe.  Soros is a major Russia hater.  Thus it makes sense that Soros wants to knock Trump around in order to punish him for daring to say the US and Russia should get along - one of the few of Trump's positive statements.

So in some ways the events yesterday carried some features of a Soros sponsored 'color revolution' - this one in pink.

I was motivated to stand with women who have every right to be afraid and angry about Trump, his hateful talk, and a resurgent right-wing.  But I wanted to help broaden the message for those at the event and those in the public passing us by.

I carefully selected the red banner above made by an art collective in Maine that produces banners for many different issue events.  This one was made to order for our Maine Peace Walk last October that was entitled Stop the War$ on Mother Earth.  Connecting the dots is always important to me.

People at the protest were very drawn to the banner and many took photos of it.  Many of the women would verbalize the connections by saying things like: "Yeah, education!" or "Yeah, health care".  Lots of cars going by honked and waved at the protesters and at the banner.

With the help of local artist and activist Ed McCarten I was able to stand in the street to help maximize the banner's visibility.  This also forces cars to slow down a bit which allows the driver and passengers to have a better look at the entire protest.

I observed that a good number of the people who came to the protest had no sign with them.  Many of them flashed in and out and didn't stay for the whole hour-long event.  But in a way this is a good omen as many fence sitters (likely loyal Democrats) did come out and felt the great community spirit at a 'happening' event.  I heard one woman remark that this was her first protest ever - and she was not a spring chicken.

But the real test is time - and we will soon enough find out about the creativity and staying power of those who turned out across America yesterday.  On one side many of them came out of the Occupy movement and understand the need to stay focused.  But many new folks who attended the protests will quickly confront the hard reality that change will come slowly in our new America - as we are near totally under the thumb of corporate forces in Washington.

We will need to be more determined than ever and have more stick-to-it-ivness than ever.  That ultimately means our own lives must change because real commitment to sustained resistance translates to changing our patterns and our values - and most difficult of all - often having to change our social groups.

(I'll always remember speaking to a group in Daytona Beach, Florida back in the 1980's about space weapons issues.  A woman raised her hand during the Q & A and said:  "You expect me to go to my bridge club and talk about this?!  I would lose all of my friends."  With that said she got up and walked out of the room.)

The dominant and aggressive patriarchy now in command does wish to control women's lives - and people of color - and they want to drill-baby-drill on public lands - and they want to grab declining resources from nations on the other side of the planet.  They are planning for endless war and massive on-going military expenditures.  They want to drain the swamp of all social spending - including Social Security and Medicare to help pay for militarism.

We can't defeat the corporate oligarchies by going for half the loaf and only half the articulation of the problem.  We've got to understand the links and bring them into events like yesterday.

Cheers to all who turned out.



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