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.

Friday, January 13, 2017

The GI Resistance Movement



Our 35-person  Nipponzan Myohoji delegation joined a large weekly local protest at the front gate of the US's Kadena AFB in Okinawa this morning in the rain.

While standing there with two other Veterans For Peace (VFP) members we held a banner calling for all US bases in Okinawa to be closed.

One of the US security team at the gate and I talked quite a bit during our presence.  He is a private contractor originally from Indiana.  After he retired from the US military he came back to do the same basic job as a contractor and is likely paid much more than when he was on active service.  So he is drinking from the public well twice - getting retirement pay and now working for the Air Force as a contractor.  The American taxpayers are being fleeced by these kind of private security operations.

While talking he was very interested in our group - where we were from, how we traveled, how many of us there were, how long we'd be in Okinawa, etc?  I talked to him about US empire, the Okinawan people's deep rejection of the US military occupation of their lands, and my own time in the Air Force during the Vietnam War.

I told him it was the meetings of the GI Resistance Movement in my barracks room (my first roommate was one of the organizers) that helped to turn me into a peace activist.

I suggested he watch this fabulous documentary video.  Maybe he, or others from US intelligence assigned to Okinawa, will take the time to see this important historical piece.

Bruce

4 Comments:

Blogger Zachery d Taylor said...

Thanks for speaking out on this and best of wishes in getting them to scale back their deployments.

On another subject which might be related, I don't know if you or other VFP members paid attention to the two recent airport shootings by veterans. Both of these veterans were decorated and may have suffered from PTSD without getting treatment. Personally after looking into the boot camp training practices including some described by Chris Kyle and exposed at Parris Island among many other things, including research done by Zimbardo and Milgram I believe it is virtually guaranteed that the authoritarian training for veterans in boot camp is a major contributing problem for returning veterans with PTSD and often having problems with domestic violence at home.

The most common victims aren't the high profile ones at airports or other mass shootings but families of veterans and other veterans.

I know this is controversial and even many peace activists might not want to admit that this is a major problem but those that do are probably doing the most to prevent it from continuing. I get the impression that most of these people are other veterans and their family members although they may not want to draw to much attention to some aspects of the problem. One thing that they should draw more attention to is that the people making the decisions aren't accountable at all.

When they have problems they demonize people like Santiago and Buie treat them as isolated incidents and deny any institutional problems guaranteeing that the majority of incidents remain unchecked unless the grassroots expose the problem.

I looked into this again recently in my latest article if your interested.


http://zacherydtaylor.blogspot.com/2017/01/veteran-murders-brings-wars-based-on.html

I know there were similar problems with Vietnam veterans in the sixties and seventies but the vast majority of raw data has fallen down the memory hole and even the internet doesn't make it easy to find out about it.

One thing should be simple, if we don't fight wars based on lies we'll be safer both at home and abroad.

Thanks again.

1/13/17, 10:05 AM  
Blogger GUZE` SPITERI said...

THISIS ALL IN HINDSIGHT. BUT MY 2017 QUESTION IS, HOW MANY HINDSIGHTS SUCH AS THIS, WE THE PEOPLE ARE WE TO TOLERATE IN THE NAME OF A FAKE DEMOCRACY.
WHO ARE THE REAL TERRORISTS IN 2017 AND HAVE WE THOUTH THAT BY IGNORING REALITY INDIRECTLY WE ARE CONTRIBUTING TO THE DAILY OUTROGEUSE BESTIALITY BEING WITNESSED TODAY?
WITNESS WHAT THESE HUMANE HEROES HAD TO SUFFER FOR THEIR BELIEVES.
TO IGNORE AND NOT TO CARE, CAN PERSONALLY COST US MUCH MORE THAN WE CAN IMAGINE.

1/13/17, 2:05 PM  
Anonymous Brother Jonah said...

Aldous Huxley wrote a second Brave New World, tagged it as Revisited but it was the science behind the novel. This was from a man who died the same year I was born. I Revisited it just two years ago, the dude is one hell of a futurist. Maybe the made up word Presentist would be accurate. (I made that up, and I'm not proud)

There were students and disciples, if you could say that about the ultimate anti-cult dude in modern history, came out with Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep, One Flew Over the Cuckoos Nest, Clockwork Orange and Lathe of Heaven, detailing the effect of your intact soul being suppressed by forced conditioning. So did the research of Pavlov, whose experiments were used to streamline brainwashing programs. Like Basic Training and the reinforcement of that throughout your career.

It comes at a cost. In order to keep the human Pavlov Dogs conditioned, you have to keep reinforcing it, in a socially isolated group, forever.

But the military throws you out of the controlled group as soon as you're not an effective and obedient weapon. Staying in isn't an option either, the constant conditioning will wear down your hippocampus as surely as schizophrenia or alzheimers.

In the service we were encouraged to drink, but in the presence of others in the military. Drugs to enhance esprit de corps and camaraderie. A direct disconnection between We and They, "they" being civilians, even your family, just as strongly as "they" being the declared enemies. Not so much raw aggression as passivity and non-empathic denial of being the same or equal to "We".

It's the method of keeping to a minimum the percentage of soldiers freaking out while they're in battle.

1/13/17, 4:07 PM  
Anonymous Brother Jonah said...

The bit about SPs being replaced by Blackwater mercenaries, I experienced that in 2007 when Miss Johnnie and I went to Peterson AFB here in the Springs, she had to get a dependent's ID for her CHAMPVA, her husband had died of Agent Orange... The VA rep gave her all the paperwork. We rode the city bus to the front gate, the Mercenary Replacement SPs came on the bus to check IDs, I didn't have one so I was off the base waiting for her. When she got back out, after two hours, she was crying. The Administration Building Staff were also not Air Force. More "contractors" and threatened to arrest her under the PATRIOT act. I knew the gate guards weren't SPs, one had fuzz on his face, both had hair below the earlobes and they had no insignia of rank, name, or even clean uniforms. So now they're doing it in Okinawa, eh... Very troubling.

When she insisted that her VA counselor told her to go to their admin office, they threatened her more. Would not, could not, refused to even contact the VA. She finally did get her ID and her VA papers squared away.

1/13/17, 4:19 PM  

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