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.

Monday, February 13, 2017

Final Day in Copenhagen


On the final day of our speaking tour in the Nordic nations Dave Webb and I were taken from Malmo, Sweden on the train to Copenhagen by our host Andre Brochu.  It's a short ride and as you cross over the water on the rail bridge in the near distance you see a large wind turbine farm.  To me these wind turbines signify life and the creation of a real future for the coming generations.

We had a lively meeting on the 3rd floor of a former school that has been turned into a community meeting space.  In virtually each of the places we spoke during this tour to Sweden, Finland and Denmark there was a public peace center or community space with offices for progressive groups and rooms for meetings.

One of the big issues facing Denmark is the US pushing them to purchase the F-35 fighter that is getting lots of bad reviews for being a complicated and temperamental war plane.  Peace activists there are organizing a campaign to block their government from buying the planes - the US is even demanding they purchase spare parts up front which is not a real confidence builder in the quality of the 'product'.

Just like in all the other meetings Dave and I participated in during this trip, the demonization of Russia by NATO was at the forefront in our discussions. One Danish woman in the meeting said, "We've got to work together globally and do it around NATO which is at the center of what is creating tensions."

The next official NATO meeting will be held in Brussels on May 24-25 and will be met by European-wide peace protests.  Then in August and September NATO will be holding their Aurora war games in Gothenburg, Sweden and peace groups in the Nordic region are gearing up to organize protests there as well.

One man during the Copenhagen meeting talked about the cuts in social programs they are now experiencing as the US pushes NATO members (and partners) to increase their contributions to the war alliance.  The US-based weapons industry wants NATO members to buy more weapons and that can only be done if each country forces more domestic austerity cuts and sticks the money in the NATO war budget.

The public transit system in Copenhagen (like in all Nordic nations) was impressive.  So were the loads of bicycles on Copenhagen streets.  These countries are doing their part to help move away from addiction to fossil fuels.  I wish I could say we were doing the same thing back home in my state of Maine.

In Maine we are building weapons for endless war, have very little public transportation, our governor has scuttled the offshore wind farm that a Norwegian company wanted to build in the Gulf of Maine, and our governor has been laying underground pipes to move fracked gas into our state.

We've got much to learn here in the US.  It would help if environmental groups took a stronger position opposing the US military which has the largest carbon boot print on Mother Earth.  There is an effort underway to try to get the People's Climate March scheduled for Washington DC on April 29 to recognize the military's massive role as the world's biggest polluter.  You can sign a petition calling on the march organizers to include this important issue here.

Thanks to all those who invited and hosted Dave and me during this trip.  We learned alot, made many new friends, and helped share our story about how space technology now directs all warfare on Earth.  People were interested and receptive and I am sure will integrate what they learned from us just like we will integrate what we learned from them into our work as well.

Bruce

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