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.

Saturday, February 04, 2017

Walking Away from Endless War


This piece of art is hanging on the wall of the room I am sleeping in.  The house is owned by a woman in the group Women for Peace in Stockholm that organized the day-long conference that I spoke at today.  When I saw this picture I knew I wanted to put it on my blog.  In the middle of last night, suffering from jet lag, I was in bed gazing at it and thinking about the guilty verdict in our Zumwalt 12 trial in Bath, Maine.

I was not at all surprised to hear about the verdict.  I was lucky that Justice Billings let me leave the trial before it was over after I told him I was due to fly from the Boston airport at 9:00 pm on February 3.  In order to get there on time from Maine I had to leave Bath by 4:00 pm.  Fortunately the judge was extraordinarily kind and gave me permission to go.  It was difficult to abandon my friends in the courtroom - we've been through a whirlwind together.

Mary Beth emailed me last night from Maine with word about the verdict.  You always wonder if our group of defendants had touched any of the hearts and minds of the jurors enough that at least one of them would understand what our intentions were and would stand up on our behalf.  But in the end that kind of thinking is naive in a way - it's not their struggle and they didn't sign up to take on the American judicial system although it does happen now and then - mostly not.

One of our friends found a comment by one of the jurors in the comment section of the Bangor Daily News article about the trial (one consolation is there were many comments which is good).  It reads:

Juror #27
I was a juror on this case and I applaud their efforts. Even though we found them guilty of blocking a public way and that their actions were unreasonable toward other public members trying to use Washington street at the time of their sit down. Their actions were nonviolent and peaceful. Other Protesters in our country should take look at these 10 protesters / activist and learn from their Nonviolent efforts.

The picture above speaks to me in the sense that society has conditioned (colonized the minds) of the vast majority of the people around the world to chase the cheese.  Most have left the natural life to head to the ugly and polluting cities in order to find work in order to survive.  Their lives often get wrapped up in materialism and entertainment and soon most people lose touch with nature and with what makes us all human.  We take jobs doing most anything - even ones that we might hate (can't tell you how many people over the years have told me how lucky I am to be doing work I believe in).  Often times people have to do work that promotes and/or enables war such as those who work at military production sites.

In many ways I identify with the man who is walking away from the long queue - willing to give up some level of 'social comfort' but is willing to take his chances as he happily avoids the rat race in the urban jungle.  I live in a community of 10,000, certainly not a village in the countryside, but not a massive city where one chokes on pollution and faces the constant noise and impersonality of the megatropolis.

The conference in Stockholm today was entitled 'The North - A Zone of Peace' and focused on US-NATO encirclement of Russia by using Norway and Sweden as space warfare technology bases.  The Nordic region is being massively militarized including Finland that even during the height of the Cold War stayed neutral in the big power push-and-shove that took the world to the nuclear brink.

In the coming days Global Network board convener Dave Webb (Chair of the UK's Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament) and I will travel to Helsinki, Finland and then back to several cities in Sweden before ending our speaking tour in Copenhagen, Denmark.

If the audience today was any indication there will be strong interest in our analysis about US-NATO use of space technology to prepare for war with Russia (and China).  More than 80 activist leaders turned out from all over Sweden, Finland, Denmark, and Norway to hear Dave and I speak along with our board member Regina Hagen from Germany.

I am determined to continue my nonviolent protests and civil resistance in front of Bath Iron Works in my Maine hometown.  After hearing a woman from Finland say today that 50% of the public in her country believe a war is coming between the US-NATO and Russia I remain compelled to step up my actions for peace.  I must do all I can to help the largely sleeping American people to at least 'consider' what our nation is doing around the globe that is putting to risk literally all life on our Mother Earth.

How could I travel to all these places and meet these wonderful people and not act in solidarity with them as they work for peace - trying to ensure that the madness of war in the age of space technology does not continue to flourish?

Bruce

1 Comments:

Blogger Zinn Reader said...

Thanks, Bruce, for keeping on and informing us and educating us about the possible or even probable blowback from President Drumpf's words and reckless actions.

2/4/17, 2:33 PM  

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