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, June 17, 2017

Diversity, Courage, Beauty and Clarity in Richmond

It was a great day in Richmond at the UNAC conference.  The connections being made by the string of excellent speakers is more than inspiring.  Our panel on the Asia-Pacific today (pictured above) included speakers from Korea, Philippines and the US.  It was well received by the audience.

I've been hanging out with folks from Veterans For Peace who live in Georgia, Florida, and North Carolina and they are deeply impressed by the conference and the quality of activists participating in the event.

Our VFP group took a break in the afternoon and went for a long walk through downtown to the river where we crossed the body of water using a narrow foot bridge.  It was good to get away for a bit and have a chance to process what we have been hearing.

It was really quite impressive to listen to reports from speakers from Ukraine, Poland, Hungary, Serbia, and Russia about their perceptions of US aggressive military operations throughout eastern Europe as NATO expands up to the Russian borders.

Speakers from Latin America shared about the current wars they are experiencing as the US tries to undermine governments and take back control in that part of the world.

The speaker from the Congo blew my mind.  Presentations about Palestine, Syria and Iran were stunning.  

Black and Hispanic activists from throughout the US articulated how their communities are under constant attack by the police and other institutions who seek to return America to days gone by when people of color lived in constant fear for their lives.

But throughout all the reports of bad news is a strong strain of hope and defiance as local activists continue to organize movements of resistance against the attempts to reintroduce feudalism - a corporate version.  People in the US and around the world are not collapsing in despair and instead press on with love and determination - demanding peace with true justice.

The thread that runs through the conference is the clear understanding that capitalism is in crisis as the greedy quest for profit at the expense of the people and our Mother Earth must be rejected.  Capitalism and human rights are incompatible.  Capitalism and environmental justice are incompatible.

One speaker, Jaribu Hill (attorney and founder of the Mississippi Worker's Center for Human Rights), summed it up well this evening when she said that we've all tried the 'Democratic Party thing' and have come to realize that only independent political action will pull ourselves out of the fire.

We can't keep going back to the corporate dominated political parties thinking that they are going to offer any real solutions.  Everyone agrees that we must build greater unity among our various movements if we hope to turn the tide.

This crowd in Richmond understands the score.  It's a shame that everyone I know can't be here experiencing the diversity, courage, beauty and clarity coming from this UNAC conference.



Blogger Lisa Savage said...

Thanks for the report back. A hopeful gathering, indeed.

6/18/17, 6:16 AM  
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6/21/17, 11:09 AM  

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