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

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Report from Korea on 'No THAAD' Delegation from U.S.


A four-person US peace delegation is now wrapping up their trip to South Korea.  The event was organized by the U.S. Task Force to Stop THAAD in Korea which I am proudly a part of.  (Delegation includes Medea Benjamin from Code Pink; Jill Stein of the Green Party; Will Griffin of Veterans for Peace & Global Network; and Reece Chenault of U.S. Labor Against War.)

In the photo they are holding the 2017 Global Network poster for Keep Space for Peace Week that this year has a No THAAD in South Korea theme. In the front row on the left is Buddhist Won Rev. Seonghye Kim who serves as Co-Chair of the Seongju Struggle Committee to Stop THAAD Deployment.  She along with Will Griffin and Reece Chenault were speakers at our 25th annual space organizing conference in Huntsville, Alabama last spring.  (Thanks to Will for bringing along the posters.)


Sixty-four years ago a cease fire ended fighting in the Korean War when the United States, China and North Korea signed an armistice.  South Korean President Syngman Rhee refused but observed the armistice.  The three-year Korean War that cost 3.5 million lives has not ended.  Millions of Koreans—including South Korean President Moon Jae-in’s family-- have been separated for more than 65 years. The time has come to end the Korean War and sign a real Peace Treaty Now!

Will Griffin writes:

    At our meeting for a "Strategic Discussion on US-Korea antiwar movement", we exchanged thoughts on how we can work together.

    I mentioned that our Stop THAAD in Korea task force will be planning to protest a weapons expo in DC this October called AUSA. Lockheed Martin will be displaying the THAAD missile system there. In return, a South Korean member of People's Solidarity for Participatory Democracy said they too are planning to protest a weapons expo here in Seoul. She said it was the largest weapons expo in the region and held every year. We plan to communicate with each, share information, and plan ahead.

    I also feel our delegates are becoming more invested in Korean struggles. Jill Stein already understands the devastating consequences that are happening here. Medea Benjamin is bringing a lot of knowledge from her experience with Women Cross the DMZ in 2015. Reece Chenault is the main event because so many labor organizers here in Korea have heard a lot about US Labor Against the War. And I'm meeting many activists that I met on previous delegations, strengthening our relationships.

    Our delegation met with Representative Jae Kwon Shim at South Korea's National Assembly, who is chairman of the foreign affairs and unification committee to talk about our opposition to deployment of THAAD anti-missile system in South Korea. He was surprisingly rational. To sum up, he said we need to change public opinion and force him and the government to remove THAAD. Also, he mentioned that we need to work together to create an environment in which we don't need THAAD. We plan to do that. 

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