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.

Tuesday, August 08, 2017

Left Out News

  • Donbass News Agency reports that the US has begun constructing a maritime operations center at the Ochakiv Naval Base (just south of Mykolayiv Oblast) in southern Ukraine. Ochakiv is located close to Crimean peninsula and Ukrainian 73rd Naval Center of Special Operations is situated there. US Seabees held a groundbreaking ceremony for a maritime operations center on July 25. Beginning construction in Ukraine is "a significant accomplishment," said Lt. j.g. [junior grade] Jason McGee, officer in charge of Detachment Ukraine.  "Our ability to maximize European reassurance initiatives in Ukraine holds strategic importance, and will ultimately improve host nation defense capacity and infrastructure, strengthen relations and increase bilateral training capabilities." In addition to building the operations center, the Seabees will also build a boat maintenance facility and entry control points with perimeter fencing at Ochakov.
  •  The New York Times reports: After 147 years, Friedrich Engels is back in the city that made him famous. His resurrection is in Manchester, England where he conducted research. Since most Soviet-era statues were removed from their pedestals and destroyed after 1989 finding the statue was not easy. Artist Phil Collins traveled for about a year across Eastern Europe before finally finding his prize in an agricultural compound in a district that he said was once named after Engels in the Poltava region of eastern Ukraine. The statue, 12 feet tall, had been cut in half and dumped. But on May 15, the halves were hauled onto a truck and sent on their way to Manchester. In Manchester, Engels is still revered. Alexandra Prodan, a 27-year-old medical secretary from Romania who has been living in Manchester for eight years, said the problem with communism was not with Marxist theory per se. “In practice,” Ms. Prodan said, communist regimes “became totalitarian and oppressive.”  Ms. Prodan added: “Even in the countries where people were oppressed, people were looking out for each other in a way. There was still a feeling of togetherness against the regime. This is basically what Engels wrote about. You know, it’s about the people coming together.” 
  • On June 30, a federal appeals court upheld a lower court ruling that severs the Penobscot Indian Nation in Maine from the waters of the Penobscot River, a ruling that Penobscot Indian Nation Chief Kirk Francis says is reminiscent of federal termination policy—or worse. “The river and our relationship to it and the 200 islands [that form the reservation] are the core of our cultural identity. If our ability to protect the river is taken away, we lose a big part of who we are,” Francis told ICMN. For decades, the tribe has been monitoring the quality of the water in the river and working with state and federal agencies, power companies and conservation groups to stop the industrial and municipal pollution that has led to unacceptably high levels of mercury, dioxin, PCPs and other toxins in the river.
  • New York City Catholic Worker activist Felton Davis sent word this morning from Washington DC where he is holding a one-man protest vigil at NASA HQ: 
    On Monday I began keeping vigil and passing out leaflets at NASA headquarters.  Employees and passersby were friendly, but after a half hour the security guards came out and told me I could not stand under the canopy because the whole area there is NASA property.  So I was chased out from under the canopy and had to stand in the rain, and the security told me that since I was demonstrating I could not even stand on the adjacent sidewalk without a permit.  At 10 am the DC police arrived and pulled up with lights flashing, and the officer went inside to consult with security.  Then they left and came back at about 11 am, and the security people came out to talk with them.  Still no arrest.  In New York City a person can pass out leaflets almost anywhere without a permit, but I don't know if that is true in DC.  I believe that NASA -- unlike the White House -- has enjoyed the illusion of being above all controversy, and finds it hard to tolerate even one person who objects to anything they do. Today is the second day of this vigil, and anyone who joins me should know that they are risking arrest.  Of course the real crime is that NASA was allowed first to launch space probes with plutonium, and now to crash one of them into the planet Saturn in September, and on top of that they want the Department of Energy to resume production of PU-238 for future space probes. See the most recent newsletter of "Keep Space for Peace," with Karl Grossman's article about Cassini.


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