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.

Thursday, August 03, 2017

Speaking in Deer Isle

Mary Beth and I drove three hours north today to Deer Isle, Maine where I was scheduled to speak at an event organized by several peace groups in the area.  Fellow Maine Veterans For Peace member Dud Hendrick (Naval Academy graduate, All-American Lacrosse player, and Vietnam veteran) organized the talk for me on the subject of the US 'pivot' into the Asia-Pacific.

Dud arranged for us to stay at a lovely place right on the ocean in Deer Isle and we had dinner before the talk at a very unique joint in the village.  We ate lobster cakes on soba noodles.  The restaurant was in a house and was packed with vacationers from all over.  We choose to eat upstairs on the porch.  Quite an interesting place and the food was exceptional.  For dessert I had a macaroon covered with chocolate.  Wow....

The talk was held at a local church and 50 people turned out which was a real testament on this beautiful summer island day of the local folks great respect for Dud.  He is a key leader in their local peace group which vigils every week - summer and winter.

I've recently been using PowerPoint to show pictures during my talks.  I shared stories about US  base expansion in Guam, Australia, Japan, South Korea and Okinawa.  One of our friends Carolyn Coe, who has gone to Jeju Island, taped my talk for replay on the WERU alternative radio station that covers this part of the state.

Dud has also been to Jeju Island and Okinawa as part of a delegation in 2015 organized by VFP.  Artist Russell Wray from nearby Hancock also went on that 2015 delegation to Jeju and came to the event tonight with his wife Akemi from Japan.  Russell is currently working on our logo design for our October 13-21 Maine Peace Walk that will be centered in Bath. 

My talk seemed to go over well - I urged people to form an affinity group to come to Bath Iron Works (BIW) the next time another destroyer is 'chrsitened' at the shipyard and risk arrest.  I suggested that we must bring the conversion of BIW issue to every corner of the state if the peace movement had any hope of moving our nation away from endless war and towards creating a sustainable future that might give our children and grand kids a chance to survive on our Mother Earth.  Nothing can be more important.

Tomorrow morning Dud and his wife Jean have invited all the members of their local peace group to have breakfast with us at their home before we leave Deer Isle.  It's been a short visit but the people here are quite special and MB and I always love visiting.

Saturday in Brunswick will be the 13th annual Peace Fair put on by our local Midcoast group PeaceWorks.  I'll be going early to help set things up and then will table on behalf of the Global Network. In addition they have several 'Conversation Cafe' topics during the fair and I will be doing the one called 'Where do the destroyers built a BIW go when they leave Bath?'.

Back at home we had a professional animal trapper come to our house today to set traps to catch a family of woodchucks that are eating the hell out of our garden.  They've gone after the beans, kale, squash, beets, carrots - and the last straw was this morning when I saw they took bites out of some of my tomatoes.  After they are caught the trapper will take them to a state preserve in western Maine and release them.  I just hope they don't hitchhike back to Bath since they obviously are loving our garden!

Summer in Maine......


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