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.

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Weekend of Preparing for Peace Walk

Fellow Maine peaceniks Russell Wray (left) and Jason Rawn painting a barn

  • Mary Beth (MB) and I had a great day yesterday as we joined Lisa Savage and Mark Roman at the Sierra Club's climate change conference in Lewiston.  We went under the banner of Maine Natural Guard that Lisa has formed to bring the links between endless war and the Pentagon's impact on the environment to the public.  We handed out flyers about the upcoming Maine Peace Walk (October 13-21) that will be calling for the conversion of the Bath Iron Works Navy shipyard.
  • After we left Lewiston MB and I drove further south to York Beach, Maine where Boston-area Veterans For Peace (VFP) members were holding their annual BBQ at the summer home of Vietnam veteran Pat Scanlon. Fellow Mainers John Morris and Peter Morgan also came and we all had a moving time talking about US past and current war mongering.  The collective clarity and commitment for peace at these kinds of gatherings of veterans is always inspiring.  I spent some of the time talking with various guys about coming up for some part of the Maine Peace Walk.  Al Johnson is raising money in Boston for walk expenses which is a huge help.  This is the third year in a row that Al has taken on that task and we are very grateful.
  • In December I will be going to Okinawa with another VFP delegation.  This will be the third VFP trip to Okinawa to stand with the local people as they oppose expanding US military bases on their beleaguered island.  This new delegation will have more younger vets from more recent US wars.  Also several of those younger vets will be women.  
  • Maine artist Russell Wray (pictured above) will be coming along on the trip and is helping Jason Rawn paint a barn in order to make some money to cover his expenses.  Russell is the coordinator of Citizens Opposing Active Sonar Threats (COAST) and has a deep love for sea life - particularly sea mammals.  So this will be a special trip for him. One place we will join the locals in protesting is outside the gates of US Marine base Camp Schwab where the US is forcing the Japanese government to build twin-runways out over pristine Oura Bay for Pentagon war planes being sent to the Asia-Pacific as part of the 'pivot' of US military forces into the region.
  • People who live in South Korea, Okinawa, Japan and Guam are very worried about aggressive language by Donald Trump about 'fire and fury' because they know that their lives will be sacrificed if the US goes to war with North Korea - or China and Russia. 

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