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....

My Photo
Name:
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, October 24, 2017

La Familia in Bath


All are welcome at this table.  Our goal is to work together - we need each other now more than ever.  We are in a mess and we've all got to row hard if we want to survive.  What is our most common agenda?

Our group of peace walkers became a family.  About a dozen were here all week.  Others came in and out along the way.  So there was always new energy to give us a spurt.

Thanks to John Morris and Peter Morgan a plan was put in motion to systematically visit 95% of the doors in the community with flyers explaining the purpose of the walk.  These were delivered over three days and we heard from some who read the flyers and thanked us. 

Morgana Warner Evans made her contribution by gathering food and then working with other volunteers to feed us.  Mary Beth Sullivan helped coordinate the overall effort and MCed the finale event on Saturday.  She and Karen Wainberg also helped nurture moving discussions inside one local church community as they considered our request to use their facilities throughout the week.  A couple of Sunday's in a row they dedicated serious portions of the church program to discussing the walk.

Just last Sunday one church member asked walker Jason Rawn to sing with him during the 'announcements' portion of the service - so they sang Vine and fig tree - And everyone 'neath their vine and fig tree, shall live in peace and not afraid, And into plowshares turn their swords, nations shall learn war no more.....

Dan Ellis ran the sound system at the finale rally and put all the peace walk materials on the Maine Veterans For Peace website.

I've been posting things about the walk for the past week on a local Facebook page where folks share stories about Bath-Brunswick.  Yesterday one person wrote back in response to my post:  "If America's 'empire' is declining (and I doubt that it is) stuff like this just shoves it a little further along."

Good to see someone noticed - one of the most important topics of our time.

One retired BIW finance department staffer wrote saying the peace walkers should go find something constructive to do like feed someone in a homeless shelter.  Another suggested that "Bruce must have flown in from Area 51."

Nice touch.....ouch.....please be nice to me.....

But there were a surprising number of likes when our walk logo was posted carrying announcements for pot luck suppers and such.  The conversion of a destroyer into commuter rail, wind turbines and solar power right before your eyes on a big bright banner is a grabber.  Art work is crucial to reaching many people - that is how I often have learned - visually.

Karen Wainberg from Bath spoke at finale

The walk art work came from two primary places - Russell Wray from Hancock and the statewide artist collective called ARRT! (Artists Rapid Response Team) that makes banners for various protest movements across Maine.

The closing event on Saturday was really beautiful and the star of the show for sure was John Morris singing his country and western stuff.  The rally was to begin at noon but at 11am we saw that the Farmers Market, being held in the same waterfront park, would close at noon.  So we invited John to sing from 11am til the rally officially began at noon.  It was the first time John had ever sung with a microphone - his steady style would never have given any clue of that.



All in all it was a good show.  We had fun and some new local people showed interest in what we are doing.  Others who know the score, but are apprehensive to become associated with us publicly, hopefully will feel a bit more empowered to speak out and help protect the coming generations.  We need more voices badly.

For me it is fun organizing things like this but I am 65 now and focused on helping to develop and support younger people among us who are moving into this work on a regular basis.  Will Griffin (who made most of the videos we have been posting) came up from Georgia and I know he learned alot from the experience.  Please check out Will's video work at The Peace Report.

The biggest surprise has been that our local newspaper, The Times Record, finally published an article about a panel discussion we held at a church in Brunswick last Tuesday.  A reporter came and nothing appeared in Wednesday, Thursday or Friday editions.  They don't publish the paper on Saturday or Sunday.  But on Monday the story appeared on front page - top of the fold.  A good story which you can read here.  Better late than never.  If it doesn't play on mainstream media it normally doesn't exist.

We can't ultimately relay on the corporate controlled media to get our message out - that is why we walk and try to engage people.  It's hard work but that is the reality of organizing.  If you can build a great family experience while doing the work it becomes pure joy - and good exercise.
 
We are living on a thin line and getting back to sanity ain't gonna be a breeze. 

Pour the last bit of the wine in the glass onto the ground ....remember the roots.

Bruce

0 Comments:

Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home