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.

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Debating space colonization in Taiwan: Good seed or Bad seed?



My son Julian (on right in photo) teaches debate in Taipei, Taiwan and had me speak to his students today for 90 minutes about space issues.  The kids leave Friday for a big debate tournament in Beijing on 'space colonization'. 

The kids are middle school age and I was quite impressed at how much they already knew and how closely most of them followed the discussion.  A handful of them had lots of questions with Julian adding some (and debating me as well - something he has always liked to do).

We covered alot of ground - from weapons in space to planetary mining colonies.  One question that frequently came up was what will happen by 2050 - will there be war in space or will there be space colonies established by then?  That 2050 time frame appears to be one of the primary themes in their coming Beijing debate.

Two of the moms of the kids came by to check the discussion out and one of them kindly brought me a gift of honey from Taiwan.  A very nice gesture.  The other mom said she met me last January when MB and I attend Julian's wedding to his wife Emily.

I tried to pass on much of what I've learned about space issues over the last 35 years.  My bottom line question was what is the big hurry to colonize space?  I asked the kids how long we humans have been living on planet Earth?  We got many answers but in the end we agreed that it has been a long time.  So my point was why the big rush to colonize by 2050?  I made the point that we can't afford to take the bad seed of war, greed and competition (that has been sown deeply into the consciousness of us Earthlings) into space.  I reminded them of the 'Prime Directive' from the old Star Trek TV series - 'Do no harm when you venture off into space.'

I told them I was excited to know that students would be debating space issues because this is exactly what we need all over the world right now.  Most people don't know much (if anything) about space issues so we need to slow things down so that the global public can catch up with the technology that is pushing space warfare and colonization. 

In the end, I said, the people and our planet are the ones that will pay the ultimate price if there are any mistakes or accidents from space technology - particularly as the nuclear industry views space as a profitable new market.  So the public has the right to be involved in the debate about how our collective tax money is used by the aerospace industry that is pushing space weapons and colonization.

I thanked the kids for listening and told them they were special because now they know something about this subject and that we need them to share what they know with others so that the people of the world can be involved in determining what kind of seed humanity carries into space - the good seed of love, cooperation, non-violence and sharing or the bad seed of greed, violence and competition.

It's a historic debate.

For homework I suggested they (and you) should watch the excellent documentary film called Pax Americana and the Weaponization of Space.

Bruce

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