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.

Friday, December 08, 2017

Heading to Okinawa for VFP solidarity trip


I am heading today to Boston from where I will fly to Okinawa to join another Veterans For Peace (VFP) delegation that will once again stand (and sit) with the people trying to stop US base expansion on their beleaguered island.

In 2015 I traveled to Okinawa with a VFP delegation and we protested outside several of the US bases on the island.  (Photo of us above at Camp Schwab where the US is having twin-runways built on top of pristine Oura Bay. See my previous Okinawa posts here.)

There are presently 32 US military bases scattered throughout Okinawa taking up about 20% of the total land mass on the island.  And the US wants to take even more land due to Obama's 'pivot' of 60% of US military forces into the Asia-Pacific region to encircle China and Russia.  Trump is now continuing that policy which means more ports-of-call are needed for Navy warships, more runways are need for US warplanes and more barracks are needed for American troops.

Earlier this week VFP sent around an article about Okinawan protest leader Hiroji Yamashiro, 64, chairman of the Okinawa Peace Activity Center.  He was arrested Oct. 16, 2016, and kept in prison for several months.  During his incarceration, Yamashiro was stuck in solitary confinement for four months with no natural light after guards covered up his windows.  He is now on trial and Japanese prosecutors seek a 2½-year prison sentence.  Remarkably the Stars & Stripes military newspaper has just done a story about Yamashiro which you can find here.

This will be VFP's third delegation to stand in solidarity with the Okinawan people.  They have been protesting regularly since 1953 against US military bases but you'd never know about that from the media in the United States.  They've elected a governor and many mayors who are actively opposing the US military expansions which are destroying their environment and damaging their culture.  See an excellent documentary film on the Okinawan story here.

I'll do my best to post as often as possible while there.  The way we defeat this US military empire is to cut the military budget in Washington which has now reached one trillion a year.  It's a difficult task but we also need to break thru the media silence about US bases overseas (there are more than 800 of them) and help the American people see how much global resentment and rage our military empire is causing.

One thing you can do is come to Baltimore, Maryland on January 12-14, 2018 and attend the national Conference on U.S. Foreign Military BasesWe will be talking about Okinawa and many other places around the globe where the US military is occupying lands. I will be there participating in the plenary panel on US bases in the Asia-Pacific region.

Bruce

0 Comments:

Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home