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.

Monday, December 11, 2017

Witnessing the deep peace movement in Okinawa


Our very diverse Veterans For Peace delegation had a good start today with an orientation and then made several stops at key sites that remember the 1945 Battle of Okinawa which saw 1/3 of all civilians on the island killed when the US attacked and knocked out the Japanese occupation.

The legacy of the war is so powerful that one of our local guides told us that the protests against US base expansion currently underway on Okinawa are heavily motivated by the strong memories from the epic 1945 battle.  People here have deep scars from the war - unlike most people in the US who've never experienced such catastrophic loss.

In all my travels I've concluded that the Koreans are pound-for-pound the best organizers I've ever seen.  But Okinawa, since the early 1950's, has the broadest and deepest movement that I've witnessed anywhere.  The governor and most of the mayors on the island are part of the peace movement.  There are war museums all over the place.  Even the caves that the Okinawan people hid in during the US invasion in 1945 have become shrines.

Okinawa Prefecture Peace Park

Bus loads upon bus loads of school students from the Japanese mainland were seen everywhere we went today as the effort to remember this horrible nightmare of war on Okinawa gets embedded in the next generation.

The right-wing Japanese government of Shinzo Abe, now in complete partnership with the US imperial war project, is working hard to reclaim its own imperial past.  Coupled together the US and Japan are making outrageously provocative military moves in this part of the world to encircle China and Russia.  Most people here in Okinawa see that this US-Japan strategy is a danger to world peace and could very well lead to WW III.

North Korea is being used as a foil - a distraction from the real agenda.  The US-Japan (along with an aggressive NATO) are trying to ensure that China and Russia do not challenge Washington for global power.  China and Russia keep saying that want a multi-polar world rather than the US model of uni-polar corporate control.

The US is on a collision course and if Washington decides to roll the dice and go to war it will likely be the last one.

I wish the American people could wake up from their deep sleep and see what harm our military empire is causing here in Okinawa and other places around the planet.

This VFP delegation is committed to doing all we can to pull the curtain off the face of the war machine.  It would be great if more people cared - and acted in concert with the long suffering people of Okinawa.

Bruce

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