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.

Friday, August 18, 2017

Once We Were Tribal



Driving our rental car last night from Los Angeles to Morro Bay we were listening to KPFK (Non-Commercial Pacifica Radio) and they were playing this clip from now deceased Native American activist/poet John Trudell.

I loved it and happy to share it here.

Spoken word by John Trudell - Track 18 of Descendants Now Ancestors CD - DNA.

Once they were tribal. How were they transformed? How do we protect ourselves and our children from the Predator? How do we decontaminate, decolonize, deprogram?

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Heading to California & Other Bits


Mary Beth and I head to Morro Bay, California tomorrow for several days to be with my son Julian and his wife Emily and some of our combined families.  Two of my sisters are coming and Emily's mom, dad and brother have come over from Taiwan.  Julian's mom will be there as well along with a couple of her grandchildren. 

Julian and Emily have been in the states for about two months - he was working at some debate camps and they've been touring across the south and southwest in recent weeks.  They got married in Taiwan last January and are going to hold another beach ceremony in Morro Bay for the stateside folks who could not make the trip to Taiwan.  So it should be alot of fun for all of us.

It's been a busy week for me - doing several media interviews which can be listened to here, here, here, here, and here.

Once we return home next week I'll have to get right to work doing final preparations for our Navy Blue Angels airshow protest in Brunswick on August 26.  Then I'll be doing a taping of my public access TV show on August 28.

Our Maine Peace Walk is approaching fast (Oct 13-21) as is the Global Network's annual Keep Space for Peace Week (Oct 7-14).  In addition we have our Aegis 9 trial coming up with jury selection on September 7 in West Bath District Court. So it will be an active fall around here.

Another thing I've been up to lately is working on a committee to organize a 'Close all US foreign military bases' national conference for next January that will be held in Baltimore.  It's a great group of folks and we've already held two conference calls to set things in motion.  Sometimes working on these kinds of events can cause you to pull the hair out of your head but our committee is really doing very well together.

As word has spread about the new coalition that we've created to close US bases the organizing committee is hearing from activists all over the world.  Here is one message we got from folks in Germany.

Subject: Duelmen Army Depot, Germany
Dear Friends, we live in Germany, Duelmen, a place where the US Army has opened a new APS (Army Prepositioned Stocks) set in the former Tower Barracks at May 12th, 2017. [The APS program supports the National Military Strategy by strategically prepositioning warfighting stocks afloat and ashore at critical worldwide locations.] This is an operation for ERI/Atlantic Resolve. They have started to store 12,000 pieces of weapons and equipment (modern howitzers M109 Paladin, Air defense systems - we think: HIMARS and Bradley linebacker, etc).

We started a new peace group "Friedensfreunde Duelmen" as our answer. Our goals are "Talking with the Russians, negotiations about mutual controls of weapons and manoeuvres".

We try to get in contact with citizens in Zutendaal/Belgium and in Eygelshoven/Netherlands, little towns 300 miles away from Duelmen, where similar bases are planned.

So we appreciate your initiative very much and try our best to share it with everybody we know: Go tell it to the mountains, over the hills and everywhere. ...
We will keep you informed about our actions.

Michael and Penelope

'It's crazier than I could have ever imagined'



Journalist Abby Martin exposes Zionism on Joe Rogan Podcast.

Taxpayers in the US are subsidizing most of Israel's illegal and genocidal crackdown on the Palestinian people.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

U.S. Must Sign Peace Treaty with North Korea



Bruce Gagnon, coordinator for Global Network Against Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space, joins RT America’s Natasha Sweatte to discuss tensions between the US and North Korea and the former’s culpability in the ongoing mutual hostility.

White Dispossession of America



Demographics show that in just a few years from now people of color will be the majority population in the US.  Many on the right fear that day and much of their current insanity and white supremacy organizing is based on this coming reality.

This video gives you a good glimpse of how one white man of privilege thinks.

Monday, August 14, 2017

They Are the Same War


It was heartening to see the strong and quick response yesterday by activists around the country as they held protests in solidarity with those attacked by Nazi and Klan forces in Charlottesville.

In nearby Brunswick, Maine about 200 folks turned out on the town green for an event.  Some formed a circle singing songs and making statements while others stood along the busy Main Street with signs.  (You can see me with my sign above - last one on the left.)

While standing along the road I felt that our presence was important to send a strong message to the community that the bad behavior in Charlottesville by the fascists cannot be accepted for one second.

The quick turn around by Trump between yesterday and his 'corrected' statement today was an indication of the overwhelming national and international sentiment against this evil of domination and white supremacy.  Our national internal contradictions over genocide of native peoples, slavery, environmental onslaught, and global corporate colonization have always been at odds with the promise of America.  American 'exceptionalism' is a facade to hide corporate rule and at the present moment the people have begun to figure it out.  The problem now is what to do about it?

One thing I realized yesterday was that most of these good-hearted 200 folks in Brunswick won't ever turn out for a peace demonstration at Bath Iron Works - our local manifestation of the US imperial war program.

So if you accept the notion that things are fucked up here at home then how can you allow these same kinds of brutal fascist global domination policies to be used on Jeju Island, Guam, Ukraine, Okinawa, Sicily, Syria, Afghanistan, and Yemen?  What role does human solidarity play in your consciousness?  Can't you make the strategic mental jump that allowing the war machine to flourish world-wide means it will also get stronger here at home?

They are the same war. Charlottesville is Ukraine.  Ferguson is Palestine.  Standing Rock is Jeju Island and Okinawa.

I come to several conclusions as I try to understand these contradictions in the thinking of so many 'progressives'.  (I find I can't call myself that anymore - I don't trust the word.  It has a hollowness to it.) 

Many progressives are locked into the Democratic party and are out doing mining operations for it - recruiting fired up and effective activists and trying to bring them into the party before the next elections.  Many new front groups are being created with money from George Soros, 'progressive foundations', and likely even CIA and/or Homeland Security funds are being used to internally direct the movement.  (Just tell the truth now - where did all those 'pink pussy hats' come from almost overnight?  Were they really hand-knitted or did most of them get flown in from China?)

One thing I've learned over the years is that internal subversion of our movements is indeed going on here in the US.  I came to track it better during the 2014 US directed coup in Kiev.  NGO's were set up and funded in Ukraine to help drive the issues that led to the coup.  These same operatives helped whip the masses into a fervor and delivered them directly into the waiting hands of US corporate interests.  That is all public information now - Victoria Nuland handing out bread to Ukrainians while working with Joe Biden, John McCain and the fascists inside the country.

For years I've asked fellow Americans - what makes you think we are so special that the government, Mr. Big, won't come after us someday?  Well that day has come and they will use the fascists here in the US as their front line storm troops as the oligarchy tries to hang onto power during inevitable imperial collapse.

Help accelerate the imperial take down by standing with those who are fighting Mr. Big in their intense struggles around the world.  Some have to fight the US colonizers with violence as a last resort.  Many others use non-violence because there is still some space to use that preferred organizing method.

I remember hearing Nelson Mandela say that the African National Congress (ANC) was committed to non-violence for many years but had to pick up arms to defend their people against the fascist and racist South African government attacks that Washington fully supported.  It was the same in Nicaragua and El Salvador back in the 1980-90's.  People always want to resolve conflicts non-violently but that is only possible if both sides are willing to seriously negotiate.

We have seen how the US negotiates - the Indians told us that the 'White man speaks with forked tongue'. Washington has always lied to steal land and resources from others and is doing the same thing around the world today.

So until the American left stands for true international solidarity it will be exceedingly difficult to get the US military boot off the necks of people overseas or here at home.

Bruce 

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Call it What it is - Terrorism


Charlottesville Like Ukraine: America's 2nd Civil War?

Ultra-nationalist Klan and neo-Nazi's march through the University of Virginia Friday evening.  Chanting “You will not replace us!” they surrounded and attacked a small group of Black Lives Matter protesters.


Can you tell much difference from the photo above in Charlottesville, Virginia and the one below of the Nazi's in Ukraine that played a key role in the 2014 US orchestrated coup d'etat in Kiev?

Western Ukrainians carry the image of their fascist hero Stepan Bandera who rallied his supporters during WW II to join Hitler's attack on the Soviet Union as the Nazi Army swept through Ukraine.



 Phil Wilayto (who I went to Ukraine with in 2016) lives in Richmond, Virginia today writes:

The next day, Aug. 12, some 500 fascists gathered at Emancipation Park, while many more protesters massed in the surrounding streets. Insults morphed into throwing water bottles, then more dangerous projectiles, then fistfights, while the police stayed in the park and ignored the rising tensions.

“People punched and kicked each other during various scuffles, which often were broken up from within crowds, without police intervention,” reported CNN. This despite the fact that more than 1,000 officers were expected to be deployed, according to city officials.
Rumors spread that they were going to march on a nearby low-income, predominantly Black housing project. Protesters massed at an intersection on the anticipated march route, intending to block the fascists.
That’s when a car rapidly accelerated and plowed into the crowd of protesters, sending several people flying into the air. The driver then slammed into the back of another car at the intersection and drove away rapidly, in reverse, fleeing the scene.
One person was killed. Nineteen more were injured, nine of whom are in serious or critical condition.

The person driving the car was 20-year-old James Alex Fields from Ohio who is with Vanguard America, the neo-Nazi group that organized the protest.

Fields (2nd from left) was seen by the statue of Robert E. Lee, before the crash in Charlottesville. He belongs to Vanguard America, a hate group that uses the nationalist slogan “blood and soil” and believes the U.S. is for the “White American peoples.”


The woman killed was Heather Heyer, age 32, a paralegal in Virginia. She was killed while crossing the street. Heyer was among 20 people struck as Fields barreled his Dodge Challenger down a narrow street teeming with counter-protesters.

Many reports (and my own watching of countless videos from the scene yesterday) clearly showed police virtually absent during most of the worst street fighting.  It reminds me of the story in Odessa, Ukraine on May 2, 2014 when fascists chased people who were petitioning for a federated Ukraine into the Trades Union Hall and then set it on fire.  More than 50 were killed that day.  The police were standing behind the building smoking cigarettes and never lifted a finger to protect those trapped inside the burning building.

Just like in Ukraine, where the predominately nationalist west as been set against the Russian-speaking Ukrainian citizens in the east, we see the effort underway in America to divide the people against one another.  The Klan and Nazi right-wing (and many police departments across the nation) are targeting people of color in order to create civil war conditions.

But we must ask why is this happening?

The American people are not needed anymore by the ruling corporate oligarchies who have gone global with their investments and production.  We see the massive disinvestment across the US as cities and states (like Maine) fall apart and jobs are lost.  Rather than have the people, who are angry and fearful about the future, put the blame squarely where it belongs.... Mr. Big uses his various methods to pit American against American.

Trump's role in all of this is to blow the dog whistle and the far right quickly steps into the circle armed to the teeth and ready to fight against people of color and their many white supporters.  This video below gives a taste of how armed-up these fascists were yesterday in Charlottesville.  They look like military forces but in fact are para-military forces (death squads) that will be used by the oligarchy as their agents to bludgeon those that dare stand in support of those being targeted.



Now just ask yourself this: if Black or white activists were armed like these fascists what would the police do?  In this case the fascists paraded all over Charlottesville with not one bit of reaction from the cops.  What does that tell you?  Who gave the cops the orders to stand asside?

We are going to see more of this in the future.  The relevant question is how do we in the peace and justice movements respond to all of this - especially when the local cops sit back and watch the bully boys attack peaceful protesters?  We should all be talking more about this and demanding that local police not side with the fascists by being absent during these highly dangerous moments.

Bruce

Sunday Song