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.

Saturday, September 09, 2017

Showing in Brunswick October 12


NEW JEJU TRAILER MASTER from Mark Kaplan on Vimeo.

Village versus Empire

A film by South African filmmaker Mark Kaplan

Thursday, October 12
7:30 pm
The Frontier Café & Cinema
Brunswick



Village versus Empire is set on Jeju Island, off the coast of the Korean peninsula – one of the ‘Seven Wonders of Nature’, and also known as The Island of Stone, Peace Island and a Woman’s Island – a place of beauty and wonder, with more UNESCO Natural Heritage Sites than any single geographic location on Earth.

But, there is trouble in this paradise.  It has been transformed – militarized.  Its fragile ecology and ancient shamanistic traditions are being devastated by the construction of a Navy base for US warships that is perceived by the islanders as a globally dangerous provocation which imperils the island’s future and masks its troubled history.

Village versus Empire, dramatizes the threat to Island life and nature, through the eyes and performances of a shaman artist, Dohee Lee, born on the island and deeply troubled by its transformation, the activists who contest its occupation, the residents who have lived through its changes and the archive through which its traumatic past is uncovered.

Tickets: $8

This screening is sponsored by PeaceWorks

Info: 443-9502

This film will likely sell out on October 12 so we suggest getting advance tickets from the Frontier Cinema here   

DVD's can be ordered from the filmmaker by contacting mark@greymattermedia.co.za    

Friday, September 08, 2017

Peace Walk Shirts



We will be ordering these sweatshirts next week for our Maine Peace Walk so are now taking orders.  Cost will be $15 so let us know your preferred size (XL, LG, Med, Sm) ASAP.
 
T-shirts with same design and color will also be available in limited numbers at $10 each.  Again let us know preferred size for T-shirts.
 
You can mail checks to:  Global Network, PO Box 652, Brunswick, ME 04011 

Thursday, September 07, 2017

Climate Breakdown Report



After Irma hits the island of Barbuda, the Prime Minister says that 90% of the country has been leveled. Just devastating.

On National Public Radio (NPR) tonight a climate 'expert' was asked if these recent massive hurricanes were in any way caused by global warming.  The hack responded no - and went on to say that actually in recent years we've had less hurricanes.  NPR should be renamed National Petroleum Radio since they obviously represent the fucking interests of the fossil fuel corporations.

Anyone that gives $$$ to NPR should have their head examined.

Do we wait until the winds hit 500 mph before we acknowledge we have a damn problem?  When does the public wake the hell up and start demanding some immediate changes?

We could start with serious cuts in the obscene Pentagon budget.  (Trump is planning to ask Congress for an even larger military budget next year!)  Big money will be needed to deal with hurricane damage in Texas, Louisiana, Florida and Georgia.  We should be demanding conversion of the war machine to the Natural Guard to help deal with these more frequent severe weather events.  Forget wars for fossil fuels - we need solar, wind, rail, tidal power systems now.

In the meantime the airlines, stores in Florida, and other capitalist shysters are charging an arm and a leg for their products as the public stocks up in preparation for their hit by Irma.  These profiteers should all be jailed.

Bruce

Military Spending or Human Needs?



The latest edition of This Issue features social worker Mary Beth Sullivan from Bath, Maine.  Mary Beth talks about how homeless and mentally ill people are impacted by social neglect and budget cuts. 

She shares her thoughts on the need to audit the Pentagon and to convert the weapons industry to appropriate sustainable production.  She reminds the audience that budgets are moral documents.

Updates from Maine to Korea




  • I spent about six hours yesterday watching the live feed from South Korea as activists in Seongju blocked the roadway where the US was trying to bring THAAD launchers to the new base Army built in their community.  I spent much of that time sharing the story widely on email and social media so that others would know what was happening.  I so badly wanted to be there to join the blockade and was so moved by the determination of the people.  I sent several messages to folks there encouraging them.  They must keep fighting because the fragile peace on the Korean peninsula is at stake.  But we all need to do more in our own communities to help.

It reported:

Many suspect that Russian President Vladimir Putin who hosts the event will attempt to conduct dialogue with the representatives of both Korean states in order to try and de-escalate regional tensions.
  • Let's hope that Putin can work some magic here.  We've seen him take the lead on the successful US-Iran nuclear deal and he was the key person to get Syria to destroy their chemical weapons a couple of years ago.  Russia and China both border North Korea and have much incentive to ensure that the Korean peninsula does not turn into the chaotic Asian version of Iraq, Libya and Syria.
  • I also spent considerable time working on Keep Space for Peace Week yesterday (while watching the live feed from Korea).  We've co-endorsed space week with the Global Action Against Military Bases which is being organized out of Italy.  So we will co-promote these local actions during the October 7-14 period.  It's positive when groups can work together like this rather than in competition with one another.  We appreciate that.
  • Also coming up fast is our Maine Peace Walk for Conversion, Community and Climate from October 13-21.  The wonderful artwork above by Russell Wray from Hancock, Maine will be put on a huge banner and will also be printed on the back side of our walk sweatshirts.  Of course the image will also be printed on our peace walk flyers that we intend to hand out door-to-door in Bath during the walk.  So it is an exciting and busy time for us.  
  • We've been trying to keep our peace activities in Maine connected to the peace work on Jeju Island, South Korea where the destroyers built here at Bath Iron Works (BIW) are being sent to port at the new Navy base.  
  • Plans are currently underway to line up prospective candidates to do civil disobedience here in Bath at the next destroyer 'christening' at BIW.  I am told that already more than two dozen people have signed on to join the next non-violent action - depending of course on the date of the event.
Bruce

Wednesday, September 06, 2017

Live Feed from South Korea THAAD Blockade



Hyun Lee reports that melon farmers and their supporters are blocking the US Army from bringing more THAAD 'missile defense' launchers into their community in Seongju, South Korea.

Five hundred peaceful protesters are being dragged apart by 8,000 South Korean police.

They set cars and trucks in the roadway and many older women are chained to the vehicles.

The people understand that THAAD is provocative and destabilizing.  They are doing more to protect the peace on the Korean peninsula than any of the political hacks in Washington or Seoul.

Hyun writes:

The police have been issuing arrest warnings over the loudspeaker for the past few hours. They seem to be moving in now. It is raining there. People sitting down have linked themselves to each other with rope.

A local reporter on the ground: "Police use of force is more violent than the previous Park Geun-hye administration. The president has changed, but nothing else has."

Stop US THAAD deployments in South Korea!  

Tuesday, September 05, 2017

'Nothing Left to Bomb in North Korea'



Asian historian Christine Hong speaks at the August 9, 2017 rally and march outside Livermore Lab, CA's nuclear bomb design center, commemorating the Atomic bombing of Japan.

She is an Associate Professor of East Asian Studies at University of California at Santa Cruz.

We Don't Want War in Korea!


I've maintained for some time that the US aggressive attitude toward North Korea is a foil - a way to increase tensions in the region in order to pump-up the fear and allow the Pentagon to increase its military encirclement of China and Russia.  They are the real targets.

The Pentagon knows that North Korea only has four nuclear warheads and only medium-range missiles.  So despite all the hype North Korea is not a military threat to the US.

The Pentagon has 6,800 nuclear warheads and obviously has all kinds of missiles of every conceivable range.  North Korea is not going to start a war - if it did the US would pulverize it in a very short time.

I got an email today from International Law professor Francis Boyle who wrote:

I have just had a look at Article 2 of the China/DPRK Mutual Assistance Treaty.... In the event the USA attacks DPRK, China is obligated to come to the Defense of DPRK and has so stated publicly and recently and repeatedly. So it appears that the USA is provoking DPRK to attack USA first, whereupon China has said it will not come to the Defense of DPRK, and it is not obligated to do so under the Treaty.

Thus North Korea has no incentive to attack the US or any of its allies unless the Pentagon hits them first.  North Korea is all about survival of its regime and that is why they are developing nukes.  They've seen what happened to Iraq and Libya and know that if they have the ability to hit back hard they will have a better chance of survival.

Now if I was asked I'd advise North Korea not to sound so belligerent which only gives the US the ability to spin things its way even more.  But easy for me to say......

North Korea was devastated during the 'American War' as they called it during 1950-1953.  Coming out of that war the US refused to sign a peace treaty and to this day the war is technically still on.  Only an Armistice (cease fire) was signed on July 27, 1953.

The US has 83 bases in South Korea that have 23,000 American troops stationed on them.  The US-South Korea-Japan continually hold war games along North Korea's border.  Imagine if some other country was holding war games along our Canadian and Mexican borders.  Washington would never stand for that but when we do that to others it is supposed to be acceptable.

In recent days we paid to boost the Global Network's Keep Space for Peace Week poster on Facebook and there has been a whirlwind of comments, shares and likes.  Somehow a bunch of US military soldiers got ahold of the post and many of them have been commenting.  Today two of us from the Global Network had an extended discussion with one of the soldiers about the Korea issue.

US troops in South Korea and Japan would be high on the list for immediate targeting if a war started between the US and North Korea-China.   American GI's must be a bit afraid at this point and they are not likely to be hearing much opposition to war as the western corporate controlled media is non-stop promoting a US 'decapitation' strike.

I posted a really good Korea issues/history interview on Facebook today (see it here) and one woman commented:

I made the mistake of turning on CNN for few minutes this morning.
A bunch of warmongering, mainly women, mouthpieces. Nauseating.
Thanks for the antidote!
I don't know how all this will turn out but having Trump in the White House and a team of ready-to-kill military generals surrounding him is not very reassuring.  At this point we all need to be speaking out loudly and often against going to war with anyone - especially not in Korea!

Bruce

Sunday, September 03, 2017

Weekend in Rangeley, Maine

 






Mary Beth, Leann and I have been spending the Labor Day weekend in Rangeley, Maine.  We had a Maine Peace Walk begin here a few years ago and I've wanted to come back ever since.  It's a really beautiful place as you can see.

Yesterday soon after we arrived we hiked to the top of Bald Mountain where the view is spectacular.  Then today we walked a Bog trail through the woods alongside Rangeley Lake.

We had lunch with local Tom Ryan, originally from Boston, and a long-time member of Veterans For Peace.  Tom moved here about 10 years ago and was a big help to us when we started our peace walk in Rangeley.

In the morning we will drive to Rumford, the home town of my step-dad, before heading back home to Bath. 

Labor Day Bonus


Sunday Song