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.

Thursday, January 04, 2018

Rally at Maine's State Capital



Yesterday was a good day for our campaign.  The Portland Press Herald carried two letters to the editor opposing the $60 million corporate subsidy to General Dynamics (GD).  So far across the state as best we can track 14 letters and Op-Eds have appeared in seven newspapers expressing opposition.  We hope you will write something for a daily or weekly paper in your community soon.
 
I was in Augusta on Wednesday to join the rally inside the Hall of Flags organized by the Alliance for the Common Good.  Over 50 people were there and I got a chance to address the crowd.  I talked about GD’s request for $60 million in corporate welfare from an already strapped state.  Three Maine legislators were in the audience at that moment and I had a chance to hand four other legislators some info about the GD welfare request.  Those I spoke with expressed opposition but the proof will be in the pudding.
 
The Taxation Committee in Augusta begins hearings next week and so far the Rep. Jennifer DeChant (Dem-Bath) and Sen. Eloise Vitelli (Dem-Arrowsic) bill to give GD $60 million over the next 20 years is still not written.  It appears DeChant continues to work with GD’s lawyers and lobbyists to complete the bill for Taxation Committee hearings that would be on January 22. So preliminarily we should plan to go to Augusta on that date to pack the hearing room.  We will keep you posted as things further develop.
 
The Times Record in Brunswick is working on a big story about GD’s big program to buy back their own stock to help drive up the price of it.  I reminded the folks in the Hall of Flags today that between 2009-2016 GD bought back $12.9 billion of its own stock.  You can only do that when you have lots of excess cash in the bank.  So clearly GD does not need a penny from Maine.  Our task now is to help to public find out about this.
 
Please be sure to contact your state representative and senator ASAP and share with them your thinking about GD’s request.  You can find contact info for the Maine Legislature at http://legislature.maine.gov/
 
If you’d like to learn more about the details of the GD $60 million request watch this interview with Orlando Delogu – expert on these issues and emeritus Professor of Law at USM.   https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3Ei_OsCLh-k&feature=youtu.be
 
Your help to spread the world on Facebook and Twitter would be great. 
 
Please do what you can – we will have just a couple more weeks to alert the public to this raid on the state treasure chest by the corporate pirates.  Surely we can all think of many important needs that $60 million could be used for in Maine.
 
In peace,
 
Bruce
 
This campaign is supported by:

Americans Who Tell the Truth (Brooksville)
COAST (Citizens Opposing Active Sonar Threats, Hancock)
Global Network Against Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space (Bath)
Greater Brunswick PeaceWorks
Green Horizon Magazine (Topsham)
Island Peace & Justice (Deer Isle)
Maine Green Independent Party
Maine Natural Guard (Solon)
Maine Peace Fund (Portland)
Maine Veterans For Peace
Maine War Tax Resistance Resource Center (Portland)
Maine Women’s International League for Peace & Freedom (Brunswick)
Peace & Justice Center of Eastern Maine (Bangor)
Peace & Justice Group of Waldo County
Peninsula Peace & Justice Center (Blue Hill)
Resources for Organizing & Social Change (Augusta)

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