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, February 12, 2018

Day 1 updates from Bath


  • The first day of the hunger strike and vigil at BIW went quite well.  Mary Beth, Peter Morgan and Jason Rawn joined the vigil so we were able to cover two key places along Washington Street.  It was cold out there - and always more wind down along the river.
  • We were there at noon and then again during shift change at 3:30 pm.  When they blow the whistle at 3:30 guys come rushing out and I stood in the middle of the parking lot entrance and offered flyers.  One guy walked by me real close and half-whispered, "I agree with you." We handed out about 20 flyers which ain't bad on the first day out.  There is alot of peer pressure not to take a flyer.
  • The first thing I did when I arrived at the shipyard (where destroyers are built for the Navy and are outfitted with 'missile defense' systems being used to encircle China and Russia) was to go to the Machinists Union Hall and handed two flyers to a couple of guys sitting in a meeting.  I told them what I was doing and that the protest was not aimed at them.  I explained it was about the General Dynamics (GD) demand for $60 million from our cash-strapped state.  Before I could finish the sentence one of them reached across his desk and held up a copy of The Bollard with its front page story entitled Ship of Fools: Tax Breaks for BIW, World War III for us.  That pretty much said it all.
  • The Bollard is a very popular free monthly arts, culture and politics magazine out of Portland.  Chris Busby is the editor and while standing at the shipyard during the noon hour he came and snapped the photo above.  He told us that he does not usually do updates on stories in between issues but this time he was going to because he's been finding so much interest in the story.  You can see his update, posted today, here.
  • Busby also told us about a poll he ran across at the Maine Biz (a business paper) web site that asked readers their opinion on GD's $60 million.  Those opposed to LD 1781 in Augusta came out on top at 55%.  Not bad from a business friendly audience.
  • Another exciting thing today was an email from a woman I don't know from Bridgton, Maine who just had a letter published in her local paper opposing corporate welfare for GD.  Bridgton is way out in western Maine where we have no contacts so I take this as a good sign that word is spreading.  We need more of that if we hope to help the people of Maine save $60 million from a hugely wealthy corporation that cares nothing about our poor state.
  • One last bit of news today about GD.  It was announced by Reuters news service that "U.S. defense contractor General Dynamics Corp said on Monday it would buy CSRA Inc, a smaller provider of government services for about $6.8 billion, to expand the services it offers to the U.S. Department of Defense."  Lots of extra cash laying around there at GD HQ.....they don't need $60 million from Maine.
  • Give us some help please.
Bruce

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