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 19, 2018

Day 8: Democrats afraid won't be reelected if reject GD welfare bill

  • I got a call today from a friend who had spoken to one of LD 1781 sponsors - the Maine bill to give up to $60 million in corporate welfare to General Dynamics (GD).  The friend told me the politician, a Democrat, was afraid she would not be reelected if she did not support the bill.  This was the same Democrat who had tweeted against Maine Sen. Susan Collins (Republican) when she supported Trump's corporate tax bill that reduced the federal tax rate of GD to 19%.  So in this case the Democrat state senator rationalizes her way out of this moral dilemma by considering her reelection the most important issue - greater than the reality of 43,000 kids in Maine living in poverty or roads and bridges falling apart.  Why the hell sign up for the job if you are not going to vote for what is right?

  • I went down to the shipyard today at 3:30 pm but the place was mostly shut down due to the Presidents' Day holiday.  I'll be back there again tomorrow at 3:30 pm.  I am going to skip the noon hour vigiling that I did all last week due to my energy beginning to fade.  Today was the hardest day yet for me.  I'm not much of a nap taker normally but this afternoon I fell out for 30 minutes.

  • While I was down at the shipyard I did see some people.  One guy gave me the middle finger and then made a gun out of his fingers and repeatedly shot me as he drove away.  But soon after that another worker walked right up to me and I asked him if he wanted a flyer.  He eagerly took it and said he was opposed to the GD welfare bill.  He said most workers don't like GD - primarily after how they were treated in their last contract.  He said the new contract has a freeze on raises for the next four years, there were cuts in their health care and retirement packages as well as other benefits.

  • So we see GD squeezing the workers while at the same time increasing executive compensation packages and doing major buybacks of their own stocks.  Just last week GD spent $6.8 billion in cash to buy an IT company that does military contracting.  So GD is partly able to spend like that after they have taken money from the workers and from states like Maine, Rhode Island, Connecticut and Kentucky where the politicians are too 'afraid' to say no.

  • I want to thank two folks for their extraordinary efforts in this campaign.  Mary Kate Small (Camden) has sent a letter all over Maine inviting people to join the hunger strike and she is now keeping a log.  She reports that every day is covered through March 17 with someone in Maine joining the hunger strike.  I know of at least three that were fasting in solidarity today. Quite amazing.  Also thanks to Bob Klotz (South Portland) who is a leader in the climate change group 350 Maine for his daily efforts to build this campaign.  Today he put up an online petition that you can sign here



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