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.

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Day 37: Back to Augusta & ending hunger strike

 

 




We had sixteen of us this morning with signs inside the 'lobbyist staging area' on the 3rd floor of the capital between the House and Senate chambers.

Lots of kids were there from various schools across the state so they got a real lesson in 'democracy'.  One of the teachers made an interested young girl return our flyer to us - not allowed in her school we supposed.

Our group - very ordinary Mainers - seemed to change the vibe in the hallway and many of us remarked that we felt a discernible shift in the attitude of many of the legislators toward us.  Several stopped to tell us they are with us - including a kind Republican legislator who has told me this three times.

A state senator from the Brunswick area told one of his constituents in our group that he has received more contact on LD 1781 than any other issue since he has been in office.  So you are getting their attention - don't stop now!

My own state senator - one of the sponsors of the bill - approached and told me that "We need you all here."  I took it as a compliment of the campaign's effectiveness.

This afternoon from 4:00-5:00 pm the community radio station WERU in East Orland (almost three hours north of Bath) had several of us from the campaign on the air to discuss the GD corporate welfare bill.  Host Amy Browne did an excellent job of weaving Lawrence Reichard, Alex Nunes, Lisa Savage, Bob Klotz, Jessica Stewart and myself into the discussion.

We covered most of the key points but VFP member Peter Morgan wrote me after the show and said he was standing by to call in and wanted to say, "BIW has refused to [prove] a financial justification for their [request] for financial assistance."  But they took no calls today since there were so many of us on the show.

Last night I woke in the middle of the night feeling dizzy and way out of sorts.  MB got me some juice but I didn't sleep well after that.  My body was talking to me - quite loudly.

So today I consulted with one of my medical advisers (Bob Klotz) and determined that I would end my hunger strike on this 37th day.  Others will continue the solidarity fast under the steady coordination of Mary Kate Small.  Our friend Tom Ryan continues his fasting now into the 15th day or so and he will go until day 20.

We also got confirmation that our advert began today on WGAN radio in southern Maine.  It will run for a week - four times a day.  One of our friends actually heard it on the air.

We feel like we have done well but need a strong surge as we near the end of this campaign.  Our biggest need is to get more new folks to contact their state legislators about their opposition to LD 1781.  We are asking all of our supporters to find five new folks who have not yet called and have them contact their representatives in Augusta.  We offer this handy tool and thank David Swanson for putting this effective vehicle in our hands.  See it here

So I will reenter the eating world slowly and mindfully - experts say at least four days are needed to do this.

I will return to the 3rd floor corridor with my sign on Thursday at 9:30 am and then again next week on Tuesday and Thursday.

In the meantime I am giving my heart and soul to defeating this bad bill.

Bruce

Photos by Peter Woodruff (retired BIW worker)

4 Comments:

Blogger Lisa Savage said...

Your 37 day hunger strike was very effective. Glad to hear you are ending it in favor of your continued health though. Onward to defeat LD1781!

And thanks to Peter Woodruff for the great photos.

3/21/18, 4:58 AM  
Blogger Tarak Kauff said...

Bruce, you and the other resistors to the General Dynamics rip off have and still are setting a powerful example of effective resistance to corporate criminality and war making. You are not only my friend and brother but you (and your Maine comrades) are heroes. America owes you all a debt of gratitude.

3/21/18, 8:29 AM  
Anonymous Nirmana Davila said...

Thanks for all your efforts on this, Bruce. And thanks for the link to the super-handy tool to contact our state legislators. i just used it, and posted to FB too. Keep up all the hard work!

3/21/18, 9:47 AM  
Blogger David Larsen said...

Well done Bruce. Your voice and the voices of those who agree with you have been heard. However this finally turns out, our legislature now knows that the people are pissed about the seemingly endless and unjustified tax giveaways by our representatives in Augusta to corporations who deign to do business in our state and are very pissed at corporations who are making enormous profits continuing to hold poor states hostage just because then think they can.

3/21/18, 10:37 AM  

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