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: Brunswick, 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, March 22, 2018

Make GD work for their welfare check

Vietnam veteran Tom Ryan (still fasting) and Cynthia Howard among the 12 of us in the hallway of the state capital today - we will return Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday next week. 

It was an interesting day today at the capital in Augusta.  Twelve of our campaign supporters were present to hold signs, hand out flyers, and talk to various legislators.

One Democrat state representative came up to me as I was leaning against the wall in the hallway with my sign.  We'd never spoken before.  She was quite concerned about my health and was glad to hear that I had begun to eat.  She said that she intended to vote against the bill.  One more name in the column to oppose this bad bill.

We learned that the Progressive Caucus would meet next Tuesday to discuss LD 1781 and Taxation Committee co-chair Ryan Tipping (D-Orono) will make the case to them in favor of the bill.  This is despite the fact that he has told some of our supporters in his town that he believes it is a 'bad bill' and a 'race to the bottom'.

We are urging a large turnout of Mainers on Tuesday (March 27) from 9:30 am to noon on the 3rd floor of the capital building.  Be sure to bring a sign that says why you oppose this corporate welfare bill.  We'll also be back there on Wednesday and Thursday of next week as the legislature will be in session then as well.

One of our advisers today shared with us that the Democrats in the legislature are quite vulnerable now as they attack Gov. LePage for his decision to insert a bill that would conform (or match) Maine with Trump's federal tax bill that recently passed in Washington.  (Of course the Dems should oppose LePage's effort to copy Trump's give-a-way to the rich and corporations.)  But for the Dems in Maine to oppose LePage's 'conformity' tax bill and then turn around and support giving $45 million to General Dynamics is the height of hypocrisy.  So the Dems in Augusta have put themselves in a real moral, ethical and political bind.

The alternative we are told is for the Dems to try to hide (or merge) this bad corporate welfare bill for GD into another bill that is more favorable to their constituency base - like Medicaid expansion.  So keep your eyes and ears peeled for this kind of sausage making.

In the end we must step up the pressure on all the legislators.  Both Republicans and Democrats must continue to hear from Mainers.  Each of us must become organizers during these remaining days as this special legislative session nears its last couple of weeks.  Be sure to say that you oppose LD 1781 in any form.

Please do what you can to remain in solidarity with the 43,000 children living in poverty across our financially strapped state.

Thanking you in advance for your support to help save Mainers $45 million.



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