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, April 17, 2018

Returning to Okinawa for Six-Day Protest of 500 in front of Henoko Gate


I will be returning to Okinawa later this week as part of a three-person Veterans For Peace delegation.  We've been asked to come and join a week long action in front of the US Marine base at Camp Schwab that sits along pristine Oura Bay where the US is now attempting to build twin-runways on top of the bay where endangered species live.

In order to build the airfield in the bay millions of dump truck loads of landfill must be placed there and the people (who have been protesting at the base every day for the last 13 years) have put out a call for 400-500 people each day to come and help block the construction gate.  So our VFP delegation will join that blockade for the week of April 23-28.

Fellow Mainer Dud Hendrick (Deer Isle) and Tarak Kauff (Woodstock, NY) will be along for this VFP delegation.

See some of my past posts about Oura Bay here

Bruce

Below is the statement sent out by the Okinawan peace movement explaining the purpose of the week long action.


Nonstop Six-Day Protest of 500 in front of Henoko Gate
Statement

During the Nago mayoral election, the government’s ruling party poured overwhelming amount of election funds and people into a small town of 60,000 people like a rushing jet stream of mud swallowing everything. As a result, citizens have been divided and a deep scar has been left.

In the upcoming Okinawa gubernatorial election in November, the government will no doubt intervene in the election in Okinawa at an incomparably larger scale than in the Nago mayoral election.

We are seriously taking the result of the Nago mayoral election and feel an urgent need to create a new movement toward the Okinawa gubernatorial election. If we lose in the gubernatorial election to a candidate who cheers on the Japanese government, it is clear to everyone that the new military base construction in Henoko will accelerate ever more rapidly and create an irreversibly grave situation.

Seawall construction started in Oura Bay in April 2017. But this construction has for the moment stopped. The reason appears to be, as the media says, the existence of fragile ground and active fault in the seabed. Hence the Okinawa Defense Bureau is moving forward the seawall construction on the Henoko side with terrible speed. If the enclosure is completed, earth and sand will finally be poured in there and then the landfill will start.

By changing the initial plan and making the landfill in the shallows on the Henoko side, the Japanese government is trying to make the Okinawan people feel “Henoko can no longer be stopped” and give up and undermine the support for Governor Onaga.

What is needed now more than anything is to energize the movement in front of Camp Schwab in Henoko and actually stop the construction. If citizens numbering from 400 to 500 can gather in front of the gate, the construction can definitely be stopped.

If this is realized, undoubtedly the Okinawan people’s will to oppose the new military base construction in Henoko will remain unshaken and it will back Governor Onaga’s demand to revoke the approval for the landfill and his determined exercise of administrative right.

Okinawan people remember how more than 150,000 Okinawan lives were taken during the Battle of Okinawa and their chimugukuru (deep spirit) will never accept a new military base. We can no longer allow the Japanese government’s discrimination and repression against Okinawa.

We earnestly call upon all the people in Okinawa, Japan, and the world to participate in the action below. Please support and collaborate with this action.

Date: April 23 (Mon.) -28 (Sat.), 2018, 8 AM―4 PM
Place In front of Henoko (Camp Schwab) Gate

Nonstop Six-Day Protest in front of Henoko Gate Action Committee
Okinawa Heiwa Support, 198-2, Henoko, Nago City, Okinawa Prefecture,
905-2171

FAX: 0980-55-2245
Email: atsumarehenoko500@gmail.com
Contact Info: 080-4343-4335

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