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.

Saturday, June 02, 2018

Rally in Washington makes 'deadly connections'



The organization About Face: Veterans Against The War traveled to Washington D.C. to join the Poor People's Campaign to protest the war, violence, and militarism that is tearing the world apart. 

Video by Will Griffin from The Peace Report

Friday, June 01, 2018

Empathy and compassion

Apologies for the misspelling of Yugoslavia.  I didn't make this photo but think the content is very important.


Empathy and compassion

Two words
sadly
with fewer practitioners
during this
dog eat dog
time

I admit
I'm in the US
where these values
are often
forgotten
and trampled
during our mad rush
for the gold


But I see
that in some lands
those words
still have meaning
are honored
we need those folks
more than ever...
bless you all

I've just seen
one person
shift
from lacking empathy
to embracing it
humbling to watch
the sparks of light

Hope lives
inside the shift
each of us must make

ebony and ivory
together

Bruce

Some Russian kids....




By Regis Tremblay

Here’s the second in my series, Who Are These Russians? These are high school students from The School of the Future in Yalta, Crimea. I love these kids and hope you will too!

They were so excited to meet an American and practice their English. They take it for several years in school and are very competent and articulate. Meeting them and touring their school was one of the high points of my trip to Russia in May.

I am quite confident that if more Americans could visit Russia, we would discover that they are just like us. They do not want war. They want to be friends with us, and nearly all said they would love to visit America. Citizen diplomacy is much more effective than that practiced by our government.

Video by Regis Tremblay, Independent Filmmaker, Brunswick, Maine

[Regis recently made his second trip to Russia and will be releasing a series of videos about the people he met while there.  See his first video interview here.  He is going back to Russia again in September with a large group organized by the Center for Citizen Initiatives.  Regis will make a video about that delegation's visit to meet with Russian citizens.  This kind of citizen diplomacy between the west and Russia is needed now more than ever as the US wages its propaganda war against every thing Russian.  Not a day goes by where there is not a story in the mainstream media that demonizes Russia.  Just yesterday there was such a story in the Sports section of our local paper.  This does not just happen by coincidence.  It is an orchestrated campaign that is impacting the hearts and minds of most American people - including many on the 'left' who have little connection or information to counter these mind-washing programs.  You don't have to agree with every word coming out of Russia but at least can begin to understand nuance. It is up to each of us to learn to shield ourselves from the propaganda barrages that demonize countries before we go to war with them.  The modus operandi is clear - we saw it in Yugoslavia, Iraq, Libya, Syria and now see it with Iran, Russia and China.  See the writing on the wall....]

Bruce

Thursday, May 31, 2018

A look inside North Korea



If we all can dispel with our previous indoctrination about who and what North Korea actually is - then maybe the coming 'negotiations' (and race for the Nobel Peace Prize) will go much smoother.

Each of us should make it a goal to not allow ourselves to fall for the steady spew of demonization that comes from Washington and the western media whenever Mr. Big (and his minions) don't get their way in the world.

I recall going to Cuba for the first-time back in the early 1990's and came home in tears when I stepped out of the Miami, Florida airport into the hustle and bustle of capitalist life.  Cuba was human - people on bikes, hitching rides, working with Oxen on farms, playing baseball, taking wonderful care of mentally ill people (unlike anything I'd seen before, or since), dancing, singing, and dancing some more.

The 'un-American' way means there is more spice and variety in the world.  It's wonderful to be in a country that is not homogenized and doesn't have a street full of 7-11, Pizza Hut, McDonald's, Burger King, Subway and more of the usual rot.

North Korea's crime is that it wants to survive as an independent socialist state.  Much like Cuba it has been blocked, militarily encircled, threatened, undermined, and disrupted since July 27, 1953 when the Armistice (ceasefire) was signed.   After nearly two years of negotiations, diplomats from the US, North Korea, and China reached agreement on an armistice to end the 'UN peace action' in Korea without a formal peace treaty.

Today North Korea demands a full peace treaty with the US, recognition of their sovereignty and full trading rights like any other nation.  When that day comes there can be peace and reunification on the Korean Peninsula.

Bruce

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Who is John Bolton?



  • Bolton being appointed as Trump's National Security Adviser indicates to me that the neo-cons have taken near full control of his administration - particularly his foreign policy.  

  • The neo-cons are the ones who brought us 'shock and awe' in Iraq in 2003, the take down of Libya, and since 2011 the attempt to destroy the government in Syria.  It's all about chaos creation and a justification for expanded US-NATO-Israeli military boot print in the region.  The ultimate goal is to control fossil fuels, pipeline routes, and being able to impede China's progress on their 'One Belt and One Road' project that will span more than 68 countries (Eurasia and Africa) and reach 4.4 billion people and up to 40% of the global GDP.  Needless to say the US is not at all happy being left behind in the dust.  So Washington (and its foolish allies in NATO) do what they always do and that is to militarize the region.  It's the American way - take power at the end of a big gun.

  • These warmongers want regime change in Iran, Russia and China.  They are heating up the war fever in Ukraine again - likely to begin with a Blitzkrieg in the Donbass at just the moment 2018 FIFA World Cup soccer begins in Russia in mid-June  See more on the looming Ukrainian war here.  

  • The US is sending Reaper drones to Poland as US-NATO continues their cancerous expansion of military operations closer to the Russian border.  The drones would be stationed at the Mirosławiec Air Base, which is the Poland’s airbase dedicated to host the unmanned platforms.  Israel is also selling drones to Poland as it expands its military reach as a un-official 'partner' with NATO.   

Bruce

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Trump: "We're getting very big in space"



By Will Park (Altamonte Springs, Florida)

A briefing on U.S. plans for space domination



Thanks to RT for recording this interview and new Global Network part-time social media consultant Will Griffin for adding the Trump bits to the start of the video. 

Will is undertaking the task to increase the GN's social media footprint and will also produce a space-related video each month for us. We are glad to have him working with us. Will is an Iraq & Afghan war veteran after serving in the Army and grew up in an Army family.

He presently lives in Philadelphia and is working closely with Korean-American activists (his mom is Korean) on those important issues.  He also serves on the GN's Board of Directors.

So we urge you to stay tuned for more of Will's video production - you can see all of his past work at the Peace Report here

Bruce

Monday, May 28, 2018

Memorial day: End all the wars




These Veterans Have a Different Message on Memorial Day. Produced by Chris Smiley

Swords to Plowshares Bell tower interactive memorial can be seen next to the Lincoln Memorial in Washington DC this holiday weekend and around the country throughout the year delivering it's message. A project of Veterans For Peace.
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We had about 13 of us in the Topsham to Brunswick memorial day parade that began (late as usual) this morning at 9:30 am. Carrying the banners of our local group PeaceWorks and Maine Veterans For Peace we arrived at our appointed spot at 7:45 am as instructed.  The police closed the road down at 8:00 am and then we stood around for the next 90 minutes in the cold morning air.

Finally the march began with our slot (#'s 43 & 44) near the end of the long parade.  Behind us were two local Republicans carrying their banner and then several fire trucks.  So clearly the peaceniks were shunted to the end of the line.

The crowd was fairly thick this year throughout the parade route.  People would often clap for the PeaceWorks and VFP banners but then Mary Beth and I were in the rear of our group carrying our 'Convert the war economy' banner and we got some cold stares as we marched along.  (It's to be expected in a community that is addicted to military production.)  Now and then someone would say something nice and we got some favorable nods from folks who were not eager to be noticed by being too demonstrative.

MB and I in past years at the end of our peace delegation in the Topsham-Brunswick memorial day parade.  We carried the same banner again today.  Not everyone appreciated it.

All in all its a journey through the hard core working class looking for some free entertainment on a holiday weekend.  Many of them liked the two Republicans behind us so that gives you an idea where they were coming from.  Lots of Navy baseball caps were seen in the crowd and many veteran scrambled egg hats were visible as well.

So while the memorial day parade is not 'fun' - as an organizer whose job it is to reach beyond the choir - being in the parade gave us a chance to make our point to people that we don't normally have contact with.  It is also a way to reinforce the good spirit in the few diamonds in the rough that we saw along the march route.

My only real complaint from the day was why can't the marching bands from local public and church schools learn a few new songs besides 'Anchors away' and 'The Halls of Montezuma'?

Bruce

Sunday, May 27, 2018

Sunday song