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 09, 2018

RIP Anthony....




Rest in peace Anthony Bourdain.  You touched many lives.

In 2013, Bourdain visited the occupied Gaza Strip and West Bank, and spoke with unique honesty about his experience and expressed dismay at what he witnessed.

After tweeting a photo of dead children on a Gaza beach in 2014 and receiving a flood of "ugly racist sh*t and accusations" in response, Bourdain wrote: "The willingness of people to not see what is plainly apparent, right there, enormous and frankly, hideous. Unfortunately, we live in a world where it's nearly impossible to even describe reality much less deal with it. It's utterly heartbreaking."

Here is Bourdain's 2014 speech accepting an award from the Muslim Public Affairs Council, in which he discusses the inhumane treatment of the Palestinian people.

Presente!

Burning the Vietnam War draft cards


Educating, connecting, building bridges and highlighting movements



A unique program blending journalism and activism. The Peace Report doesn't just publish the news, we make the news. Featuring Will Griffin and Chris Smiley.

Friday, June 08, 2018

New Eurasian superpower - multipolar world and U.S. decline



Last night I read three articles from non-mainstream media.  I've learned over the years that I've got to read as much international/alternative media as possible if I hope to have a clue as to what is really going on around the world.

I wanted to share a few bits from each of these articles as I think they paint a clear picture for us of the present situation concerning the US imperial collapse due to Washington's arrogance and belief in exceptionalism.
  • Why Globalists Want to Contain Iran by Chris Kanthan.  He writes in part:

     In terms of world’s proven reserves, Iran is #4 in oil and #2 in natural gas. Thus, a free Iran will endanger Saudi Arabia’s role as the leading oil producer.

    Thus, in 1970, Iran was producing more oil than Saudi Arabia; however, by 1980, the Saudis [due to western sanctions against Iran] were producing six times more oil than the Iranians!

    A resurgent Iran will also mean competition to US oil and shale companies which have been ramping up production since 2011 (when Libya was destroyed!).

    Israel wants weak Arab neighbors that it can kick around and grab oil/land from – a prime example being Golan Heights, that has huge oil reserves. There are Israelis who dream of a Greater Israel, which encompasses land from many neighboring countries.

    If everyone in the Middle East got along with one another, there will be no need for US military bases, and Saudi Arabia won’t be binge-buying US/UK weapons.

    There’s a huge struggle for the control of Eurasia, and Iran is a key piece in that geopolitical chessboard. As long as Iran was isolated and weak, it didn’t matter. But now Iran is getting into all kinds of military and economic alliances with Russia & China — the two countries that have been labeled by the Trump administration as “rival powers” and “revisionist powers” that have heralded an era of “great power competition.”

    Iran is also key component of China’s Silk Road (also called Belt and Road Initiative or One Belt, One Road) — freight trains from China have to go through Iran on their way to Africa and the Middle East. Destabilizing Iran means sabotaging China’s Silk Road, and that would be very desirable for globalists.

    Basically, the US is on the verge of losing its hegemony in a contiguous string of countries from the Middle East to China.

    These are the reasons why globalists are fervently trying to topple the current Iranian regime. Neocons such as Bolton are partnering with MEK, a cult-terrorist group that was conveniently deemed innocuous by the US government in 2012, the same year when the US illegally seized $100 billion of Iranian assets and imposed devastating sanctions.

    If Iran is embroiled in a bitter civil war between Islamists & secularists for the next decade, it will just be splendid. The chaos can actually be used to chop up Iran into pieces — Baluchistan on the east, Khuzestan on the south and Kurdistan on the northwest. This will ensure that Iran will never be an influential regional power again.
    Atlanticism might best be summarized as a two-part phenomenon. On the one hand, it is an ideology which holds that the United States, Europe, and the Anglo 5 as a whole share a common civilizational history and trajectory predicated on their Liberal and capitalist mode of modernity. On the other hand, it is a geopolitical project aimed at realizing this ideology through the political, economic, military, and cultural alignment of these states under the hegemony of the United States against perceived antipodes. The aggressiveness of Atlanticism lies in that its Liberal paradigm has universal pretensions – it claims the historical and moral right to impose its model upon all.

    ....the US’ unipolar moment was short-lived, and the US has been in a profound state of decline and crisis. In 2008, the United States National Intelligence Council admitted that by 2025 the international system will be a “global multipolar one”, that the West’s conception of modernity “will not necessarily provide the dominant underlying values of the international system”, and predicted decline for the US in all spheres.

    Europe needs an alternative security, economic, and integration framework to break free from Atlanticism and survive in the 21st century. Only partnership with the heartland of Eurasia, Russia, and involvement in Eurasian integration projects can offer it that. But in order to achieve such, Europe also needs ideological forces which can subjectively materialize this transition and address the EU’s internal contradictions. In this sense, Atlanticism isn’t finished in Europe until it is uprooted on the level of ideas. The shape which this new ideology for European integration takes will in no small part also determine the shape of Europe after Atlanticism. And this shape is already being molded in the very media and analytical angles that are narrating the European crisis now.
Russia, as much as China and Iran, is already bypassing the US dollar. That accounts for three crucial nodes of Eurasian integration, and that’s the way to go for BRI, EAEU, SCO and BRICS.

In his latest, avowedly “provocative” slim volume, Has the West Lost It? former Singaporean ambassador to the UN and current Professor in the Practice of Public Policy at the National University, Kishore Mahbubani frames the key question: “Viewed against the backdrop of the past 1,800 years, the recent period of Western relative over-performance against other civilizations is a major historical aberration. All such aberrations come to a natural end, and that is happening now.”

Mahbubani states the obvious: “The era of Western domination is coming to an end.” Western elites, he adds, “should lift their sights from their domestic civil wars and focus on the larger global challenges. Instead, they are, in various ways, accelerating their irrelevance and disintegration.”
I think, taken together, these articles give a much deeper understanding of the seriousness of the changing global dynamics as the US empire heads for a fall.  Of course the operative question is will the US decline be graceful or go out with a big bang?  At the present time it would appear Washington continues to hope it can use military means to remain the 'top dog'.

We can all help push the US imperial project into the annals of history by working hard here at home to rob the Pentagon of the massive funds it needs to bludgeon its way to global control and domination.  In particular that means resisting with all our might the current attacks on Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid and what little is is left of the welfare program.  Washington calls these 'entitlement programs' which is a serious misrepresentation of fact.  Most of these programs are paid for by taxes working people paid to the government over their lifetime.

The only way the Pentagon can stay in control is to fleece the national treasury - something that both Republicans and Democrats are ready to do.  The people must stand in defense of social progress and deny the corporate globalists the ability to threaten and dominate the world.  America's big day in the sun has passed.  It's time for America to be one of many in a true global partnership. 

Let's work together to deal with our real problems - climate change and growing poverty.

Bruce

Thursday, June 07, 2018

Standing for peace on Korean peninsula


Wednesday, June 06, 2018

Are Americans a Broken People?



Here's Why We've Stopped Fighting Back Against the Forces of Oppression

A psychologist asks: Have consumerism, suburbanization and a malevolent corporate-government partnership so beaten us down that we no longer have the will to save ourselves?


By Bruce Levine / AlterNet

Can people become so broken that truths of how they are being screwed do not "set them free" but instead further demoralize them? Has such a demoralization happened in the United States?

Do some totalitarians actually want us to hear how we have been screwed because they know that humiliating passivity in the face of obvious oppression will demoralize us even further?

What forces have created a demoralized, passive, dis-couraged U.S. population?

Has such a demoralization happened in the U.S.?

In the United States, 47 million people are without health insurance, and many millions more are underinsured or a job layoff away from losing their coverage. But despite the current sellout by their elected officials to the insurance industry, there is no outpouring of millions of U.S. citizens on the streets of Washington, D.C., protesting this betrayal.

Polls show that the majority of Americans oppose U.S. wars in Afghanistan and Iraq as well as the taxpayer bailout of the financial industry, yet only a handful of U.S. citizens have protested these circumstances.

Read the rest of this excellent article here

~ Bruce E. Levine is a practicing clinical psychologist. His latest book is Get Up, Stand Up: Uniting Populists, Energizing the Defeated, and Battling the Corporate Elite.

"We're taking names".....



Nikki Haley literally begged other ambassadors to support her UN resolution on Gaza (and not one voted for it).

Is she not a joke and an embarrassment?

The US and apartheid Israel are becoming increasingly isolated as nations around the world step out of their orbit into one that is more sane, caring, sharing and less committed to control and domination of others and nature.  A multi-polar world.

The US and Israel represent the forces of human enslavement to capital and religious dogma. A unipolar world.

Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) is a Palestinian-led movement for freedom, justice and equality. BDS upholds the simple principle that Palestinians are entitled to the same rights as the rest of humanity.

Israel is occupying and colonising Palestinian land, discriminating against Palestinian citizens of Israel and denying Palestinian refugees the right to return to their homes. Inspired by the South African anti-apartheid movement, the BDS call urges action to pressure Israel to comply with international law.

BDS is now a vibrant global movement made up of unions, academic associations, churches and grassroots movements across the world. Eleven years since its launch, BDS is having a major impact and is effectively challenging international support for Israeli apartheid and settler-colonialism.

BDS - now more than ever.

Bruce



Tuesday, June 05, 2018

No Israeli missile launches from Kodiak Island, Alaska



The Global Network recently made the decision to hire Afghan and Iraq war veteran Will Griffin to serve as our social media coordinator on a part-time basis.  One of his jobs will be to produce a space-related video for us each month.  This new video, revealing Israeli plans to test the Arrow ‘missile defense’ system from Kodiak Island, is his first for the GN.

We’ve long been supporting the local citizens campaign on Kodiak Island to build opposition to the launching of military rockets from their pristine public lands.  But the Pentagon’s Missile Defense Agency feels that Kodiak is ‘out of site, out of mind’.  We are determined to make sure that Israel’s testing of these weapons systems does not go un-noticed and without international opposition.

Please help us spread the word about this issue by sharing this important video.  Help us break through the corporate media silence surrounding this provocative and destabilizing effort by Israel (with full Pentagon support) to control the Middle East and its resources.


See more videos by Will Griffin at The Peace Report  

Bruce

Monday, June 04, 2018

Hearing from a real investigative journalist

Rhode Island journalist Alex Nunes spoke in Portland last Saturday and opened a few eyes about the profession these days.  Photo by Lisa Savage

Saturday evening 22 people from around the region went to the University of Southern Maine to hear a talk by Alex Nunes - an investigative journalist and adjunct professor from Rhode Island.

Nunes was instrumental in informing people across Maine (including workers at Bath Iron Works - BIW) about the process of General Dynamics (GD) stock buybacks in the billions at the same time they were demanding $60 million (cut to $45 million by the state legislature) from Maine.  Similarly Nunes recently covered GD's request for huge corporate welfare payments from Rhode Island and Connecticut which they easily secured.

Nunes reported that in Maine 88% of all federal contracts that come to our state are from the Department of War.  That means Maine is a colony of the military industrial complex.

He also shared that since 1997 GD has received nearly $250 million in corporate welfare subsidies from Maine and the City of Bath.

Nunes reported to us that the most recent Pentagon nuclear posture review declared the Navy was considering putting low yield nuclear weapons on the Zumwalt destroyers built at BIW.

After telling us that GD was going to be building 80% of the next generation of twelve nuclear submarines at their Rhode Island and Connecticut shipyards - at the cost of $104 billion - Nunes asked the appropriate question, "Does the Navy have sufficient budget for all of these new war ships?"

The answer is clearly no - unless the money is taken from Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid and what is left of the welfare program in Washington.

Probably the most interesting part of his talk was when Nunes answered questions about the current state of journalism - as we see corporations now in virtual control of the mainstream media.  Fellow Maine activist Lisa Savage reported the response from Nunes to this question in her blog.


One audience member asked Nunes, who is also an adjunct professor, what journalism schools today are teaching when their graduates seem content to "regurgitate talking points" e.g. Rhode Island's governor calling an Electric Boat contract a win-win being reported widely as if the announcement in itself were news. His reply: "Communications degrees have become more cookie cutter, merging public relations and journalism" also noting that it's likely that "the general corporate brainwashing that has gone on in this country has seeped into news rooms."

"Pack journalism" also manifests; the competition is to be the first to print a story that other media outlets will also report, but "no one wants to be out on a limb with a story no one else is covering."
It's a rare thing these days to come across a real investigative journalist and even more rare to meet one willing to speak with 'activists'.  We in Maine have been very lucky to work with Alex Nunes.  

You can read his work at his web site called Nunes' Weekly.

Bruce 

Sunday, June 03, 2018

Capitalism's tendency towards inequality



Chris Hedges interviews economist Richard Wolff about the coming economic collapse in the US.  When a nation spends well over 50% of every discretionary tax dollar on the Pentagon the rest of the human and infrastructure needs go wanting.  Much of our national debt comes from endless war$.

Tax cuts for the rich and corporations exacerbate the fiscal crisis.

It's my contention that the ruling oligarchies are creating this economic crisis intentionally.  They want to drive down our standard of living.  Wealth has gone global so they care nothing about their own country.  They are maximizing profits internationally.  Even Trumps' 'Make America Great Again' is just a public relations theme.

Wolff makes some very interesting comments about Trumps recent tariff wars with China, Canada, Mexico and Europe.  It's all for show - a distraction.

The US economy is unsustainable.  The crash is on its way.   You'd think we'd be having a national debate about our economic future - but even the Democrats avoid that discussion because they are part of the problem.  Large numbers of the Democrats in Congress recently voted to further relax regulations on Wall Street.

We are in an age that could be called neo-feudalism.  In his book Friendly Fascism, Bertram Gross called it 'three-piece suit fascism'.

Bruce

Sunday Song