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.

Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Great space war event at MIT

Standing next to portrait of David Koch, net worth $45 billion, who is a lifetime board member at MIT

I took the train to Boston yesterday from Brunswick to speak at a forum entitled Dangerous Developments in Modern Weaponry: a forum on the military pursuit of global hegemony at the Massachusetts Institute for Technology (MIT) in Cambridge.

The event had four speakers including Global Network advisory board member Subrata Ghoshroy .  We covered the topics of drones, Artificial intelligence (AI), nuclear weapons, Space Force, and the privatization and mining of space.

Organizers where not certain who would turn out for the forum but much to every one's surprise the hall was full with people having to sit and stand on each side of the outside aisles.  One of the organizers called it a historic event as MIT is heavily involved in all of these new high-tech weapons programs, thus debate and student activism on the campus is much needed.

All across the nation the Pentagon for many years has been funding and developing relationships with colleges and universities - essentially militarizing academia.  In recent times few students or faculty at these institutions have been willing to publicly speak out against this domination of higher education by the military industrial complex.

Back in the 1960's students at MIT were a driving force against the war in Vietnam.  

In the early 1980's, when Ronald Reagan announced the Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI), aka Star Wars, physics professors all across the nation signed petitions saying they would not work on the plan to put weapons into space.  A similar campaign is needed today that signs up faculty and students denouncing the development of AI, space weapons, drones and the like.

In 2018 many Google AI workers refused to work on software for the Pentagon's drone program.

MIT is often called the 'Pentagon on the Charles River'.  So it was good to water the seeds of discontent there.  Two small student groups from MIT co-sponsored the program last night and we hope these seeds will grow and blossom.

You can watch the entire forum from last night at this link https://vimeo.com/330390923
Just plug in the password: spacewar

It appears we will do this talk again at the Left Forum in New York City on the weekend of June 28-30.

Bruce

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