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'm back to work for the Global Network. Will continue to help Lisa Savage for US Senate campaign on my free time. Trying to self-isolate as much as possible. Best wishes and good luck to you all.

Wednesday, April 03, 2019

Notes from No to NATO events in Washington


I was in Washington DC five days at various No to NATO events.

The photo above is from a rally and march through the city to protest the NATO foreign ministers meeting in DC this week.

I attended two different No to NATO conferences. Sadly it was not possible for some groups to work together and put on one big event.  While I was invited to speak at both conferences (I try to work with everyone as long as it is a principled relationship) I'd still rather have seen one big event instead of two smaller ones.

The reasons competing groups don't always work well together are complicated but these points stand out:

  • Egos and internal power dynamics.  (Keep in mind all these groups are comparatively weak in comparison to what is needed to stop these endless wars and violence.) Some will say 'why can't the left get along' but I think it is more about human frailty.  Notice how many churches are in most communities.  People on the right-wing don't all get along either.  It's hard to unite people.
  • Different interpretations about what non-violence means.  Some groups support struggles in places where they are defending themselves from attacks by US agents and allies.  (For example in the Donbass in Ukraine, Syria, Venezuela, etc.  The UN charter says it is legal to defend your nation when it is under attack - like it was in the former Soviet Union during WW II when Hitler's German Army killed 28 million Soviet citizens during that invasion.)  As a result some groups are reluctant to work with organizations 'that refuse to renounce violence' when all they are actually doing is supporting liberation struggles that are defending themselves.  One obvious historical example is Nelson Mandela and the ANC in South Africa when they were struggling - sometimes violently - against the apartheid government.  Or the Palestinian people today - armed with slingshots, rocks and make-shift rockets.
  • Alliances to particular political parties - such as organizations/individuals who are in some ways linked to the Democrats or are funded by foundations that are tied to the Democratic Party.  These groups often don't really like to work with Socialist or Communist affiliated organizations and vice versa.
  • Competition for funding, media or volunteers.

While in DC I also took part in a protest outside of the Organization of American States (OAS) which is trying (under US orchestration) to kick Venezuela out of the OAS.  Actually Venezuela quit the OAS but it won't be official for a couple more weeks so Washington wants the OAS to kick Caracas out now just to make a public relations point.


While in the city I also did the RT interview on space issues that is posted here.

Here are a few items from my notes during my time in DC:

  • The US military is the world's largest single generator of climate changing emissions.
  • The manufacturing of weapons burns up over $300 billion worth of oil annually.
  • A planned $1.7 trillion upgrade (approved during Obama) of nuclear weapons makes them more likely to be used.
  • The profiteering US war budget is an attack on the health and security of everyone - especially our fragile planet.
  • Trump proposes to spend $13 billion on the 'Space Force' in the next five years.  This must be approved by the Democrat-controlled House of Representatives.  Let them hear from you.
  • Pentagon deployments of 'missile defense' launch platforms in Romania and Poland will allow the US to reach Moscow with missiles in 10-12 minutes.  Imagine if the reverse was happening with Moscow putting missile launch bases in Canada or Mexico.  Washington would go ballistic!
  • 1999 was the last time NATO 'celebrated' an anniversary in DC.  It was then that Bill Clinton directed US-NATO attacks on Yugoslavia that used depleted uranium bombs and shells.  Significant parts of Serbia are now contaminated with radioactivity for thousands of years and severe cases of cancer are breaking out in these areas. US-NATO also bombed the Chinese Embassy in Belgrade and said, "Oops, sorry, that was a mistake.  We used an old map."  Sure...
  • 2.5 million housing units have been built for the poor in Venezuela by the Chavez/Maduro governments which helps explain why the US wants regime change there - along of course with their massive oil deposits - the largest in the world.
  • NATO is the finger that pulls the trigger on behalf of corporate capitalism.
  • The US Air Force announced that B-52 bombers conducted flights from a base at Fairford, England, to Poland and the Netherlands on April 1.  The objective was to point a loaded gun at Russia's head.
  • 41 million people in the US go to bed hungry every night - more than the entire population of Venezuela.  Should someone invade the US to protect our food deprived and homeless populations?
  • Trump has rescinded an executive order that required the intelligence community to disclose information about drone strikes outside of declared war zones.  It's a secret privatized war.
  • US-NATO wanted Crimea as a NATO base in the Black Sea region - thus another reason for the non-stop anti-Russian demonization in the west these days.
  • Russian people view their nation's nuclear weapons as valuable for national defense against an ever expanding US-NATO war machine.
  • The US refuses to renounce the 'first use' of nuclear weapons while Russia and China have done so.
  • US sanctions against other nations are an act of war designed to foment an uprising of the people in a particular nation (Venezuela, Iran, Russia, Syria, etc) against their government.  Washington calls this 'soft power'.
I could go on much longer but you get the drift I am sure.

The US is an outlaw regime - violating international norms.  The US is building NATO into an international alliance in order to circumvent the United Nations and international law.  The only law that NATO is pledged to uphold is the law of the gun.

You can sign a petition calling on the US Senate to oppose NATO expansion here

Bruce

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