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.

Friday, May 03, 2019

Assange update



WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange's lawyer Jennifer Robinson and WikiLeaks' Editor-in-Chief Kristinn Hrafnsson commented on the Westminster Magistrates Court hearing on a request by the US to extradite WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange on charges of leaking classified information in London on Thursday.

Thursday, May 02, 2019

Welcome to Yalta



Last night Will Griffin took this short video while we were out walking along the promenade at the port in Yalta, Crimea.

The mountains are in the background, the black sea just across from our hotel.

The place is packed as we are sandwiched between May 1 Labor Day and May 9 day to remember the 'Immortal Regiment' - those who died liberating the former Soviet Union from the grip of the German Nazi occupation.

Today we visit the Livadia Palace, the site of the famous meeting between Stalin, Roosevelt, and Churchill here in Yalta in 1945.

Our hotel is on Roosevelt Street in Yalta and a bronze bust of FDR is just across the street from our hotel.

Things are going well.  Folks are in love with Crimea - the people are warm and welcoming.  The food is great.  The sanctions against these good people should be removed.

Bruce

Regime changes create more refugees



While the Trump administration oversees a coup attempt in Venezuela, Honduras is suffering from an actual dictatorship and humanitarian crisis, after a 2009 US-backed right-wing coup destabilized the country.

Lucy Pagoada speaks about the resistance to imperialism.

Wednesday, May 01, 2019

May Day parade and round table meeting in Simferopol


Crimea has 175 ethnic groups.  Many of them wore costumes during the May Day parade through the streets of Simferopol this morning.  Lots of people posed behind our banner with us and media was particularly interested in us as well.  The crowd along the parade route gave us a warm reception. (Click on the photos for a better view)

Seven members of Veterans For Peace are in our delegation to Russia. 



Passing by the reviewing stand which cheered us as we walked by.

The Crimeasn side of the round table.  Several from this side welcomed us and spoke about their organizations and the impacts of US sanctions on Crimea.

Our side had four speakers including Dave Webb (UK), Carrie Schuchardt (Massachusetts), Leslie Harris (Texas) and me.

Yan Epshtein (Black Sea Assn for International Cooperation) and GN board chair Dave Webb sign cooperation agreement.

We began the day participating in the May Day parade in Simferopol, Crimea.  Our banner was a huge hit with many people wanting to get behind it before the parade began.

Leaders in Crimea spoke to us at a round table conference that was organized after the May Day parade. Four of us from our delegation spoke during the round table meeting.  I used an outline to guide my short presentation so below is my best recollection of what I said.  Lots of media interviewed us before and after the event.  We also signed a Cooperation Agreement between the Black Sea Association for International Cooperation (NGO) and the Global Network.

We’ve come to Crimea to pick the forbidden fruit.

The Global Network was created in 1992 to prevent the arms race from moving into space.

Each year we hold an annual meeting in a different country.  Last year we met in Oxford, England near a US space warfare base.

We decided that this year we should come to Russia for a study tour in order to break down barriers between our nations.  We’ve come here to listen and learn and to return home and tell the stories that we hear.

We are not happy with all the demonization of Russia that is currently going on in the US and across the west.  When the governments are frozen the people must step up to break down the barriers.

It’s an honor to be here today.  The US sanctions against Crimea and Russia are wrong.  The US is unfairly punishing the people of Crimea for trying to exercise democracy.

I closely followed the Maidan (so-called revolution) in Kiev in 2014 and the resulting overwhelming vote in Crimea to seek to return to Russia.

We worry about war between the US-NATO and Russia. 

The US-NATO are expanding their military operations right up to the Russian borders. The US Navy is sending warships into the Black Sea.

The US is encircling Russia with so-called ‘missile defense’ systems.

The US continues to withdraw from important arms control treaties.

Trump is creating the ‘space force’ to give the US domination of the planet.  This is arrogance.

We have come here to build a bridge of peace between our peoples.
Thank you very much
Bruce

Photos by Will Griffin

Tuesday, April 30, 2019

The time is now.....


Convert the war machine - create the 'Natural Guard'



Very moving appeal from Afghanistan woman to Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-Hawaii) about standing up strongly to end these senseless and destructive wars.

We need to convert the Pentagon to the 'Natural Guard' and have them work on providing assistance to people who are suffering from climate disasters.  Our Mother Earth is in toxic shock and her body is thrashing about.  There will be much greater environmental catastrophe in the years ahead and we will need the Natural Guard to do the important relief work.

Stop the war$ - convert the military machine to sustainable production - create the Natural Guard!

Bruce

PS Today we are all flying from Moscow to Crimea where we will be until May 5.  We'll visit three cities in Crimea.  More on all that later.

Monday, April 29, 2019

'There is no one but us'.....



At 'Imperialism on Trial' event in Belfast, Ireland Ray McGovern answers a question about the role of the Catholic Church in politics. Raymond McGovern is a veteran CIA officer turned political activist. 

McGovern was a CIA analyst from 1963 to 1990, and in the 1980s chaired National Intelligence Estimates and prepared the President's Daily Brief. He received the Intelligence Commendation Medal at his retirement, returning it in 2006 to protest the CIA's involvement in torture. 

In January 2003, Ray co-created Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS) to expose how intelligence was being falsified to “justify” war on Iraq. Ray is an active member of Veterans For Peace and has been on numerous actions and delegations.

Sunday, April 28, 2019

A day in Moscow

Statue in the subway honoring the resistance to the German Nazi occupation during WW II. (Click on photos for a better view)

One subway line honoring Russian sports.

Orthodox church we visited on Holy Saturday.  We went inside and lit candles with the local people.  We were each given cakes and decorated eggs by church members.

New apartment blocks near our hotel in Moscow.

We went to the incredible WW II museum that did much to show the cooperation of Russian and American soldiers in defeating the Nazis.  I doubt that many American museums reflect this fact that the US and Russia were allies during the war. 

There were many large rooms in the museum that had panoramic wall paintings of war damage inside of Russia.

Another of the panoramic wall paintings of Nazi destruction of Russian cities.  More than 27 million Soviet citizens died in the war with Germany.  The U.S. lost 500,000 troops in the war.

Large statue inside the museum - hard to describe how moving it was.  Russia has been repeatedly invaded throughout its history and the people strongly desire peace but are prepared to fight to the death if invaded again.  Today they fear the US and NATO are encircling them in order to try to force another 'regime change war'.  This museum did not glorify the war and destruction but was a clear statement that victory against invaders will be won even if it takes the last person's life. 

Sunday song (with bonus track)