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.

Saturday, September 26, 2020

How do we pay for X, Y and Z?

 

When you are pushing the sensible issues like Medicare4All and conversion of the military industrial complex (to build commuter rail systems, tidal power or offshore wind turbines that help us deal on some level with climate crisis) people often ask - how are you going to pay for it?

Add to the needed wish list 'free higher education' so young folks don't get saddled with tens of thousands of dollars in student debt.  How are you going to pay for that?

We don't hear any of the political class in Washington ever asking how the nation is going to pay for the boondoggle F-35, new navy destroyers, Trump's new Space Force or a host of other massively expensive endless war products.  Neither party questions the Pentagon.

But come forward with a proposal to meet the needs of the people or our fragile Mother Earth and they start wringing their bloody hands.  Oh, we can't afford those programs they claim.  They even want to get rid of Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid in order to pay for Star Wars.

Don't buy their BS.

Many huge corporations and their rich CEO's pay no taxes.  Start making them pay their fair share and cut the $1 trillion a year Pentagon budget by 2/3 and we can begin to have the resources to create a country with 'liberty and justice for all'.

Bruce 

Friday, September 25, 2020

Star Wars has arrived in 2020

  

Each year since 2001 the Global Network organizes Keep Space for Peace Week.  Usually we develop a list of local actions that will be held around the world as groups and individuals express their concern and outrage over plans to move the arms race into space.

This year due to the virus pandemic we are having to forgo that organizing plan.  We are promoting the week anyway and plan to hold two Zoom webinars on space issues (October 8 and 15).  I'll post more information about each of those events in the coming days.

Both the Repubs and Dems support this expensive and provocative plan to have the US 'control and dominate space' and to 'deny other nations access to space'.  Originally put forward in a planning document (1997) called Vision for 2020 - this offensive program is right on schedule.

When Trump recently succeeded in getting his Space Force proposal through Congress it was the Democrats - who currently control the House of Representatives - that were in a position to stop the provocative plan.  But instead, as is usual for that party, they rolled over quite willingly - just like an eager lap dog.  All the Dems asked was to instead name the new service branch 'Space Corps' but they didn't even fight for that.

Both these two corporate parties in Washington will benefit as their 'elected officials' will get their campaigns heavily funded by the aerospace industry as a 'Thank You' for supporting what the industry has long claimed will be 'the most expensive industrial project in human history'.

Help us by sharing information about the weaponization and nuclearization of space in anyway you can.  Many in the public still think that Star Wars is far off in the distant future but the reality is that the program is now staring us right in the face.

Bruce 

Thursday, September 24, 2020

U.S. plays with fire over China


The Coming War on China, from award winning journalist John Pilger, reveals what the news doesn’t – that the world’s greatest military power, the United States, and the world’s second economic power, China, both nuclear-armed, may well be on the road to war. 

Nuclear war is not only imaginable, but planned. The greatest build-up of NATO military forces since the Second World War is under way on the western borders of Russia. On the other side of the world, the rise of China is viewed in Washington as a threat to American dominance. 

To counter this, President Obama announced a ‘pivot to Asia’, which meant that almost two-thirds of all US naval forces would be transferred to Asia and the Pacific, their weapons aimed at China. A policy which has been taken up by his successor Donald Trump, who during his election campaign said “We can’t continue to allow China to rape our country and that’s what they’re doing”. 

 Filmed on five possible front-lines across Asia and the Pacific over two years, the story is told in chapters that connect a secret and ‘forgotten’ past to the rapacious actions of great power today and to a resistance, of which little is known in the West. 

Distributed by Sideways Films 

Wednesday, September 23, 2020

Freedom? Who benefits?

 

The elites love to brag about our ‘democracy’ here in America.

They are so ‘proud’ of what they call the ‘greatest nation in world history’ (nothing but pure arrogance) that Washington is willing to bomb and kill millions to bring them this so-called democracy as well.

Of course this is all a ruse.  We all know it’s not really about democracy.  That is just the glossy cover story to hide the real motive – profits and control. 

Years ago when I lived in Orlando, Florida my local bank changed its name to ‘Freedom Bank’.  I pondered that one for some time.  What was their definition of the word ‘freedom’?  Freedom to do what?

Freedom to rob other nations of their resources, freedom to lie, cheat, and kill?  Freedom to make endless amounts of $$$ with no regard to human rights, human needs or the impact on the environment from corporate actions?

I changed banks.

During this current bloody election season we are witnessing the real ‘democracy’ in action here in the USA.  Voter suppression, manipulation of polling data, corporate funding of ‘chosen candidates’, favored media coverage of the chosen ones, throwing alternative political parties off the ballots in some states, the list goes on.

 

I’ve sent out letters to the editor supporting my favorite Senate candidate to five different newspapers in Maine and so far only one paper has printed any of my letters.  And it is the paper farthest from my home!  I know others who have similarly sent different letters to several papers and can’t get any of them published.  Why?  Is there a quota on favorable letters for a particular candidate in Maine?

More Americans refuse to vote than those that actually do vote.  Why is that?  I’ve got a pretty good idea – they believe the system is rigged on behalf of the rich and powerful.  Why bother they say….if elections really worked they’d be made illegal an old saying goes.  Might just be right.

I was the kid who grew up on military bases going to military run schools where we were fed endless stories about the greatness of American democracy.  Suffice to say that I swallowed the line. 

I believe in the idea of democracy and would sure like to see some of it for once.

Bruce 

Tuesday, September 22, 2020

Stephen Cohen Has Died. Remember His Urgent Warnings Against The New Cold War.

 

By Caitlin Johnstone

Stephen F Cohen, the renowned American scholar on Russia and leading authority on US-Russian relations, has died of lung cancer at the age of 81.

As one of the precious few western voices of sanity on the subject of Russia while everyone else has been frantically flushing their brains down the toilet, this is a real loss. I myself have cited Cohen’s expert analysis many times in my own work, and his perspective has played a formative role in my understanding of what’s really going on with the monolithic cross-partisan manufacturing of consent for increased western aggressions against Moscow.

In a world that is increasingly confusing and awash with propaganda, Cohen’s death is a blow to humanity’s desperate quest for clarity and understanding.

I don’t know how long Cohen had cancer. I don’t know how long he was aware that he might not have much time left on this earth. What I do know is he spent much of his energy in his final years urgently trying to warn the world about the rapidly escalating danger of nuclear war, which in our strange new reality he saw as in many ways completely unprecedented.

The last of the many books Cohen authored was 2019’s War with Russia?, detailing his ideas on how the complex multi-front nature of the post-2016 cold war escalations against Moscow combines with Russiagate and other factors to make it in some ways more dangerous even than the most dangerous point of the previous cold war.


“We’re in a new cold war with Russia that is much more dangerous than the preceding cold war for various reasons,” Cohen told The Young Turks in 2017. “One is that there are at least three cold war fronts that are fraught with hot war: that would be Ukraine, that would be the Baltic Black Sea region where NATO is undertaking an unprecedented military buildup on Russia’s border, and of course in Syria, where American and Russian aircraft are flying in the same airspace. And I would add to those three cold war fronts what is now called Russiagate, because the accusation that Trump needs to be impeached because he’s somehow a Russian agent so distorts and cripples the possibility of the White House making Russia policy that I think it’s a cold war front.”

Cohen repeatedly points to the most likely cause of a future nuclear war: not one that is planned but one which erupts in tense, complex situations where anything could happen in the chaos and confusion as a result of misfire, miscommunication or technical malfunction, as nearly happened many times during the last cold war.

“I think this is the most dangerous moment in American-Russian relations, at least since the Cuban missile crisis,” Cohen told Democracy Now in 2017. “And arguably, it’s more dangerous, because it’s more complex. Therefore, we — and then, meanwhile, we have in Washington these — and, in my judgment, fact-less accusations that Trump has somehow been compromised by the Kremlin. So, at this worst moment in American-Russian relations, we have an American president who’s being politically crippled by the worst imaginable — it’s unprecedented. Let’s stop and think. No American president has ever been accused, essentially, of treason. This is what we’re talking about here, or that his associates have committed treason.”

“Imagine, for example, John Kennedy during the Cuban missile crisis,” Cohen added. “Imagine if Kennedy had been accused of being a secret Soviet Kremlin agent. He would have been crippled. And the only way he could have proved he wasn’t was to have launched a war against the Soviet Union. And at that time, the option was nuclear war.”

“A recurring theme of my recently published book War with Russia? is that the new Cold War is more dangerous, more fraught with hot war, than the one we survived,” Cohen wrote last year. “Histories of the 40-year US-Soviet Cold War tell us that both sides came to understand their mutual responsibility for the conflict, a recognition that created political space for the constant peace-keeping negotiations, including nuclear arms control agreements, often known as détente. But as I also chronicle in the book, today’s American Cold Warriors blame only Russia, specifically ‘Putin’s Russia,’ leaving no room or incentive for rethinking any US policy toward post-Soviet Russia since 1991.”

“Finally, there continues to be no effective, organized American opposition to the new Cold War,” Cohen added. “This too is a major theme of my book and another reason why this Cold War is more dangerous than was its predecessor. In the 1970s and 1980s, advocates of détente were well-organized, well-funded, and well-represented, from grassroots politics and universities to think tanks, mainstream media, Congress, the State Department, and even the White House. Today there is no such opposition anywhere.”

“A major factor is, of course, ‘Russiagate’,” Cohen continued. “As evidenced in the sources I cite above, much of the extreme American Cold War advocacy we witness today is a mindless response to President Trump’s pledge to find ways to ‘cooperate with Russia’ and to the still-unproven allegations generated by it. Certainly, the Democratic Party is not an opposition party in regard to the new Cold War.”

“Détente with Russia has always been a fiercely opposed, crisis-ridden policy pursuit, but one manifestly in the interests of the United States and the world,” Cohen wrote in another essay last year. 

“No American president can achieve it without substantial bipartisan support at home, which Trump manifestly lacks. What kind of catastrophe will it take — in Ukraine, the Baltic region, Syria, or somewhere on Russia’s electric grid — to shock US Democrats and others out of what has been called, not unreasonably, their Trump Derangement Syndrome, particularly in the realm of American national security? Meanwhile, the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists has recently reset its Doomsday Clock to two minutes before midnight.”

And now Stephen Cohen is dead, and that clock is inching ever closer to midnight. The Russiagate psyop that he predicted would pressure Trump to advance dangerous cold war escalations with no opposition from the supposed opposition party has indeed done exactly that with nary a peep of criticism from either partisan faction of the political/media class. Cohen has for years been correctly predicting this chilling scenario which now threatens the life of every organism on earth, even while his own life was nearing its end.

And now the complex cold war escalations he kept urgently warning us about have become even more complex with the addition of nuclear-armed China to the multiple fronts the US-centralized empire has been plate-spinning its brinkmanship upon, and it is clear from the ramping up of anti-China propaganda since last year that we are being prepped for those aggressions to continue to increase.

We should heed the dire warnings that Cohen spent his last breaths issuing. We should demand a walk-back of these insane imperialist aggressions which benefit nobody and call for détente with Russia and China. We should begin creating an opposition to this world-threatening flirtation with Armageddon before it is too late. Every life on this planet may well depend on our doing so.

Stephen Cohen is dead, and we are marching toward the death of everything. God help us all.

Monday, September 21, 2020

Jimmy Dore covers Lisa Savage

 


Sunday, September 20, 2020

Sunday song