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

With a new administration in Washington it will be a challenge to get the 'liberals' to hold Biden-Harris to the few 'progressive promises' they made during their campaign. Biden is bringing back many of Bush & Obama's neo-cons to head his foreign policy. I'll be on this case without hesitation.

Friday, March 25, 2005

PRESSURE BUILDING ON TOM ALLEN

I was talking with a man today who has a son on his way to Iraq. The father and mother have become very active in the peace movement in recent months and have become quite out spoken in their opposition to the war.

They are very middle-of-the-road people, not your regular activist type. I don't mean it as a criticism. Actually it is nice to have some folks like that showing up at our Friday afternoon vigil in Brunswick, dressed in a business suit. We are glad to have their company.

The father went to high school with our local congressman Tom Allen in Portland. Rep. Allen is the guy whose office we occupied last week, where we left the X's on the wall. The father told me that he paid a visit to the congressman's office this week and noticed the wall had been repainted. The wrong paint was used and the X's are still visible through the new paint.

But the most important thing the father told me was that he informed Rep. Allen's chief aide that he could not support the congressman any longer because of the congressman's weak position on the war. The father, you see, had supported the congressman in his last three elections. But now this war has become personal and the father has higher expectations of the congressman than he previously did. And his old friend, the congressman, is now a severe disappointment to him.

It is well known that the congressman has ambitions to run for the U.S. Senate. It would appear to me that Rep. Allen, who everyone says is a nice guy, is now trying to position himself on the war. He wants to try to please those who oppose the war and those who support the war. That kind of hanging out in no-mans land is how you get elected to higher office in America today.

But I think the congressman will find this a tough sell. I think he is going to find that if he continues to support more money for the war in Iraq, as he now does, that his base will begin to abandon him. And unless he plans on becoming a Republican, he won't be able to win an election without his base strongly behind him. If he doubts this, he should just talk to Sen. John Kerry. You remember him?

In the end people around the state are calling on Rep. Allen, and the other members of the Maine congressional delegation, to hold a statewide town hall meeting so the public can talk with them about the war in Iraq. The politicians are not interested in such an event because they don't want the public exposure. They might meet with a couple of peaceniks here and a couple more there. Let the steam out of the valve a bit, but avoid the big event. It's pretty sad in a so-called Democracy that we have to literally pull teeth to get a public audience with our "elected" officials. But after all this is America.

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