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, ME, United States

The collapsing US military & economic empire is making Washington & NATO even more dangerous. US could not beat the Taliban but thinks it can take on China-Russia-Iran...a sign of psychopathology for sure. We must all do more to help stop this western corporate arrogance that puts the future generations lives in despair. @BruceKGagnon

Wednesday, April 27, 2005

This photo is from our international conference last year in Portland, Maine. We expect another big turnout this year and another great event filled with excellent talks and stirring political music. Holly Gwinn Graham and Tom Neilson will be singing throughout the conference.

Monday, April 25, 2005

Our friends from England's Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND) will be with us for our international space conference on April 30. Going to be exciting!

Saturday, April 23, 2005

Dr. Michio Kaku will be a keynote speaker at the Global Network international space organizing conference in New Yok on April 30. The second keynote address will be delivered by Jenny Jones, former deputy mayor of London, England.

Thursday, April 21, 2005

Activists, like Aurel Duta from Bucharest in Romania, will be coming to New York city on April 29-30 for the Global Network annual space organizing conference.

Wednesday, April 20, 2005


As the Global Network prepares for its 13th annual space organizing conference in New York City, on April 29-30, a call came into our office today from the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU).

The ACLU office in Brevard County, Florida (where NASA and the Kennedy Space Center are located) called to inform the Global Network that an ACLU investigation of the Brevard County Sheriff's department has revealed 600-700 pages of internal files documenting extensive infiltration and surveillance of the Global Network and other anti-war activities in the county during recent years. The files contained descriptions of Global Network members as being "anti-American."

The ACLU investigation, which began last January, also revealed that NASA was gathering information on European demonstrations against the launching of weapons and nuclear power in space during recent years. In addition, the Air Force Office of Special Investigations (OSI), based in Tampa, Florida, had infiltrated the Global Network as late as October of 2002 during the organization's annual Keep Space for Peace Week.

According to the ACLU the investigations centered on Global Network Coordinator Bruce Gagnon and Global Network members Mary Beth Sullivan and Maria Telesca. In addition to infiltration of the organization, the ACLU noted that the investigations included background checks, driving histories, address histories, as well as other information gathering activities. Even my son Julian was investigated as a "related subject."

The ACLU has requested permission to pursue legal action on behalf of Bruce, Mary Beth, and Maria. The ACLU intends to attempt to retrieve all surveillance files gathered on Global Network members and to pursue a possible lawsuit.

Tuesday, April 19, 2005


On Sunday night I joined Mary Beth Sullivan and Karen Wainberg in driving to Bridgton to a meeting of the county Democratic committee. Our Congressman, Tom Allen, was to be a guest speaker. We wanted to go ask him some questions about Iraq. I went first and asked him if he'd support the "Woolsey Resolution" in the House of Representatives that calls on the president to set an exit strategy for the war in Iraq. Our other Congressman in Maine, Mike Michaud, has just agreed to co-sponsor the resolution. Anyway, the congressman said he was not inclined to support it saying that there is no one to replace U.S. forces. I then asked him when and how we'd ever leave, considering we are now building 14 "enduring" bases in Iraq. He said he was convinced once a new government was established in Iraq they would "kick us out." I think he is wrong on this point because the new government in Iraq is a puppet government under our control. The other interesting thing about the Woolsey resolution, is that last week a group of students from Bowdoin College met with Rep. Allen and when they asked him about the Woolsey resolution he told them he did not know about it. I spoke with his staff person in Washington this morning and she told me she had talked with the congressman about the Woolsey resolution two weeks ago and he had decided then he was not going to support it.

During the meeting Sunday night Karen Wainberg asked the second question about him holding a town hall meeting so people could share their feelings about the war. Karen reminded him that he has been holding town hall meetings on the social security question and should do the same for the war. He said he was not sure and would have to talk with his staff. Today when I spoke with his staffer in DC she told me he had brought up the subject this morning in a staff meeting and it looked fairly certain that they would hold one soon. His staffer told me the congressman was saying he was getting a lot of pressure to hold a town hall meeting.

I remind readers what Hillary Clinton said a month or so ago when she returned from Iraq. I saw her on the Sunday morning talk shows saying that the U.S. has been in South Korea since the end of that war, some 50 years ago, and that we are going to be in Iraq for some time to come. This is a key issue because the enormous cost of this war is resulting in the elimination of social progress in the U.S. It is vital to get to the question of how long we will be in Iraq. Many in the Democratic party do not want to talk about this issue. Like Rep. Allen, many Democrats are telling the public that we can stay in Iraq and fund social programs (guns and butter) at the same time. This is a serious error that the peace movement must point out now.

Saturday, April 16, 2005


I was on the street for about 4 hours yesterday here in Brunswick. From 11:00-1:00 I went to the post office, where I was joined by six others, and we handed out leaflets and held signs with messages about how our hard-earned tax dollars are being wasted on war and military spending. Then I went back from 4:00-5:15, with one other person, to do some more. In all we passed out 400 leaflets and had many conversations.

Not everyone was thrilled to see us. There was some hostility. One old man screamed at the top of his lungs that we need to be in Iraq killing as many people as possible. When I told him Iraq had nothing to do with 9-11 he said 'They are all the same people." When I told him we've already killed 100,000 people there, mostly innocent civilians, he screamed "liar, liar." The old man was so upset afterward he could not find his car. Two post office workers were outside raking the leaves and one came over to see what all the fuss was. He took a leaflet and said he was against the war.

One thing I noticed is how depressed people are. Dr. Helen Caldicott says that over 40% of Americans are taking medication for depression these days. I can believe it. Many people would say, "I don't want to know about it" or "I'm not interested." Many of them were very grumpy and appeared depressed. One such person is my town councillor. He is a gruff person who does not try to hide his rude, angry demeanor. Not a good way to win votes!

There were 50% though that really appreciated the fact we were out there. They took the leaflets and expressed deep concern about the condition of the country. They showed real outrage about the war in Iraq, how our money is misspent on militarism, and the declining way of life here in the U.S. as social progress is defunded. It is these people that motivate me to go leafleting on tax day.

I think being there helps energize, and at least give some hope, to the people who agree with us but feel powerless to do anything about their concerns. By seeing others out on the street it just might inspire them to make copies of the leaflet and hand them out to friends and co-workers. Maybe they will read the leaflet and talk about our national spending priorities over dinner. They just might write a more informed letter to the editor. If anything good comes from it then it was a good use of my time.

At 5:30 pm last night I joined the weekly peace vigil at our town center. We had 20 folks turn out, which is almost double what we usually get. A half dozen were from nearby Bowdoin College. A group of students had, just earlier in the day, met with our Congressman Tom Allen and delivered 275 postcards signed by students against the war. They had a good conversation with him and urged him to become more out spoken against the war. Rep. Allen is under intense pressure these days after recently voting for the $81.4 billion Bush requested for the war. Rep. Michael Michaud, our other Maine Congressman, just signed on to the Woolsey amendment that calls on Bush to immediately create an exit strategy from Iraq. This will mean even more pressure on Allen, who is supposed to be the more progressive of our two Congressmen.

Thursday, April 14, 2005


On my way to the post office this morning I noticed a neighbor woman using an electric blower to push the leaves in her yard out into the street. (I always think of oil power plants and nuclear power plants when I see these leaf blowers. What ever happened to the rake and the broom? No wonder Americans are fat and we are in a war for oil.) The wind is blowing hard today and in my rear-view mirror I saw the leaves in the street come flying back into the woman's yard. She'll be out there all day at this rate.....

I interview a father tonight on my cable TV show who has a son with the Vermont National Guard. The man's son was recruited to ski for the guard team. His son has a dream to make it to the Olympics and saw the national guard sponsorship as his ticket to the big time. Unfortunately, instead of going to the Olympics he is soon to be deployed to Iraq. Right now the young man is in Mississippi getting "trained" for the war. He reports to his father that their equipment is sub-standard and the training they are receiving is also below par. His father has been trying to get the politicians in Maine to help but even though they have recently voted for another $82 billion for the war - they are not very interested in the situation. We have a war to win for global democracy!!!!! Enough of that small stuff!!!!

My last bit is some good news. Last night was a sports lovers paradise for me. On one channel I watched my favorite basketball team, the Washington Wizards, clinch a play-off spot and then on another channel I was watching my favorite baseball team, the Baltimore Orioles, win a game. I rarely get to see either team on TV at all, so last night was a double wonder. So there I was with my popcorn and beer......Should I feel guilty that I was having so much fun at a time like this? My one escape from the insanity of the world.