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

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.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

DOUBLE OFFICE OCCUPATION IN PORTLAND


I spent six hours sitting in the office of Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) today in Portland. During that time, as we again read the names of American GI’s and innocent civilians in Iraq who have been killed, we had about 40 people join us. Just two blocks away, in the office of Sen. Olympia Snowe (R-ME) another 25-30 people were doing the same thing in her office. The two protests were organized by Karen Wainberg, the president of Peace Action Maine.

This was the eighth such action held in Maine. As in the past, we called for a town hall meeting so the citizens can have a public opportunity to speak to our two “moderate” senators about this war. They both keep voting for more money for the war and they keep refusing to hold a public meeting. They say they are willing to meet with us individually in the private confines of their office. Sen. Collins has told several of our folks that she does not like “crowds.”

We got a bit of TV coverage and Maine Public Radio gave us a tiny bit on their 5:30 pm news. As usual, the largest newspaper in the state, the Portland Press Herald ignored the action. They rarely, if ever, are willing to report on local peace activity. They have taken the editorial position that they “know” there were no weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. The papers says that the U.S. had to invade Iraq because Saddam was a “destabilizing” force in the region. And the paper, amazingly enough, has editorialized that the U.S. had to grab their oil to continue our way of life here at home. Now that is what you call “liberal” bullshit for sure.

So on we go. We know that we have to continue to hold these events, which are now taking 6 ½ hours to finish. When we first began doing the readings 13 months ago it took four hours. But each day the roster of dead grows.

One thing that is happening though is that this group of office occupiers is growing. More and more new people are joining us each time. Today we saw many new faces amongst the people sitting on the office floor reading the names and marking the X’s on the Iraq War Cloth that took up much of the office floor. It won’t be long that we will have to stay all night to finish reading the names.

The politicians think that if they ignore us long enough we will give up and go home. But they underestimate our peace movement here in Maine. We are in it until the end. The sooner our senators get their act together the less headaches they will have over this war.

If you are from Maine, give us a hand and call this toll-free number and ask Snowe and Collins to hold a town hall meeting. If you are from another state, call your own Congressional delegation. 1-888-355-3588

Bring the troops home now! Stop funding the war now! Fund human needs back here at home.

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