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.

Sunday, April 23, 2006

IT'S OUR WAR NOW


Our Iraq/Iran war town hall meeting last Friday night was wonderful. We had over 400 people turn out and many of them lined up at the two microphones in the aisles to share their feelings about the war. None of our Maine congressional delegation or the governor showed up. No shock there. Surprisingly the Portland newspaper covered the event with a decent story that ran on the front page. None of the TV stations covered the event though. Most likely a fire or car crash kept them from filming people from all over the state speaking out about the # 1 issue on the voters mind - the costly and immoral war we are now in.

Person after person expressed outrage that the politicians were not there. Progressive candidates for governor, U.S. Senate and House seats were there and were given wildly affirmative responses from the audience.

We ended up with 45 peace groups, church committees and town political committees (Democratic party and Green) sponsoring the event. Many people worked very hard passing out flyers (one local activist handed out 1,000 of them around Portland) and helping to spread the word. Maine Veterans for Peace spent $500 and purchased radio adverts during the first half of April that promoted the event. It was a perfect example of what happens when many different groups work together. Hard work, determination, and a good spirit works every time.

The next step for us is that we will have a meeting on May 6 to evaluate the town hall meeting and then do some brainstorming what our next step will be. I don't think we want to create a "new" organization, I just think we want to explore how we can keep supporting each other and work toward building, slowly but surely, a larger regional anti-war movement in mid-coast and southern Maine that stays connected to the larger movement in the state. As we do that each of our groups will benefit from the process and we will help mobilize a public that cares deeply about this issue but has lost all faith in the political process. We learned Friday night though that events like our town hall meeting serve to inspire people and give them the hope and the energy to keep fighting for what is right.

The war must end. We must bring the troops home now. We must cut the war funding in order to stop the war. It is our war now. Our $$$ is being used to fund it. We have to stop it.

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