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.

Sunday, December 17, 2006


Mary Beth and I just got home today from a weekend retreat with some peace movement friends. We met up in Deer Isle and one of the things we did on Saturday was take a two-hour walk along the shore and out onto a local island that was accessible because the tide had gone out. In the picture above we are sitting on a rocky cliff overlooking the Penobscot Bay. It was quite windy and the sky was sunny and clear. A very beautiful day though a bit too warm for this time of year. Everyone in Maine is talking about global warming.

During our retreat, rotated between the homes of a couple artist friends who are part of our extended peace community family, we cooked for each other and talked about how we should deal with the fact that the Democrats are rushing to join the Bush team in giving another $100 billion plus for the war effort. We talked about the need to increase our efforts in Maine to call for impeachment of Bush/Cheney - they must be held accountable for the crimes they have committed. How can we have real democracy if we allow them to wantonly violate our sacred constitution and then get a free pass?

Our group of about 13 at the retreat, coming from all over the state, also decided that we should work together to hold non-violent civil disobedience actions in congressional offices sometime in February as part of the national Campaign of Resistance to End the Iraq War. (See the link in the headline above for more details.) We will be holding meetings around the state in the coming weeks to plan these events.

The integration of artists with traditional peace movement organizing has really been a wonderful combination here in Maine. For the past couple of years a growing group of artists have brought exceptional creativity to our overall effort and out of this connection has grown a wonderful bonding and building of community. We are really lucky to have made this connection.

Once we got home today Mary Beth went to pick up our dogs who were being taken care of by friends while we were gone for the weekend. Our friend had recently become hopeful that Sen. Barack Obama (D-IL) was going to be an emerging leader for our side. He told Mary Beth that over the weekend he had heard that Obama was calling for more troops to be sent to Iraq. Our friend was heart broken at the news.

One thing we talked about at the retreat this weekend was that we can't count on and wait for the Democrats to bail us out these days - from either the occupation in Iraq, global warming, or a host of other problems we now face.

We talked about how we need to act independently and to recognize that no politician will be our savior. The people are going to have to take back our democracy and save ourselves from the hot frying pan that we are now sliding into.

This weekend's retreat reminded me that we are not alone. One of our friends at the retreat sent this quote to us today after she got home. I think it tells the story.

"Hear me! A single twig breaks, but the bundle of twigs is strong."


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