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.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

HANDING OUT LEAFLETS ON THE STREET


I spent six hours on the street yesterday handing out leaflets letting the public know how our congressman just voted on the latest Iraq occupation supplemental. It was a beautiful warm sunny day, almost like we had skipped spring and jumped right into summer. The streets were filled with folks in shorts, sandals and T-shirts. As the day went on more of our friends turned out to help and by 4:00 pm we had about 30 of us holding banners and signs and distributing over 1,000 leaflets. One TV station came to cover our event which culminated with a speak out.

We set up a good portable sound system that was loud enough that people a block away could hear the speakers. I noticed people standing on corners across the street listening intently as different people talked about the lies being told to justify funding the occupation, the human and social costs of the Iraq quagmire, what it was like to have a son come home from Iraq with PTSD, the very personal reasons that motivate people toward action, and the need for the public to become engaged in this issue.
One young man who sat and listened to us asked if he could say a few words. He spoke movingly about a friend who had just married a woman whose brother had been killed in Iraq. Now the new husband was being sent to Iraq. A young boy about 4 years old, there in the park with his dad, also asked if he could speak and he declared into the microphone that "George Bush needs to stop this war." The shortest and best speech of the day I told the assembled.

As usual many people passed by and did not want to make eye contact or take a leaflet. But many others were quite eager to stop and smile and give a kind word. Once, while I was engaged in conversation with another person, a young woman tapped me on the shoulder and asked for a leaflet. That rarely ever happens.

When I first arrived with Karen Wainberg at noon I found it hard to get folks to take a leaflet. Then by 4:00 when we had a larger group handing out leaflets on every corner in the vicinity, it suddenly became easier to hand them out. There really was a herd mentality at work. People seem afraid to be seen as taking a leaflet from the lone protester. But when there is a larger number of people then it must be OK because so many others are involved.

It makes me take notice that courage is in short supply in America today. We need more political inquisitiveness and more political courage.
-For a larger readable version of the cartoon above just click on it.

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