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, April 29, 2007

SENSE OF HISTORIC MOMENT CREATES PASSIONATE IMPEACHMENT EVENT

Last night about 200 folks came together in Portland for an impeachment event that featured David Swanson as speaker. Swanson of AfterDowningStreet.org - one of the most influential impeachment action organizations in the U.S. - spoke about the status and prospects for impeachment. His powerful talk pointed directly at the need to put pressure on Nancy Pelosi and the Democratic Party leadership.

The event was organized by MaineImpeach.org which is a group of folks around our state who have now gathered almost 10,000 signatures of Mainers calling on our state legislature to debate a resolution calling for impeachment of Bush and Cheney. [Remember we only have 1.3 million people living in Maine.]

The photo above (if you click on the picture you get a better view) is of people involved in this campaign who went to Kennebunkport earlier this week and had the picture taken right in front of the Bush family compound at Walker's Point. (I am involved now in the organizing of a major New England regional protest march planned for this very same spot on August 25 which is the time George W. is expected to vacation here with his family.)

During his talk last night Swanson told how activists around the country have been going to the offices of media outlets and doing sit-ins to protest the lack of coverage of the impeachment story. So following the talk last night more than 50 of us marched down the street to the offices of the Portland Press Herald which had, once again, chosen to ignore another one of our local events. When we arrived at the office we were chanting "Impeach Bush/Cheney, Report the News". By this time it was about 8:30 pm. A janitor came out and told us the night reporting crew was in another building a block away so we marched over there and saw the news team sitting at their computers in a first floor office setting with a window open. So we began chanting again and pounded on their windows. This went on for some time and finally one of their staff came out to tell us it was private property. We ignored him.

We noticed two cop cars in the parking lot but the police made no move to shove us off. So we kept chanting, put impeachment and anti-war stickers on the front door of the building. Once we dispersed many of us went to a local bar for a beer.

While at the bar one of the organizers got a phone call from the newspaper saying we had frightened them and that they wanted to know why we had come to their office. They ended up interviewing three of the key organizers over a cell phone but nothing appeared in the paper today. We'll see if Monday's paper carries a story.

Everyone felt that the meeting last night was a historic event. The church, founded around 1650, has a rich history of having hosted important political events.

The church was the site of two events of significance to the anti-slavery movement in Maine. The first was the speech made by William Lloyd Garrison at the conclusion of his eight-day tour of Maine in the fall of 1832.

The other event of importance is the 1842 riot outside the church by pro-slavery supporters who attempted to prevent the militant anti-slavery speakers Stephen Symonds Foster and John Murray Spear from speaking. Stephen Symonds Foster suffered twenty blows to the head and had his coat torn in half. Luckily, he escaped out a back window assisted by the women of the Portland Anti-Slavery Society. After the women led Foster safely away, minister John Murray Spear attempted to leave by the front door believing the mob was done. Unfortunately, the mob’s fury was not spent, and he was beaten almost to death on the steps of the church.

So it was this spirit of history, and our current struggle to end the occupation of Iraq and bring Bush/Cheney to justice for their crimes against humanity, that filled us with a strong passion last evening. We all came away from the meeting feeling strengthened that we must press forward more determined than ever to hold our government accountable for their misdeeds.

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