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 01, 2007


Ok I admit it. I have a diversion from the madness of the world. Baseball season begins today and my Baltimore Orioles, that I have followed all my life, will now commence to put me through another season of pain and agony.

The O's, once a great team, have had losing seasons nine years in a row and this year is expected to be the tenth. But a loyal fan sticks with the O's - through thick and thin. Mostly thin.

I have extravagantly ordered the Major League Baseball web-TV package for $80 and I can watch all the games live via the Internet. So on many evenings this summer I will be found sitting at my desk agonizing as the O's drop another game. Mary Beth will come into my study and ask, "How are the boys doing?" though we both know that in truth she doesn't really care. What she really wants to know is "what kind of mood are you going to be in when this game is over?" Sadly to say, the mood is often sour.

I don't yell as much as I used to. I've grown used to the team taking it on the chin. Now I just moan, groan, and grouse a lot.

I also spend time on the Baltimore Sun fan chat room reading the posts of other long-suffering fans. Two years ago I got tired of the complaining and began sending posts suggesting the fans organize and complain that the owner was not spending enough of the millions in profit the team was accruing from it's loyal fan base. Much to my delight, at the beginning of the 2006 season, the fans did get organized and purchased a large billboard calling for the owner to sell the team. I donated to that cause. The Baltimore Sun ended up giving the billboard campaign front-page coverage on the first day of the season last year.

Later in the season, again much to my delight, a local radio sports talk show host got the fans to do a march to the stadium dressed in black. Hundreds joined the march, bought tickets and went inside and sat in the same section. The cheered wildly for the team, and then at the appointed moment filed out of the stadium in single file in protest of the rich owner who has destroyed the beloved Orioles.

This past winter, after many years of empty promises, the owner did make some worthwhile moves to improve the team. The lessons for the fans, and for the Baltimore community, is that organizing and making demands can have an impact.

I know some would say what a waste it is for fans of a sports team to spend time organizing. But I come from the old school that says go to the people where they are and get them working together. Let them learn to organize collectively, to have some success, and to feel proud in that effort. The truth is that baseball fans have to spend a lot of money these days to take their families to the games. Let the rich owners feel some heat from the fans who want a return on their dollar. I am in favor of class struggle, even if it manifests itself in baseball.

And for this fan, maybe the O's might win a couple more games this year. I know Mary Beth will like me better if the boys pick up a few more in 2007.

Go O's.


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