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, June 17, 2007


Still people are sending in responses and as promised I will keep sharing them. There is much wisdom out there if we just stop for a moment and really listen to each other. For just a moment, set aside our own agendas, and really hear one another. I am grateful to all who are sending their comments and also to you who are reading them.


  • Thank you. I am not US citizen but I love America. We have suffered a lot from the way successive US administrations have been doing to us and to our children many of whom have been maimed or orphaned by US soldiers. By we, I mean we Muslims and Arabs who suffer from USA crimes and occupation of our countries . But we will still love America. We still believe in the nice American.

    (Mr) Zuhair Mustafa, Khartoum, Sudan

  • I just wanted to say how much I liked your 10-step plan article. I agree with all you say and wish you the very best in your anti-war work in the US and with the GN. I am a PhD student based in Bellingen, NSW, Australia; my thesis concerns the impact on the linked processes of the War on Terror and economic globalisation on the defence and promotion of human rights.
    I am a firm believer that spiritual principles of transcendence can offer resources to help us overcome our current predicament. Given that the US is the key country where mass attitude shifts have to take place, and bearing in mind its religiosity, it seems to me that progressive Christian responses and alternatives should be supported as much as possible.

Nick Rose, Bellingen, Australia

  • It's time for those who want the war to end to stop fueling the war. It would be nice to see some bumper stickers impressing that. It's not my forte, but to give you an idea:
    "First one to the red light claims the next troops death", "Fuel the war, break the speed limit", "My car is fueled by Troops blood".
    Oh I pull over and watch the "Impeach Bush" and "Support the troops" bumper stickers fly past like bats out of hell.
    In addition, my car, I've only owned one in my whole life and it's in very good condition being over 20 years old (I didn't drive until I was 30), is getting 30 mpg and I'm getting an additional 90 miles per tank of gas. My stress level while driving has reduced considerably.
    I think it would be wonderful if all those folks who claim to be antiwar and peace activists simply drove the speed limit.

Jeanette Doney, Ft Bragg, CA

  • Well written, I'll send it out.
    I think there are more things we can do:
    1. Get involved at a local level in government (perhaps run for office too)
    2. Take your money out of the multi national banks and put it in local banks or credit unions.
    3. Don't shop franchises, most of that money leaves your neighborhood and the country
    (the major vote we have is with our MONEY)
    4. Downsize
    5. Buy less, only necessities
    6. Plant a garden, grow some of your own food. If apartment dweller, get together with your neighbors and do a community garden on open space.
    7. Buy local and organic
    8. Drive less, boycott the big boys gas stations
    9. Get involved in a movement or cause of some kind, it gives you peace of mind, and your power back.
    10. Turn off the tv for good
    11. Cancel your subscriptions to the media - newspapers, cable tv,, etc -why support those who are part of the cover up of the truth?
    12. Support groups that are doing the right thing either with action or money
    13. Listen to my show of course for real news

Meria Heller, Arizona

  • Great piece on what has to be done to save us from Oligarchy. My only criticism is that you blame corporations. To me the blame is better focused on the stockholders that own these companies. The employees - the CEO's on down - are only carrying out the wishes of the millions with Mutual Funds, 401k's and all the rest of the vehicles by which the money flows to them. Translation: not corporations to blame but US - the oblivious consumer who is ultimately funding his own demise - even if he protests the problems with "corporate America" with all his might. I have a relative, a tenured professor at USC, who talks incessantly about all the problems we face. But divest his pension from USC- most of which is aimed at profit-making, short-sighted conglomerates you allude to? Forget it! Conclusion: all his talk and speeches at the dinner table add up to ZERO. He, and thousands of other's will not or cannot make the connection with money and their politics. Until that's done, forget the rest. Your thoughts?

Mark Gery, Santa Ana, Ca.

  • Thank you so much for this 10 step plan. I have recently come to the same conclusions on most everything you say.
    I will forward this to many of my peace friends.

Donna Mummery, Rochester, NY

  • I don't mean to sound sarcastic, but there are lots of us who would love to work for peace and justice full time, but there is no money to be had. So those who are retired, those who have spouses to support them, can do just that. The rest of us (which is most) must work. We have jobs such as in the schools, the government, some in corporate jobs. It is easy to tell people what they should do without knowing their circumstances - families to feed, etc.
    I do agree we could all do with a lot less things....we are a consumer and image driven society, thanks to rugged individualism (which you mentioned) and the media, which tells us the lifestyle and the clothes and the vacations we must have. It mentions nothing about cooperation, peace, coexistence, etc. Personally, I would love to be in the streets all the time, or doing something active to end the war. So would many others I know. We need our health insurance (no comments on the awful health care system we have here), and I as I said, we need to pay the rent/mortgage, provide for our families, etc. If you know of a way around this, let us know! It is not simply materialism that prevents people from being full time activists.
    Also, it's more than the fact that people are tied to money and's that people don't really feel affected by the war.
    The Vietnam war lead to people in the streets every day...millions of people (like me) on college campuses who were directly affected by the draft and/or had family and friends affected by the draft. Students had time. They could cut classes (At UW they even closed down the school so we could protest and gave pass fails for one semester due to all the protests!)
    College students are not feeling any direct affect, just like most of the rest of Americans, accept for those of us with families/friends in the military. Everyone is OK with sitting back and waiting for Congress to resume debates in September. Yes, Sen. Reid says some proposals will be made this summer, while admitting at the same they have no chance at succeeding but are just being made to appease liberal Democrats who were elected to bring about a change in our policy (but who have failed cause the rest of Congress has no guts).
    I think the idea that we must change the way we as a country think...our values....about war, peace, global absolutely correct if we are not going to continue the cycles we have been in for a few hundred years. But meanwhile, personally, I want a way to let Congress know they can't just sit back and do nothing. And until people pick up the phone, write letters, take a few hours a week to protest and to encourage their friends to do the same, our elected leaders will do nothing. Until it's their re-election that is at stake. That is too personal for them not to take seriously.
    I would love to see a project where a new media could be created that would have a different emphasis. If someone has funds to support this, wow, that would be incredible!

Lisa, Reno, NV

  • WOW!
    A really nice job Bruce!
    I will post this to shortly. I have been thinking much of the same as you, so it is nice to see others on the same path. I have a couple of quick comments, but if I find the time, I will write something to help further this.
    RE: "Read more history. All the answers and lessons can be found there." -- This is good advice, but I am highly skeptical about the "all" part. We can see where we've gone wrong, but we won't necessarily find the answers.
    Which brings me to my second point, which is that much of the problems we face now relate to the unworkable superstructure that all this madness of empire has created. It's not something that can be merely undone by engineers, and thinkers with the right political will. What I fear now is that technocracy will eventually replace democracy, with technology as the saviour to most of our problems. I believe this will happen even as people become reluctant and critical of technological solutions, because of the intensity of the mounting crisis.
    That's a big pickle that we may never get out of the jar, but your 10 points are a very good start. Nicely done!

Chris Davenport, Toronto, Canada

  • Fantastic summary for action in So What Do We Do Now? I think you might just want to add a point about preventing burnout from frustration, despair and hopelessness--take time for renewal and affirming positive gains.....

Starr Gilmartin, Trenton, ME

  • Thank you for your clarity, your commitment and your outline. I have just had 7 garage sales over the last few months. I am lightening my load. I have not watched TV since 1989 much. Never wanted to pay the cost of cable when clearly it was ALL ads for prescription medication, food, glamour, anorexia inducing images. I am house sitting this summer and they have cable. I have to mute it for most of a program's ads IF I can find anything worth watching. Anyway. Where do you live? I am thinking about moving out of the country. What part of the world has the US empire not been able to touch? That's where I want to move.

Logynn Berley

  • Good morning Bruce 10 very good points. I will send it our to our progressive list. Now the next 10 points.
    Understanding AIPAC and its role in ............ Iraq Iran etc
    ONLY Public money for campaigns. Campaign "finance reform" will get us more of the same. Getting candidates who will pledge to small sums from ONLY their constituents Showing how AIPAC and MIC, Military Industrial Complex, etal control our reality.
    Understanding 9-11 is key for a number of reasons. First it is TREASON and most people know or suspect the truth but are in DENIAL. Exposing the treason brings it all down and allows us to get Public money for campaigns.... etc etc etc.
    Will gladly discuss 9-11 and the rest of this 414-403-1341.

Tom Spellman, Lake Geneva, WI

  • You really nailed it. Your article hits the clear observations, the values and the actions we must hold and implement to reclaim our world: our nation, and Mother Earth. You lay out how we are all in this together, and we can only get out together. We can only extract ourselves by working together, supporting each other to be come more alive to what is really precious within us and outside us. Thank you for this rallying cry. I will share it with my Circles - the ancient form of community, of collaborative decision-making, of mutual support, and of honoring the sacred mystery - that I am working to promote. I personally need my circle: my friends to keep me honest; to build the trust and new ways to work together; to co-create the new solutions and the resources to act local while we think global; to share out loud the acknowledgement and praise we have for one another; to support each other to leave our addictions behind; to encourage each other to find our true worth and our true work. The energy of the Circle grows exponentially and overflows, spilling more wisdom and compassion into our communities, like a gorgeous waterfall. Taking your thoughtful, heartfelt words in deep, and wishing you a joyful circle.

Lauren Oliver

  • I saw your article at Counterpunch. I agree with your points. I would have added two more. You made no mention of holding our leaders accountable. (Or did I miss something?) In a week or so I will post a detailed article "America's Use of Radiological Weapons" in which I will argue for an International War Crimes Tribunal -- since the Democratic majority in Congress seems incapable of getting it done. I hope you'll keep an eye peeled for it. Finally, you made no mention of 9-11. Of course, if you had done so the purblind editors of Counterpunch would have scotched your piece. Please check out the article below, which very soon will be posted at the Scholars for 9-11 Truth On Line Journal. Keep up the good work!

Mark H. Gaffney

  • Economic reform will disempower the New World Order (nwo) scourge because economics drives the nwo. contains the economic reform that will change the world for the better while creating more freedom, prosperity, opportunity, respect and peace for the good of all our relations while all but eliminating war, crime, disease, injustice and poverty. If you would I would appreciate you forwarding planetization/solutions far and wide to your contacts and readership. The best thing we can do for ourselves and our individual/collective well-being is to boycott our capitalist economic system that considers us as mere commodities and slaves to be bought and sold in the so-called global free markets that carry only the illusion of freedom. In prayer for a better world based on peace and freedom for the good of all.

David Roblee

  • Just got your 10 things to do message. you are, as always, right on about everything. i just have one suggestion (and i have been saying this to the occupation project folks for a while now, altho i am not a member): occupying congressional offices is one thing, but it no longer garners the attention you would like, so i suggest the occupation of recruiting offices and other input centers for the military machine. specifically i think an occupation of the jrotc office at bangor high school [Maine] would get alot of attention. this could be done at schools across the state. i just think of bangor high as particularly egregious example because it takes up so much room and is so ostentatious. any how just an idea. one that i would be willing to get arrested for.

Betsy Garrold, Maine

  • I am a painter. I have given away over 41,000 of my paintings to hundreds of people in the US and fifty people around the World. It has been my contribution to discussion of our recent political history. If you have a moment, please take a look at the five paintings. If you like, I would be pleased to send you some at no cost. No tricks, no strings attached.

Mike Woolard


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