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.

Monday, December 10, 2007

ALBUQUERQUE: Chavez, Udall, Richardson and the arms race in space

By Bob Anderson (Stop the War Machine)

Just a few days ago Albuquerque Mayor Martin Chavez, a three term mayor, surprised everyone with an announcement to withdraw from the race to replace retiring U.S. Senator Pete Dominici. Chavez had been the first major Democratic Party candidate in New Mexico to announce for the seat two months ago. Then a month ago Tom Udall, Democratic Party Congressional representative from northern New Mexico announced for the same seat. The political airwaves have been hot and heavy ever since.

Mayor Chavez said in his message that it is his desire is to preserve and increase Democratic Party unity in Congress to stop the illegal war in Iraq and he wished now to work to help Rep. Tom Udall win the senate seat. A bloody and expensive primary battle between Chavez and Udall would be unwise he said. I sent a thank you note to the Mayor for his concern in the struggle to end the war in Iraq and bring our troops home.

I wish the Democrats in Congress had the resolve to stop the war in Iraq as the image seems to appear to some.

I think the mayor made two major strategic blunders when Rep. Tom Udall announced his campaign to win the senate seat. These missteps were fatal to him and they tell us something important about the changing base of the U.S. electorate and the race to militarize space.

Mayor Chavez first tried to play the race card, almost like Republicans using immigration to divide the public. He said Udall, an Anglo was not Hispanic enough for New Mexico. This did not unite his perceived base of support. The anti-immigrant and anti-Hispanic message also worked to damage Gov. Richardson a Hispanic running in Iowa as a unity candidate for the nomination for president. Wow, what a blunder.

But more important, when this did not work Chavez then tried to up the ante with a message that he would boost efforts to keep open the nuclear weapons factories of Los Alamos (and Sandia NL). Congress has moved to cut the funds and Rep. Udall spoke of diversifying the nuke labs mission. Chavez lost ground on this too as many in the state know there must be a new mission for the labs away from nukes if they are to survive, and Udall has made statements to that effect. It is obvious too that the labs have not brought us security nor ended poverty, illness and inequality in the state. Chavez was proof of that point.

Chavez says he got feedback in his polling and from friends that his high visibility attacks were way out of touch with the the public and probably the governor and many others. He said it was time to look for new horizons.

If this is true it means the larger trend of the public moving left, or away from war and militarism is a deep rooted phenomena for New Mexico is a special place in this whole historical development.

I think we saw some of this in the mandate last November for the Democrats to work to end the wars in the Middle East. They have not yet acted on that message and what is interesting is that we can see it is having a direct impact now in a key Senate race in a core state in the military-industrial complex, New Mexico. Our state has had its fate intertwined with nuclear weapons since the Manhattan project.

Mayor Chavez was a casualty of the old guard political order not having learned some key lessons. Now the questions emerge about what it means for Gov. Richardson who is saying we need to dismantle the U.S. nuclear weapons arsenal. This was at odds with Marty Chavez obviously and with the workers here tied to jobs in the nuclear weapons industry. But these is more to this than meets the eye.

Two years ago this month my wife, Jeanne Pahls, and some other anti-nuclear activists were invited by Gov. Richardson to his office in the Roundhouse. The governor it appears now wanted to sound out some in the peace community as he was preparing his move into the presidential race. Jeanne asked the governor to take a stand against nuclear weapons and the WMD factories in our state. She presented him with a petition with over 8,000 signatures calling for dismantling the WMD stockpile at Kirtland AFB inside Albuquerque. The governor ignored her request.

Later as the nation engaged in the 2006 national election campaign for Congress the Baker Commission issued a report calling on the president to address the war with a new mind and solution. Implicit, but not noticed in this report was the notion that we had to get away from WMDs as the key issue and onto a coalition path to relations with the region.

Then on Jan. 4, 2007 the Wall Street Journal carried a major opinion piece by notable U.S. political voices William J. Perry, Henry A. Kissinger, George F. Schultz and Sam Nunn calling for an end to our hypocritical stance on WMDs. They pointed out the hypocrisy of us saying that we can keep our WMDs while everyone else does away with theirs. This reality political show took roots with Gov. Richardson who has long been associated with HenryKissinger and the neo-liberal political school of thought.

Richardson soon came out as a peace candidate, calling for an end to the war in Iraq and an end to the U.S. nuclear weapons arsenal. It is obvious Marty Chavez was not following the same text as Richardson has been moving on, he obviously was not listening to the grassroots in his own state.

A lot of people then began saying that Gov. Richardson had made a major turn around but I don't think that is the case at all if one understand the goal of the neo-liberals and what is going on the the restructuring of the U.S. military with a new set of technologies and strategies.

For example, a couple weeks ago the U.S. Air Force announced plans to create a new cyber warfare center for future war fighting. Gov. Richardson who was in Iowa campaigning for president quickly issued a call to have the new war center set up in Albuquerque, NM at Kirtland AFB.

Kirtland AFB is a center of the most advanced war planning which includes Iraq, on the other side of the globe and a key center for military restructuring plans. The publications of the Space Command and the research center at Kirtland AFB state they are leading the world in supremacy for control of the cosmos, to dominate the high ground of space for control of the earth across a broad spectrum of war fighting capabilities.

The U.S. military is moving rapidly away from a strategy based on messy and expensive nuclear weapons to a more sophisticated plan for the building of a global empire. You can't rule a planet wasted by radiation. The U.S. Army has just revealed they are planning to spend $200 billion to build a war fighting capacity based on wireless and Internet technologies, none of which are possible without secure access to and control of space which is where the satellites are that link all the new technologies together.

Not only that but as Jonathan Shell has pointed out there is the urgent danger of the linear spread of nuclear weapons now, other nations learning how to build and use nuclear weapons in their fight for self-determination.

With the collapse of the Soviet Union as a counter balance in the Mutually Assured Destruction doctrine of warfare smaller nations are realizing that if they are to avoid being colonized they must have nuclear weapons too. This is a danger the neo-liberals like Kissinger, Nunn and Richardson are facing head on. Others like Marty Chavez have missed this turn in the road to the future.

New Mexico's Gov. Richardson has been campaigning with a new image of being for peace and an antinuclear activist but what he is doing really is following the Baker, Kissinger, Nunn plan of quickly acquiring the holy grail of new age weapons - the control of space, or the militarization of space. The result is a new arms race in space that few in the U.S. electorate have noticed.

Other nations have noticed this new development. China, Japan, France, Israel, India and Russia are moving to acquire new capabilities in these areas of future warfare. None of the global war fighting capabilities the U.S. empire needs can be accomplished without securing outer space, much like securing the seas of the old age was key to control and commerce then. Once ports around the world were key for a global navy, now it is secure satellites that are key.

China's recent destruction of one of their obsolete satellites with a simple earth launched missile was a plea to everyone to negotiate a treaty on weapons and war in space or face a new arms race that will be staggering in costs. Everyone seems to want to avoid this, everyone except the U.S.

The response of the U.S. political establishment has been to ignore the global demand for a solution and to push ahead with new unilateral and taxing expenditures for more high tech weapons. The U.S. plan is actually in scale larger than the old Manhattan Project. We see it in cuts to social and human services, even to veterans coming back from the ground wars in the Middle East. They are spending like crazy to grab as much of the high ground of space as possible in the shortest period of time before the public catches on.

Gov. Richardson is in tune with this imperial mission while appearing to be a new peace leader. During his tenure as governor many new space weapons systems have been developed and centralized in New Mexico with his support and encouragement, not criticism and discouragement. The new Air Force cyber war center is for him a complement to the directed energy, laser, anti-satellite and other exotic weapons developed here. To us they are like the V2 rockets of the Nazi regime.

This is the situation the peace movement and the nation finds itself in. The public is moving away from war and nuclear weapons but has not grasped yet the new plans of the empire builders who still run the show in Washington.

At the grassroots we need to take into the elections the message that yes, we want to end the war in Iraq, to end the scourge of nuclear weapons but we also want to keep war and weapons out of space, that we want a funding of human needs, not massive expenditures for war profiteers, as Pres. Eisenhower warned us about, in 1961.

The recent Chavez-Udall debate over the struggle for Sen. Pete Domenici's seat in Washington has illuminated new challenges for those working for a just and democratic society across the planet.

- Bob Anderson (Stop the War Machine) Albuquerque, N.M.


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