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.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

COORDINATOR TRIP REPORT - NEW MEXICO & COLORADO

This report covers the period of Feb 6-16 as I traveled to New Mexico and Colorado for a seven city speaking tour.

I flew into Albuquerque, N.M. on Feb 6 and Bob Anderson and his wife Jeanne Pahls picked me up at the airport. Much to my surprise Bob, who teaches political science at a local community college, was on crutches after severely hurting his back. Bob and Jeanne are the leaders of a local group called Stop the War Machine that focuses on military bases in their community like Kirtland AFB which now directs the research and testing of laser weapons for space.

Bob organized the trip that would take me all over New Mexico and into southern Colorado during the coming week. In the past he has driven me around on such speaking trips but he was in no condition to do so this time. Plus he had to try to teach as well, even while in terrible pain.

My first stop was down to Silver City where I spoke on Feb 7. Global Network member Vicki Johnson and her husband Mike drove me the five hours south.The ride was beautiful through the rugged Gila National Forest. The morning after my talk I appeared on a popular local cable access TV program called The Morning Show.

From there we drove southeast to Las Cruces which is where the White Sands Missile Test Range is located that is the place where many "missile defense" technologies are now tested. Vicki and Mike took us to the base and we visited their museum that tells the history of the U.S. space program. It was to White Sands that the Nazi rocket scientists under Operation Paperclip were first brought following WW II to create the Pentagon's space effort. That evening I spoke to a group of local citizens.

On Feb 9 we made our way back to Albuquerque and then Bob and Jeanne took me further north to Santa Fe where I spoke to an audience of people organized by the local chapter of Veterans for Peace. I noticed in the back of the audience a young man paying great attention to my talk. Afterwards he waited in the wings until almost everyone was gone before he approached me and told me he was an Iraq war veteran and was considering going to Washington DC for the Winter Soldier testimonies on March 13-16 where Iraq and Afghanistan vets will tell the stories about their role in the shock and awe invasions and resulting occupations of those countries. I urged him to go saying that while his life had already been dramatically changed by being in the war, participating in the Winter Solider events would likely change his life even more.

On Feb 10 I was treated to a wonderful Raging Grannies choir of more than twenty women who sang three songs about space at the Albuquerque Peace & Justice Center. One of the songs was called Take Me Out of the Bomb Game and went like this:

Take me out of the bomb game
take me out of the war
Buy me no missiles or Star Wars, Jack
I'll be glad if they never come back!
Oh it's BOO BOO BOO for the bomb team
If they should win we all lose
And it's ONE---ONE---ONE strike we're out
At the old bomb game.

You can imagine that after this great singing I was very energized to deliver my talk that was recorded and sent on to play on David Barsamian's Alternative Radio.

On Feb 11 many of these same Raging Grannies came to our protest on the sidewalk outside of the Hotel Albuquerque where the 25th Symposium on Space Nuclear Power and Propulsion was underway. Inside the hotel were representatives from the military, the Department of Energy nuclear labs, nuclear academia, and the aerospace industry. They are making plans to put nuclear colonies on the Moon and Mars and are currently building nuclear rockets for expanded space exploration and colonization. These same nuclear reactors would ultimately be used to power space-based weapons as well. It is these people who are planning to mine the skies for precious minerals and hope to have the taxpayers fund all the research and development necessary to make it happen. On top of that the Space Command's job will be to control the "shipping lanes" between Earth and these planetary bodies with space weapons technologies. The Santa Fe New Mexican newspaper noted our presence and quoted me on what was going on inside the space nukes confab.

My next stop was Las Vegas, N.M. where I spoke at the United World College. Students are brought there from all over the world in order to learn from each other in hopes they will return home and help foster peace among all nations. After my talk two young men from Africa and Asia approached me and were very interested in learning more about our work on space issues. I was hosted by Pat Lehan who runs the Peace & Justice Center and the next day she taped a one-hour interview with me on her local radio station for later broadcast.

On Feb 13 Pat drove me north to Taos where I spoke several times over the next two days. Beryl Schwartz from Peace Action had me scheduled to speak in two different high schools, I did two radio interviews, and then talked at an event for the local community.

My final talk was in Alamosa, Colorado at an event organized by a political science professor at Adams State College. My host, a local doctor by the name of Beth Kinney, took me to her home where I was met by Bill Sulzman and Loring Wirbel who drove down from Colorado Springs for the talk. Bill was one of the co-founders of the Global Network in 1992 and coordinates the local group called Citizens for Peace in Space. Both Bill and Loring serve on the Global Network board and drove me back to Colorado Springs where I was to fly home from the next day.

On Feb 16 Bill organized an informal breakfast meeting in Colorado Springs where we spent some time talking about plans for three days of protest by their group at the 24th National Space Symposium which will be held there on April 7-10. Several of us from the Global Network will come to these Colorado protests before heading to Omaha for the Global Network's international space organizing conference on April 11-13.

The Colorado Springs symposium is sponsored by a host of weapons corporations like Raytheon, Boeing, ATK, Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman, and many more. It is the premier event of those planning to move the arms race into space. Their promotional literature says, "National security issues will broach on continuing to understand the central role of space and using the opportunities it has to offer for defense purposes. The partnerships that are being forged through the civil, commercial and national security sectors [will] help make space financially obtainable....."

So between our protest in Albuquerque at the space nuclear power convention and the April space weapons symposium in Colorado Springs we feel that we have identified the top two aerospace events that are integral to the nuclearization and weaponization of space. It is our role to shine a light on these events and to learn as much as possible about their latest plans so we can pass on that information to our members around the world.

As we are now seeing with the planned satellite shoot down of the wayward satellite, the Pentagon is escalating their efforts to move forward to achieve space control and domination. It is our job in the Global Network to build the resistance to this madness. Trips like I just made to New Mexico and Colorado help us to slowly but surely expand our grassroots base. I thank all who made the trip and our work possible.

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