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: Brunswick, ME, 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. We must all do more to help stop this western corporate arrogance that puts the future generations lives in despair. @BruceKGagnon

Friday, March 28, 2008


Yesterday I drove north to speak at the University of Maine in Orono. The Philosophy Department is having a speaker series and my topic was "A Leftist Analysis of Elections". It was fun to prepare for this talk, not one I normally give, and I think it went well. Of course I was critical of the Democrats and Republicans, the two corporate war parties, and read from the 1918 speech by Eugene Debs when he opposed WW I and was later tried and sentenced to 10 years in jail for violating the Sedition Act.

In the speech Debs said, "Wars throughout history have been waged for conquest and plunder. In the Middle Ages when the feudal lords who inhabited the castles whose towers may still be seen along the Rhine [River in Germany] concluded to enlarge their domains, to increase their power, their prestige and their wealth they declared war upon one another. But they themselves did not go to war any more than the modern feudal lords, the barons of Wall Street go to war.

"The feudal barons of the Middle Ages, the economic predecessors of the capitalists of our day, declared all wars. And their miserable serfs fought all the battles. The poor, ignorant serfs had been taught to revere their masters; to believe that when their masters declared war upon one another, it was their patriotic duty to fall upon one another and to cut one another's throats for the profit and glory of the lords and barons who held them in contempt. And that is war in a nutshell. The master class has always declared the wars; the subject class has always fought the battles. The master class has had all to gain and nothing to lose, while the subject class has had nothing to gain and all to lose--especially their lives.

"They have always taught and trained you to believe it to be your patriotic duty to go to war and to have yourselves slaughtered at their command. But in all the history of the world you, the people, have never had a voice in declaring war, and strange as it certainly appears, no war by any nation in any age has ever been declared by the people."

In the morning I will get up early and take the bus from Portland to the Boston airport. From there I will head to Bethlehem, Pennsylvania where I will speak at the annual dinner of the peace group called LEPOCO. My talk is advertised as Swords into Plowshares: Transforming the Military Industrial Complex - my favorite topic these days.

Pennsylvania is the state next up to vote in the Democratic party election primary season. So it is likely many of the questions I get after my talk will be focused on the upcoming elections.

I will get home on Sunday evening and will unfortunately miss the next Mainers for Cynthia McKinney meeting and our monthly Addams-Melman House potluck supper - both events scheduled to be held at our house in Bath that day.


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