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 25, 2009

ENERGY AND EMPIRE - IT'S A LINK

I leave early in the morning on the car-bus-train (Bath-Portland-Boston-DC) for the National Organizing Conference on US Foreign Military Bases that will be held at American University in Washington, DC. Mary Beth is going and three other members of Maine Veterans for Peace will make the trip as well.

I will speak on a conference panel on Saturday and do a workshop along with friend Tim Rinne, the coordinator at Nebraskans for Peace (the folks that hosted our GN annual space organizing conference in 2008). Also doing the space issues workshop with us will be an activist from the Czech Republic.

Things will begin on Friday with a 4:00 pm vigil at the Pentagon (take yellow or blue line and get off at the Pentagon Metro stop to find the protest). Last I heard there were many folks coming from other countries to the conference - virtually all continents will be represented that today are occupied by US military bases. It should be a great event.

On Sunday night we have tickets to attend a program at George Washington University featuring Wendell Berry, one of the giants in environmental literature -- along with writers Bill McKibben and Gus Speth -- for a night of discussion, poetry and inspiration. They will be joined by authors and activists Terry Tempest Williams and Janisse Ray, as well as Rev. Lennox Yearwood of the Hip Hop Caucus. This event is all in preparation for a protest the next day at the Capitol Hill coal burning power plant.

In a letter from McKibben and Berry they call for others to join them in non-violent civil disobedience at the coal plant in order to provide a spark in the movement to stop burning fossil fuels if we hope to successfully deal with climate change. They say, "The industry claim that there is something called 'clean coal' is, put simply, a lie. But it’s a lie told with tens of millions of dollars, which we do not have. We have our bodies, and we are willing to use them to make our point. We don’t come to such a step lightly. We have written and testified and organized politically to make this point for many years, and while in recent months there has been real progress against new coal-fired power plants, the daily business of providing half our electricity from coal continues unabated. It’s time to make clear that we can’t safely run this planet on coal at all."

The coal plant protest will start at noon on Monday, March 2 and we intend to go along to show solidarity.

The No Bases confab and the coal plant protest are not officially linked and it's a shame they are not. Because a primary reason for the expanding US military empire today is about securing and controlling access to natural resources for America's grand energy appetite.

So I will go to each event and in my own mind I will link them. In my heart I will weave the entire experience into one consistent picture of a country out of control with its grand military arrogance and its gross energy consumption. And I will remember that the only escape from our addiction to fossil fuels and militarism is a change in our hearts, the way we live, and also in stepped up political activism.

If we were to cut the enormous military budget we'd have all the money we need to create a real sustainable energy policy for our nation. Neither of these issues can be worked on in isolation.

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