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

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.

Sunday, June 14, 2009


We had an excellent planning meeting on Afghanistan in Augusta, Maine yesterday led by CodePink activist Lisa Savage (on the right). Twenty-four activists came from across the state and we made plans to build a campaign in Maine to expand the public consciousness about the madness of the current US war policy in Central Asia.

It now appears that Maine's two representatives in the House of Representatives, Mike Michaud and Chellie Pingree (on the left in the photo), are leaning against the war supplemental that is expected to be voted on early next week. If you haven't called your member of Congress yet please do so right away.

If Michaud and Pingree do stand up against the tremendous pressure coming from the Democratic party leadership and the White House on this vote then we have something to be proud of here in Maine. But next we must move our two Republican "moderate" senators which will be no easy task. They both now support "everything" to do with war.

During a break in the meeting yesterday one new friend, a dear man with a great loving heart, asked me if we could talk someday about how one avoids burnout due to an overwhelming sense of the sadness that comes from US endless war. I told him I'd love to and that I wanted to share a short story in the meantime that might be helpful.

I told him how years ago, while coordinating the Florida Coalition for Peace & Justice, I was feeling very down one day while trying to carry the problems of this beautiful and sad world upon my shoulders. A wonderful Quaker friend, Al Geiger from Jacksonville, told me that I need not feel that it was my job to change everything, that in fact it was an impossibility. Instead, he told me, I had to let go of outcomes and just do my very best and release the rest. This very simple wisdom was liberating for me. It wasn't that I need not feel, or care, anymore. It was just that I didn't have to carry the whole load. He gave me permission to feel proud of my hard work and then to give way to the truth that I was only one person with limited ability to make everything change.

Polls now show of course that 70% of the American people want the US out of Iraq. But at the same time only 50% want our troops out of Afghanistan because many people are still sold on the fact that the long war there is the "good war." Some of that is because President Obama says so and many activists, having voted to put him in power, now feel they must support him.

Our meeting yesterday acknowledged that we have major challenges ahead of us to bring the other 50% of American citizens around on Afghanistan-Pakistan. That will no easy task. But we have to do the best we can and learn to live with (not accept) the rest.


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