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.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009


One of my favorite writers, Chris Hedges, in a new piece called The American Empire is Bankrupt, says:

There are meetings being held Monday and Tuesday in Yekaterinburg, Russia, (formerly Sverdlovsk) among Chinese President Hu Jintao, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev and other top officials of the six- nation Shanghai Cooperation Organization. The United States, which asked to attend, was denied admittance. Watch what happens there carefully. The gathering is, in the words of economist Michael Hudson, “the most important meeting of the 21st century so far.”

It is the first formal step by our major trading partners to replace the dollar as the world’s reserve currency. If they succeed, the dollar will dramatically plummet in value, the cost of imports, including oil, will skyrocket, interest rates will climb and jobs will hemorrhage at a rate that will make the last few months look like boom times. State and federal services will be reduced or shut down for lack of funds. The United States will begin to resemble the Weimar Republic or Zimbabwe. Obama, endowed by many with the qualities of a savior, will suddenly look pitiful, inept and weak... The Asian countries have been financing their own military encirclement. They have been forced to accept dollars that have no chance of being repaid. They are paying for America’s military aggression against them. They want to get rid of this.

My son Julian has a favorite thinker/writer as well by the name of Slavoj Zizek who is a philosopher and psychoanalyst from Slovenia. Zizek, recently commenting on the victory of Obama, had this to say about the future:

The financial meltdown has made it impossible to ignore the blatant irrationality of global capitalism...Saving endangered species, saving the planet from global warming, finding a cure for Aids, saving the starving children...All that can wait a bit, but 'Save the banks!' is an unconditional imperative which demands and gets immediate action...Consequently, to put it in old-fashioned Marxist terms, the main task of the ruling ideology in the present crisis is to impose a narrative that will not put the blame for the meltdown on the global capitalist system as such, but on its deviations - lax regulation, the corruption of big financial institutions, etc...The danger is thus that the predominant narrative of the meltdown won't be the one that awakes us from a dream, but the one that will enable us to continue to dream. And it is here that we should start to worry: not only about the economic consequences of the meltdown, but about the obvious temptation to reinvigorate the 'war on terror' and US interventionism in order to keep the economy running.

So now for the real purpose of the blog post...what do we do now? Just again yesterday someone asked me this question as people regularly do. My first reaction is dive in, take the Nestea plunge, and find your path. We each have a path. In my book I quote the Hopi Elders in Arizona who said:

It is time to speak your truth, each of you. Do not look outside yourself for the leader. There is a river flowing very fast. Trust the river has its destination. You must let go of the shore, push off into that river. Keep your eyes open and your heads above the water. See who is in there with you and celebrate. The time of the lone wolf is over. Gather yourselves. We are the ones we have been waiting for...

While reading in bed last night I saw a great quote from Leo Tolstoy:

The sole meaning of life is to serve humanity.

And might I add, serve the Mother Earth, protect her and we protect the future generations. So what we can do then could include some of the following:

Work to stop home evictions; help organize global trade unions, help organize global peace demonstrations; work to halt funding wars and call for conversion of the military industrial complex; create community-based banking institutions; live in an intentional community where you share living expenses with others; grow as much of your own food as possible; help educate those who can't read; work with the children who the society is abandoning; read more; sell a car in your household; make your own list of things you can do and have friends over for dinner to compare notes.

The bottom line is that social isolation must end. Every "man" for himself must end. And probably most importantly, the old business model of organizing that says "My issue is the most important" must end. All activists and organizers must connect the dots to show how all these issues are interrelated and that when one pulls on the loose threads the whole garment comes apart.


Blogger jsl said...

Great post, people certainly need to be reminded of the ideological function of the current media and governmental response to the global economic "crisis". You may be interested in the web site, which aggregates blogs including many about contemporary theorists, including Zizek. Today your post is featured, which is how we came across your great article. Thanks!

6/16/09, 9:17 PM  

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