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.

Saturday, July 11, 2009


* No, this is not a photo from Hiroshima, it is from Afghanistan. The "good" war.

Today's Washington Post carries an article saying that Gen. Stanley McChrysal, Obama's new top commander in Afghanistan, wants even more troops. That's on top of Obama's recent surge of 21,000 soldiers which will bring the US total to 68,000. And don't forget to add in all the NATO troops now there as well....and some number of corporate mercenaries that we are paying for too.....

I got an email from a friend in California this morning who quoted a friend of his who is now in Afghanistan as a member of an international fact-finding commission. His friend wrote:

What we are seeing in Afghanistan is horrific. What I feel are the most egregious humanitarian sins involve the displacement of entire communities. There is a certain resignation to the deaths that occur in times of warfare, but when an entire social network disappears overnight, a network that took generations of cherishing to build, hone and develop, one has to ask what the eff we are doing? The net effect is little less than what happened during the Armenian and Nazi holocausts of the last century, but I doubt I would be permitted to say so explicitly in my reporting, given that Petraeus and Holbrook will almost certainly see it before it becomes public. To me the tragedy of Afghanistan is less about deaths under bombing than it is about destruction of a society.

* Early this morning I drove an hour northwest to Winthrop, Maine to join Veterans for Peace member Tom Sturtevant in speaking to his local peace group about our recent trip to South Korea for the Global Network annual space organizing conference. The Winthrop-Wayne People for Peace had a strawberry breakfast at a local church (it's strawberry season in Maine). Tom is a retired school teacher and was in the Navy during the Korean War. He worked on the flight deck of aircraft carriers just off the Korean coast and witnessed a never ending bombing campaign that destroyed virtually every building in North Korea during that war. His heart still suffers today from the experience. He is a genuine top-notch peace worker.

* I am reading a book now called "Unbroken Spirits" by Suh Sung, a Korean activist who lives in Japan and spent nineteen years in South Korean jails from 1971-1990. Suh Sung came to our Global Network conference last April and gave me the book and I've just now had a chance to read it. It is a remarkable story of a courageous man who survived endless physical torture and mental abuse as a penalty for just wanting to see his country reunified. He recounts how the South Korean government and security forces were led by Koreans who had collaborated with the fascist Japanese occupation of their country. Suh Sung today lives in Kyoto, Japan where he teaches and I hope to be able to see him when I visit there at the end of this month.


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