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, July 31, 2009


I arrived in Hiroshima about 1:00 pm today and went to my hotel. The Mayor of Hiroshima is hosting an International Symposium for Peace tomorrow and I was invited to be the keynote speaker. It is more than an honor. My 45-minute speech is entitled Nuclear Weapons Abolition: The Road to Renewed Momentum.

Yes, I am excited. No, I'm not nervous but would describe the energy I feel more like a lion in a cage, pacing back and forth.

Today just after 3:00 pm a small group of conference guests from outside the country were taken to the Peace Memorial Park where we saw the A-Bomb Dome and were taken for a tour of the Memorial Museum. I was interviewed by some media outlets about what my message will be at the conference.

I first visited the museum when I came to Hiroshima in 1984 but it has been greatly expanded since that time. There was a big crowd of people inside it as we made the tour. Just as in 1984, I thought the most gripping photo display showed the piles of bodies of the tens of thousands of people who had to be cremated or buried in mass graves. It makes it all very real.

Hiroshima was never conventionally bombed (unlike most of the rest of the country) before the atomic bomb was dropped on August 6, 1945 because the US wanted to have a pure statistical sampling of the damage potential of one atom bomb. I'll write more about the controversy surrounding the US bombing in the days to come.

This evening a dinner was held for the guests and and hosted by several key people from the Asahi Shimbun (one of Japan's largest national newspapers). The newspaper is co-sponsoring the international conference and covering much of the costs from what I have heard. Several people from the editorial board attended the dinner.

My room is on the 31st floor of the hotel with an incredible view of the city which is surrounded by mountains. Just out my window is the ancient Hiroshima Castle with a huge moat all around it. According to Wikipedia, "Originally constructed in the 1590s, the castle was destroyed in the atomic bombing in 1945. It was rebuilt in 1958, a replica of the original which now serves as a museum of Hiroshima's history prior to World War II." I will do my best to take a walk over to the castle for a tour. It looks fascinating.

At dinner tonight there was some discussion about right-wingers in the Japanese government now pressuring the Obama administration not to agree to any reductions of nuclear weapons. The Japanese hardliners want the US to maintain a vigorous nuclear "umbrella". The implied threat is that if the US does cut back on its nukes then Japan might be forced to build their own.

The basic premise of my speech tomorrow will be that if a new arms race in space is allowed to go forward then we can all forget about the dream of ridding the world of nuclear weapons. So this is an important moment to be engaged in these discussions.

More later.


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