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

Saturday, August 08, 2009


I arrived in Nagasaki yesterday. It is even hotter here than Hiroshima was.

This afternoon I was the keynote speaker at the Mayors for Peace 7th General Conference. The speaker before me was Miguel d'Escoto Brockmann who currently serves President of the United Nations General Assembly. There were about 300-400 people in attendance inside the huge beautiful hall. In my speech I weaved in many of the words of our Global Network leaders and friends from around the world.

Much to my surprise there was only one US mayor present. He is from Akron, Ohio. The US Conference of Mayors sent two representatives. There were many mayors from Japan of course. Other representatives from cities around the world included Bangladesh, Belgium, Cameroon, Croatia, France, Germany, Iraq, Italy, New Zealand, Pakistan, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Spain, Sri Lanka, Uganda, United Kingdom, Israel, Bahrain, Republic of Benin, Costa Rica, Eritrea, Denmark, Kenya, Kuwait, Malawi, Mozambique, Saudi Arabia, Serbia, South Africa, and Syria.

Mayors for Peace has been growing at a phenomenal rate in the last few years. It is a great thing that local governments around the world are beginning to see that they can in fact have something to say about "foreign policy" issues as they do affect directly the cities ability to provide human services to their constituencies. The growth of such political movements is one great way to work around the corporate arterial blockage of most national governments these days. It was indeed a real honor for me to have been invited to speak today.

Immediately after I spoke a young man from Senegal came up to the front row of the hall where I was seated and said my speech had touched him. He asked could he have a copy of my speech so he could translate it and distribute it in his country. I handed him my copy.

After the plenary session broke up the mayors adjourned to a smaller meeting room where they began reviewing their organizing plan for the coming campaign to build international pressure on the nuclear powers to get rid of all nuclear weapons. They also began a process of hearing short speeches from 16 mayors. The first eight spoke before they ran out of time. The rest will speak tomorrow.

Here are a few highlights from some of the mayors:

* The children of Croatia are being educated on disarmament by learning to fold paper cranes in the schools.

* The mayor from a small French city said, "Sustainable development and nuclear weapons are not compatible." This has to become an issue in our local governments, he said.

* A Japanese mayor remarked, "If we have solidarity across national borders then we can create nuclear disarmament."

* The mayor of Florence, Italy said no nuclear plants are allowed in their community and the kids are being taught about the "peace culture" in their schools.

* A local official from the UK reported on 30 years of work by the Nuclear Free local authorities.

It is surely a struggle between the war culture and the peace culture. There is something happening around the world. People are tired of endless war and wasting our resources on militarism. The mayors want to build public transit systems and educate the kids. They want to provide green jobs. The next step is to get them to talk about the conversion of the global war machine. You can be sure I mentioned that in my speech today.


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