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

Wednesday, January 06, 2010


As we move toward the Thursday, January 14 news conference to launch our Maine Campaign to Bring Our War $$ Home I thought I’d share a few exciting tidbits about things people are already doing to build the effort. If you can do so, please plan to join us at the Hall of Flags in the capital in Augusta at 11:00 am for the media event. Bring a sign that centers around the issue of Bring our War $$ Home (Fund education, health care, social spending, infrastructure not War, etc.).

Sally Breen (Windham) has asked Peace Action Maine to furnish her a membership list for six towns in her area and she is going to call all those people seeking local contacts in each town for this campaign. She is also going to furnish them all a sample letter to the editor and also urge them to check out our new web site. Sally has also written an op-ed for her local paper.

Gary Higginbottom (Portland) is drafting a town meeting warrant for those who wish to take this issue of war spending cuts to their town for a discussion and vote.

Lisa Savage (Solon) got a message from her union (Maine Education Association) asking her to come to a meeting to fight against education cuts. We all know that the state legislature is not going to raise taxes but instead education will have to compete with social service organizations for the diminishing amount of crumbs. At this point virtually no one has been willing to publicly contemplate calling for cuts in military spending. Lisa wrote the leadership of the MEA urging them to come to the January 14 news conference and asked them to begin connecting the dots!

Similarly Peter Woodruff (Arrowsic) has for the last couple weeks been educating the leadership of his wife’s teachers union local about calling for cuts in military spending as they are now working without a contract due to major reductions in the RSU 1 school budget. He has also supplied the union leadership with war spending trade-off information from the National Priorities Project.

Peter and I also have a weekly radio show on WBOR (Bowdoin College station) and we have been heavily promoting the message of the campaign.

Natasha Mayers (Whitefield) is organizing a Draw-a-thon to be held on February 13 that will bring together more than 20 artists and several noted Maine poets to create images and words depicting how our war money could be spent in the state. This daylong event will be held at the UCC church in Bath (150 Congress Ave) and will end with a community potluck supper, poetry readings and music. You are all invited to attend - 5:00 pm. (Snow date is Feb 27).

Jamilla El-Shafei (Kennebunk) is in the middle of putting together an Afghanistan speaking tour for activist Ralph Lopez for late January in several Maine cities. Details to follow.

In Bath we have just completed our fourth straight week of vigiling in our town with the message of Bring Our Wars $$ Home. As our numbers are slowly growing on the street corner so have the numbers of honks from passing cars.

I have had a letter to the editor printed on this theme in the Brunswick Times Record and have submitted one to the Portland Press Herald. We hope you too will write a letter to your local daily (and/or weekly) about this issue.

The other day I was reading an interview with Rep. Chellie Pingree where she said that every time she returns to Maine people are upset about endless war spending. So it is clear that many of the people are with us on this issue. This campaign has been created though to make sure that Pingree and Mike Michaud vote against ALL future war-funding bills AND, most importantly, become leaders in the House to stop all war funding.

We have our work cut out for us as we begin this intense three-month campaign that runs from January 14 to April 15 (Tax Day). We hope you will find some way to help grow this effort in your local community. Even if you do nothing more than urge people on your email list to look at our new web site, you will have been a big help. (We must warmly thank Veterans for Peace member Dan Ellis from Brunswick for volunteering to create the web site. He has done a great job on it.)

A key to ending these wars is to connect the dots and make them even more relevant for people in our state who otherwise might not be seeing Iraq-Afghanistan-Pakistan-Yemen as top priorities. We must make sure that those who are fighting to save education and social spending begin to point out that the money is there -- in the Pentagon budget.

Working together we can have an impact. Thanks for your support. (Please keep us posted on what actions you take in your community.)


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