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.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

PARTY OF THE PEOPLE

* I will be getting up very early in the morning in order to catch the 5:45 a.m. train from Portland to New York City. Once there I will meet one of our Global Network members from India who will be joining me at the International Conference for a Nuclear Free, Peaceful, Just, and Sustainable World that will be held at Riverside Church on April 30-May 1.

Several of our Global Network leaders will do a conference workshop called Missile Defense Deployments Impact Hopes for Nuclear Disarmament.

Then on May 2 there will be a rally and march which many thousands are expected to attend from all over the world.

After that I, and my friend from India, will return to Maine for several days before we head back to New York City for the May 9 Global Network annual space organizing conference. See details here

We are excited that the producer of the new documentary Pax Americana will join us on May 9 to show the film and talk more about it.

* Have been picking up on bits of interesting info coming out of Washington DC concerning a debate going on inside the peace movement about the best strategy to deal with the war in Afghanistan.

Some are suggesting that we should not focus on the $33 billion war supplemental which comes up for a vote in Congress very soon. Instead, they are pushing legislation that would "require the President to develop a flexible timetable to draw down U.S. troops from Afghanistan."

There has always been this kind of tension in the peace movement between the grassroots and those who are based in the DC area and work closely with the Democrats who run Congress. It is my take that the toothless "flexible timeline for withdrawal" puts less pressure on the Dems than trying to force them to vote now against more war funding. Thus the Dems, and those close to them inside the peace movement, promote the more timid approach.

Local activists have to be circumspect about who they decide to follow over the cliff. I've been experiencing this "re-direct the peace movement into safer strategies" by the Democrats, and their peace allies in DC, since the nuclear freeze campaign in the early 1980's.

* Went to a "debate" last night here in Bath where the four remaining Democratic party candidates for governor in Maine appeared. It wasn't much of a debate as they all basically agreed that the next governor must do a better job of relaxing business regulations, "grow the economy," and raise some kinds of "revenues" to deal with Maine's fiscal crisis. One key revenue they agreed is a replacement for the gas tax as people are driving less and seeking more fuel efficient vehicles. One idea trotted out, that most of the candidates agreed with, was to tax a driver's annual mileage. In a large rural state like Maine that won't be a popular idea. Another idea by one of the candidates was to expand the toll highways in Maine further north.

There was some talk about rail and public transportation but mostly the railway expansion was in reference to moving commercial products as a way to save corporations money.

Bottom line for me is that these four folks are essentially corporate candidates who will do little to dramatically change things in Maine as we hit economic collapse and peak oil. None of them, as would be expected, said a word about endless war spending. They only took written questions from the 75 people in attendance in order to screen out any "unpleasantries."

So much for the "party of the people."

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