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

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.

Thursday, April 08, 2010

WAR $$ HOME EFFORT IN BATH

This photo from the January 14 campaign kick-off news conference at the state capital

Last night thirteen residents from the city of Bath attended the weekly city council meeting in order to present the Bring Our War $$ Home resolution to our elected officials.

Led by Karen Wainberg, four local residents made short testimonies to the council regarding the importance of ending war spending. Karen told the council, "As our country faces ever-mounting deficits, government at every level is finding it harder and harder to meet the basic needs of people and the environment. We come to you, the city council, because we believe that war funding is a local issue."

She concluded her remarks with the following, "Real homeland security has nothing to do with our military interventions into Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan. Our security depends on good jobs, health care, child care, a sound infrastructure, and good education for our children and our grandchildren that teaches them to think for themselves. Homeland security is about addressing climate change by building public transit, alternative energy systems, and weatherizing every home in the U.S. Then we wouldn't need to fight for control of oil in the Middle East and Central Asia."

After Karen spoke a local minister talked about how he and other Bath parents have been working hard to raise money to pay a $30,000 debt they incurred when their children won a local education contest and went to Iowa for the national competition. The parents have paid the school board back half the amount and he said the remaining $15,000 is what is spend on war every eight seconds.

The other two speakers talked about the severe effects climate change will have on our local community and the results of cutbacks in social spending on local populations. They both made the case that war spending cuts are immediately needed to order to deal with these real crisis situations here at home.

The city council refused to take any action on the proposed resolution or to schedule a public hearing on it as Karen had requested in her opening remarks. When she got home last night she got a phone call from one of the city councillors who told her he was saddened by the chilly reception by the council and that he felt a public hearing should be held. We plan to continue to press for such a public hearing.

This morning I got an email from Herb Hoffman who lives in Ogunquit (southern Maine) saying that two letters to the editor were in his local paper today about his successful effort to put the war $$ home resolution on their Town Hall Meeting agenda for this June.

We also heard yesterday that efforts are underway in other Maine communities to address the resolution. We also learned that two more members of the Maine State Legislature have signed onto a letter to Congress demanding that they become leaders to Bring Our War $$ Home. There are now 22 members of the State Legislature that have signed onto the letter.

Last night's Bath City Council meeting will be aired on local public access TV so many residents in the community will have the opportunity to see the presentations. This weekend activists all over the state will be dropping 8,000 pizza-style door hangers in their communities that call on our elected officials to Bring Our War $$ Home.

Maine activists have been working hard, and in unison, all over the state to create more consciousness about the need to link war spending and our state's fiscal crisis. Our hope is that activists in other states will organize similar efforts.

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