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, May 05, 2010

WHY ARE AMERICANS SO QUIET?

I took our guest Narayana Rao, visiting from India, to the Maritime Museum in Bath today. He was most struck by the fact that this once great commercial ship building city now only builds Navy Aegis destroyers.

We took the city bus to the museum but then walked past the Bath Iron Works (BIW) shipyard on the way home. As we walked by we saw another multi-billion dollar destroyer being built.

It was in this moment that Rao said, "I can see that America builds nothing else but weapons. And to make sure that they can build more, they must have more wars."

Exactly, I replied.

We had a pot luck supper in Rao's honor at the house tonight and one of the folks asked him what he thought of the museum. He responded, "I was very depressed when I left the museum today. America can never have the democracy it claims to have as long as your country keeps building weapons."

Right again Rao.

In the discussion after dinner Rao also noted that he sees very little reaction on the part of the American people to the loss of democracy, endless war, and the destruction of social progress across the nation. He said that it was evident to him that the media is suppressed and that the public has few options to get real debate about alternative ways of dealing with our many problems. Why though are the people not reacting, he asked? Why are there not more protests?

Maybe the answer was in his initial reaction to our city of 10,000 people here in Bath. He said that in India people would think everyone in Bath is rich. Even though the working-class community of Bath has one of the highest poverty rates in Maine, people are still relatively comfortable in comparison with the 300 million people living in poverty in India.

Americans know we have our collective "boot" on the necks of the people of the world so that we can extract resources from them. In the U.S. we are 5% of the world's population but consume 25% of the planet's resources. In order to continue that disparity someone must suffer.

Americans have convinced themselves that the Pentagon's "boot" brings democracy and freedom to the world. That is how we rationalize it. The American people have been brainwashed to believe in "exceptionalism" - that we are better than everyone else - that we deserve to control the world because we are #1 .... gods chosen people. This kind of thinking is malarkey but many people still believe it.

Rao's visit here has already helped many of us to put on another set of glasses and view ourselves from a different perspective. It's not a pretty picture.

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