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, June 03, 2010


An Aegis destroyer is cut out of steel as a message of opposition to the Navy base on Jeju island. The plan is to pour cement on the rocks to make a huge pier for the naval port.

* South Korea held local elections yesterday and the right-wing ruling party took a beating across the nation. The New York Times put it this way: "The results were a blow to [President Myung-bak] Lee's efforts to rally popular support for his campaign to punish North Korea. He also wanted a fresh mandate to push through his controversial $19 billion project to dredge and dam the country’s four main rivers." The latter issue is one reason he has been nicknamed the "bulldozer" by South Korean citizens.

The Hankyoreh newspaper quoted one anti-Lee voter, "A number of things the government announced about the Cheonan [Naval ship that recently was destroyed] incident early on turned out to be lies," said Kim Seung-jun, 33, resident of Seongnam. "I think the government is very much in the wrong in using this to create tension in inter-Korean relations and drive things toward a situation of war."

Citizens in the Gangjeong village on Jeju island fear now that the election is over that the Navy will move forward with their plan to begin construction of a Navy base that will be a home port for Aegis destroyers outfitted with missile offense systems. The residents are holding a round-the-clock vigil and asking for international solidarity. I have been invited to come to South Korea from June 12-20 along with a delegation of leaders from the Asian-Pacific No Bases Campaign that is visiting Guam, Okinawa, and South Korea in order to build links between the various countries where the U.S. is expanding its military operations.

* Here in Maine we are just now learning about, and dissecting, the sudden vote in the House of Representatives in Washington DC on the 2011 National Defense Authorization Act (H.R.5136) on May 28 just minutes before Congress went home for the Memorial Day holiday. The vote passed 229-186 and included in it $160 billion for more war in Iraq-Afghanistan-Pakistan (220 Democrats voted in favor of the bill). This means the Dems now own these wars lock, stock, and barrel.

Our two Maine representatives split on the vote. Rep. Chellie Pingree (1st District) voted yes on the bill (even though she keeps saying she opposes funding the Afghanistan war) and Rep. Mike Michaud (from the more conservative 2nd District) voted against it. Michaud issued a news release that stated, "He voted against final passage of the bill because it contained $159.3 billion for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and it contained no firm timelines for withdrawal." So now we know who the real leader is and who really means it when they say they oppose the war funding. Word is getting around the state quickly about this vote and people are not happy with Pingree. The guy that previously held her seat in Congress (Tom Allen) used to say "I'm almost there" when he was asked about voting against war funding. Pingree seems to be developing a similar refrain.

The House of Representatives still has not voted on Obama's request for $33 billion war supplemental for the remainder of 2010. So we will still be pressing Pingree on this vote.

* I am almost finished with our Global Network newsletter, just waiting on two more articles before our volunteer doing the layout can finish up with it. I think it is going to be a very good edition. I want to get it printed if possible before I leave for South Korea.

* Yesterday I did a half-hour radio interview with a station in Liverpool, England. It was the second time I have been called by this particular talk show host and he is very interested and sympathetic about our work on space weaponization. He had three other people with him in the studio and they each asked excellent questions. Last Saturday I did an interview from Vancouver, Canada and last week I did an hour on a nationally syndicated talk show - one fellow Veterans for Peace member in Florida heard the show and called in. It's really exciting to know our message is traveling out so far.

* Our little Uncle Sam art contest is over and the first-place winner was #1 and the second place went to #3 can see the art work here

I will send each of the two winners a copy of my book. Thanks to all the artists for sending in their work and thanks to those of you who voted for one of them.

* On the home front, yesterday I finished stacking more than three cords of wood. Housemate Karen Wainberg was a big help in the process.... alot of last weekend was spent on that task. Always feels good to get it done.


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