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.

Friday, November 05, 2010


Rev. Kato leading the walk with nun Jun-san right behind him

We are taking a lunch break in a town called Unity, Maine. Soon we will leave for Bangor and when we arrive in that city local activists and media will meet us at a park and walk with us the last mile into the heart of the city and on to the offices of the Eastern Maine Peace & Justice Center where massage therapists will be waiting to work on our sore feet, legs and backs.

It's raining again today but the sun seems to be trying to peep through the clouds. Four new people joined us this morning for the day, it is always exciting to have new folks pop into the peace walk as they bring a new energy.

A young man named David is with us for the whole way. He is a recent college graduate who is currently attending the Salt Institute for Documentary Studies in Portland and has taken on the walk as his big writing project. He's been interviewing various walkers and is often bent over his notebook scribbling and scratching away. David has also been walking alot and had several blisters last night that more experienced walkers helped him deal with.

The Buddhists from Nipponzan Myohoji are veteran walkers and bring a strong sense of commitment, humor, and joy to the walking community. They also help us know how to deal with our aches and pains. Last night the Japanese nun Jun-san doctored a blister I had on one toe by burning some natural product over the sore spot and then rubbing the charcoal from the fire into the blister. So far today I am walking with no pain.

Carolyn Coe drove a long way from the Blue Hill area early this morning to reach the walk. She is recording interviews for WERU radio, a well-loved progressive station in this part of the state. Our message will go out to an even wider audience.

The thing I love most about walks is how close the people become with one another in a short period of time. A common purpose, and shared sore muscles, is a real bond in building community. Right now walker extraordinaire Betty is singing to us as she sweeps up after lunch. Other women are joining the song. It warms the heart.

Vanessa, a young black woman from Western Massachusetts (I call her V-V), is going around the room arranging nap space for people who want to lay down for awhile. We are being hosted for this lunch time in a community art gallery and theatre which is a lovely and stimulating space.

We got an email this morning from a woman who saw us walking on the first day.

She wrote:

I wanted to tell you how inspiriting it was to encounter the peace walk on my drive in to Farmington on Wednesday, a dismal day of election returns. I was driving in late with the dog, when I saw you all on Rt. 27 -- I'm not sure if it was appropriate to blow my horn, but I wanted to join in somehow. It really was the unexpected bright spot on the gray highway of the day for me. Thank you so much for all of your efforts!


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