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.

Thursday, May 05, 2011

WHAT DO THESE SHIPS DO?

Another Aegis destroyer to be "christened" on Saturday at Bath Iron Works
Professor Yang sits in jail, on his 30th day of fasting, to protest the construction of Navy base to port Aegis destroyers on Jeju Island, South Korea

A Raytheon built "missile defense" interceptor is fired from an Aegis destroyer


I've been accelerating my pace of work on the Global Network 19th annual space organizing conference that will be held in nearby Massachusetts on June 17-19. We will feature the space technology work of the Raytheon Co. at that event since they are based in Massachusetts and are right-smack-dab in the middle of building many of the most destabilizing weapons systems of the day.

Coincidentally there will be a "christening" this Saturday here in Bath, Maine of another Aegis destroyer that is a launch platform for the Raytheon built SM-3 "missile defense" interceptor that you see pictured above. So these two events are binding my work at this time.

Few people in Maine know much about what these Aegis warships really do. They might notice them when they drive over the Kennebec River and see Bath Iron Works (BIW) just below where usually 1-2 of the Aegis are docked at the shipyard. They know that BIW is the largest non-governmental employer in the state and that there is a long history of shipbuilding in Bath. But that is about it. Most people think that the ships are about defending the U.S. (from who?) and leave it at that. In fact most Mainers don't really wish to know much more than that because they don't want to be in conflict with their neighbors who might work at BIW.

Some years ago there was a fashionable phrase in the environmental movement - bio-region. The idea was that good environmentalists should become more familiar with their bio-region and work in that area to preserve it. But I think the word should apply to other movements as well. We should all know what the U.S. military empire is doing in our bio-region and we should help foster a public discussion about whether it is a good thing or not for our nation and the world.

In the case of the Aegis destroyers, and the interceptor missiles built by Raytheon, these systems are currently among the most provocative weapons technologies being deployed by the Pentagon today. As I have described many times in the past, they are currently being plunked down along the borders of Russia and China and are forcing military counter moves by both of those countries. This obviously is leading us to a new dangerous and expensive arms race.

Here in Maine we are driving on roads with large potholes in them, our many bridges need repair, and education and social programs are being slashed as our state finds itself in fiscal crisis. Progressive activists admirably protest these cuts but few of them yet make the deadly connections to U.S. military spending - and they particularly ignore the massive expenditures of money at military production sites in our bio-region.

As I write this Professor Yang Yoon-Mo is on the 30th day of his fast while sitting inside a jail on Jeju Island, South Korea. Yang's jailing, for non-violently resisting the destruction of his sacred bio-region, is directly linked to BIW here in Maine and Raytheon in Massachusetts.

There is a circle that connects each of our bio-regions and sadly that circle is one of violence and destruction. The Aegis destroyers are indeed destroying life today - in Libya, on Jeju Island, and even in Massachusetts and Maine as social progress is devastated in order to pay for the new $1 billion warships that will only make the future more insecure for all of us.

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