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, September 28, 2011


I just got home after two days of driving up and down the state. Yesterday I made it to Blue Hill by 3:00 pm to stand with Dud Hendrick (Veterans for Peace) and artist Robert Shetterly (Americans Who Tell the Truth) near the town bridge for an hour and 45 minutes with the Bring Our War $$ Home banner. They held the banner and I held a sign and gave flyers to passing motorists who took the time to roll down their windows. A couple people parked and walked back to where we were standing to take a flyer.

In the evening a wonderful concert was held in Blue Hill to benefit the Maine Campaign to Bring Our War $$ Home and more than 75 people attended. The Voices for Peace choir from Bangor performed and Rob Shetterly displayed nine of his activist portraits and talked about each one of them. It was all very well done - the choir would sing a song after Rob gave details about each of the activists he has painted for his series which now is made up of over 170 paintings.

I was asked to speak about the Bring Our War $$ Home campaign at the beginning of the show and then again at the end I was asked to send people off in an organizing frenzy. So I talked about hearing people last weekend at the Common Ground Fair keep saying, "Ah, you are just preaching to the choir." I told the folks last night that if they had come to the concert early they would have found the Voices for Peace choir practicing before the event. Good choirs need to get together and practice singing. So lots of folks who say they are in the choir don't know the song these days, and they are not coming to choir practice, I told the audience. The public is waiting for someone to stand up, to stick their neck out, to step forward, and when that happens they will follow the lead. So it's time for the choir to start singing!

Those words seemed to be appreciated and it was fun to be a part of the show. I went home with Dud and Jean to their house in Deer Isle and stayed the night in their guest cottage. This morning Dud made me breakfast and then we talked about the format for the October 9 finale event the campaign is planning in Augusta to celebrate the end of the 30-day Care-a-Van. Chief Kirk Francis of the Penobscot Indian nation will be our keynote speaker at the meeting which will be held at the UMA Holocaust & Human Rights Center from noon to 3:00 pm.

After my talk with Dud this morning I drove back toward Augusta where I met fellow Veterans for Peace member Tom Sturtevant and we joined a MoveOn protest outside the Federal Building office of Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME). They were protesting in favor of Obama's proposed jobs bill and Tom and I held Bring Our War $$ Home signs and handed out flyers to cars when they waited at the red light in front of the Federal Building. We passed out quite a number of them. (My feeling is that the Democrats are fooling themselves if they think this jobs bill is going to pass. Until there are serious cuts in Pentagon spending there will be little available $$ for job creation.)

As usual the response of the passing motorists in Blue Hill and Augusta was mostly positive. The people know things are a mess, they increasingly understand that war spending is draining the national treasury, and they are glad to see that someone is doing something.

Next up for the Care-a-Van will be Friday's Teach-In at Bowdoin College in Brunswick called Ten Years of War in Afghanistan: What Have We Learned? What Can We Do?.

Speakers: Paul Fitzgerald & Elizabeth Gould, authors of Crossing Zero: The AfPak War at the Turning Point of American Empire.

Panel: Professor Allen Wells, Professor Nat Wheelwright, Lisa Savage, Dudley Hendrick, Paul Fitzgerald, Elizabeth Gould

It will run from 3-5 p.m. inside Smith Auditorium, in Sills Hall at Bowdoin College.

I'll interview authors Fitzgerald and Gould earlier that day for my public access TV show.


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