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: Brunswick, ME, 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. We must all do more to help stop this western corporate arrogance that puts the future generations lives in despair. @BruceKGagnon

Friday, September 30, 2011


Lately protests at South Korean consulate offices in support of Gangjeong villagers have been held in Australia and Hong Kong. Now the protest in this video has taken place in the Philippines. People in the Philippines know something about what happens when U.S. military bases take root in one's country.

German Global Network leaders just published a space issues newsletter for national distribution and included the Jeju issue.....see it here

People are starting to react to the Navy base on Jeju Island. Hopefully more of this will happen in the near future.


Gangjeong villagers and supporters in Jeju City today
Father Moon arrested again at Navy base construction gate
Father Moon filming as Jesuit Br. Pak is arrested at Navy base gate

There are now ten Gangjeong villagers and supporters in jail on Jeju Island. Included in this group are three priests (including the infamous Father Moon) who were arrested yesterday while protesting outside the Navy base construction gate. The mayor of Gangjeong village, Kang Dong-Kyun, still sits in jail. You can see more information about those currently in jail here

Yesterday more than 200 villagers and supporters went to Jeju City to do three steps, one bow in order to protest Navy base construction. You can see some incredible photos of this here

Last week a big meeting was held in New York City at NYU featuring Jeju Island artist Koh Gil-chun and Gloria Steinem. It looks like there was a good turnout for the event and the meeting made the news back in South Korea. You can see some photos here

When he was in Boston Koh met with Noam Chomsky and below you can see a short video of comments by the famous MIT professor.

Thursday, September 29, 2011


"It’s impossible to translate the issue of the greed of Wall Street into one demand, or two demands. We’re talking about a democratic awakening," said Dr. Cornel West when he spoke with Democracy Now! host Amy Goodman during a visit Tuesday night to the Occupy Wall Street encampment. Some critics have expressed frustration at the protest’s lack of a clear and unified message. But the Princeton University professor emphasized that "you’re talking about raising political consciousness so it spills over all parts of the country, so people can begin to see what’s going on through a set of different lens, and then you begin to highlight what the more detailed demands would be. Because in the end we’re really talking about what Martin King would call a revolution: A transfer of power from oligarchs to everyday people of all colors. And that is a step by step process."

Dr. West also called on President Obama to apologize for calling on members of the Congressional Black Caucus to “stop complaining, stop grumbling, stop crying” when unemployment among African Americans has reached record highs and two of five Black children live in poverty. This video features Amy Goodman’s interview with Dr. West, along with his address to Occupy Wall Street protesters.



Wednesday, September 28, 2011


Over 700 hundred Continental and United pilots, joined by additional pilots from other Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA) carriers, demonstrated along Wall Street on Tuesday. Notice the cops didn't beat them up, pepper spray their faces, nor arrest them.

The grievances against corporate power across the nation, and around the world, are enormous. The door has been opened and we should now expect that every sector of society that is being trampled upon by corporate power will step up and air their stories about corporate greed and ruthlessness.

Every now and then in history a spark gets lit that swings the pendulum of real change in our direction. The hard work, courage, and sacrifices made by the predominately young activists occupying Wall Street have lit this spark.

Do what you can each day to get out onto the streets and give the people a reason to see that something is indeed happening across the country. Don't let the corporate forces of greed and domination slam the doors shut again.

Our job is to keep the candles lit.


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.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011


This is how the bankers, Hedge Fund operators, and big insurance companies are protected these days. The New York City cops slam, bash, spray, and arrest citizens for having the audacity to challenge the unregulated thievery on Wall Street.

These protests on Wall Street are largely being ignored by the mainstream media. This report on MSNBC is a rare bit of coverage.

The idea that the U.S. is an "exceptional" nation is a lie. The idea that America is the bastion of freedom and liberty is a myth.

Where is Hillary Clinton at this moment? She's lately been lecturing the leaders of Libya, Syria, and other places where the citizens are in revolt. She's been talking alot of trash about rights of free speech and non-violence. But when the victims of state brutality are in the U.S. you find the "leaders" silent. It is evidence that their words ring hollow.


Stop the Drones
No Missile Defense
End the wars & occupations in Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya
Bring Our War $$ Home
Convert the Military Industrial Complex

Local Events (List now in formation)

* Albuquerque, New Mexico (Oct 5) Showing documentary Pax-Americana & the Weaponization of Space 6:00 pm at the Albuquerque Center for Peace and Justice. Contact Stop the War Machine at 505-268-9557 or

* Albuquerque, New Mexico (Oct 8) Anti-war and use of space for war protest at the University of New Mexico bookstore plaza, Central Avenue. Contact Stop the War Machine at 505-268-9557 or

* Andover, Massachusetts (Oct 3) Vigil at Raytheon (where Patriot PAC-3 missile defense interceptors are made) at 7:00 am For more info call 978-686-4418

* Bath Iron Works, Maine (Oct 1) Vigil across from administration building on Washington Street (Aegis destroyers built at BIW) 11:30-12:30 am Smilin’ Trees Disarmament Farm (207) 763-4062

* Brighton, England (Oct 1) Symposium on ‘Power in Outer Space’ - How can human activity in outer space be understood in relation to social power? How can this social power be contested? Keynote speakers will be Dave Webb, Leeds Metropolitan University, and Peter Dickens, University of Cambridge, and Visiting Professor at the University of Brighton. More info available at:

* Canterbury, England (Oct 1) Ground the Drones vigil and stall, anterbury City Centre, Noon – 2pm Contact: Gerard Bane:

* Canterbury, England (Oct 8) Ground the Drones vigil and stall, Canterbury City Centre, Noon – 2pm Contact: Gerard Bane:

* Colorado Springs, Colorado (Oct 3) Bannering outside the west gate at Schriever AFB (home of the Space Warfare Center and numerous other Star Wars programs) 3:30 - 4:30 pm

* Colorado Springs, Colorado (Oct 7) Congressional office visits (Bennet, Udall, Lamborn) presenting Stop the War petitions, 4:00 pm

* RAF Croughton, England (Oct 1) Rally at U.S. communication base, March to main gate 1 mile - starts Croughton village 12.00 midday. Returns 3:00 pm, Oxfordshire Peace Campaign,

* Fort Mead, Maryland (Oct 9) The Pledge of Resistance-Baltimore will visit the National Security Agency (NSA) at Fort Meade at noon. Contact Max Obuszewski at or 410-366-1637

* Gangjeong, Jeju Island, South Korea (Oct 1-8) Public screenings of space films such as 'Arsenal of Hypocricy,' and 'Pax Americana,' during the space peace week in the Gangjeong village

* Guntur, India (Oct 8) Meeting in Andhrapradesh state with local intellectuals to discuss space weaponization issue

* Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada (Oct 5) Public screening of award winning documentary "Pax Americana and the Weaponization of Space". We will also give an update on the 4-year protest by villagers against the construction of naval base on Jeju Island in South Korea. Organized by the Halifax Peace Coalition and the Nova Scotia Public Interest Research Group (NSPIRG) at 7:30-9:00 p.m. Room 307, Student Union Building, Dalhousie University.

* Kaua`i, Hawai`i (Oct 15) Kaua`i Alliance for Peace and Social Justice intends to hold protests, in several locations around the Island, beginning with the Pacific Missile Range Facility on the West Side of the Island. Navy Aegis "missile defense" systems will be tested here to be deployed at Jeju Island, Okinawa, Guam and other locations.

* Leicester, England (Oct 5) Protest outside Thales/ U-Tacs factory, Leicester, 3.30pm – 6pm Contact: Penny Walker:

* Menwith Hill, England (Oct 4) - "The Alternative Tea Party" demonstration at U.S. NSA Spy Base from 6-8 pm. Contact Campaign for the Accountability of American Bases

* Menwith Hill, England (Oct 16) "A Guided Walk Around Menwith Hill" - 2nd day of the CND Annual Conference in Bradford

* Nagpur, India (Oct 1) Demonstration at 5 PM at the All India Radio Square jointly by the All India Peace & Solidarity Organisation, S.E.C. Railway Pensioners Assn, Pragatisheel Raillway Mahila samaj and the Indian Women for Peace & Development

* Nagpur, India (Oct 2) A Workshop on different types of space weapons including Drones

* Nagpur, India (Oct 5) A joint pogramme by the All India Peace & Solidarity Organisation, Indian Women for Peace & Development and the Matru Seva Sangh Institute of Social Work, 2 pm

* Nevada National Security Site (Oct 9) Vigil at nuclear weapons test and development site from 9-11 am and vigil at Creech Air Force Base 1-2:30 pm (major drone control base) both northwest of Las Vegas, NV. This day of action is the conclusion of an international gathering of Catholic Workers; for more info, visit or contact

* Oakville, Ontario, Canada (Oct 4) Oakville Community Centre for Peace, Ecology & Human Rights and Physicians for Global Survival sponsoring a talk by Anna Jaikaran, founding member of People Against Weapons in Space, and showing winning films from the No 2 Nuclear weapons competition, Oakville Town Hall at 7:00 pm

* Omaha, Nebraska (Oct 2) STRATCOM (Strategic Command), Offut Air Force Base, Kinney Gate, 2:30-3:30 pm,

* Oxford, England (Oct 1) Women in Black ‘Down the Drones’ silent vigil, 2.30pm Contact: Annette Bygott

* Ridhora, India (Oct 3) A talk and a rally of the Students at the Central India Management & Tehnology Institute, in the state of Madhya Pradesh

* Sioux Falls, South Dakota (Oct 8) Pax Christi Southeastern SD will view documentary film "Pax Americana & the Weaponization of Space," followed with prayer that includes the Sermon on the Mount Vow of Nonviolence. Caminando Juntos, 617 E 7th St., 1-3 pm

* Stockholm, Sweden (Oct 3) A group of women from different peace organisations (WILPF, Women for Peace, Swedish Women´s Left Association, Swedish Peace Committee) will hold a vigil in front of the Parliamentary Building on International Childrens Day at 12.00-14.00. We will hold a banner: DRONES KILL CHILDREN and hand out leaflets.

* Tucson, Arizona (Oct 3) Vigil at Raytheon (where "missile defense" kill vehicles are made)

* Valley Forge, Pennsylvania (Oct 8) Nonviolent resistance at Lockheed Martin, the world's largest weapons corporation and space weapons contractor, 1- 2:30p.m. at Mall & Goddard Boulevards, (behind the King of Prussia Mall)

* Vandenberg Air Force Base, California (Oct 5) Vigil at space launch base front gate from 4:00-5:00 p.m.

* Victoria, British Columbia, Canada (Oct 5) The "Wednesday Peace Vigil" meets 12:00-1:00 pm at the Cenotaph at the B.C. Legislature, Government Street at Belleville Street. This is also the day we will be observing the 10th anniversary of the weekly vigil which is opposed to all wars. Contact:

* Visakhapatnam, India (Oct 9) Workshop "Everything on Weaponisation of 'Space" at Visakhapatnam in state of Andhrapradesh.

* Waddington, England (Starting Sept 3rd) "Ground the Drones" Peace Camp at RAF Waddington, Lincolnshire, where a new squadron is being formed to fly killer drones direct from the UK. For details of the camp contact Yorkshire CND on 01274 730 795 or

* Wandsworth, England (Oct 1) Anti-drones stall, Clapham Junction, 11am – 1pm Contact: Wandsworth Stop the War Group:

* Washington, DC (Oct 8) "Stop Missiles - all Defensive missiles are Offensive - from Jeju Island to Hawaii," with Ann Wright, 11am, Stop the Machine, Freedom Plaza

* Washington DC (Oct 8) Tom Neilson will sing and discuss Keep Space for Peace Week at Freedom Plaza at 7:30 pm.

* Waterville, Maine (Oct 6) CodePink Maine Ground the Drones candlelight vigil on KMD bridge (Kennedy Memorial Drive, near Hannaford) at 7-8 pm, fmi 207-399-7623

* Weld County, Colorado (Oct 8) Vigil at Nuclear Missile site N-8 in Weld County. Car Pool leaves Colorado Springs at 8:30 AM, vigil at noon

Keep Space for Peace Week is co-sponsored by the Women’s International League for Peace & Freedom, Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (UK), Swedish Peace Council, Drone Campaign Network (UK), and United Against Drones (U.S.)

Monday, September 26, 2011


I am doing the best I can......

Wangari Maathai, the Kenyan environmentalist who began a movement to reforest her country by paying poor women a few shillings to plant trees and who went on to become the first African woman to win a Nobel Peace Prize, died on Sunday. She was 71.

She was an example of what a real Nobel Prize winner looks like.


I spent Friday-Saturday-Sunday at the Common Ground Fair in Unity. About 50,000 people from throughout Maine and nearby states gathered for the annual celebration of the organic farming movement and alternative politics.

Veterans for Peace and Bring Our War $$ Home campaign shared a booth and talked with legions of people during the course of the fair. We handed out literature and sold buttons, bumperstickers and the very popular Americans Who Tell the Truth series of portrait cards by Maine artist Robert Shetterly.

I began asking people who approached our table if they knew how much money the Congress was spending on the Afghanistan war each month. Many would say they knew, or they didn't want to know, but in fact few people knew that the figure is $10 billion every month. But they were all clear that those tax dollars could be better used back here at home.

My follow-up question to people was, "I'm making a list of ideas. Please tell me how you think we can get out from behind this eight-ball." There were some interesting suggestions but quite a number of folks said they didn't think we could do anything to stop the coming collapse and return to feudalism. One man told me that the night before a group of his friends sat around a dinner table and they all came to the conclusion that nothing could be done. Their "knight in shining armor" Barack Obama, who was going to bring hope and change, had betrayed them. Now all was lost.

It's like a self-reinforcing circular firing squad. An epidemic of resignation. But I was not satisfied to leave it there. I prodded and poked and tried to find some sign of life and usually if I could get the people to talk some more they would work their way back to the land of the living. Many would throw me the old line that I was just "preaching to the choir" which is the excuse for those who want to say they agree with me but don't really want to get engaged. I would respond that the choir is not singing the song - in fact, most of the choir aren't showing up for choir practice. The choir is waiting for the choir "director", a leader who would make everything OK again.

I found that if I really listened to those who were sincerely wanting to find a way out of this dark time they were extremely grateful. One woman talked to me for some time and as she turned to walk away, she stopped and thanked me for seeking her opinion. I witnessed this several times and it occurred to me that few people are ever asked by anyone what they think. No one cares what they think!

I left the fair on Sunday afternoon and drove to nearby Belfast where a 4:00 pm rally was being organized by local peace and pro-democracy groups. Dud Hendrick (Veterans for Peace) and I both were among the speakers. About 50 people turned out in the middle of town for the event and many more folks drove by waving and honking approval of the signs being held that included the messages Tax the Rich and Bring Our War $$ Home.

The Common Ground Fair is a wedding of the movements. The alternative culture movements of cooperation, decentralization, and sustainability are linked with the activists for progressive political action. We need all of these strands of the environmental, social and political movements to be moving together, reinforcing each other, supporting one another.

Each of our problems and challenges today lead us back to the corrupt system of corporate control that puts a price tag on everything in our world - a price tag on nature, on freedom of speech, and on the vision of our collective future.

It will take all of us in the choir to do our part in these days ahead. We each have a role in singing the song of resistance to endless war and corporate control. We each have a part in giving voice to the path out of this dark nightmare. We must all keep matter how hard it might be at this time.


Berkeley in the '60s (1990 - Mark Kitchell) from Stuart Christie on Vimeo.

As we see the rising of people on Wall Street it is good to remember our connection to past struggles like this.

See this powerful documentary about the process of youth radicalisation in America (Berkeley, California) from the anti-HUAC (House Un-American Activities Committee) in May 1960 onwards . . .

Sunday, September 25, 2011


This video is from the Occupy Wall Street livestream and was posted at YouTube on September 26


Friday, September 23, 2011


An old NASA satellite is out of control and plunging back towards Earth. But U.S. scientists have been left guessing where it will land - as it could be anywhere on the planet. RT's Peter Oliver sought out some top Russian astronomers and cosmonauts to look at whether we should be watching our heads.

They also talk about the growing problem of space junk that orbits the Earth at 15,000 mph.

Thursday, September 22, 2011


  • The gigantic hammers are busting the sacred rocks on Gangjeong village coastline again. The South Korean Navy has ordered that all signs, flags, and banners be taken down in the village. Sounds like martial law to me. Activists defied orders and barricades and made their way back onto the rocky coast to interrupt the destruction.

  • The execution of Troy Davis has once again exposed the mean-spirited nature of America. People all over the world are broken hearted and furious about this latest display of racism and violence. The U.S. is always scolding others around the world about the need to "renounce violence". U.S. corporate controlled politicians like to lecture the Palestinians or the Taliban about the absolute necessity for them to quit their ways of violence. Then the hypocritical U.S. sells more weapons to Israel and turns its head as they slam the helpless people in Gaza. Or the U.S. fires its drone-directed missiles into a wedding or funeral in Pakistan making sure that even more people become "terrorists" in retaliation to the senseless killing of innocent people. The blood has flowed in the hearts and minds of the American people since the early days of the Pilgrims landing on Massachusetts shore in 1620. It's been a blood lust ever since - genocide of Native Americans, introduction of slavery, civil war, westward expansion, innumerable wars and Manifest Destiny turns into today's endless war for global corporate domination.

  • It's no wonder that more than 10% of the American people are taking anti-depressant drugs. People who understand the true nature of corporate control are suffering from social isolation and the anti-human nature of this capitalist system. It's no wonder that people don't believe that we can change anything - that all the doors to true democracy are slammed shut, locked, bolted, and guarded by the corporate police. The lesson of the Jeju Island resistance to the destruction of Gangjeong village is that the human spirit can indeed survive and flourish even in the midst of this violence and anti-nature assault. In fact, the process of fighting for each other and for the natural world is what reconnects us to our humanity. Fight and survive. Fight and find your true humanity. Fight and come alive again. Fight and reject the corporate death machine. We don't have to kill in order to fight. We can shake off our mental chains and stand against the insanity of a corporate order that rejects life and has declared war on the natural world.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011


We got coverage in this morning's Waterville newspaper about our work yesterday at the University of Maine-Farmington. You can see it here

Dan Ellis and I will now head to Waterville to hold our Bring Our War $$ Home banner on a busy street during the noon rush hour. After that we go to Belfast to do the same for afternoon traffic and then to the Afghanistan war documentary film at the public library.

Will get home late tonight.

So we've had something in two major papers in Maine the last two days. Got to keep pumping up the jam.

Give us a hand and write a letter to the editor of your local newspaper. Use the words Bring Our War $$ Home.

Let's help shape the debate as the "Super Committee" in Congress tries to do everything they can to avoid cuts in Pentagon spending. Make a demand.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011


My talk at the Military Industrial Complex at 50 conference in Charlottesville, Virginia this past year.


I am sitting in the Student Center at University of Maine-Farmington with fellow activists Dan Ellis (Brunswick) and Mark Roman (Solon). We are behind two tables that are laden with our literature and we've already handed out hundreds of flyers to the many students who pass by this busy spot.

We've got our Bring Our War $$ Home banner hanging on the wall behind us and signs on either end of the table.

At 11:30 this morning I was able to talk with about 25 people for an hour about our month long Care-a-Van around Maine. Sitting in the room was a reporter from Waterville Sentinel newspaper who had heard about the meeting which was set up on the campus by fellow Veterans for Peace member Doug Rawlings. Doug teaches Peace Studies here and is also organizing the concert tonight with folksinger David Rovics. We'll have a literature table there as well.

At 4:00 pm Dan, Mark, and I will move out onto the street in the downtown area for an hour of holding signs and banners and leafleting folks on the street as they prepare to head home from work.

This morning I picked up the Portland Press Herald and saw that my letter to the editor about endless war spending, along with a couple others on the same subject, were printed in the paper. You can see them here

It is our goal during this 30-day period to reach beyond our normal organizing boundaries - to reach deeper into the public and help expand people's consciousness about our work to Bring Our War $$ Home. Today is an example that if you get out and do the work you can indeed break the chains of our inner boxes.

Tomorrow Dan and I head to Waterville and Belfast for more of the same.

Monday, September 19, 2011


Protests continued today on Wall Street in New York City following this on Saturday.

This is a great spot to hold protests as it is the symbol of greed, corporate control, the excess of capitalism, the arrogance of the rich and their contempt for working and poor people in this country and around the world.

Anyone who defends the rich from tax cuts and strict regulations, and claims to have the interest of working people at heart, is playing games with our heads.

This is why we have government - to protect the majority against the greed and corruption of the oligarchy.


More than 60,000 protested in Tokyo today against nuclear power. This report indicates that radiation levels are climbing in Tokyo. Can you imagine evacuating 35 million people?

Nuclear power stations must be shut down everywhere on this planet. We can't wait for more accidents like Cherrnobyl and Fukushima.

See news article about Tokyo protest here


We got home last night from Virginia and the conference called "Military Industrial Complex at 50". I'd venture to guess there were up to 150 folks who passed through the event during the course of the weekend. Many great speakers and a good hosting by local activists in Charlottesville. Our host family loaned us their second car so MB and I could come and go as we wished. Some wonderful meals were served including an authentic Afghanistan supper the first night prepared by local Afgan restaurant.

You can see an article about the confab in the local Charlottesville newspaper here

It was fun to be back in the south again - land of growing militarism, grits, and southern drawls (each one distinct in their own way from different parts of the region).

But it felt good to come back to Maine when we landed in Portland. As our plane made its way to the gate I could smell that distinct smell I've come to know in our state - skunks. Just about everywhere you go in Maine, as it gets dark, you are bound to smell a skunk. I turned to MB on the plane and said, "It seems Gov. LePage has just made a visit to the airport." But then as we drove north on I-295 I could smell skunk spray along the highway, so it appears our right-wing governor was just one step ahead of us.

Today I plan to dig up potatoes in our garden and prepare for a busy week with the Bring Our War $$ Home Care-a-Van. In the morning a handful of us head north to University of Maine-Farmington where we will spend the early part of the day talking to and leafleting students. In the afternoon we will stand in the downtown and hold signs and banners and hand out more leaflets about the campaign. Then in the evening we'll attend the David Rovics concert at the university.

We'll spend the night at the home of Veterans for Peace co-founder Doug Rawlings and then head to Belfast the next day where we'll repeat the bannering, leafleting and such on the streets of that community before attending an evening documentary film showing of Kill/Capture (the US military campaign in Afghanistan and targeted raids using classified intelligence, drones, and Special Operations Forces as a tactic) at the public Library at 6:00 pm.

Then on Friday I'll head back north to the Common Ground Fair where the Bring Our War $$ Home campaign will share a table with Maine Veterans for Peace on Friday/Saturday/Sunday. The fair draws tens of thousands of Mainers each year and is a wonderful place to do outreach.

Sunday, September 18, 2011


Saturday, September 17, 2011


Sung-Hee Choi writes about this video:

Director Cho says he had to make this 30min. long video hurriedly so that it can be watched upon need, soon. However, you will be never bored. The video is a wonderful record of people’s strong resistance against unjust police crack-down in the Gangjeong village on Aug. 24 and Sept. 2. Since Aug. 24, near forty people including mayor, Kang Dong-Kyun have been arrested and seven people have been imprisoned unjustly under the charges of such as obstruction of business or special obstruction on government affairs etc. A second 4. 3, indeed. What they have wanted was to save the Peace Island, Jeju, in peaceful way, from the Government’s inhuman and violent policies that would eventually bring war base in the Island.

This heartbreaking and inspiring video was shown in people’s candle light vigil in the Gangjeong village tonight, reminding people both days’ intense emotion and heightening their will to win the struggle.


Gangjeong village artist and activist Gillchun Koh with Noam Chomsky at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) yesterday discussing the current fight on Jeju Island to stop construction of Navy base

  • Matt Hoey in Boston yesterday arranged to have Gillchun Koh meet with Noam Chomsky to brief him on the current situation in Gangjeong village. Matt also set up a speaking event for Koh the night before at Boston College. Good work Matt.
  • MB and I arrived in Charlottesville, Virginia yesterday after two uneventful flights from Portland, Maine. Things began last night with a dinner and then talks by David Swanson and Ann Wright who courageously had just come from major skin cancer operations three days before. Several old friends from Florida days (Clare Hanrahan and Ruth Zalph) are also at the conference and it was fun to see Lisa Savage and Mark Roman from Maine walk in the door sporting their usual Code Pink attire. This morning the venue changed and we are sitting in a huge auditorium at the Piedmont Virginia Community College. I speak later this afternoon and MB does her talk tomorrow morning.
  • Virginia is the #1 recipient of Pentagon funding in the nation. Charlottesville has 161 military contractors in the community bringing in $919,914,918 during the last 10 years. There can be no doubt that the culture of this state, and increasingly the entire nation, has become militarized. When militarism is your #1 industrial export product, as is the case in the U.S., you've got to turn a steady stream of conflicts into hot wars in order to justify these kinds of levels of military spending. We have become a killing culture.....morally and ethically America is bankrupt. It's moral corruption at its highest level. It's an issue that most Americans choose to ignore.
  • Two of the Jeju Island protest leaders were released from jail yesterday. People in the Gangjeong village worried they both were going to be salted away for some long jail time so this came as a surprise. Is it a sign of the impact of the growing global awareness about the Jeju Navy base issue? Last night when Ann Wright spoke she mentioned the Jeju struggle and I will do so today in my talk as well.

Thursday, September 15, 2011



The world's largest arms fair offers any number of ways to kill, destroy, and conquer, by land, sea, and air. Yet this year's event, held in London, is a little different, given how easily it has been discovered that many of these companies have been supplying equipment to countries which used them against their own populations during the Arab Spring. Liam Fox, Britain's most senior defence minister, arrived at the fair to reassure any nervous manufacturers that despite all the controversy they need not worry about a lack of political backing. Al Jazeera's Laurence Lee reports from London, UK.


Wednesday, September 14, 2011


  • I did a live TV interview this afternoon via Skype with Russia Today (RT). Just waiting to see the clip posted on their web site. We talked about the new deal that Hillary Clinton signed with Romania to allow U.S. "missile defense" interceptors to be deployed in their country. The U.S. has also recently signed a deal with Turkey to put a "missile defense" radar in that country. Previously the Pentagon agreed to a deal with Poland to deploy a PAC-3 (3rd generation Patriot) missile interceptor system there. So with these deployments, and NATO expansion eastward, the Russians are finding themselves being boxed in. Why? It's important to remember that Russia has the world's largest supply of natural gas and significant stocks of oil........

  • Our new Bring Our War $$ Home radio ads will start next week on five radio stations in Maine. Supporters of the Maine campaign have donated $1,600 toward the one-minute radio spots that will run on conservative talk show stations from Portland to Presque Island. The ad was recorded by legendary Maine media personality and story teller Robert Skoglund (The Humble Farmer). You can listen to the ad here

  • MB and I head to Charlottesville, Virginia early Friday morning where we both have been invited to speak at a conference called Military Industrial Complex at 50: A National Conference. MB will talk about economic conversion and I will talk about the global military agenda of the US. CodePink Maine coordinator Lisa Savage will also be a speaker at the event. A slew of other great activists will be speaking as well. Should be an exciting conference.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011


Activists at a peace festival this past weekend in Denmark were read a statement from the Global Network

  • I was recently contacted by Andre Emile Brochu who lives in Malmo, Sweden. I met Andre when I went to Sweden as part of a speaking tour to Scandinavia in September 2008. Andre was born in Farmington, Maine and spent summers in Livermore Falls but escaped to Sweden during the Vietnam War as a draft resister and he decided to stay there. He led a group of us through a long peace march and rally in Malmo that was a part of the European Social Forum and then made sure to find a great restaurant for our hungry Global Network team that he was escorting around.
A week or so ago Andre contacted me and asked for a statement from the Global Network that could be read at an upcoming peace festival in Denmark that he was going to be attending. So I wrote it and sent it to him and today got back a link to an article that included my statement. You can see it here

Andre wrote to me, "So you have been published in Danish just like Kirkegaard and Hans Christian Andersen."

  • I had a wonderful day yesterday in Biddeford and Saco as I rejoined the Walk for Fukushima. I met the walkers at a park in Biddeford where Richard Rhames and I taped an interview with Mia and Steve Athearn about why they are walking for both our public access TV shows. Then we went to city hall for a meeting with Mayor Joanne Twomey who took us into her office. There on the wall, right by her desk, was a sketching of Gandhi, MLK, and Dorothy Day. She spent an hour with us asking questions about the purpose of the walk and also talked about how much she appreciates the work of the Maine Campaign to Bring Our War $$ Home. About six months ago, when we held our last rally in the state capital in Augusta, I invited Mayor Twomey to speak and her golden words went out across the state over public radio. She said, "I'm tired of firing people because of budget cuts. I challenge every mayor in the state of Maine to say Bring Our War $$ Home!" Perfect.

After we finished with our meeting at city hall we went to the nearby town of Saco where a pot luck supper was to be held at the First Parish Congregational Church. Since we had some time on our hands before the dinner, and the church sits right on U.S. Hwy 1, I got one of the other walkers (Alex) to join me across the street by the war memorial where we held the Bring Our War $$ Home banner for about an hour. As the rush hour traffic wizzed by I held out a leaflet for anyone to grab - I had about 7-8 takers. One woman passed by in her car and then approached us on foot and asked if she could interview me. Come to find out it was the editor of the local Biddeford Courier newspaper so she took some pictures and asked me some questions. Another reporter had earlier spotted us outside city hall when we arrived for the meeting with the mayor and she invited him to come up with us to her office. So that got covered as well.

The supper at the church was great (some really good macaroni and cheese) and then there was an excellent sharing circle afterwards with the church folks who came to feed the walkers. Church member Tom Kircher invited me to say a few words about the connection between the Walk for Fukushima and the Bring Our War $$ Home campaign. I told the story about the years of dangerous NASA plutonium space launches and how the nuclear industry views space as a new market for their deadly product. I suggested that if we could convert the military industrial complex to building solar, wind, mass transit and the like we could decentralize power production, get rid of the nuclear industry, and have some impact on the coming ravages of climate change. But we're going to have to make strong demands on the political system if we hope to make that happen.


In order to keep the fear campaign humming along, former Secretary of War Donald Rumsfeld is out beating the drum for more Pentagon spending.

"The Department of Defense is not what's causing the debt and the deficit. It's the entitlement programs," he told Human Events in an exclusive interview. "If we make that mistake, we're doomed to suffer another attack of some kind, and our intelligence will be less strong and less effective."

Rumsfeld also said that Obama's decision to keep many of the tools and tactics President Bush implemented to fight terrorism is reassuring. Even though Obama spent his entire 2008 presidential campaign promising to roll back those same terror-fighting policies, the President has discovered that they've "contributed to the protection of the American people these past 10 years."

This is just the beginning of the scare campaign from the military industrial complex that we will now witness. Their public relations effort will be intense and is intended to ensure that Congress buckles under their fierce pressure.

Our efforts to call on all elected officials to Bring Our War $$ Home is now more important than ever. Be sure to write a letter to your local newspaper immediately to help counter this right-wing public fear campaign.

This attack on social progress in America must be resisted by all of us. Find ways each day to help stop the lords of feudalism from taking us back to the 17-18th centuries.

Monday, September 12, 2011


We all must support the call for a real independent investigation


My friend Starr Gilmartin (Trenton, Maine) vigils on the bridge near her home every Sunday. I saw her at the grassroots media confab on Saturday and she said she needed a good 9-11 themed sign for yesterday's vigil. So I suggested "Call 911 - End the wars". She wrote it down and last night I got an email with the photo above - so she used it. Came out good.

I drove a van load of seven of us from around here to Portland last night. We had dinner together and then went out to the Back Cove for the vigil of light once it got dark. I was quite impressed with the numbers of people who showed up. (I'd guess 500) The cove is at least four miles round and there were people around large sections of it. There was a church group next to where we were standing and they had at least 50 people with them.

I handed out Bring Our War $$ Home flyers I made for the month long Care-a-Van and ran into lots of people I know. Not everyone who came seemed clear as to why they were there.....I think the organizers kept it a bit vague in order to draw a larger crowd. So our banner and the flyers helped give some focus, at least on our part of the cove.

Today I drive south to Biddeford where I will meet up with the Walk for Fukushima at 2:00 pm and interview them while my buddy (and fellow public access TV activist) Richard Rhames films it for his show called "Out in Left Field". Then at 3:00 pm we have a meeting with the mayor of Biddeford and after that I want to hold our banner and hand out Bring Our War $$ Home flyers on a busy street.

In the evening will be a pot luck supper at the First Parish Congregational Church, 12 Beach Street, 6:00 pm in Saco that Tom Kircher has organized for the walkers and the Care-a-Van.


A beautiful story about humans living in harmony with the natural world.

Sunday, September 11, 2011


I posted this video a couple weeks ago but it seems appropriate to re-post today.

Bring the truth forward.


Lisa Savage and Steve Burke print Bring Our War $$ Home T-shirts during the WERU Radio's Maine Grassroots Media Conference

I drove north early yesterday morning so I could make it in time to hear artist Robert Shetterly (Americans Who Tell the Truth) speak at the opening of the WERU community radio sponsored Grassroots Media Conference in Unity.

It was a full day of workshops and talks about how to expand the growing network of alternative media throughout our state. It appeared that at least 75 people were there and I was happy to be amongst some of the best organizers and activists in the state. The food was also really good - most of it donated by local organic farmers.

One workshop I attended was "Why we need a regular news/analysis publication in Maine and how we can create one" lead by Larry Dansinger. About 30 people came to this workshop so it was clear that the subject was one that was high on people's priority list. I suggested a statewide Internet vehicle was needed where people representing many of our disparate groups could post articles about their work or calendar events. But for it to work we'd all have to promote it widely. One woman suggested a cooperative be organized to run it. I volunteered to serve on a committee to explore the idea.

CodePink Maine's coordinator Lisa Savage, Mark Roman and Steve Burke set up a Bring Our War $$ Home T-shirt making operation in the lobby of the conference where all day they banged out four different designs onto T-shirts. Steve used to be in the T-shirt business and had a bunch of left-over shirts that he sold for $1 each. It was great to see so many people taking a shirt home with one of the four different Bring Our War $$ Home designs that were available.

Today I do a radio interview after lunch and then we are driving our first Care-a-Van load of people from here down to Portland for the "It's time for light" gathering around Back Cove to call for an end to war. It begins at dark (6:30 pm) so we'll all turn our flashlights on and hopefully have enough people show up so we can circle all the way around the cove.

For the next month I'll be traveling around the state from local event-to-event in a van loaned to us by Maine Veterans for Peace leader Peggy Akers. I imagine I'll be blogging about many of the events and I'll be wearing one of my two new T-shirts from yesterday.

See you down the road.


Friday, September 09, 2011


For Immediate Release
Contact: Bruce Gagnon 443-9502
Lisa Savage 399-7623

The Maine Campaign to Bring Our War $$ Home has announced that a statewide series of local anti-war actions, observing 10 years of war in Afghanistan-Iraq-Pakistan-Libya, will begin on September 10 and last until October 9.

The events are intended to remind citizens in Maine that our state's share of war spending since 2001 comes to $3.4 billion. The campaign, which began two years ago with a rally inside the Hall of Flags in Augusta, has now spread nationally. Recently the U.S. Conference of Mayors annual meeting passed a Bring Our War $$ Home resolution, the first time they have taken a foreign policy position since the Vietnam War.

Bring Our War $$ Home resolutions have passed in Maine by the Deer Isle Town Meeting, Solon School Board and the Portland City Council. Similar resolutions have also passed city councils in Hartford, Ct, Amherst and Northampton, MA, Eugene, OR, and Los Angeles, CA.

In addition to the 17 local events (held in 14 Maine communities) the Bring Our War $$ Home campaign has purchased radio ads on five Maine stations from Portland to Presque Isle carrying their message. The radio ads are narrated by Maine's Humble Farmer Robert Skoglund.

According to Bring Our War $$ Home co-coordinator Bruce Gagnon, "Recent national polls show that 70% of the American people want us out of Afghanistan and they want the $10 billion we waste on that war every single month to be brought back to our local communities and states to help solve our fiscal crisis. We are not going to have an economic recovery as long as we keeping flushing people's hard-earned tax dollars down the endless war hole. We are organizing this month of actions across Maine in order to help people apply pressure on all of our elected officials to publicly say - Bring Our War $$ Home."

The month-long series of events will be connected by a Care-a-Van that will attend each event and will hold signs and banners in the communities at each stop. Flyers will be handed out in towns and to students at many colleges during the month. Letters to the Editor will be sent to newspapers across the state as well during the month.

Schedule of Care-a-Van Events:

* Sept 10 WERU Maine Grassroots Media Conference at the Unity College Centre for the Performing Arts. Conference participants will make Bring Our War $$ Home T-shirts. Among the several panel discussions will be: “Political Art Activism” featuring Rob Shetterly (Americans Who Tell the Truth) and Lisa Savage (Bring Our War $$ Home)
* Sept 10 Penny Poll at the Orono Festival join members of the Peace & Justice Center of Eastern Maine and the Orono Peace group to invite members of the community to share their federal budget priorities. Contact the Center if you would like to help.
* Sept 11 Portland "It's time for light" around Back Cove to end war 6:00-8:00 pm (Bring flashlight)
* Sept 12 Saco Potluck supper and meeting to discuss Bring Our War $$ Home and Maine Walk for Fukushima (which will arrive in Saco that day), First Parish Congregational Church, 12 Beach Street, 6:00 pm
* Sept 17 Brewer 3:00-6:00 pm Building Bridges for Peace, First Congregational Church in Brewer (45 Church Street) with keynote by Terry Rockefeller of Families for Peaceful Tomorrows who lost her sister on September 11th in the attack on the Twin Towers. She has traveled to Iraq to meet with peace organizers. The keynote will be followed by panelists sharing what motivates them to continue to work for peace and activity tables by various organizations working for peace. A community simple supper will conclude the day which is free and open to the public.
* Sept 20 UMFarmington event featuring singer/songwriter David Rovics and Ruth Hill at 7:00 pm in the Emery Performing Arts Center; Teach-In at 11:00 am - 1:00 pm in the Student Center, leafleting of students about tuition hikes and student debt
* Sept 21 Belfast film showing of documentary Kill/Capture (the US military campaign in Afghanistan and targeted raids using classified intelligence, drones, and Special Operations Forces as a tactic - It interviews Afghan and Taliban leaders and their responses to the campaign - it's impact on them and the consequences of the whole operation), Belfast Library, 6:00 pm
* Sept 23-25 Bring Our War $$ Home tabling (with Veterans for Peace) at Common Ground Fair, Program in speakers tent. To volunteer to work our table please contact Diane at
* Sept 25 Bangor 7:00 pm Film showing Scarred Lands, Wounded Lives at the Peace & Justice Center of Eastern Maine (96 Harlow Street). The film recognizes our deep dependence on the natural world and our humanly caused threats to the future of the planet. But it also focuses on what is often ignored by environmentalist: the extreme threat of the environmental impact of war and massive preparations for war.
* Sept 25 Belfast Rally to Restore Democracy 4:00 - 6:00 pm at Post Office
* Sept 27 Blue Hill Program featuring Voices for Peace choir & Robert Shetterly at Bay School's Emlen Auditorium in Blue Hill, 7:00 pm
* Sept 30 Afghanistan war Teach-In at Bowdoin College in Brunswick entitled 10 Years of war in Afghanistan: What have we learned, what can we do? Smith Auditorium, 3-5 pm Speakers Include: Paul Fitzgerald, Elizabeth Gould, Allen Wells, Nat Wheelwright, Lisa Savage, Dud Hendrick
* Sept 30 Interview of Paul Fitzgerald & Elizabeth Gould on public access TV program This Issue in Harpswell
* Oct 1 BIW vigil in Bath emphasizing drone warfare during Keep Space for Peace Week at 11:30 am
* Oct 2 "A Time for Reflection on 10 Years of War" in Bath led by local religious leaders at 1pm
* Oct 6 UMOrono Bring Our War $$ Home: The Lessons of 9/11, the Afghanistan War, and the Killing of Osama bin Laden, program includes Doug Allen 12:30-1:45, Bangor Room, Memorial Union (Campus leafleting of students about tuition hikes and student debt after the event)
* Oct 9 Finale event of Care-a-Van featuring Chief Kirk Francis of the Penobscots and Indian drummers plus Bring Our War $$ Home speakers/singers in Augusta to observe Indigenous People's Day or (exact location yet to be determined). Noon until 3:00 pm. Bring finger food to share.


I joined the Walk for Fukushima yesterday from our house in Bath to Brunswick - about a 10 mile day. The walkers stayed here the night before and I cooked for them (homemade pasta sauce from my garden veggies and beet burgers). Some others brought food as well including CodePink Maine's Lisa Savage who made a Japanese dish - she lived in Japan four years many moons ago.

Mie Athearn (and her husband Steve) live in Rockland, Maine but Mie comes from Fukushima. Her family is all still there and it is very moving to listen to her describe the feelings of desperation felt by the people as they have no income, can't be sure about the food they eat, have no way to move anywhere, and worry about the children's future after radiation exposure.

Mie suffers from Lyme Disease and can barely walk but her strong will to do something in support of her family and the people of Fukushima has over taken and she has been walking each day since they began six days ago in Rockland.

The plan is to reach the Japanese consulate in Boston where Mie will present a petition demanding that the government of Japan do more to help the people and that it tell the truth about the true radiation contamination levels that they currently withhold from the people.

If one ever doubted the insanity of nuclear power all one has to do is listen to the heartfelt stories of people like Mie and you will become clear that the entire nuclear industry must be shut down yesterday!

You can follow Mie's progress on the Walk for Fukushima on Facebook here


Wednesday, September 07, 2011


There is oil under the Arctic waters -​ black gold! And serious conflict is underway about who should control it. There appears to be little concern on any side about environmental implications of drilling in the Arctic regions.

Should we not be pushing all the harder for sustainable societies? Should we not be demanding conversion of the military industrial complex to build an alternative energy future?

And who will make this demand? Surely not the Democrats in the U.S. Isn't it time to call for a new progressive political party that unites the Greens, labor, women, people of color and other constituencies. The old go it alone strategy is just not working. We've got to build a truly united progressive block if we have any hope of surviving on this beautiful planet.

Tuesday, September 06, 2011



Imagine your family has been fishing and farming in a village for more than 300 years. Then the government decides they want your land and coastline for a Navy base. They stage a phony vote with less than 10% of the villagers present, bribe a few people, and then take a vote by having people clap to show they are in favor of the base.

When the majority learns what happened they force out the corrupt mayor who helped instigate the first phony meeting and more than 800 people turn out (just over 1,000 live in the village) and hold a real vote where 94% of the people say NO to the Navy base. They elect new leadership that supports the people and stands in strong opposition to the base. That mayor now sits in jail for resisting the destruction of the people's way of life. But the government does not recognize the second vote - the one that happened in a real democratic way with no bribes.

This is the story of Gangjeong on Jeju Island. It's the story of the global military industrial complex in operation. It's the story of a corporate criminal syndicate. This political power structure must be destroyed and put behind bars with walls and fences and barbed wire.

This out-of-control military industrial complex is killing life on this planet. It is the biggest polluter on the planet and they use force of arms to stay in control. They have no problem attracting all the young people they need to serve in these global "armed forces" because jobs are hard to come by these days - whether you are in the U.S., South Korea, or anywhere else.

This global military machine needs to be taken apart one tank, warship, bulldozer, airplane, and military space satellite at a time. We need to shut down the weapons manufacturing process and use our money and the skill of the workers to build things we need to survive on this planet like solar, wind, rail and the like.

We need to acknowledge, and repeatedly say out loud, we have no faith in this war machine. We don't want to pay for it anymore. We don't accept that we have to be controlled by the military mindset and all the politicians that it buys and controls. We reject the idea that war makes us safer. We reject the idea that more militarism is progress. We reject that the military can push the people around like we are slaves. We throw off our chains.

We stand as free human beings with rights to breathe, to walk where we wish, to think and speak as we wish.

We stand in solidarity with the wind, the sun, the fish, the birds, the plants, the rocks, the rain and the dirt that produces our food. Machines don't create life. Bombs don't give life. Guns don't produce life. Power comes from our connection to the Mother Earth.

The militarism is a sickness - a mental disease. We reject this sickness - we cast if off from our bodies and from our minds. We are free like the wind. We shall not be chained in our body or our mind. No more.

Monday, September 05, 2011


Mie Athearn, a Japanese woman living in Maine and a native of Fukushima Prefecture, is undertaking a "Walk for Fukushima" to deliver a message to the Japanese government appealing for stronger actions to protect children from radiation hazards in the wake of the Fukushima Daiichi disaster.

Ms. Athearn, acutely aware of the heightened stresses being experienced by her close family members over the ongoing releases of radioactive contamination from the crippled reactors, and distressed by the Japanese government response seemingly dictated by expediency and downplaying, has decided to walk from Rockland to the Japanese Consulate in Boston to seek an audience with officials there urging a stronger public health response to the crisis.

She was also inspired by the Peace Walkers who came through Rockland last year, led by Japanese Buddhist monks and nuns. Just back from their latest pilgrimage from Boston to Albany, with stops at nuclear power plants in Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Vermont, the Grafton Peace Pagoda is now lending its support to the Walk for Fukushima.

With her husband Steven, Jun Yasuda of the Peace Pagoda, and others who may join along the way, Mie plans to set out from Rockland on Sunday, September 4 and expects to arrive in Boston on September 19, covering a distance of nearly 200 miles. The walk will partly coincide with a series of anti-nuclear actions within Japan planned for the week of September 11, and culminating with a "goodbye nukes" rally in Tokyo on September 19. Those dates are, respectively, six months since the March 11 earthquake and tsunami, and five months since a Ministry of the national government, MEXT, directed Fukushima Prefecture to adopt a much laxer standard for radiation exposure, making higher-than-controlled-workplace doses for children officially acceptable.

They also plan to make a stop at the Seabrook Station nuclear power plant in New Hampshire.

People wanting to lend a hand by offering overnight accomodations, daytime rest stops, organizing events along the way, or joining some portion of the walk themselves may contact Mie at

For more information call Steven Athern.... (207) 593-7422

Schedule, "Walk for Fukushima"

9/4 Rockland - Warren
9/5 Warren - Nobleboro
9/6 Nobleboro - Edgecomb
9/7 Edgecomb -- Bath (Dinner at 6:00 pm at Addams-Melman House in Bath. All are welcome. Please RSVP to 443-9502)
9/8 Bath - Brunswick
9/9 Brunswick - Falmouth
9/10 Falmouth - Portland
9/11 4-5 miles in Portland (Lights around Back Cove 6-8 pm)
9/12 Portland - Saco
9/13 Saco - Wells
9/14 Wells - York
9/15 York - Portsmouth
9/16 Portsmouth - Seabrook
9/17 Seabrook - Topsfield
9/18 Topsfield - Saugus
9/19 Saugus -- Boston


The Tar Sands Action (smile)
By Ted Glick

My mind has been a jumble the last couple of days as I’ve tried to think about what I would be saying in this column. I knew I would be writing about the historic and amazing Tar Sands Action in Washington, D.C.

I am literally smiling as I embark on this writing journey. There was so much positive energy, so many wonderful experiences, so much hope for the future in and around the two weeks of sitting-in and standing-in in front of the White House, August 20-September 3.

One of the things I will never forget is how, day after day, new people kept arriving at Lafayette Park in the morning prepared to walk across the street and get arrested, 1252 of them. Wave after wave, daily, this kept happening. And over the last four days, from August 31 to September 3, the numbers kept getting bigger and bigger each day. On the last day, 243 people crossed Pennsylvania Avenue and stood and sat, first in the rain—most without rain gear--and then in the hot sun, some for four hours, before being arrested.

The vast majority of those arrested had never done so before. They were from all over the country, just about every single state. They ranged from teenagers to grandparents in their 80s, predominantly white but racially diverse, people of faith, landowners, movie celebrities, climate scientists, elected officials and more.

Then there was Kandi Mossett of the Indigenous Environmental Network and North Dakota, speaking Friday morning in Lafayette Park before she and others crossed over and got arrested, speaking from the heart, speaking of the many people close to her who have died of cancer at young ages because of the fossil fuel industry’s poisoning of her community’s air and water. Was there anyone in the audience of hundreds not moved to tears?

There were the young people Saturday morning and afternoon who sang and chanted for hour after hour on the Lafayette Park sidewalk to keep up the spirits and energies of those across the street in front of the White House who kept waiting for hours for their turn to be handcuffed and put into police wagons or buses.

There were the sobering things I learned about the tar sands throughout the two weeks, especially from the Indigenous people from Alberta province in Canada who have been leading this struggle for years: The second-largest area of (extra-dirty and thick, tar-like) oil in the world, behind only Saudi Arabia. The ethnocide of Indigenous people taking place as their land, water, health and millennia-old culture are being devastated as the forests are destroyed and massive strip mines moonscape the land. All of the toxic chemicals that must be added to the thick tar sands oil in order for it to be able to flow through pipelines, which increases the likelihood of corrosion and leaks. The plan for the pipeline to be built over the Ogallala Aquifer, water source for many millions in the US, and the ecologically sensitive Sand Hills of Nebraska.

There was the statement by our nation’s leading climate scientist, James Hansen, that if the Keystone XL pipeline is built and the tar sands is fully exploited, it’s “game over” for the planet as far as surviving climate change.

There was all the news coverage, this issue becoming all of a sudden a major national story. In retrospect, the decision of those who called this action for the “dog days” of late August, when Congress and the President are out of town, turns out to have been very prescient. There was lots of press coverage in the first week which then led to even more and more extensive coverage in the second week, including Bill McKibben being on the national PBS news program. Tim DeChristopher reported to friends that the protests were one of the three national news stories on the late night television news he saw in the Nevada jail where he’s currently housed.

There hasn’t been an action like this in the United States for a long, long time. The last ones I know of in terms of comparable numbers were the 1414 people, my late ex-wife and excellent political artist Peg Averill among them, arrested in Seabrook, New Hampshire in 1977 outside the site where a nuclear reactor was beginning to be built, and the many thousands arrested over several days in early May of 1971 in Washington, D.C. in a Vietnam war protest.

But neither of them went on for two straight weeks.

I know that some of those not in touch with what’s been happening within the climate movement in recent years were amazed to watch the Tar Sands Action unfold over these two weeks. But it didn’t come out of nowhere.

Two and a half years ago thousands of people were prepared to be arrested at the Capitol Coal Plant action in Washington, D.C. Then, more recently, there was the 10,000-person Power Shift conference and actions in mid-April in D.C. and the powerful, week-long March on Blair Mountain of hundreds, and a thousand on the last day, in early June. There was the example and leadership of Tim DeChristopher, who publicly called for just this kind of day-after-day, provoke-a-political-crisis type of action from the stage at Power Shift, three months before he was sentenced to two years in prison. And, without question, there was the exemplary, day-to-day leadership given by Bill McKibben. Without Bill, without his passion, his tireless work, his writing and speaking, this action never would have happened.

But it wasn’t a one-man show, not at all. Scores of mainly young people worked hard leading up to and during the two weeks of the action doing all of the things needed to make this be such a success. When Bill and 51 others were unexpectedly kept in jail for 53 hours after the first day’s action, there wasn’t an iota of letting up or hesitation. On the second day, as those 52 sat in jail, 45 people crossed over to the White House sidewalk, all of them knowing they could receive the same treatment. As it turned out, the willingness of those 45 to not back down, to show the police that we were serious about our plans for scores to get arrested each day for two weeks, led to a dramatic pull-back by the police. They went back to their original plan to use “post-and-forfeit,” essentially a $100 fine on everyone arrested, and then let them go within a few hours of their being arrested.

At the rally in Lafayette Park on September 3rd, it was announced by Bill McKibben that there were plans being developed to keep this movement going. It has to; Obama is supposed to make a decision about the Keystone XL pipeline by the end of the year. One big upcoming date is October 7th, when the last of a number of public hearings around the country on that pipeline will be held in Washington, D.C.

Bill also reported on an action taken in Seattle, Wa. where 40 or so people paid a visit to the newly-opened office of the Obama re-election campaign. A repetition of that tactic would be a way to keep getting the attention of Obama and his people: public visits to such offices all over the country, especially by people who worked for and/or voted for him in 2008, so that the Obama campaign understands that we are serious, that we expect Obama to finally carry through on his promises during the 2008 campaign.

“Let’s be the generation that finally frees America from the tyranny of oil.” That’s one of the things Obama said, along with this big applause line, that his election was “the moment when the rise of the oceans began to slow and our planet began to heal.”

He hasn’t yet delivered. Worse, he and his administration have opened up public lands in Wyoming for coal mining, allowed most mountaintop removal permits to proceed forward, done nothing to stop natural gas fracking, supported the expansion of deepwater ocean drilling beyond the Gulf of Mexico and, so far, given lots of indications that he will approve the Keystone XL pipeline. These methods of extreme extraction of fossil fuels are exactly the wrong direction to be going.

Michael Marx of the Sierra Club’s Beyond Oil campaign gave an excellent speech on Saturday in Lafayette Park. He called for us to help Obama find his “inner lion” so that he can finally begin to do what he promised he would do in 2008, which will only help his chances of reelection. He went on to say that if that is going to happen we need to find our own inner lions and we need to “bare out teeth.”

For those who want to see Obama reelected, for those who are turned off by all of his administration’s many betrayals of his campaign promises and unsure of what they’ll be doing about the Presidential election, and for those who have had it with both Republicans and Democrats, the campaign to defeat the Keystone XL pipeline is a classic unifying issue, an urgent issue. The next few months are key. Let’s keep building the Tar Sands Action momentum and win one for the people and the earth this year. Si, se puede!!

Ted Glick is the National Policy Director of the Chesapeake Climate Action Network. He worked on the Tar Sands Action for two months. Past writings and more information can be found at Follow him on twitter @jtglick.