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. @BruceKGagnon

Saturday, October 08, 2011


New York City police commissioner: Police overtime has cost $1.9 million so far

Karen Wainberg and I went to Portland today to join the Occupy Wall Street event. It's been going on for a week. When we arrived there were just a few folks in Monument Square but more were gathered at their camp site about one block away. We stood on the side of the road facing traffic and held our signs and handed out flyers to passing motorists.

After a few hours more began to arrive. It was a hot day for October, 89 degrees, but seeing the buses go by with rubber necking tourists inside made it bearable. Very few people were negative as they passed us by during the 4 1/2 hours we were there. By the time we left about 75 people were protesting in the square. We heard that last night about 200-300 people had come to be a part of the Occupy Wall Street action.

Many young people either came to the square to hold a sign or to see what is going on. I handed many of them a flyer. It was good that today we had several of us there from the peace movement holding signs that connected the dots between endless war and economic crisis here at home. Many of the younger activists have been working on environmental or corporate power issues, and while they are against the war, they've not had many chances to make these important connections. So it is vital that peace movement people go into these spaces and help make these links. Everyone is totally receptive.

When I got home I saw an email from friend David Swanson, one of the leaders of the Occupy DC effort that began this week in Washington. He posted several videos like the one below on his web site and wrote this:

We intended to hold signs and sing inside the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum, protesting its promotion of unmanned drones, missiles, and bombs, including its sponsorship by and promotion of weapons corporations. We don't have any museums promoting health coverage or education or retirement security.

We had marched from the Freedom Plaza and McPherson Square occupations, taking over the streets of DC. The museum knew we were coming. Some of our group got in and dropped a banner. Hundreds of us did not. Instead, we were greeted at the door with cans of pepper spray.

There were three sets of entrance doors. I was among the first to open the third set of doors. A guard shook a can of pepper spray in front of me and demanded that we back out. But a dozen feet away at the second set of doors, people were staggering out and collapsing in pain, having been pepper sprayed in the face. I started to go toward them, but began coughing and vomiting. A lot of people were effected, directly or -- like me -- indirectly by the pepper spray.

Friday, October 07, 2011


Brilliant interview with Chris Hedges from Freedom Plaza in Washington DC. Excellent job by the journalist as well.

Thursday, October 06, 2011



Three of us (Dan Ellis, Ian Magrath, and yours truly) went to University of Maine-Orono today to leaflet students about the Bring Our War $$ Home campaign.

Ilze Petersons (Coordinator of the Peace & Justice Center of Eastern Maine in Bangor) joined us as well, as did a couple of students from the peace group on campus. With this crew we had a strong presence in the student center. We handed out at least 500 flyers and also attended a lecture by Philosophy professor Doug Allen about U.S. war policy since 9-11.

On the way to Orono we happened to chance upon a radio interview on author Stephen King's progressive radio station in Bangor with Lisa Savage (CodePink Maine) who co-coordinates the Maine Campaign to Bring Our War $$ Home.

In the video above there are some great student voices emerging as the Occupy Wall Street movement grows. Reports from New York City yesterday reveal that cops beat up, with baton and pepper spray, a good number of young activists. It is clear to me that the oligarchy fears this growing movement and they fear even more that the public at large will begin to listen to, and identify with, the demands being made. So I think the cops have been told to selectively start beating some of the young people in hopes of drawing a violent response that could then be splashed across the TV screens in hopes of discrediting the protest. These young people deserve great credit for being smarter than the cops and the oligarchy by not taking the bait.


Sung-Hee Choi writes from Jeju Island:

Return of militarism in the republic of Korea. The navy ignores even the Island government.

The navy’s conduct of test blast works in the Gureombee [rocky coastline] today, Oct. 6 was only two days later that the Island Council made a resolution to demand the central government and navy to stop construction.

Today, even the Island governor Woo Keun-Min who has maintained the position of support for the naval base construction, had strongly opposed the navy’s test blast plan before its execution.

The navy, as ususal, has never consulted the villagers for the work today.

Do you believe? The navy totally ignoring not only the opinion of villgers but also the demand of the Island Council and even the Island government, conducted six times of test blast of the Gureombee today.

11 activists were arrested during their resistance in the sea and land. One female activist and one female journalist were released later therefore total 9 people are in the hands of police now: six people who were in the boat are told to be currently in the maritime police station in the Jeju city while three people who were arrested in the land are in the Seogwipo police station.

Wednesday, October 05, 2011


  • Dan Ellis (Brunswick) and I went to the University of Southern Maine (Portland) this morning and stood with our Bring Our War $$ Home banner in front of the student center. After more than two hours we had handed out about 300 flyers. From there we moved to the center of town to the site of the Occupy Maine protest at Monument Square. There Dan and another man held the banner in the cold and wind and I handed out another 300 flyers to the lunch time crowd who were passing through the farmers market that sets up in the square. After some lunch Dan and I held the banner for another 45 minutes before heading back home. There were about a dozen or so folks doing the Occupy Maine while we were there including our friend John Branson, a local lawyer who is giving his assistance to the activists to prevent the city from evicting them from Monument Square. I will probably go back on Saturday and spend the day there with the folks.
  • While at USM we spoke to one student who said he had been stationed in Afghanistan multiple times. He is in favor of the occupation and believes we should stay in Afghanistan until we kill every last Taliban. He thought it was possible if "people like you" (he pointed to me) would stop getting in the way of our government's war plan. While on the one hand he maintained that few civilians are ever killed by U.S. troops, on the other hand he wanted a policy that allowed full-bore, unrestrained U.S. attacks on anyone suspected of being the "enemy". During our difficult conversation he also spoke out against Social Security calling it a program that allowed "fat lazy" people to avoid working. With a desertion rate of Afghanistan soldiers (being trained by the U.S. & NATO forces) now at 24%, it is obvious to anyone who honestly looks at the situation that the whole policy is collapsing mess.
  • Early tomorrow morning Dan and I will head north to the University of Maine-Orono where we will table inside the student center all day long. We'll also attend an event entitled: Bring Our War $$ Home: The Lessons of 9/11, the Afghanistan War, and the Killing of Osama bin Laden being organized by Professor Doug Allen. (12:30-1:45, Bangor Room, Memorial Union)

Tuesday, October 04, 2011


Nine Catholic priests climbed over the fence and made their way onto the rocks by the sea in Gangjeong village to protest Navy base construction yesterday. They were all arrested.

Global Network 2012 Space Organizing Conference in Hawaii and Jeju Island, South Korea

The Global Network has been invited to hold our 20th anniversary conference in Gangjeong village on Jeju Island, South Korea. The event will happen on Feb 24-26, 2012.

The Gangjeong village is now in the middle of a tragic fight with the Navy to stop the construction of a base that will port Aegis destroyers, outfitted with "missile defense" (MD) systems, and aircraft carriers.

These Aegis MD systems are being tested at the Pentagon's Barking Sands Pacific Missile Defense testing facility on the Hawaiian island of Kauai. So we have decided that we will invite people to join us in Hawaii for a mini-conference prior to going to Jeju Island.

We would like to extend an invitation to all Global Network members and supporters to consider attending either or both of these events with us. The schedule for the Hawaii leg of the trip is just below (Feb 18-22).

What: GN mini-meeting in Hawaii with peace groups on the way to Jeju Island.

Where: Honolulu Friendship House (we have reserved sleeping and meeting accomdations there)


Sat, Feb 18th: Arrive, dinner together

Sunday, Feb 19th: Tour, protest, and swim

Monday, Feb 20th: Conference at the Friendship House

Tuesday, Feb 21st: Go to Kauai early, meeting, protest

Weds, Feb 22nd: Return to Honolulu and leave for Jeju

Please let us know if you have interest in joining us on this trip. Our friends in Hawaii and Jeju Island are very isolated and we want to join them in a show of solidarity as they work to end the militarization of their island homes.

Global Network Against Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space


Occupy Wall Street: The Need for Coalition Building

At the present time, the success of the occupation is contingent on holding a specific geographic point. Eventually, the formal occupation will wind down, either through a collective decision of the General Assembly, or through police action, or the coming cold weather, or the formulation of new strategies--or some combination of any of the above. The short article below notes the need for engaging with communities and building coalitions with communities; this is the single most important goal and strategy of the occupation if it is to transform from a political project into a social movement.

There are some solid signs that this change is underway, in an early stage. The occupation has certainly captured the public imagination and has garnered widespread sympathy and support. But this has to move beyond mere armchair support and into the realm of action. In New York City, most people are not going to get on the bus or subway and travel from their neighborhoods to Wall Street to engage with an anti-capitalist project, no matter how much sympathy--articulated or intuited--they feel for it.

So, the occupation *must* move into the communities and neighborhoods of New York, from Morrisania to Flatbush to Cambria Heights to Inwood to Brownsville to Parkchester to Corona to Stapleton to Bensonhurst to the Lower East Side to Tremont to Harlem to everywhere. People *will* engage with other people *where they live*. What form each local, autonomous project takes would be determined by each community; such local self-organizing would be the conjuncture of a vibrant, new and innovative movement which necessarily will mobilize a large and widespread social base.

Of course, the expansion of the occupation into neighborhoods will not look like the encampment in lower Manhattan; its form, activities and plans of action will differ from neighborhood to neighborhood, and the style of organizing and what collective work is undertaken will vary depending on the needs, unique circumstances and conditions and concerns of each individual community.

No matter what looks the movement assumes between now and later it is imperative that organizers start preparing right away to keep up and build the momentum that was begun by Occupy Wall Street on September 17. It's now time to look ahead, to the post-occupation future, and to the creation of a true movement for justice and radical social transformation.

--Bill Koehnlein


All we need now is for folks to make the links between economic collapse and endless war spending.....$12 billion a month on Afghanistan-Iraq-Pakistan-Libya wars and occupation. Add it up.....

Bring Our War $$ Home now!


Would not surprise me in the's called global war for corporate control and domination. In order for the U.S. to "take out" Pakistan there will have to be a long-term occupation in neighboring Afghanistan.

So it is no surprise to see this today:

The commander of coalition forces in Afghanistan says the 2014 withdrawal deadline will not be observed. The White House had originally said it would start the pull-out in July 2011 with the aim of removing all but non-combat personnel by 2014.

However, the plan may be reviewed, according to the new Commander of the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) John Allen, who succeeded General David Petraeus in July.

In an interview with CBS, the commander explained: “The plan is to win. The plan is to be successful. So while some folks may hear that we are departing in 2014 as a result of the [NATO] Lisbon conference and the transition, we’re actually going to be here for a long time,” the four-star general said.


  • Obama's drone attacks continue as we enter the 4th day of Keep Space for Peace Week. Each day since Oct 1 I've received word of even more local events being organized in opposition to the militarization of space.

  • Last night I spoke on the phone with Kyle Kajihiro who lives in Honolulu, Hawaii and works with the Peace & Justice Center. They will be hosting a mini-conference of Global Network leaders on Feb 19-21 in 2012 when we go there for meetings. We'll stop in Hawaii on our way to Jeju Island, South Korea where we have been invited to hold the GN's 20th anniversary space organizing conference on Feb 24-26. While in Hawaii we will also go to Kauai for one day to meet activists who are organizing against the Pentagon's Barking Sands Pacific Missile Defense testing facility on their island. Let us know if you'd like to come along.

  • I was shocked, but then again maybe not, to learn that Japan has decided to "donate" products from their northeast region (Iwate, Miyagi, Fukushima Prefectures) to developing countries. Among the products to be given include food. The Japanese government appears to be doing this to bring some economic support to collapsed economies in the radiation zone but is cynically then sending this radioactive aid to struggling people in poor countries. This outrageous story can be seen here. In related news, hormonal and other irregularities were detected in the thyroid glands of 10 out of 130 children evacuated from Fukushima Prefecture. Three of the 10 children used to live within the 20-km zone around the nuclear plant and one was from the evacuation-prepared area between 20-30 kilometers from the plant, while six others were from towns outside such zones. See more here

Monday, October 03, 2011


Click on poster for better view

I will be attending this Asia-Pacific conference at American University in Washington on Oct 21-22. I've been invited to speak on one of the plenary panels during the event. Some great speakers will be there and we are excited that a representative of the Gangjeong village from Jeju Island will also be attending.

Why discuss peace in Asia and the Pacific the U.S. is still at war in Afghanistan and Iraq?

* Because the focus of Pentagon planning and spending has moved from Europe and the so-called “Arc of Instability” to preparations for 21st century wars in Asia and the Pacific.

* Because the center of the global economy and much of human development shifts from the West to the East.

* Because the struggle for dominance – as well as historic tensions and resource competition in Asia and the Pacific - have generated regional arms races, growing U.S.-Chinese military tensions, threats, and armed confrontations.

* Because alternatives are possible, and here in the U.S. job creation and meeting urgent community and human needs requires moving the money from preparations for Asian & Pacific wars to building our future.

See more about the conference here


This video breaks new ground in helping raise serious and fundamental questions about what the military, scientists, and corporatists are doing when they spray the planet with an aluminium substance that creates chemtrails across the sky.

At this point evidence appears to link these chemtrails to the process of geo-engineering which is now being promoted at the highest levels of government. The idea of geo-engineering is that scientists are now in the process of attempting to change the weather.

For years we know that the military has been doing weather modification experimentation. You can see one such Air Force research paper on the subject here

The makers of this film are careful to back up their questions with serious review by scientists and other experts.

It is obvious that the government and geo-engineering community are playing god with our planet. We need the public to know more about this.

Look up and see if you can find these chemtrails spreading across our sky. I see them all the time and I know they are not natural.

Sunday, October 02, 2011


  • 700 of the Wall Street protesters were arrested yesterday as they tried to walk across the Brooklyn Bridge in NYC. You can see a news article here

  • The Wall Street folks have come out with a statement and it is quite good but has one glaring omission. Not a mumbling word about endless war, the cost of war and its enormous contribution to our economic collapse. Hopefully as they get feedback on their statement and meet more anti-war people they will make additions. To try to make any real changes without dealing with a trillion a year military budget is needlessly pushing a huge rock uphill.

  • On October 13 Obama will host right-wing South Korean President Lee Myung-bak to the White House for tea and crumpets. A protest is being planned outside the White House by the Save Jeju Island Campaign. Will start at 5 pm. More details as they arrive.

  • Today in Bath, Maine I will be attending an event called "A Time for Reflection on 10 Years of War" led by local religious leaders. It is one more of the events on our 30-day Bring Our War $$ Home Care-a-Van across the state. On Friday there was a well-attended Teach-In at Bowdoin College in Brunswick entitled "10 Years of war in Afghanistan: What have we learned, what can we do?" which featured authors Paul Fitzgerald and Elizabeth Gould who have written a book called Crossing Zero: The AfPak War at the Turning Point of American Empire. I interviewed them on my public access TV show earlier that day. Fitzgerald and Gould have been writing and making films about Afghanistan and Pakistan for more than 30 years.

  • This coming week I will be taking the Care-a-Van to the University of Southern Maine (Portland) and the University of Maine (Orono) where we will leaflet and talk with students about the Bring Our War $$ Home campaign. Our finale event for the month-long effort will be held at the University of Maine (Augusta) on Sunday, August 9 from noon to 3:00 pm and our featured speaker will be Chief Kirk Francis of the Penobscot Indian Nation. We will have several great speakers, music, poetry and food so please join us. The event will be held inside the UMA Holocaust & Human Rights Center (46 University Dr).


Bus loads of people came from all over Jeju Island yesterday for a festival in Gangjeong village to oppose Navy base