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, December 03, 2011


I recorded this solidarity statement yesterday via Skype. It will be shown at the Peace Festival held in Gangjeong village on Jeju Island planned for this weekend.

Let us all keep the villagers, and their sacred struggle, close to our hearts.


It is good to see students at the University of Maine-Orono getting organized. Last October several of us spent the day leafleting on that campus about the connection between endless war spending and fiscal crisis at home.

Right now in Maine there is growing effort in Bangor, Augusta, and Portland to shut down the Occupy encampments. Their days appear to be numbered. We have a meeting in Augusta today of our Maine Campaign to Bring Our War $$ Home and we will also be discussing how the Occupy movement can shift gears and remain vital as local governments move to shut down the camps.

I think it is important for Occupy to have a broader tactical menu to select from - it seems to me the current encampments have been drawn into the governmental "permitting" black hole that have sapped their energy, creativity, and vitality.

It's time to take back the agenda.

Friday, December 02, 2011


How Republicans are being taught to talk about Occupy Wall Street

ORLANDO, Fla. -- The Republican Governors Association met this week in Florida to give GOP state executives a chance to rejuvenate, strategize and team-build. But during a plenary session on Wednesday, one question kept coming up: How can Republicans do a better job of talking about Occupy Wall Street?

"I'm so scared of this anti-Wall Street effort. I'm frightened to death," said Frank Luntz, a Republican strategist and one of the nation's foremost experts on crafting the perfect political message. "They're having an impact on what the American people think of capitalism."

Luntz offered tips on how Republicans could discuss the grievances of the Occupiers, and help the governors better handle all these new questions from constituents about "income inequality" and "paying your fair share."

Yahoo News sat in on the session, and counted 10 do's and don'ts from Luntz covering how Republicans should fight back by changing the way they discuss the movement.

1. Don't say 'capitalism.'

"I'm trying to get that word removed and we're replacing it with either 'economic freedom' or 'free market,' " Luntz said. "The public . . . still prefers capitalism to socialism, but they think capitalism is immoral. And if we're seen as defenders of quote, Wall Street, end quote, we've got a problem."

2. Don't say that the government 'taxes the rich.' Instead, tell them that the government 'takes from the rich.'

"If you talk about raising taxes on the rich," the public responds favorably, Luntz cautioned. But "if you talk about government taking the money from hardworking Americans, the public says no. Taxing, the public will say yes."

3. Republicans should forget about winning the battle over the 'middle class.' Call them 'hardworking taxpayers.'

"They cannot win if the fight is on hardworking taxpayers. We can say we defend the 'middle class' and the public will say, I'm not sure about that. But defending 'hardworking taxpayers' and Republicans have the advantage."

4. Don't talk about 'jobs.' Talk about 'careers.'

"Everyone in this room talks about 'jobs,'" Luntz said. "Watch this."

He then asked everyone to raise their hand if they want a "job." Few hands went up. Then he asked who wants a "career." Almost every hand was raised.

"So why are we talking about jobs?"

5. Don't say 'government spending.' Call it 'waste.'

"It's not about 'government spending.' It's about 'waste.' That's what makes people angry."

6. Don't ever say you're willing to 'compromise.'

"If you talk about 'compromise,' they'll say you're selling out. Your side doesn't want you to 'compromise.' What you use in that to replace it with is 'cooperation.' It means the same thing. But cooperation means you stick to your principles but still get the job done. Compromise says that you're selling out those principles."

7. The three most important words you can say to an Occupier: 'I get it.'

"First off, here are three words for you all: 'I get it.' . . . 'I get that you're angry. I get that you've seen inequality. I get that you want to fix the system."

Then, he instructed, offer Republican solutions to the problem.

8. Out: 'Entrepreneur.' In: 'Job creator.'

Use the phrases "small business owners" and "job creators" instead of "entrepreneurs" and "innovators."

9. Don't ever ask anyone to 'sacrifice.'

"There isn't an American today in November of 2011 who doesn't think they've already sacrificed. If you tell them you want them to 'sacrifice,' they're going to be be pretty angry at you. You talk about how 'we're all in this together.' We either succeed together or we fail together."

10. Always blame Washington.

Tell them, "You shouldn't be occupying Wall Street, you should be occupying Washington. You should occupy the White House because it's the policies over the past few years that have created this problem."

Don't say 'bonus!' Luntz advised that if they give their employees an income boost during the holiday season, they should never refer to it as a "bonus." "If you give out a bonus at a time of financial hardship, you're going to make people angry. It's 'pay for performance.'"

Thursday, December 01, 2011


Occupy Seattle reports Hundreds of students walked out of Garfield High School in the middle of the school day to protest harsh budget cuts from the state legislature.


Ray Davies is joined by the Leisure Society for a world exclusive performance of a newly written track, Sane.

See newspaper interview with Ray here

Lyrics to Sane

Walking around in a state of shock
Something must have gone wrong with my brain
Like a poet whose got writer's block
Can't put the words together what a shame

Reassured by the Doc, he says there's lots of people with what you got
There's nothing here that cannot be explained
You're not crazy
You're quite Sane
Pronounced Sane

It's a great illusion, world full of confusion
With 24-hour news that leaves you drained
With celebrity shows that teach you how to pose
Where everybody's looking oh so vain

Took a visit to the Doc and he listened while I talked a lot
About panic, anxiety and strain
But he smiled and told me you're not crazy
You're quite sane. S-a-n-e sane

It's a global warning, an emotional drain
Chaos and confusion, it's a wonder we're still sane
And life keeps coming at you day by day
It's a roller coaster, and it just won't go away

Gonna survive, I'm glad I'm alive
I'm on top of the world, there's much to be gained
I've been reassured by the revelation
That the confirmation somehow eases the pain

And he smiles, it's not bad
As he scribbles down on a notepad
Words that comforted and eased the strain

Say it with me S-A-N-E
Pronounced Sane
S-A-N-E Sane
Pronounced Sane

Wednesday, November 30, 2011


The Bonus March As Told By Walter Waters from Margo Guernsey on Vimeo.


I finished reading S. Brian Willson's book last night. It's an inspiring and informative read called Blood on the Tracks.

Brian begins his life as a conservative Christian, Boy Scout, Young Republican and goes to Vietnam as an officer in the U.S. Air Force. Things begin to change dramatically during his war tour.

Brian is best known for losing both his legs when ran over by a train carrying weapons during a protest in 1987. He was lucky to survive the accident, having blocked the tracks with a group of activists, after the train sped up and ran him over. Evidence after the accident revealed that the government ordered the train to accelerate rather than their normal procedure which would be to stop and clear the tracks of protesters before proceeding.

Brian has spent his entire adult life in the peace and justice movement and did a good job of sharing his remarkable experiences with the reader.

I want to share some of his thoughts near the end of the book where he illustrates the need for a transformation of our society from the current unsustainable hierarchical oligarchic system to a new way of living. I think his words speak for themselves.

"In Ecuador, the Indigenous people were intent on creating a horizontal society. Some of the seeds of such a movement had been planted also in Argentina, and, a decade after our trip there, they began to sprout. After nearly twenty years of brutal IMF neoliberal policies being imposed on the people of Argentina, the country's economy collapsed in December 2001, and virtually everyone but the super rich were thrust into poverty. Massive capital flight, devaluation of currency, freezing of bank accounts, and bankruptcy of the government sent millions of people into the streets.

"What emerged was amazing. With no formal leadership or hierarchical structures, without political parties, the people created a new, organic horizontalidad street democracy. Hundreds of neighborhood assemblies met every week to practice direct democracy, factories were occupied by workers who capably managed them without any owners or bosses. The same was true of bakeries, health clinics, child-care centers, etc. - all were self-organized within the respective neighborhoods. I believe this is another example of an archetypal human characteristic - autonomy - that thrives in locally organized society. Similar to Cuba's discovery of self-reliance out of necessity, Argentinians were forced to consciously break from dependence upon authority structures, whether in the form of ward bosses or elected representatives, and found they could be productive working in cooperation with their neighbors, without bosses. Vertical was out, horizontal was in."


Now that the deficit committee failed, war profiteer CEOs are launching an all-out propaganda campaign to protect their profit margins. They and their allies in Washington are working to protect the massive, corruption-filled war budget by slashing social safety nets that help create jobs. This would be a disaster for our economy.

Sign the petition to Congress here


Lia Tarachansky reports that a split has developed between Israeli security establishment and Netanyahu

Tuesday, November 29, 2011


YEAs ---37

Akaka (D-HI)
Baucus (D-MT)
Bennet (D-CO)
Bingaman (D-NM)
Blumenthal (D-CT)
Boxer (D-CA)
Brown (D-OH)
Cantwell (D-WA)
Cardin (D-MD)
Carper (D-DE)
Coons (D-DE)
Durbin (D-IL)
Feinstein (D-CA)
Franken (D-MN)
Gillibrand (D-NY)
Harkin (D-IA)
Johnson (D-SD)
Kerry (D-MA)
Kirk (R-IL)
Klobuchar (D-MN)
Lautenberg (D-NJ)
Leahy (D-VT)
Merkley (D-OR)
Mikulski (D-MD)
Murray (D-WA)
Nelson (D-FL)

Paul (R-KY)
Reid (D-NV)
Rockefeller (D-WV)
Sanders (I-VT)
Schumer (D-NY)
Tester (D-MT)
Udall (D-CO)
Udall (D-NM)
Warner (D-VA)
Webb (D-VA)
Wyden (D-OR)
NAYs ---61

Alexander (R-TN)
Ayotte (R-NH)
Barrasso (R-WY)
Blunt (R-MO)
Boozman (R-AR)
Brown (R-MA)
Burr (R-NC)
Casey (D-PA)
Chambliss (R-GA)
Coats (R-IN)
Coburn (R-OK)
Cochran (R-MS)
Collins (R-ME)
Conrad (D-ND)
Corker (R-TN)
Cornyn (R-TX)
Crapo (R-ID)
DeMint (R-SC)
Enzi (R-WY)
Graham (R-SC)
Grassley (R-IA)
Hagan (D-NC)
Hatch (R-UT)
Heller (R-NV)
Hoeven (R-ND)
Hutchison (R-TX)
Inhofe (R-OK)
Inouye (D-HI)
Isakson (R-GA)
Johanns (R-NE)
Johnson (R-WI)
Kohl (D-WI)
Kyl (R-AZ)
Landrieu (D-LA)
Lee (R-UT)
Levin (D-MI)
Lieberman (ID-CT)
Lugar (R-IN)
Manchin (D-WV)
McCain (R-AZ)
McCaskill (D-MO)
McConnell (R-KY)

Menendez (D-NJ)
Moran (R-KS)
Nelson (D-NE)
Portman (R-OH)
Pryor (D-AR)
Reed (D-RI)
Risch (R-ID)
Roberts (R-KS)
Rubio (R-FL)
Sessions (R-AL)
Shaheen (D-NH)
Shelby (R-AL)
Snowe (R-ME)
Stabenow (D-MI)
Thune (R-SD)
Toomey (R-PA)
Vitter (R-LA)
Whitehouse (D-RI)
Wicker (R-MS)
Not Voting - 2

Begich (D-AK) Murkowski (R-AK)


I raked leaves and brought in fire wood today for more than two hours. It was unusually warm and humid outside, the evidence of climate change here in Maine is real and sad. All week we are seeing 50 degree temperatures when it should be much colder.

I love being outside doing the bending and hauling and lifting. It's good exercise and I was sweating like a pig. I enjoy being around the trees which are bare these days. I picked up lots of twigs that fell after our snow last week. The twigs go into large barrels in our shed and will be used for starting fires in our wood stoves.

At 4:00 pm today many local peace and Occupy activists went to Bowdoin College in Brunswick for a Teach-In on the Occupy movement. A Bowdoin student organized the event and there had to be more than 125 people there......about 60% adults and 40% students. A great discussion took place following some presentations by three faculty members as well as CodePink Maine activist Lisa Savage who graduated from Bowdoin many moons ago. A woman faculty member said that in her ten years of teaching at Bowdoin this was the first time there had ever been a public discussion about income inequality. Bowdoin is a rich kids school.

For a good 15-20 minutes once Q & A started the students commented back and forth. The first one to speak was not at all taken by the Occupy movement and felt that the attacks on the 1% were unfair. He felt the 99% should stop complaining and get on with life......There were a couple more students who also shared those feelings but there were some really thoughtful students who spoke up as well. One told the story that he had been woken up very early this morning by some clanging sounds outside his apartment window. When he looked out his window he saw a man rummaging in the garbage dumpster. It was clear that the student was quite moved by this scene.

As usual no one, except Lisa Savage, had mentioned endless war or the costs of war so when I got up I made sure to connect the dots of expanding militarism to ensure resource and market control to the benefit of corporate globalization. MB then followed and connected cut backs in human needs to the expanding military budget.

Sometimes it pays to show up and speak out. We are still the 99%.


At last I got the video from RT that I did last week while in Boston.

Unfortunately the lips and sound don't just don't watch mouth move.

Monday, November 28, 2011


Investigative journalist Russ Baker provides the stunning counter-story to what’s in George W. Bush’s new book.

I highly recommend reading Russ Baker's book Family of Secrets: The Bush Dynasty, America’s Invisible Government, and the Hidden History of the Last Fifty Years.

It will change how you see and react to politics in America.


  • We pay in many ways....we pay to sleep in a box, we pay for electricity, we pay for food and water, and soon maybe we'll have to pay for clean air. We pay with a loss of our democracy as corporate capital takes full control of the U.S. government and most other governments around the world. They've taken control of the mainstream media and are now moving to consolidate control over our Internet lifeline. Some call it a prison planet - I'd amend that expression to the corporate prison planet.

  • In order to further ensure "full spectrum dominance" the corporations and the military industrial complex are today pushing a bill in the U.S. Senate called "S. 1867, the National Defense Authorization Act." This bill will give every president the power to order the military to pick up and imprison, without formal charges or trial, civilians anywhere in the world. The power is so broad that even U.S. citizens could be grabbed by the military and the military could also be used to arrest people far from the battlefield, even within the U.S. itself. The bill was drafted in secret by Sens. Carl Levin (D-Mich.) and John McCain (R-Ariz.) and passed in a closed-door committee meeting, without even a single hearing. Since most "terror arrests" fall under the realm of national security, and therefore are secret, no evidence would ever need to be presented for the permanent detention of an American imprisoned under this law. The bill would also authorize $682.5 billion in Pentagon funds for fiscal year 2012. This is an outrageous bill that continues the war in Afghanistan and wastes enormous sums of money. You can send a letter opposing this bill to the Senate by clicking here


NATO helicopters and fighter jets attacked two remote Pakistani military outposts on Saturday killing at least 24 Pakistani soldiers. The air strike took place along the Afghanistan border in Pakistan’s tribal district of Mohmand. Pakistan has said the attack was unprovoked, but a senior Kabul-based Western official claims NATO and Afghan forces came under fire and responded in self defense.

Pakistan responded Saturday by blocking vital supply routes for U.S.-led troops in Afghanistan, and demanded the United States vacate a base used to launch drone attacks.

Democracy Now speaks with Glenn Greenwald, constitutional law attorney and political and legal blogger for “We may never know what happened here. ... But what is clear is that the endless war that the United States has been engaged in since 9/11 does not seem to be in sight of ending. Quite the contrary, it seems to be escalating by the week,” Greenwald says.

Sunday, November 27, 2011


The above is one creative way the Occupy movement has solved the problem of being denied the right to camp on public space. They've been invited to set up on private property right next door to the home of the Mayor of Richmond, Virginia.

The three Occupy camps in Maine are now under attack by Portland, Augusta, and Bangor authorities. It appears that nationwide the elites have converged on the strategy of "health, safety, and cost" as they last week trotted out the $13 million figure that cities across the nation have collectively paid for policing these events. Of course the decision to go full-bore with massive numbers of militarized police was a local government decision and should hardly be blamed on Occupy, but that is what they are doing.

The cities are also claiming that the trouble from homeless and mentally ill folks who have joined Occupy in order to get a tent and some food has increased local crime. But the cities would never admit that even if these Occupies were not happening they'd still be dealing with the homeless and mentally ill. I would venture to guess the Occupy movement has on some level actually helped to lower the crime statistics by giving many homeless some positive direction which many of them have responded to with open arms.

In the end though things appear to be changing for the Occupy movement and no one knows if the recent level of activity and national focus can continue. Time will tell. But the seed of critical analysis of corporate capitalism has sprouted throughout the nation and there will be no putting that back into a bottle.



Protesting the Navy base on Jeju Island in South Korea.

Daily life of Gangjeong peace activists from dawn to night. 100 times bow at Gangjeong port at 6 a.m., one person demonstration, Catholic mass at 11 a.m., lunch at Samgori, distribution of leaflets, candle vigil at 7:30 p.m., etc. They are real gems of Gangjeong. Film made by Dunguree.