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

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.

Saturday, November 26, 2011



Lined up for jobs, food? No, lined up in the wee hours to be first in line to shop
The prize - one of the discounted mega-TV's - he didn't know we should be boycotting Samsung, the lead contractor of the Jeju Island Navy base. He might not have cared anyway, a deal is a deal

This morning there are stories of shootings, pepper spraying and pushing and shoving in stores across America. Back Friday, the day after Thanksgiving, is the biggest shopping day of the year - the start of the shopping marathon that ends (temporarily) on Christmas.

Yesterday we were visiting a friend in Framingham, MA. and we went out to see a movie. The streets were clogged with cars and you could see the shopping center parking lots were filled to the brim.

The mega-stories discount a few items in order to draw the masses into the web. Then once there the frenzy of greed and materialism begins. People push one another out of the way so they can get the "latest" toy or sound system.

It's a disease. Humans are being turned into automatons, they've become consumers who measure their self worth but which of the new gadgets they have. They are trying to keep up with the mythical Jones' next door but it is a never ending treadmill. The corporate public relations machine always keeps the cheese just out of reach.

This machine of consumption is destroying our planet as we have to go to endless war in order to extract the natural resources that are necessary to mass produce these products. But consumers don't care about that, they are immune to that reality, they are fixated on the product. Getting the new large flat-screen TV with the perfect picture trumps everything.

We are a sick society. Martin Luther King told us this years ago when he said: "We must rapidly begin to shift from a 'thing-oriented' society to a 'person-centered' society. When machines and computers, profit motives and property rights are considered more important than people, the giant triplets of racism, materialism, and militarism are incapable of being conquered."

Wouldn't it be great if people line up to help one another or to stand in opposition to corporate control? Won't it be a great day when people in mass get out of bed real early to join a protest that called for a change in the way we treat the 99%?

In fact it is largely the poor and the working class who line up and storm into these stores on Black Friday. It appears they have been trained to believe that by possessing the latest junk they will somehow be able to emulate the lifestyles of the rich and famous. It is a shallow hole.

The saddest thing of all is that this materialism is directly connected to Christmas. The celebration of the birth of Christ has been turned into an evil, self-depreciating time of self loathing. Jesus, the poor wandering teacher of love and forgiveness, has had his birthday taken over by capitalism and turned into Black Friday. A sad commentary on life in the 21st century indeed.

Thursday, November 24, 2011


It was a great Ray Davies show last night in Boston. He played this classic from The Kinks "cult album" that was a smashing failure. But the crowd loved it. His second half of the show was with a choir that added an interesting and wonderful dimension to the concert.

Cousin Bob and I spent the afternoon touring some historic Boston sites and learned where the expression "Read the Riot Act" came from. More on that later. Parallels to Occupy movement are uncanny.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011


  • Gangjeong village Mayor Kang (in orange shirt) was freed from prison today with the others from the village. Kang spent 92 days in jail. They appear to have received some fines and likely probation but considering the prosecutor was seeking 2 1/2 years in jail this is a victory. There can be no doubt that growing international solidarity played some role in their release. Thanks to all who sent emails.
  • I head south to Boston this morning in a snow storm. It's been snowing here all night. I go to the Ray Davies concert in Boston tonight and then stay in Boston for Thanksgiving dinner with MB's family.
  • Russia Today TV contacted me this morning and wants to do an interview about latest U.S.-Russia declining relationship. I will do the interview from a studio they have booked in Boston. Will post on the blog as soon as possible.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011


I have previously posted this book review I wrote in 2008 but since today is the date on which Kennedy was killed in 1963, I thought I'd repost it. The book is entitled JFK and the Unspeakable: Why He Died & Why It Matters. Long-time peace activist James Douglass wrote the book and worked on it for 12 years.

I cannot recommend this book highly enough. You should read it, you will be shocked and moved by this story, and you will want to tell others about it.

This book tells the story about why and how the military industrial complex (MIC) had JFK killed. This book is part history, part mystery story, and part moral lesson. James Douglass does a phenomenal job of researching and documenting the story. I’ve known Douglass for years. He was a founder of the Ground Zero Center for Nonviolent Action in Bangor, Washington and is a highly respected writer and Christian activist. Orbis Press, a Maryknoll enterprise, published the book. I first heard about this book when Catholic Bishop Thomas Gumbleton mentioned it in his speech in Omaha last April during our annual Global Network space conference.

JFK admittedly ran for president as a cold warrior. Most people know that. What they don’t know about JFK is how shaken he was by the whole Bay of Pigs invasion fiasco and the Cuban Missile Crisis. We had narrowly averted war with the Soviet Union and the Pentagon was not happy about that fact. Kennedy understood afterwards that the CIA-Pentagon-MIC plan was global domination and it would likely lead to a nuclear war. Kennedy had experienced enough death (his own family history) and war (his participation in WW II) and wanted to find another way.

Early in the story Douglass points out that, “What Eisenhower in the final hours of his presidency revealed as the greatest threat to our democracy Kennedy in the midst of his presidency chose to resist. The military-industrial complex was totally dependent on a ‘Pax Americana enforced on the world by American weapons of war.”

Following the Cuban missile crisis JFK set out to do three things. First he began negotiations with the Soviet Union on a nuclear test ban treaty. Douglass reports that “The Joint Chiefs and CIA were adamantly opposed to Kennedy’s turn toward peace.”

Kennedy and Soviet leader Khrushchev (who carried on a secret pen pall relationship for some time) eventually signed the Partial Nuclear Test Ban Treaty. They wanted to go much farther but there was a push back. The August 5, 1963, U.S. News & World Report carried a major article headlined, “Is the U.S. Giving up in the Arms Race?” The article cited “many authorities in the military establishment, who are now silenced,” as thinking that the Kennedy administration’s “new strategy adds up to a type of intentional and one-sided disarmament.”

At the time JFK confided “One of the ironic things about this entire situation is that Mr. Khrushchev and I occupy approximately the same political positions inside our governments. He would like to prevent a nuclear war but is under severe pressure from his hard-line crowd, which interprets every move in that direction as appeasement. I’ve got similar problems.”

Testifying against the test ban treaty US Navy Admiral Lewis Strauss said, “I am not sure that the reduction of tensions is necessarily a good thing.”

Another of JFK’s sins was to begin to open up back-door communications with Fidel Castro in Cuba. By doing this JFK wanted to reduce the chance of another severe miscalculation like that which happened during the missile crisis. After JFK’s death, Lyndon Johnson put on permanent hold any dialogue between the White House and Cuba. No president since has dared to restart serious talks with Cuba.

Kennedy’s third mistake, as seen by the MIC, was Vietnam. JFK was tortured by the early deaths of American GI’s in Vietnam. He began looking for a way out. On October 11, 1963 he signed his presidential order for an initial withdrawal of 1,000 US troops from Vietnam by the end of the year, anticipating a complete troop withdrawal by the end of 1965.

Douglass eloquently says about those troubled times, “What is unrecognized about JFK’s presidency, which then makes his assassination a false mystery, is that he was locked in a struggle with his national security state. That state had higher values than obedience to the orders of a president who wanted peace. The defeat of Communism was number one.”

Today one could substitute the word terrorism for communism and the story would remain much the same.

JFK’s Congo policy was also being subverted by the CIA, which had been arming the Congo’s secessionist regime in Katanga in order to promote Belgian mining interests.

The US coup d’etat was about corporate control. A shadow government was taking over. As evidence to that fact Douglass unearthed the words of Washington Daily News reporter Richard Starnes alarming article on the CIA’s “unrestrained thirst for power” in Vietnam. Starnes had cited a “very high American official” in Saigon who “likened the CIA’s growth to a malignancy, and added he was not sure even the White House could control it any longer.”

Douglass reports, “The consequence in the early 1960’s, when Kennedy became president, was that the CIA had placed a secret team of its own employees through the entire US government. It was accountable to no one except the CIA.”

Douglass shares the mystery part of the book by thoroughly documenting the conspiracy to convince the public that Lee Harvey Oswald was the “lone gunman” who killed Kennedy. In fact “Oswald was a CIA asset” first trained by the agency at Atsugi Naval Air Station near Tokyo, a plush super secret cover base for special operations.

Douglass takes the reader through the entire operation to kill Kennedy and then the brutal cover-up that followed. This is the part of the book that read like a compelling mystery story, keeping one riveted to each page. This section hit me hardest – as I found a link between me and my peace work and the assassination of JFK.

I was 11 years old when JFK was killed. I was living with my family at Ellsworth AFB in Rapid City, South Dakota at the time. I was in the school lunchroom when we were informed that “our president” had been shot. I was devastated at the time. In a way my youthful innocence died right along with Kennedy that day.

In his book Douglass outlines how the CIA moved Oswald around the country in order to set up a storyline that made the case for him being JFK’s killer. Oswald had CIA handlers in New Orleans where they had him become publicly identified with a “pro-Cuba” group in order to eventually set the notion in people’s minds that Castro wanted Kennedy dead. Later Oswald was moved to Dallas where a Quaker woman by the name of Ruth Hyde Paine became his host. When I read this I nearly fell out of my chair.

I knew Ruth Hyde Paine, or at least I thought I did.

While living in Orlando, Florida in 1983 I became the first staff person for the Florida Coalition for Peace & Justice. The organization was actually created in 1982 as a loosely organized network of peace groups in the state and the initiating organization was the St. Petersburg, Florida office of the American Friends Service Committee (AFSC), which was based in the Quaker Meeting House. Ruth Hyde Paine was a leader of the St. Pete Friends Meeting and I had occasion to sit in peace meetings with her over the years. What could she have had to do with the assassination of JFK?

Douglass reports that the controversial Warren Commission’s star witness against Lee Harvey Oswald was Ruth Hyde Paine. Ruth Paine took Oswald’s wife into her home when they moved to Dallas. It was Ruth Paine who arranged for Oswald’s job at the Texas School Book Depository in October 1963. It was Paine’s car that was used as a get-a-way car after the deadly shots were fired. Was Ruth Hyde Paine just an innocent victim here?

Come to find out Ruth Paine’s husband Michael worked at Bell Helicopter in Fort Worth, Texas. His stepfather was the inventor of the Bell Helicopter and the corporation made enormous profit selling the weapon system to the Pentagon for use during the Vietnam War. Michael’s mother, Ruth Forbes Paine Young, was closely connected to Allen Dulles who hated Kennedy. Dulles was appointed by Lyndon Johnson to serve on the Warren Commission to investigate the assassination. (JFK had asked CIA Director Allen Dulles to resign after the Bay of Pigs disaster. Kennedy then tried to cut the CIA budget by 20% and had threatened to “splinter the CIA into a thousand pieces and scatter it to the winds.”)

Ruth Hyde Paine was the daughter of William Avery Hyde who worked for the Agency for International Development - a known CIA front-organization. Right after Kennedy’s death William Hyde received a three-year government contract with AID in Latin America to promote the US insurance industry. Ruth’s younger sister also worked for the CIA.

Assassins in Dallas, Texas killed JFK on November 22, 1963. At the very moment Fidel Castro was having lunch with JFK’s secret emissary, Jean Daniel, in Varadero Beach, Cuba. Douglass reports that when they received news of Kennedy’s death Castro said, “Everything is changed. Everything is going to change.”

Just months before JFK had delivered the commencement speech at American University in Washington DC. The speech was hardly reported in the U.S. In it Kennedy said, “Some say that it is useless to speak of world peace or world law or world disarmament – and that it will be useless until the leaders of the Soviet Union adopt a more enlightened attitude. I hope they do. I believe we can help them do it. But I also believe that we must reexamine our own attitudes – as individuals and as a Nation – for our attitude is as essential as theirs. And every graduate of this school, every thoughtful citizen who despairs of war and wishes to bring peace, should begin by looking inward – by examining his own attitude toward the possibilities of peace, toward the Soviet Union, toward the course of the cold war and toward freedom and peace here at home.”

Douglass concludes that JFK had a conversion. He had turned away from the Cold War. The MIC came to the conclusion that Kennedy had betrayed the goals of empire. He had become a traitor. He had to be killed.

Rejecting the goal of a “Pax Americana enforced on the world by American weapons of war,” Kennedy asked the nation in his American University speech to reexamine our attitudes toward war, especially in relation to the people of the Soviet Union, who suffered incomparable losses in World War II. Now nuclear war would be far worse: “All we built, all we worked for, would be destroyed in the first 24 hours.” Douglass reminds us that then Kennedy called for “general and complete disarmament.”

His fate was sealed.

Near the end of the book Douglass reports that former President Harry Truman had an article published in the Washington Post on December 22, 1963, one month to the day after JFK was killed. Truman wrote:

“I think it has become necessary to take another look at the purpose and operations of our Central Intelligence Agency - CIA…..

“For some time I have been disturbed by the way the CIA has been diverted from its original assignment. It has become an operational and at times a policy-making arm of the Government. This has led to trouble and may have compounded our difficulties in several explosive areas.

“We have grown up as a nation, respected for our free institutions and for our ability to maintain a free and open society. There is something about the way the CIA has been functioning that is casting a shadow over our historic position and I feel that we need to correct it.”

Douglass writes that Truman’s warning was met with total silence. The coup d’etat had happened. There was no turning back for those now running the nation. Eisenhower’s, and now Truman’s warning to the American people seemed to fall on deaf ears.

It is my belief that since the JFK assassination the secret government, the CIA and the MIC, have been running the show. They have not allowed anyone to become president, from either party, that was not under their control.

This remarkable and moving book raises serious questions about the time we live in today. How do people of good will who truly seek peace operate when we live under a government that is run by the MIC? How can we support candidates for Congress or the president who are under the control of the oligarchy?

To me these are the real questions that must be debated and be answered if we are to re-establish the idea of democracy in America. As long as we delay having this discussion we will remain like a small boat drifting aimlessly at sea.


A powerful account of what happened last Friday (18th November 2011) by one of the victims who was pepper sprayed by the UC Davis police force. Check out the size of the rally.


"Stools of stumps made good seats for the Pilgrim population. The Indians sat on the ground, gnawing on dear bones, tearing fowl apart, and lapping up the very ancient and rancid butter with grunts of appreciation. It is a pretty picture to think of."
- from Old Glory, by Samuel Eliot Morison

A harvest feast did take place in Plymouth, Massachusetts in 1621, probably in mid-October and the Indians who attended were not even invited. It later became known as "Thanksgiving" but the Pilgrims never called it that. The pilgrim crop had failed miserably that year, but the agricultural expertise of the Pilgrims’ Indian friend Squanto had produced 20 acres of corn without which the Pilgrims would have surely perished. The Pilgrims invited Massasoit, and it was he who then invited 90 or more of his Indian brothers and sisters to the affair to the chagrin of the indignant Europeans. No turkey, cranberry sauce or pumpkin pie was served, no prayers were offered and the Indians were not invited back.

The Pilgrims did, however, consume a good deal of home brew. In fact, each Pilgrim drank at least a half gallon of ale a day which they preferred even to water.

Contrary to popular mythology, the Pilgrims were no friends to the majority of local Indians. Just days before this alleged Thanksgiving communion, a company of Pilgrims led by Myles Standish actively sought the head of a local chief.

They deliberately caused a rivalry between two friendly Indians, putting one against the other in an attempt to obtain "better intelligence and make them both more diligent." An 11-foot-high wall was erected around the entire settlement for the purpose of keeping the Indians out.

Standish eventually got his bloody prize. He beheaded an Indian brave named Wituwamat and brought the head to Plymouth where it was displayed on a wooden spike for many years. Just a few years later, in about 1636, a force of colonists trapped some 700 Pequot Indian men, women, and children near the mouth of the Mystic River. English Captain John Mason attacked the Indian camp with "fire, sword, blunderbuss, and tomahawk." Only a handful escaped and few prisoners were taken, to the great delight of the Pilgrims:

To see them frying in the fire, and the streams of their blood quenching the same, and the stench was horrible; but the victory seemed a sweet sacrifice, and they gave praise thereof to God. This event marked what was most likely the first actual Thanksgiving and the Pilgrims were pleased with the result. Any goodwill that may have existed was certainly now gone and by 1675 Massachusetts and the surrounding colonies were in a full-scale war with the great Indian chief of the Wampanoags, Metacomet.

Renamed "King Philip" by the White man, Metacomet watched the steady erosion of the lifestyle and culture of his people as European laws and values engulfed them. Forced into humiliating submission by the power of a distant king, Metacomet struck out in 1675 with raids on several isolated frontier towns. The expedient use of the so-called "Praying Indians," natives converted by the colonists to "Christianity," ultimately defeated the great Indian nation, just half a century after the arrival of the European historian Douglas Edward Leach describes the bitter end:

The ruthless executions, the cruel sentences ... were all aimed at the same goal—unchallenging white supremacy in southern New England. That the program succeeded is convincingly demonstrated by the almost complete docility of the local native ever since.

When Captain Benjamin Church tracked down and assassinated Metacomet, his body was quartered and parts were "left for the wolves." The great Indian chief’s hands were cut off and sent to Boston and his head went to Plymouth where it was set upon a pole on Thanksgiving Day, 1676. Metacomet’s nine-year-old son was destined for execution, the Puritan reasoning being that the offspring of the devil must pay for the sins of their father. He was instead shipped to the Caribbean to serve his life in slavery. In the midst of the Holocaust of the Red Man, Governor Dudley declared in 1704 a "General Thanksgiving" not to celebrate the brotherhood of man but for:

[God’s] infinite Goodness to extend His Favors ... In defeating and disappointing ... the Expeditions of the Enemy [Indians] against us, And the good Success given us against them, by delivering so many of them into our hands... Just two years later one could reap a $50 reward in Massachusetts for the scalp of an Indian.

The model of the Indian reservation system in North America had its origin in Massachusetts. A series of legislative acts "for the better regulation of the Indians" established Indian settlements throughout the state. A White overseer was appointed and white Christianity was imposed. Historian George F. Weston wrote that demand was great for rope maker John Harrison, what with "the need for rigging for all the ships and a new rope every time an Indian was hanged." Bon Appetite!

- Dr. Tingba Apidta is author of The Hidden History of Massachusetts: A Guide for Black Folks and also The Hidden History of Washington, DC


Gangjeong village Mayor Kang (directly behind me in dark jacket) when I visited Jeju Island the first time

Report from Jeju Island on pending court sentencing:

The latest news is that the Jeju district public prosecutor´s office demanded a penalty of two years and six months imprisonment for Kang Dong-Kyun (54), Gangjeong village mayor who has been arrested and imprisoned for his protest against the Navy’s base construction, under the charge of obstruction of business. The prosecutor made this request in his written letter submitted to the court judge on Nov. 22, 2011.

The court decision on the 12 defendants including the three of mayor Kang Dong-Kyun, villager Kim Jong-Hwan (54) and activist, Kim Dong-Won (25) who have been imprisoned since Aug. 24 will be at 1:30pm, Nov. 23.

It is told that the prosecutor has also demanded the penalty for defendants Dr. Song Kang-Ho, (religious resistance leader) and Mr. Go Gwon-Il, (chairman of the villagers’ committee to stop the naval base), of two year imprisonment; six defendants Mr. Jung Kyung-Bo (villager), Rev. Jeon Jin-Taek, Mr. Kim Bong-Hyun (activist), Mr. Chae Jong-Dae (villager), Mr. Kim Hyuk-Nam (Democratic labor party) and Mr. Lee Jong-Hwa (activist) of one year and six months imprisonment; and Mr. Kim Young-Sam (chairman of the village young people’s association) of six months.

Otherwise, mayor Kang Dong-Kyun has claimed he is ‘not guilty.’ He said in his final statement, “If there is any crime of the Gangjeong villagers, it is a crime of their aspiration to inherit their beautiful 400 year history’s hometown to their descendants. What else? To protest against the illegal naval base construction should not be the crime.” Mayor Kang had been in one year and six month probation since August, 2010.

Monday, November 21, 2011


  • Much is being made about the Congressional Super Committee not being able to come to an agreement on their job of relieving the entire Congress of making tough fiscal decisions. According to the Super Committee’s Democratic co-chair, Sen. Patty Murray (Wash.), Bush tax cuts were “the one sticking divide.” Murray, often called Boeing's senator, didn't say attacks on Social Security, Medicare, or whether or not to cut Pentagon spending was an issue. Largely both parties agree that the Pentagon will only get minor cuts over a 10 year period and that Social Security and Medicare will in fact be taken down a couple of notches. It is just the issue of tax cuts that remain in conflict. Could it be the tax cut issue is being used to distract the public, and mainstream media, from the bigger stories like Social Security cuts and Pentagon escapism?
  • There is a growing campaign to force UC Davis Chancellor Linda Katehi to resign after she unleashed pepper spraying police on non-violent students who were sitting down during an Occupy protest on campus. I signed a petition today calling for her resignation. She is supposed to make a public statement today. Imagine how furious students, parents, and faculty at UC-Davis are. See this excellent article on the subject here
  • The word is that the many letters of support for the villagers in Gangjeong have, at least for the present moment, stopped the explosion of the rocky coast by the Navy and the construction contractors (including Samsung) who are building the Navy base. It appears that Jeju Island Gov. Woo felt the heat and stopped the planned Nov 18 blasting. We hope this holds but at least the people got a small victory for now and the governor got a feel of the growing international solidarity movement's outrage. Next up will be the Nov 23 sentencing of Gangjeong village Mayor Kang and two other villagers who were unfairly arrested and tried for their non-violent actions against base construction. See more here
  • After Mary Beth picked me up at the bus station in Portland yesterday we stopped by Occupy Portland to visit with a couple of friends who have been with the encampment for some time. They are feeling a bit overwhelmed as the numbers of homeless and people with mental conditions have been growing dramatically in proportion to the activists who are at the camp. This past week there were a couple of incidents where some homeless got into a scuffle and were arrested at the camp and of course the media and the city have used this to justify demands that the camp be shut down. A meeting between Portland city officials and Portland Occupy is happening this afternoon and it will be interesting to see what comes out of it. The truth is that the homeless are obviously very much a part of the 99% but it is exceedingly unfair for people to think that the Occupy movement should have to be adept at feeding, housing, and offering professional mental health counseling to the very population that society has cast aside. This is an issue that is playing out at every Occupy in the nation - some are dealing with it better than others - but will remain a challenge into the future.


Protests against the Koodankulam nuclear plant continues. Fishermen of the region today held an unique protest. They sailed out to the nearby sea in over 1,000 boats, waving black flags and demanding closure of the plant. The protest coincides with World Fisheries Day being observed on 21st November 2011.

Koodankulam Nuclear Power Plant is a nuclear power station currently under construction in Koodankulam in the Tirunelveli district of the southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu.

As the stir against the Koodankulam Nuclear Power Project (KKNPP) spread to the seas on Monday, police swiftly slapped sedition charges against protestors saying that they moved too close to the plant.

The police registered cases against 3,015 persons, under various sections, including 121 (waging war against country) and 124-A (sedition).


While the United States, Britain and Canada are planning to announce a coordinated set of sanctions against Iran’s oil and petrochemical industry today, longtime investigative journalist Seymour Hersh questions the growing consensus on Iran’s alleged nuclear weapons program. International pressure has been mounting on Iran since the U.N. International Atomic Energy Agency revealed in a report the "possible military dimensions" to Iran’s nuclear activities, citing “credible” evidence that “indicates that Iran has carried out activities relevant to the development of a nuclear explosive device.” In his latest article for The New Yorker blog, titled "Iran and the IAEA,” Hersh argues the recent report is a “political document,” not a scientific study. "They [JSOC] found nothing. Nothing. No evidence of any weaponization,” Hersh says. “In other words, no evidence of a facility to build the bomb. They have facilities to enrich, but not separate facilities to build a bomb. This is simply a fact."

Sunday, November 20, 2011



In the video, University of California-Davis students, silent, with linked arms, confront Chancellor Linda Katehi just one day after the pepper spraying incident. It's hard to tell exactly how many of them are present, but there they are, a huge crowd. They're seated in the same cross-legged-on-the-ground position their fellow students used yesterday just before Lt. John Pike pulled out a can of pepper spray and pulled the trigger.

Note that Katehi remains silent during what looks like her perp walk. She does not acknowledge the presence of the students.

These remarkable students are giving the entire Occupy movement a lesson in real non-violent protest. They are the shining stars of the movement.


Cops on a pepper spray rampage at University of California-Davis

  • I am on the bus from Boston to Portland having just returned early this morning from Toronto, Canada. My talk yesterday in Toronto was sponsored by a group called Science for Peace and I enjoyed my stay at the home of Judy and Jim Deutsch who were wonderful hosts. Yesterday Judy and I walked the 45 minutes from their house to the University of Toronto and it was a nice treat to get some good exercise on a cool and crisp day. I've only been to Toronto once before and never got much of a chance to see the city so the walk gave me that opportunity. It is quite an international city and the many local shops owned by immigrants were exciting to see.
  • The talk program was an interesting challenge since I am not an expert on climate change. There were three speakers: Bob Lovelace, a First Nations representative, addressed the re-indigenizing of the commons; Danny Harvey, a professor from the University of Toronto spoke about what we can do to deal with climate change; and I was asked to talk about the links between militarism and climate change. It was fun to see how each of us came at the climate change topic from such different directions. I felt a real affinity with the words of the two other speakers and I think we each learned alot from the other. The audience discussion after the talks was also quite good.
  • After this event Judy and Jim took me to the annual dinner of the long-time anti-nuclear weapons group called Pugwash (named after the small town on the north shore of Nova Scotia where it was formed). The dinner was held in the Officers Dining Hall at the Canadian Forces College, not a usual venue for a dinner celebrating the work to eliminate nukes from the world's military arsenals. The president of the group, Walter Dorn, heads up the Dept. of Security & Int'l Affairs at the staff college and he hosted the dinner. Interestingly, Dorn came to the founding meeting of the Global Network 20 years ago when we met in Washington DC but we never saw him again. He was welcoming people as we walked through the door last night as was a bit startled to see me. I think the fact that I remembered him startled him even more.
  • The dinner speaker at the Pugwash event was the famous Canadian activist, and former senator, Doug Roche who gave a very upbeat and traditionalist speech about getting rid of nuclear weapons. I was surprised that he never mentioned the growing problem of missile defense (offense) as these deployments by the U.S. are going to surely put a screeching halt to any more real nuclear disarmament agreements. Russia and China are unlikely to sign major deals to reduce their nukes while the U.S. is surrounding them with these systems. Already Russia is threatening to pull out of the recent START treaty with Obama if he continues his frenetic pace of MD deployments.
  • Following the dinner Judy and Jim took me for a quick visit of Occupy Toronto. It was quite large and they had several yurts on the grounds next to a large church. Inside one yurt, being used as the library, we talked to a few young people about the links between corporate globalization and an ever expanding global militarization. Then today in Boston, while waiting for the bus at South Station, I crossed the street and walked through the Occupy Boston encampment which again was quite large. Occupy is everywhere.
  • After two weekends in a row of serious traveling I am ready to go home and rake leaves. Next Wednesday I meet my cousin Bob Gagnon in Boston to attend a Ray Davies (singer/songwriter from The Kinks) concert. Bob and I both like The Kinks, and the Baltimore Orioles, and should have a great time together.


Friday, November 18, 2011


Last night, tens of thousands of Occupy Wall Street protesters marched throughout New York City, many making their way on to the Brooklyn Bridge, carrying LED candles and chanting. As Occupiers took the bridge in a seemingly endless sea of people, words in light appeared projected on the iconic Verizon Building nearby.

See the interview with Mark Read, who organized the "bat-signal" project here


A film by Charles Light & Daniel Keller that shows the deliberateness, planning, training and preparation for the 1977 nonviolent occupation of the Seabrook, New Hampshire nuke site by 1,414.


Alice Slater in New York City on RT talking about U.S. militaristic moves in the Asia-Pacific region. She has long been an active board member in the Global Network.


During protests in Warsaw last weekend, one crafty activist deployed a flying drone to spy on riot police.


Japan to use disaster area food for overseas aid

TOKYO — Japan will send canned foods from the areas affected by the March 11 [Fukushima] disasters to developing countries as official development assistance (ODA), the Foreign Ministry said.

Canned foods will be tested in advance for excess radiation and their safety confirmed before they are sent, the ministry said.

The ministry has applied for a budget of about 5 billion yen ($65 million) to carry out its plan, which it hopes will promote produce from the Tohoku region and also dispel rumors about Japanese food safety.

Ministry officials said they have set up a project to give priority to products made in the Tohoku Region. It is envisioning using canned mackerel as food assistance or medical equipment such as endoscopes or wheelchairs made in Tohoku.

The ministry hopes to receive funding for the project for the current fiscal year.

This is the same Japanese government that has been telling the residents in the Fukushima contamination zone that the levels of radiation they are getting are within "safe" limits. This is disgusting and evil and should be denounced.

Makiko Sato from Japan, a Global Network board member, writes: If you know some African people, please let them know about this. This can hardly be called a humanitarian aid, as it is out of government's intention only to soothe local industries in the damaged areas in Japan by buying up foods which awakened citizens here avoid buying. Additionally, it must be intended to null the normal sense of the general public here and beyond, regarding low-level dose radiation. No matter how much food is needed over there in some famine-stricken countries, it is bad and shameful for Japanese government and our industries to give away such kind of contaminated food, especially without their knowledge about it, which will surely result in serious damage to human gene in future generations. I'm afraid there may be no domestic monitoring system of such canned food for free delivery overseas.

Thursday, November 17, 2011


Retired Philadelphia police captain Ray Lewis joined the Occupy Wall Street movement in Zuccotti Park this week and was arrested early this morning. Here Lewis voices serious criticisms against Mayor Michael Bloomberg and the New York Police Department over their handling of the protests.


[Nov. 18] It is told that the police have turned down the companies' request for the blast of the Gureombi rocks for three times. It is told that the reasons were: 1. insufficiency of the documents; 2. concern about the incident during the blast; 3. requirement for the agreement with the Island governor.

We think your continued pressure to the Island Governor Woo ( really greatly helped to at least to delay the blast but we don’t know yet when the navy would suddenly conduct the blast without the consultation with the Island governor as the navy has done on Oct. 6 under the excuse of ‘test blast,’

We so thank you for your solidarity and want to ask to you to continuously pressure the governor Woo. We also want to ask your pressure to the Ministry of Defense (S. Korean Defense Attache: to revoke all the naval base construction policy and not to blast the Gureombi, South Korea so that the military don’t commit crime unilaterally.

The Headline Jeju reports this morning that the chief of the naval base business committee would be changed on Nov. 23. The newly appointed person will be the guy who has been a vice-commander of the 2nd Fleet, Pyeongtaek base where the large U.S. military base locates.

Otherwise, there is a trial of the three including mayor Kang Dong-Kyun, villager Kim Jong-Hwan and photographer Kim Dong-Won at 3pm today. There will be the final statements of the three and I will inform on it later. The court decision will be on Nov 23 and many people here are starting to send the appeal letters to the judge.

More update later.

I have to hurry for my own appeal at the court at 2pm, too.

Thanks everyone,

Sung-Hee Choi
Jeju Island, South Korea


Democrats on the Congressional super committee are willing to continue Bush tax cuts on the rich despite claiming to want a reduction in the federal budget deficit. The Young Turks host Cenk Uygur explains why.


Four of us from Bath went to Portland today to join the Occupy solidarity event. People stood at Monument Square with signs for two hours and then had a march into the Old Port to the office of banksters Merrill Lynch who have been feasting off the taxpayers in Maine.

We first went inside their lobby but were pushed out onto the landing where I held a door open (that the bank workers tried unsuccessfully to close) and we all chanted for some time. Eventually the police came and moved us off the landing, onto the sidewalk, where we resumed our chants and read a script in Occupy-repeat-fashion that outlined the history of the bank's transgressions against Mainers.

We thought maybe Merrill Lynch would open their bank vault and give us a pallet of shrink-wrapped $100 bills that the Portland Occupiers could put around their tents as insulation from the coming cold and snow. But they offered us nothing.

Several media outlets came along to film and scribe before we moved on to the offices of TD Bank where we chanted some more. At this bank we saw people popping their noses up to the windows on virtually every floor in the big building above us. One guy a few floors up opened the window and flashed us the peace sign.

A couple of us are hanging around Portland for our evening monthly meeting of Maine Veterans for Peace.

Tomorrow I head to Boston for a plane to Toronto, Canada where I will speak on Saturday at the University of Toronto. I will talk about the mostly ignored deadly connections between the U.S. war machine and climate change. The Pentagon is the biggest polluter, and energy user, in the world but exempt from Kyoto Protocols and all other agreements that are supposed to limit greenhouse gas emissions.

It's quite remarkable that you almost never hear any environmental group mention the military when they talk about preventing global warming. Why the virtual silence?


Eighty-four-year-old activist Dorli Rainey tells Keith Olbermann about her experience getting pepper-sprayed by the police during an Occupy Seattle demonstration and the need to take action and spread the word of the Occupy movement. She cites the advice of the late Catholic nun and activist Jackie Hudson to “take one more step out of your comfort zone” as an inspiration, saying, “It would be so easy to say, ‘Well I’m going to retire, I’m going to sit around, watch television or eat bonbons,’ but somebody’s got to keep ’em awake and let ’em know what is really going on in this world.”

Wednesday, November 16, 2011



Recorded November 3, 2011.

The People vs. Goldman Sachs mock trial people's hearing held at Liberty a/k/a Zuccotti Park with fiery commentary by Dr. Cornel West, eloquence by Chris Hedges, and testimonies from people directly affected by Goldman Sach policies. Among the topics discussed, education, housing, prison industrial complex, etc.


Tuesday, November 15, 2011


Dear friends of Jeju Island,

On November 18th, the South Korean Navy will blast Gureombi, the smooth volcanic rock along the coastline of Gangjeong village where the local people have been fighting day and night almost for 5 years to stop the naval base. Please take 5 minutes to be part of this global collective effort to stop this destructive blast.

Jeju was recently selected among the New Seven Wonders of Nature, which with its UNESCO triple-crowned status makes the island among the world’s most precious cultural and national treasures. In addition, the marine ecosystem that lines Gureombi is an absolute preservation area designated by the South Korean government because of the many endangered species that inhabit Gureombi, including the red-clawed crab and soft coral. The spring water that bubbles up from Gureombi provides up to 80% of the drinking water for residents of Seogwipo City, the southern half of Jeju Island. The destruction of Gureombi threatens the surrounding marine life and the clean water that farmers and villagers depend upon for their survival.

Please take action now and send an email to Jeju Governor Woo urging him to halt the blast and construction of the naval base. The Jeju Island governor should protect Jeju’s pristine nature from being destroyed. Although Governor Woo has the authority to order the Navy to halt construction, he is overseeing the destruction of this pristine coastline.

Gangjeong villagers are pleading for our help to prevent the Gureombi blast at whatever cost. Your contacting the Governor now will not only encourage them but also help save their village and lives. As one villager says, “Gureombi is Gangjeong, Gangjeong is Gureombi.”


Cut & Paste this email and write to Gov. Woo:

Dear Governor Woo,

You have the power to stop the blast of Gureombi, a government-designated absolute ecological preservation area. You also have the power to order the Navy to stop construction of the naval base and release innocent citizens. Will you leave behind a legacy of overseeing the destruction of a UNESCO preserve site and ancient Korean relics, or will you be remembered as a protector of democracy and peace on Jeju Island? Uphold your promise to those who elected you and stop the blast and construction immediately. We don’t want the ‘New Seven Wonders of Nature’ to be brutally destroyed.



Dan Siegel was a friend and legal adviser to Oakland Mayor Jean Quan, but he resigned his post the same day police cleared the Occupy Oakland encampment.

Siegel is a civil rights lawyer and activist who has lived and worked in Oakland for many years.


The cops in New York City "cleaned" out Zuccotti Park in the middle of the night. They kept media away as they surrounded and then beat up many of the people in the Occupy movement. Even media helicopters were banned from the airspace overhead. It was a military operation.

Mayor Bloomberg in NYC said he was doing this to "protect" the Occupy movement as undesirable types had contaminated the park in recent weeks. But the truth is that the mayor and his agents for weeks had been telling homeless and mentally ill people released from NYC jails to go to the park. Thus the city helped to create the conditions they then used to bust up Occupy.

The slimy mayor of Oakland, California let it slip during a radio interview that mayors from 18 cities across the country had coordinated the raids on the Occupy movement while on a recent conference call.

It is sad how the cops are allowing themselves to be used to brutalize their fellow citizens. Now and then cops go on strike and seek public support in their quest for pay raises and better working conditions. Then they turn on the very public who pays their salaries and treat folks like this. Inexcusable.

There is no doubt in my mind that a war has been declared on anyone in America that stands up against the oligarchy. These moves to clear Occupy from public spaces across the nation are an attempt to put us all on the reservation.

But they will not succeed. The mayors of cities and out-of-control cops across America have only steeled the determination of legions of the people. We are the many, the 99%, and they are the few...the 1%. We will not give up. Never.

Monday, November 14, 2011



I was invited to go to Hawaii as one of the many speakers at the conference called Peoples of the Asia-Pacific vs. APEC/TPP that was organized by the International Forum on Globalization (IFG). APEC stands for Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation.

Victor Menotti, Executive Director of the IFG says, "APEC is a corporate agenda. It's about the industrial economy with policies that read as if they're straight out of the WTO rule book. This is trade liberalization and getting governments, which are supposed to express the people's will, out of the way of 'economic freedom' which is code for corporate rule. This is corporate rape and pillage."

The TPP (Trans-Pacific Partnership) is a free trade agreement currently being negotiated between the U.S. and eight other APEC members. Last week Japan announced they will join the TPP despite strong opposition from farmers and other citizens in their country.

The three-day alternative conference that I attended began with a full day of meetings under the banner of "Strengthening Indigenous Practitioners' and Advocates' Relationships to Our Lands, Peoples, and Resources". Held at the Calvary Church by the Sea we were just feet from the warm ocean waters as indigenous leaders from across the Pacific discussed the fundamental meaning of life - to live as a human being in harmony with nature. They told stories about colonization and resource extraction and made clear that the goals of capitalism - endless and mindless growth - are in direct opposition to sustainable living.

On the second day the conference moved to another church closer to downtown Honolulu where a series of plenary panel discussions were held. I spoke on the panel called "Militarization & Resistance in the Pacific" and began with the story about the Global Network's support for the villagers on Jeju Island in South Korea. I also spoke extensively about current Obama administration moves to expand "missile defense" throughout the Asia-Pacific as a way to militarily surround China and Russia. I got a nice response from many of those in the audience after the panel was over.

On the third day of the conference the event moved again, this time to the University of Hawaii (Hawaiian Studies Department) theatre. This open-air venue was right next to a beautiful traditional Hawaiian cultural garden that was the perfect setting to ponder the important questions raised by the speakers who further outlined the issues surrounding globalization, resource extraction, and unrestrained trade agreements.

I'd like to highlight some key points that I noted during the conference (in no particular order of importance):

  • The Pacific Ocean is not what separates us, but is what binds us.

  • APEC - plantation owners negotiating among themselves.

  • Guam - New U.S. plan calls for military base expansion that will ensure that 40% of the island's land will be under Pentagon control.

  • An Afghanistan village has been built on Oahu, Hawaii and drones will be brought in and used for war games.

  • Building more military housing on the most fertile land on Oahu will make islanders even more dependent on corporate agriculture food imports. Hawaii imports 90% of its food today.

  • U.S. and China are forming competing trade mechanisms to control resources and markets.

  • Henry Kissinger on the removal of the residents of the Marshall Islands in 1969: “There are only 90,000 people out there. Who gives a damn?”

  • There are 748 Superfund (contaminated) sites in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. The Pentagon has 113 military installations across the Hawaiian islands.

  • European and U.S. hedge funds are buying up African lands in the name of "securing" Africa's food supply.

  • The Air Force flyover of Honolulu on 11-11-11, during the APEC conference, felt like the end of the world. The massive rumbling of power also sounded to me like the insecurity of a declining power.

  • China is currently using one-half of the world's coal. Indonesia is becoming China's coal colony.

  • APEC sees cultural evaluations, environmental impact statements, local sovereignty, etc as "barriers to investment".

  • Obama is unwinding the United Nations regime to reduce green house gases.

  • TPP objectives: Seamless process to remove all restrictions that interfere with profits from resource extraction, production, to markets. TPP wants "transparency" which means governments must be fully under corporate control. TPP would trump all government regulations.

  • U.S. has lost 5 million jobs, and 42,000 factories have left, since these "Free Trade Agreements" have been created.

  • China makes $6.50 for each $178.96 iPhone it builds while Apple gets the rest.

  • George Soros says that the crisis of capitalism creates an opportunity for "global restructuring" which means expansion of corporate control.

  • Gao Feng, China's head climate negotiator from 2000-2005, reports, "Years ago a now-retired senior German official became agitated when I remarked that if the Chinese wanted to combat climate change, his country's car manufacturers could go home and the Chinese could return to their bicycles. This would not do, he said, the Chinese should keep buying cars, but only drive them once a week."

That was just a tiny flavor of some of the things discussed during these remarkable three days in Honolulu.

We know that the only way humans, and most animal and plant life, can survive on our Mother Earth is for the hard-charging bulldozer of endless growth to be subordinated to a human scale and sustainable way of being. In order to have a livable planet we must all decolonize our minds, change the way we live, and we must reject this unforgiving system of capitalism that is leading to the decline of life on our spaceship Earth.

I am heartened to meet so many wonderful people who are working across the Asia-Pacific to bring sanity to our lost world. We must all become part of this change if we hope for our natural world to survive. There is no other way.

I was moved to tears at the concluding ceremony of the conference when Native Hawaiians sang traditional songs. In that moment I realized that during my 15 months living on Oahu in 1973-1974 I had come to love the ocean, the lands, and the people of this magical place more than I had ever thought. The familiarity of their ways touched me deeply and formed a circle of closure as I have long been on a journey to reconnect with all the places and people from my wandering life. In the end I've learned what a gift it has been for me to have moved so often during my days. I was given the gift to see that all the people of the world were the same in many ways - they all love their homelands, they love to eat, laugh, and to sing, and they love their children. We indeed are all one.

We each have a sacred responsibility to protect the "place" where we live. Resistance is fertile.