Organizing Notes

Bruce Gagnon is coordinator of the Global Network Against Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space. He offers his own reflections on organizing and the state of America's declining empire....

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Location: Bath, Maine, United States

With a new administration in Washington it will be a challenge to get the 'liberals' to hold Biden-Harris to the few 'progressive promises' they made during their campaign. Biden is bringing back many of Bush & Obama's neo-cons to head his foreign policy. I'll be on this case without hesitation.

Thursday, January 19, 2012


I hope to go to Chicago in May for the anti-NATO protests and alternative conference that are now being planned.

NATO will hold a summit meeting in Chicago on May 20-21. The Network for a NATO-Free World: Global Peace & Justice will organize a counter-summit conference and protest on May 18-19.

The Chicago summit will make clear that NATO “will not leave Afghanistan behind: we'll stay committed, with a focus on continuing to train and educate Afghan security forces, to continue to improve their capacity,” NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen declares on the NATO website. NATO also plans to discuss continued funding and deployments of a controversial U.S. controlled "missile defense" system that is being used to surround Russia.

Despite its claims, NATO was never a defensive alliance, and since the end of the Cold War has been transformed into a global alliance structure to wage “out of area” wars in Asia, the Middle East and North Africa, as well as to “contain” Russia and China.

But there is a problem. Former Obama Chief of Staff, and now Chicago Mayor, Rahm Emanuel is using his office to erect legal obstacles in front of the many organizations who are attempting to secure permits for marches and assemblies. Mayor Emanuel lobbied hard to land the summit in "his" city.

An impressive coalition of organizations -- unions, anti-war, human rights, churches and neighborhood groups -- held a news conference to press their demands on January 17 at Chicago's City Hall.

In this excerpt from the news conference speakers include Eric Ruder, Coalition Against NATO/G8's War & Poverty Agenda; Erek Slater, ATU 241 member speaking for ATU International Vice Presidents; Talisa Hardin, National Nurses United; Wayne Lindwal, SEIU 73 Chicago Division Director; Jesse Sharkey, Vice President, Chicago Teachers Union.

Mayor Emanuel is carrying water for Obama and NATO who don't want any alternative voices to be visible during the summit. There are such big military plans ahead for NATO and the corporate oligarchy does not want the American people, or people around the world, to be drawn into a public debate about whether we should keep wasting our $$$ on this aggressive, expansionist, militarist and undemocratic NATO war machine.

This looks like a good opportunity for the nationwide Occupy movement to link with folks who are organizing these protests. After all, NATO is the military arm of corporate globalization.


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