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

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.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

BREATHING LIFE INTO DEMOCRACY


  • I went to the Lenten vigil today at Bath Iron Works. These vigils are held every week during Lent to protest against the Navy Aegis destroyers that are built here in town. While standing with my sign as the workers headed home I recalled the first time I ever talked about Jeju Island. That was during a protest at one of the Aegis ship "christenings" a couple of years ago. We heard that there was to be a protest the same day in Gangjeong village from our Global Network board member Sung-Hee Choi (on the right in the photo above). She was the person who got us into this issue - helping us to see that the Aegis warships, with their so-called "missile defense" systems on-board, were going to tragically alter life on Jeju Island. We've been at it ever since trying to build awareness and solidarity.
  • When I got back home from the vigil today I did a half-hour radio interview with a station in Vancouver, Canada. I urged the listeners to call the South Korean embassy/consulate in their city to tell them No Navy Base! I also urged folks to check out this blog for on-going updates on the situation in the village.
  • Today is the last day of my week long fast in solidarity with Jeju Island native Yang Yoon-Mo. Professor Yang is on his 32nd day of hunger striking as he demands that the Navy base destruction in his village be halted. Last summer he fasted 71 days. Sung-Hee writes that "Yang has stopped even salt four days ago. He maintains himself with a sip of water just to not have dry neck. We are very worrying about him. Something should be done to stop his fast." He has made it clear that this time he will not allow anyone to talk him out of his hunger strike. He is willing to give his life for his village and for the nature that he so deeply loves. Whenever I got hungry or felt weak during the fast I just thought of Yang and got back to work.
  • There was a protest rally in Seoul last night and I wanted to share a report by a wonderful Irish Catholic priest I met during our recent trip to Jeju Island for the Global Network conference. We were arrested together crawling under the razor wire. Here are the words of Patrick Cunningham:

Amazed by the great response to your appeal for funding towards sending Veterans for Peace to Gangjeong - a fantastic idea and tremendous response taboot! Work has me stuck here in Seoul but as you'd appreciate my heart is very much in Gangjeong and with the struggle there! I've been attending some of the vigils in Seoul and the one tonight was well attended - 500 or so! They are organized by an Association of Civil Society NGO's campaigning on the Dual Issues of 'Anti Korea-USA FTA' [Free Trade Agreement] and the 'Save Gangjeong' campaign. Reps from 'People's Solidarity for Participatory Democracy' and 'Solidarity for Peace and Reunification of Korea' (SPARK); the opposition political party - Democratic Party reps. including leading party figure Jong Dong Yong have got right behind the campaign and took to the stage to give rousing, powerful addresses in an impassioned plea both to stop the destruction of Gureombi and of course with parliamentary elections looming took the opportunity to make an outright condemnation of Lee Myong Bak and his government's policies! Many folks and iconic figures from the 1980's Labor and Democracy movements made their presence felt tonight in a very moving, dynamic and uplifting rally interspersed with some great song and dance! Old figures from the democracy movement of yester-year making reappearances is a sad reflection of the times we are living in - democracy here I guess is on life support!!

Peace-Pat

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