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.

Sunday, August 12, 2012


A cut-out of an Aegis destroyer overlooked the sacred rocky coastline of Gangjeong village on Jeju Island before the Samsung construction division began blasting to prepare for covering the rocks with cement.

I am on the bus from Boston to Portland.  I am tired but happy after having what I would consider a very successful trip to Miami and the Veterans for Peace convention.

My reunion with Barbara Buck and Linda Raymer, both great friends from my days working at the Florida Coalition for Peace & Justice, was a joy and we talked about old friends and past protest campaigns.  It was Barbara who taught me how to organize walks after her experience being on the Great Peace March that went across the nation in 1986.  In 1987 she did advance work for our large Florida Peace Pilgrimage from the Kings Bay nuclear sub base in St. Mary’s, Georgia to Cape Canaveral.  Linda was one of our most active and consistent walkers on our many Florida peace walks and she was arrested several times at the space center over the years.  Barbara lives in Miami and Linda in Ft Lauderdale – so Barbara hosted both Linda and I at her home during the convention.

Also staying at Barbara’s home was Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein who was invited to speak at the convention.  On Saturday I went to a well attended “Meet & Greet” event that was organized on behalf of Stein at a private home in Miami so I got to hear her full campaign speech and came away not only impressed but quite confident that voting for her in November would not be a wasted effort.  It would be a vote of conscience and a vote supporting a real vision of a way out of this ecological-economic-endless war nightmare we are currently living through.

Romney’s choice of political lightweight Congressman Paul Ryan as his running mate indicates to me that the description of our current “two-party” system as being similar to professional wrestling, where they script the matches between the forces of “good and evil”, is more than accurate.  It’s ever the more clear to me that the oligarchy is pleased with Obama and for the second time in a row they will ensure victory for the Democrat by cobbling together a Republican ticket of less than inspiring candidates.  Obama gives the oligarchy everything they want and keeps the left under wraps.  In a second term Obama is likely to go after Social Security, Medicaid, and Medicare, and continue the wars, and the opposition will remain at some level neutered because “liberals” still won’t want to stand in opposition to their president.

The mood at the VFP convention was much similar to that of the Occupy movement of last fall and winter – contempt for the current political institutions and rejection of the lame opposition being offered to us by the Democrats in Congress.  Many of the veterans at the convention, leaders in their own communities, are solidly behind Jill Stein and are continuing to reach out to what remains of the Occupy movement.  The Veterans Peace Team, a project of the national organization, is a growing effort to put the voices and bodies of veterans on the line in local communities to stand between the up-armored cops and dissenting activists.  I have joined this effort and will continue to participate in their resistance efforts whenever I can.

In each of my four times speaking in various venues during the convention I tied together Obama’s recently announced pivot of military operations into the Asia-Pacific, the struggle on Jeju Island, plans for “missile defense” to surround China and Russia, and the importance of calling for the conversion of the military production system if we ever hope to stop endless war.  I can say that the Jeju message appears to be penetrating the very busy and overloaded agendas of many VFP activists and that gives me hope that support will continue to grow for this very important campaign.

Barbara is currently tearing up her grassy front yard in North Miami and turning it into a vegetable and flower garden - she's calling it "Occupy my yard". She has hired her yoga teacher, who is also a gardener, to help her with the big project.  This morning as we were leaving Barbara's home to take me to the airport her garden helper told us that she was so moved by the Nagasaki event (on Aug 9 at a church where I and others spoke) that she talked politics for the first time during her hour long yoga class yesterday.  She told the 50 people in the class that they need to get on the ball.  This is a sign to me that our present crisis moment is calling people to reach their highest self and many are indeed responding.  Very exciting to hear.


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