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.

Monday, October 15, 2012


Blocking the gates at Kleine Brogel, Belgium airbase to prevent NATO nuclear weapons exercises.  Should we not be talking about who and what NATO "protects"?  Hasn't NATO become the military arm of corporate capitalism?

  • Early this morning peace activists began using non-violent means to try and stop the departure of F-16 airplanes from the base in Kleine Brogel, Belgium. Starting today, Belgian pilots are training for the deployment of nuclear weapons together with their NATO partners. Small groups of activists are going onto the runway to stop the taking off of the F-16s. Meanwhile, the main gate of the base is being blocked. In this way, Vredesactie and Action pour la Paix hope to prevent the preparation for war crimes. From 15 to 26 October, Belgian F-16s from the military base of Kleine Brogel are participating in the NATO war exercise “Steadfast Noon” in the German air base of Büchel. This exercise is a way of training for the deployment of nuclear weapons. All NATO countries that have American nuclear weapons on their territory are participating: Belgium, Germany, Italy, Holland and Turkey. Some other countries are taking on a supportive role. 
  • For the first time Walmart’s retail workers have gone on strike and momentum is building fast. Workers in Florida, Maryland, Texas, Washington, California, Missouri, Minnesota and Kentucky all walked off the job -- bringing the strike to a total of 12 states. These workers don't have a union, and they are taking a huge risk by going on strike. But if they know that tens of thousands of people are standing with them, it will give them the boost they need to keep up the fight in the face of Walmart’s potential retaliation.  Show your solidarity by signing here 
  • The latest health study found that in Fallujah, more than half of all babies surveyed were born with a birth defect between 2007 and 2010. Before the siege, this figure was more like one in 10. Prior to the turn of the millennium, fewer than 2 per cent of babies were born with a defect. More than 45 per cent of all pregnancies surveyed ended in miscarriage in the two years after 2004, up from only 10 per cent before the bombing. Between 2007 and 2010, one in six of all pregnancies ended in miscarriage.  See the full story in the UK's Independent   
  • India's nuclear industry, Australia's newest prospective uranium customer, has been slammed by that country's own auditor as dangerously unsafe, disorganised and, in many cases, completely unregulated. The two countries will soon begin negotiations on a safeguards agreement to allow Australian uranium to be sold to India, after the Labor Party last year dropped its long-standing opposition to trading with countries outside the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT). Australia holds the world's largest uranium reserves and exports more than 7,000 tonnes every year, including to China. The government's refusal to sell to India was a source of continuing friction between the two countries. India's last nuclear weapons test was in 1998, but its civilian nuclear industry is growing rapidly, with the number of operating nuclear plants expected to rise from 20 to more than 60 over the next decade.  See full story here 
  • All of the above are examples to me of the present reality of corporate capital run amok.  As I cast about like a fisherman trying to find my/our way out of this insanity I keep running into the long tall wall of capitalism.  This morning I watched the daily video report from the month-long South Korean SKY march.  At one point they were rallying outside a huge COSTCO (which is a big corporate wholesale operation throughout the U.S. and now I assume going global).  While the speakers were Korean I could piece together that it must be a labor dispute, and likely also about the Yankee cultural invasion.  Capital, when it goes global, runs over tradition, culture, law, the environment and the like.  It is backed up with a growing NATO-led military boot.  
  • Unless and until we begin to talk about capitalism - and move away from reformist measures which are blocked at virtually every turn by corporate money - we are not going to make any real progress as organizers and activists.  My son Julian has introduced me to Slavoj Zizek, a Slovenian philosopher, and professor at the European Graduate School and senior researcher at the University of Ljubljana.  The latest piece Julian sent me by Zizek is called "Capitalism: How the left lost the argument".  My son is pushing my politics.  I am trying to embrace the challenge.  You might want to take a look at the article here


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