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. @BruceKGagnon

Saturday, January 14, 2012


Today at Tom Sturtevant's memorial service in Winthrop, Maine (more than 450 people showed up) three of his nieces went up to tell some stories about him.

One of them talked about how he detested a product she said he called "belly wash" - soda, or pop, some call it soft drink. But there is nothing soft about this stuff.

This very interesting video is for all of you out there who still drink belly wash - especially the diet version.

An interesting name - someone most peaceniks are very familiar with - pops up in this story. Watch and learn.



You see alot of similarities today between the treatment of MLK and the way Cornell West is being hounded for pushing Obama. King was vilified for coming out against the Vietnam War as he made the deadly connections between endless war and cutbacks in LBJ's "war on poverty".

These days West (and Tavis Smiley) are the leading African-American voices against endless war and cutbacks in social progress.

King was killed because he was moving to unite the civil rights and the peace movements. We must not let his death be in vain. We must push ahead to create organizational linkages between the peace movement and those who work day-to-day to ameliorate the suffering of our fellow citizens.

Unless and until we build these kind of coalitions we will see no justice and no peace.

Friday, January 13, 2012


This is former U.S. Senator Rick Santorum (R-PA) and he is a big time right-to-life (anti-abortion) activist who says all human life is sacred.

It's an example of why I never take people like him seriously. They talk out of both sides of their mouth.

He'd kill half the world's population if he had half a chance and at the same time would be on his knees praying for babies in the womb.

Go figure.

Find our more about the self-righteous Santorum here


  • We got 5 inches of snow yesterday - at last. I went out several times to shovel. I just wanted to make sure it wasn't a mirage. My last time was around 10pm - the night was so still, the snow covered trees swayed in the wind, the neighborhood looked like a picture postcard, I lingered outside for awhile not wanting to leave the beautiful scene. After 30 years in Florida I have to drink in these moments fully.

  • I am on my way out to pick up our newsletter from the printer. The local newspaper company prints it - for them quite a small run compared to what they are used to printing each day. My next step is the stuff the newsletters into envelopes to mail them to our international members. Our national mailing list will be sent out directly from the printer who also does non-profit mailings. Much easier that way - and quicker.

  • Tomorrow is the memorial service for Tom Sturtevant. I've heard that there will be a big crowd there, his family reserved the middle school gymnasium in Winthrop. Going to be alot of tears flowing. There will be lots of love there.

  • I am setting up a 30-day west coast speaking tour for myself (April 1-30) that will begin in Los Angeles and end up in the Seattle area. Already I've got invitations to stop in 17 different communities along the dusty trail. Global Network member MacGregor Eddy (WILPF) wants to give me Amtrak tickets so I can take the train the whole way. I am very excited and I'm sure it will be a great experience. Should have the schedule in order in about another week or so.

  • Next Thursday I will tape the next edition of my public access TV show. The topic will be "Smart Meters". Our city government here in Bath has voted for a moratorium against installment of these meters which are raising serious questions about their impact on health, safety, and privacy. Our local power company is ignoring the moratorium and pushing residents hard to agree to have them installed. We've been called three times at our house by the power company and received several mailings. Looking forward to doing the show. More people need to be aware of the issues involved. You can learn more about the meters here

Thursday, January 12, 2012


It is hard for many in the mainstream media to accept that Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX) came in 2nd place in the New Hampshire primary. Many voters liked his anti-imperialism, anti-Wall Street, and anti-drug war positions.

The corporate media love Romney and Obama and they won't be denied - even by the voting public.


An eye-opening video clip that made it online Wednesday may cause a scandal on par with what erupted with the Abu Ghraib photographs of 2004. Now US Marines have been caught on film - urinating on dead Taliban.

A 40-second excerpt of the clip has managed to make its web to the Web and in it viewers can watch four US Marines on patrol in Afghanistan allegedly urinating on the corpses of deceased Afghan men. It is unclear of the victims’ identities in this incident, but according to a note included with the uploaded file, the US servicemen were members of the Marine Scout Sniper Team 4 and the 3rd Battalion 2nd Marines from Camp Lejeune, North Carolina. The group was dispatched to the northern Helmand Province in Afghanistan during the summer of 2011.

This should win over some more hearts and the Taliban side. We are one sick country. End the war now!


Publishing on MLK Day 2012: The Military Industrial Complex at 50 is the most comprehensive collection available explaining what the military industrial complex (MIC) is, where it comes from, what damage it does, what further destruction it threatens, and what can be done and is being done to chart a different course.

Authors (from within and without the MIC) contributing chapters to this collection (and available for interviews) include: Ellen Brown • Paul Chappell • Helena Cobban • Ben Davis • Jeff Fogel • Bunny Greenhouse • Bruce Gagnon • Clare Hanrahan • John Heuer • Steve Horn • Robert Jensen • Karen Kwiatkowski • Judith Le Blanc • Bruce Levine • Ray McGovern • Wally Myers • Robert Naiman • Gareth Porter • Chris Rodda • Allen Ruff • Mia Austin Scoggins • Tony Russell • Lisa Savage • Mary Beth Sullivan • Coleman Smith • Dave Shreve • David Swanson • Pat Elder • Jonathan Williams • Ann Wright.

Short bios of the authors are available here

The book will be available at in paperback, bulk discount, audio, PDF, kindle, Epub, and iPad/iPhone.

The MIC, this book expertly argues, kills large numbers of people, endangers us, hollows out our economy, transfers our wealth to a tiny elite, devastates the natural environment, and threatens civil liberties, the rule of law, and representative government.

President Dwight D. Eisenhower found the nerve in his farewell speech in 1961 to articulate one of the most prescient, potentially valuable, and tragically as yet unheeded warnings of human history:

“In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist.

“We must never let the weight of this combination endanger our liberties or democratic processes. We should take nothing for granted. Only an alert and knowledgeable citizenry can compel the proper meshing of the huge industrial and military machinery of defense with our peaceful methods and goals, so that security and liberty may prosper together.”

This collection shows that the “total influence” of the MIC has increased, the disastrous rise of misplaced power is no longer merely a potential event, our liberties and democratic processes are in a state of collapse, and that Ike himself disastrously misinformed the citizenry when he claimed that the very monster he warned of had been “compelled” by the need for “defense.”


Panetta: "Are they [Iran] trying to develop a nuclear weapon, no."

This one speaks for itself. The U.S. is berating Iran, surrounding Iran, doing covert ops inside Iran, working with Israel to assassinate their scientists, and slap economic sanctions on them.

But the Secretary of War says, no, Iran is not trying to develop a nuclear weapon.

Just a small detail.

These guys drip with arrogance.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012


It is my opinion that the oligarchy wants Obama back for a second term and that they will carry him through to victory. Just like they did Bill Clinton. It's no wonder the Republicans have such a weak slate of candidates in the current state primaries.

The oligarchy thinks it's good to have a pro-corporate Democrat in the White House now and then. It helps keep the rabble down. They spice it up a bit by having the right-wing throw outrageous accusations at Obama by calling him a Socialist and other such nonsense. That is theatre to help perpetuate the mythology in America that we have real differences between the two corporate political parties.

In the end the power structure runs two horses in each race. Bush against Kerry was one example - they both belonged to the secret Skull & Bones Society at Yale University.

This time we'll likely get Obama and the corporate branded Mitt Romney as the top choices. But Romney as president would not be able to keep the left tamed the way Obama can - particularly the black community who is getting screwed more than anyone else these days.

But let's just think about 2016 for a moment. The oligarchy likes to plan ahead - even though they have always raged against centralized five-year plans as being communism - they are now setting future elections up.

Take this video above with New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (Republican). He was rumored to be the "new darling" of the party, the great hope for 2012, but after playing coy for several months, Christie had a big news conference to announce that 2012 "was not his time". The first thought that came to my mind was, yeah, they've told you 2016 will be your shot at the gold.

So it's interesting that this video of Christie campaigning for Romney in New Hampshire is being promoted within conservative circles as an example of how Christie would be tough (and nasty) on those protester types. They are setting Christie's brand for next time around.

When the social program cuts really hit hard in the near future, and we see further attacks on the "entitlements" (Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, and what is left of the welfare program), the public will get even more restive. The oligarchy is grooming bully boy Christie who will have no problem banging some heads of those who get out of line.

You might wonder who the Dems are grooming for 2016? I saw a trial balloon floated the other day by Robert Reich (Bill Clinton's Secretary of Labor) where he predicted that Obama would switch Hillary and Joe Biden's positions before the November election. Putting Hillary in as V-P would energize some elements of an otherwise dispirited Democratic party - the perfect TV rerun of the "Mod Squad" - one black, one white, one woman. Hillary would then be first in line for 2016.

Stay tuned.



  • Head U.S. CEO Barack Obama has just appointed Michael Taylor senior advisor to the commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration. This is the same man that was in charge of FDA policy when GMO's were allowed into the U.S. food supply without undergoing a single test to determine their safety. Taylor is now America's food safety czar. The magician continues his slight-of-hand tricks as we lead up to the November national elections. Obama's corporate overseers are very happy with him.

  • Our newsletter is at the printer and just might be ready by the end of this week. It will be put in the mail to about 3,000 people right away. I try to keep our snail mail address list trimmed down because I can't see mailing newsletters to folks who linger on the list for years without giving any indication of support. I like to carry folks for awhile on the list but want to see if they either give a donation or show some commitment to doing something locally to support our work. So it's not just money we are looking for. Over my years as an organizer I've found that most people have about a three-year period where they settle on an issue and then they grow impatient and move on - I call it the MacDonald's view of social change. They drive up and want to see your immediate success - then when it doesn't happen they move on to greener pastures. They mean well but we've all been conditioned to be transient in our political socialization. It's not that folks have to join our group - they could join others and that would be fine - but this dynamic runs through all movements. Only about 20% stay with an issue over many years but those folks are the gems. Every movement relies on those gems to keep alive. I remember Abbie Hoffman, who came to one of our weekend retreats when I was working for the Florida Coalition for Peace & Justice saying, "You've got to take good care of your spark plugs." He was right.

  • Civil rights activist and PBS talk show host Tavis Smiley pissed off some Democrats last summer when he accused Obama of not doing enough for poor African-Americans and launched with Princeton professor Cornel West a “poverty tour” of the U.S. to highlight economic disparity. Smiley was scheduled to deliver a keynote address at the 20th annual MLK luncheon on Jan. 16 hosted by the Peoria [Illinois] Civic Center, but has been replaced by Georgetown professor Michael Eric Dyson because of his comments. “I don’t see my role as one of criticizing the president. I see my role as one of holding the president — this and every other president — accountable,” Smiley said in an interview on Fox News on Monday. “Something is wrong with this country … that so often the political right, and I am no defender of the political right … gets accused of playing the game of political correctness. What this underscores is that those on the left, the Democrats can play that game of political correctness as well.” According to Smiley, six out of 1,500 people who bought tickets for the event complained about his appearance. The fact that they prevailed, he said, is a “quintessential example of political correctness.”

Obama's team has been strong arming dissent from the left his whole time in office.....Chris Hedges is right about the bankruptcy of the liberal class. This is one more illustration of why the oligarchy loves the magician. Once again he shows how he effectively keeps so-called progressive institutions (like the 20th annual MLK luncheon in Peoria) toeing the line and taking on the task of repressing anyone like Smiley who dares to challenge the corporate policies of Obama. It's quite sad really.


20 Years of Organizing to Keep Space for Peace

Membership in the Global Network Against Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space is open to all organizations and individuals.

Please add _______________________________to the Global Network membership list. (Organization/Individual Name)

Enclosed is our annual dues for 2012 in the amount of __________________ (pay what you can best afford on a sliding scale between $10 - $100).

Donations to the Global Network are tax deductible.

(One easy way to donate is using the internet. Go to our web site at and look for the orange Donate Now! button and contribute via your credit card. This is a secure process.)




State______________ Zip____________


Phone ( )____________________


Thank you for your support. (If you have already recently donated for 2012 we thank you very much.)

** See our latest newsletter, Space Alert, on-line at this link (Be patient as it takes a bit to load since it is a big file.)

Global Network Against Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space
PO Box 652
Brunswick, ME 04011

Tuesday, January 10, 2012


Employees at The New York Times are upset and aren't afraid of letting their bosses know. The company has been slashing employee benefits and laying off staffers all while Janet Robinson, the company's CEO, has got millions in bonuses. Russ Baker, investigative journalist for, looks at how the reporters at The New York Times are dealing with the situation.


Latest Report from Jeju Island

Today, 22 Catholic nuns and a priest who were praying for peace were arrested in front of gate of Jeju naval base construction site. Professor Yoon-Mo Yang (who recently was on a 70-day hunger strike), Sung-Hee Choi and five Peace School students (teenagers) were also arrested.

Sung-Hee Choi was just holding a sign alongside the nuns who were praying. The other arrested activists were dancing to music at the time. Police officially said they had arrested them as obstruction of business and illegal assembly.

Amnesty International (AI) has just sent one of their staff to Gangjeong village to investigate the human rights violations that have been occurring as a result of the massive military/police harassment and intimidation against the villagers and their many supporters. We hope that AI will decide to engage in this important effort.

Monday, January 09, 2012



Here is my 2010 interview with Tom Sturtevant.

His memorial service will be held Saturday, January 14th, at the Winthrop Middle School at 2:00 pm. It is located on Rambler Road, off Rt 133 in Winthrop, Maine. (Look for a sign for Winthrop High School at the intersection of 133 and Rambler Road, then look for signs directing you to parking).

You can read Tom's obituary here


Time banking is increasingly popular as the economic crisis grows. Creative ways to survive will have to be developed and this is certainly one of them.

I wrote a play last week set in the context of my public access TV show called This Issue. I met with two visual artists and an actor today and we went through the play and did some brainstorming about it. Came out nice.

The play is about me interviewing two members of the "upper crust" on my TV show- getting their reactions about the growing economic divide between the rich and the rest of us. The names of the characters in the play are Constance and Herman Dollagrabber.

We are going to do it in the TV studio and then put it on the air - no editing - what you see is what we'll get. Should be fun to do and we'll see how it comes out. Not likely to get it filmed for a couple more weeks which will give us some more time to tinker with the copy and get our props lined up.

It's based on a true story where I was once in a local coffee shop and a guy in a suit came up to me and said, "How come you never interview anyone from the 'other side' on your show?" I told him that the "other side" is on mainstream media all the time but you virtually never get to see the kind of grassroots folks I interview getting their fair share of coverage in the media.

But I changed my mind and wrote this play to give the "other side" their moment in the sun....

Sunday, January 08, 2012



Today we sadly learned that a great man has passed on. Tom Sturtevant, a Maine Veterans for Peace stalwart, died yesterday.

When we moved to Maine in 2003 it became clear to me that Tom was one of the most dedicated and selfless people I had ever met.

Tom went with us to South Korea in 2009 for our annual Global Network conference in Seoul. Tom was stationed on a U.S. Navy aircraft carrier off the coast of Korea during the war and was deeply changed by the saturation bombing of North Korea. He often recalled how virtually every standing building in the north was destroyed by U.S. warplanes. He took a Veterans for Peace flag with us on that trip and wanted it to be given to South Korea Veterans for Peace. On my next trip to Korea I was able to deliver on that request and brought back a South Korean VFP flag that we presented to Tom at one of our Maine VFP meetings.

Last Friday I got a letter from Tom with a check for $500 and a news clip from the Boston Globe in the envelope (he was always sending me articles from various papers). I called to thank him for his kind donation. He said he wanted the funds to go toward our February 24-26 Global Network meeting on Jeju Island. He said he wished he could come along but felt his age prevented him from the travel.

Over the years Tom participated in virtually every event I organized in Maine - whether for the Global Network or for our chapter of Veterans for Peace. I loved him like a father. I will miss his quiet but steady leadership so much.

Tom Sturtevant was a true man of peace.

You can see an interview I did with Tom on my public access TV show here