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, July 14, 2012


Woodrow Wilson "Woody" Guthrie (July 14, 1912 – October 3, 1967)


  • U.S. weapons makers sold $60 billion worth of arms on the international market this past year, compared to just $12 billion in 2005.  So global instability pays off for the corporate mafia.  The Obama administration has made no secret of its plan to more actively promote sales of U.S. weapons internationally.  Weapons exports are encouraged both as a national security tool "to help build alliances" and as employment generators.  Obama in 2009 announced the start of a comprehensive review of the U.S. export control system, which American corporations contend is "too cumbersome and out of touch with today's globalized market."
  • Greenpeace is planning to send boats into Arctic waters off the coast of Alaska this month in order to dramatize Shell Oil's plan to drill exploratory offshore wells.  Due to global warming the Arctic ice is melting at a faster rate than expected thus making it possible for oil and natural gas extraction.  The Coast Guard has warned Greenpeace to stay away from Shell's drilling and has announced a "500-meter safety zone" around the planned operations.  Kumi Naidoo from Greenpeace has responded to threats by the Coast Guard by saying, "We have been warned there will be severe penalties but I now serve notice on Shell that we are at the point where, if needs be, we will break the injunctions and pay the price of that...We have to intensify civil disobedience."
  • While recently in Philadelphia for the national Occupy gathering I picked up a leaflet called "Reclaim the Money Power with Publicly Owned Banks."  During my April speaking tour along the west coast, in Oregon, a woman came to a couple of my talks and during the question period spoke quite eloquently about the need to take power away from Wall Street by creating state owned banks.  The Occupy Banks flyer quotes Prof. Carroll Quigley, Georgetown University, and author of Hope and Tragedy: "The powers of financial capitalism had another far reaching aim, nothing less than to create a world system of financial control in private hands able to dominate the political system of each country and the economy of the world as a whole."  
  • As the states’ credit crisis deepens, four states have initiated bills for state-owned banks, and candidates in seven states have now included that solution in their platforms. The Bank of North Dakota, currently the nation’s only state-owned bank, is the model (with variations) for all the other proposals on the table. The Bank of North Dakota acts as a “bankers’ bank,” including doing “participation loans” with other banks, allowing them to compete with larger banks. In a participation loan, the community bank originates the loan and takes responsibility for it, while the participating bank contributes funds and shares in the risk and profits. The Bank of North Dakota also makes low-interest loans to students, farmers and businesses; underwrites municipal bonds; and serves as the state’s “Mini Fed,” providing liquidity and clearing checks for more than 100 banks around the state.


In his first major interview since he was ousted, Paraguay's former president Fernando Lugo has told RT he was forced out - after the opposition threatened widespread violence if he didn't go. Full interview at

Asia Times correspondent Pepe Escobar talks to RT. He believes impeachment was orchestrated from outside Paraguay for economic interests.

Friday, July 13, 2012


Dredging barge now operating just off sacred rocky coastline of Gangjeong village.  Endangered soft coral reefs are just below the surface and will surely be destroyed

We appeal to you to
Join an International Action Week For No Naval Base
2-9 September 2012

We appeal to the people of the world who are opposing warfare and are concerned with making the world peaceful and sustainable community.

Please take part in an International Solidarity Action (2-9 September 2012) during the World Conservation Congress 2012 which will be held in Jeju Island.

The 2012 World Conservation Congress, which is an environmental conference held every 4 years by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), is to take place from 6-15 September in Seogwipo city, Jeju Island. Jeju Island is located in the southern part of South Korea, adjacent to China, Taiwan, and Japan.

However, in Gangjeong village, which is only 7 km far from the congress site, construction to build a massive naval base is being enforced. The total size of the naval base is 490,000 square meters and it will not only harm the environment but also ignite military tensions despite the opposition of a great number of villagers.

Gangjeong village in Jeju blessed with a natural environment should be preserved for the future of mankind.

Gangjeong village is a coastal town with a sacred environment and high value preservation not only in Jeju Island, but also in the world.

The Sea of Gangjeong village is designated as a national cultural treasure (natural memorial No. 442) by the Korean Cultural Heritage Administration of Korea and is adjacent to Beom Island, a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve. Gangjeong village is God’s blessing natural heritage. The sea of Gangjeong is one of the major habitats of the Indo-Pacific bottlenose dolphins, one of the species listed by the IUCN. It is estimated that there are only 114 Indo-Pacific bottlenose dolphins in Korea.

Gangjeong village is located between the two biggest creeks in Jeju Island and has the biggest freshwater fish habitat on the island. It provides 70–80% of drinking water to southern residents in the island. As Jeju Island lacks water due to its porous basaltic land, this uncommon village is nicknamed as ‘Il-Gangjeong’ which means the best Gangjeong village. Due to this character, it has been the ‘heartland of agriculture’ from ancient times. Artifacts from prehistoric times showing the transformation of housing culture have been also discovered in Gangjeong. For such reasons, Gangjeong was appointed as a limited development district until the Jeju naval base construction plan was drafted.

Gureombi rock, located at the Jeju naval base construction site, is a broad flat rock with 1.2 km in length and 250m in width and it forms a greatly peculiar bedrock wetland where spring water comes upward. As Gureombi rock is a part of absolute preservation area by Jeju local government, it is home to the Government designated endangered species such as sesarma intermedium, small round frogs, Jeju saebaengi (native freshwater shrimp of Jeju Island), and clithon retropietus v. martens.

However, the Government is unilaterally enforcing the construction of the naval base without appropriate eval!!uation and even by easing regulations expediently or ignoring them illegally. It is clear that the naval base will not only destroy the environment of the sea of Gangjeong village, but also cause the serious destruction of the environment of UNESCO Biosphere Reserve located just 2 km away from the construction site.

There is no doubt that this construction is entirely contrary to the principals of the World Conservation Congress. The efforts of the South Korean government and Jeju local government to promote Jeju island as a world environmental city, while unilaterally enforcing the construction of the naval base, is deceiving global citizens.

Actions Suggested

1. Please choose at least one day during the International Action Week (2-9 September 2012) and organize any individual or collective actions to oppose the Jeju naval base.

1. Please inform the world that the construction of the naval base in Jeju is fully contrary to the principal of 2012 World Conservation Congress. Please make calls to the World Conservation Congress member organizations and member states to express concerns about the Jeju naval base construction.

1. Please ask the South Korean government and Jeju local government to stop building the military base, revoke the naval base project, and make Jeju Island develop intact as an island of world peace.

1. It is hypocritical for Samsung, the main contractor of the naval base project, to support financially the largest environmental event in the world. Please urge Samsung C&T and Daerim, two main contractors, to stop constructing naval base in Jeju.

1. To spread this amazing event widely, please send your endorsement (with your organization’s name) and your action plans to the Gangjeong international team ( in advance. After your actions, please kindly send your photos and videos with a simple explanation to the team as well.

1. There are many events being planned in Jeju Gangjeong village during the international action week (2-9 September 2012). If possible, please come to the village and be part of our nonviolent struggle which has continued over the last 6 years.


We greatly appreciate for your solidarity. 

The following South Korean national groups endorse the action:

  • Gangjeong Village Association
  • Jeju Pan-Island Committee for Stop of Military Base and for Realization of Peace Island (26 organizations)
  • Korea Environment NGO Network (36 Korean environmental NGOs) 
  • National Network of Korean Civil Society for Opposing to the Naval Base in Jeju Island (125 Korean civil society organizations)

Thursday, July 12, 2012



  • I'm running around like a chicken with its head cut off today.  Our newsletter was ready to be picked up from the printer and I had to arrange a ride to go get it in nearby Brunswick.  Now that we are down to one car in the house some things become more difficult.  Our friend Ian bailed me out and took me to the printer. I am real pleased with the way it turned out.  You can see the online version of the newsletter here
  • Our Keep Space for Peace Week poster and flyer arrived yesterday from a different printer so I spent last evening preparing envelopes to mail the poster, flyer, and newsletter to our key contacts in the U.S. and overseas.  Our current house guest Phui Yi Kong, a Bowdoin College student from Malaysia, helped me do the final envelope stuffing today.  The rest of the newsletters will be mailed to our subscribers by the mailing house connected to the printer.  It should be in the mail tomorrow.
  • I am organizing a speaking engagement tonight of well-known peace activist Medea Benjamin (CodePink) who is doing a tour through Maine this week promoting her book called Drone Warfare: Killing by Remote Control.  We are having a potluck supper for her at the home of one of our supporters so I also had to cook something to bring.  The talk is at 7:00 pm tonight at the public library in Brunswick.
  • Hopefully things slow down a bit tomorrow.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012


Farnborough Airshow kicked off with the usual impressive aerial acrobatics in the southern town of England, but national budgets are a cause of concern for the exhibitors. While defence companies can recreate realistic flying situations, they cannot simulate good business conditions, and these are worrying times for some of the world's biggest weapons makers. Sikorsky make the famous Black Hawk helicopters relied on by the US military. Yet the company executives are trying no to rely on them too much in return. 
Russia is facing even greater challenges. The state arms exporter, Rosoboronexport, has a big presence in Farborough. It's presence is considered vital for its business, as recent geopolitical events have closed off some of its most reliable markets. Rich Middle Eastern and Asian countries are taking up some of the slack left by dwindling US and European defence budgets, but the fight for international business will only intensify over the coming years. Al Jazeera's Rory Challands reports from Farnborough, southern England.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012


It’s puzzling how the US can treat radical Islamists in Syria as allies while fighting against them as enemies in Afghanistan, says the chair of the Russian parliament’s Committee on Foreign Affairs.
Washington’s double standard approach is evident in the Syrian crisis. It supports the armed opposition, which wants to turn the country into a dictatorship, claiming that their war against the Assad government has democracy as the goal, Aleksey Pushkov told Russia Today.

This civil war now underway in Syria is fast becoming a proxy war between the U.S./NATO and Russia.  It could be a sign of things to come as the U.S./NATO surround Russia and continue to try to destabilize countries that are allied with Moscow. Watch closely what is going on in Georgia, on Russia's southern border, as the U.S. puppet government there is inching its way into NATO.

The Obama administration should be made to answer this charge that they on the one hand support radical Islamists in Syria while fighting them in Afghanistan.  It's a common U.S. tactic and few in the U.S. are making this important distinction.


Beginning scene of the new HBO series The Newsroom explaining why America's not the greatest country any longer....the first part was quite good but the drama with the music at the end was a bit much.

Still an interesting clue as to what is showing on mainstream TV these days.


Scotland votes on independence in 2014 and may tell UK to remove Trident nuclear missiles.  The majority of Scots oppose the existence of nuclear weapons in their country.  But decisions on "defense" remain with London.  The UK government has made clear their plan to renew the Trident program.

Peace groups throughout the UK are now organizing to block the Trident replacement program that would cost $157 billion over the next 30 years.  Better those funds be used for health care, education, and dealing with climate change.

Monday, July 09, 2012


We got a new dog today.  His name is Homer.  He is a two-year old Treeing Walker Coonhound and looks very much like the dog in this photo.

We had two dogs who both died at the age of 14 during the past year or so.  We took a break from getting another one for awhile but lately I've been missing having a dog.  I dreamed about my old dog Red last night and figured it was time.

So today housemate Karen and I went to the local humane society to meet Homer who I had seen on their web site when I checked it out last night.  They only had about six dogs there.  I quickly passed up the mean looking one and the screaming barking, jumping one.  Homer was just laying in his cage playing hard to get.  I bent down and called him over.  He thought about it for a bit and then came over and seemed very friendly.  We took him for a walk in the nice pine tree wooded area surrounding the dog pound and he responded well to us.  Since he is a hunting dog his nose was to the ground the whole time.  We took him home.

We learned that he came from a dog pound in Jacksonville, Florida where he was on the death list.  Much to my surprise they told us that they have to import dogs from the south because New England has very few dogs available for adoption.  In Homer's case he went from Florida to Alabama and then Tennessee before coming to Maine.  He's not seen snow yet.  He speaks with a southern accent.

We've already taken him for three walks since he got here and after being in captivity for awhile he was pretty worn out by night fall.  We bought him a new dog bed and he took to it pretty quick.  I've been reading about his breed and the story is that they are smart and loving dogs but need alot of exercise in order to keep from going crazy.  They must be kept on a leash or in a fenced yard because once they get on a scent they take off.

The walking will help keep us all in shape.  His gentle spirit has already captured our hearts.  I am happy with my new doggie.


Dr. Song Kang Ho's 100th day in prison. People all over Jeju Island and Seoul are holding posters remembering him.  He has been relentless in his non-violent opposition to the Navy base destruction in Gangjeong village.
Dr. Song was featured in a documentary video done by Al Jazeera that can be seen here
The South Korean government, pressured by the U.S. to build this Navy base, is afraid of non-violent resisters like Dr. Song.  The government lies when it says the villagers support the base.  The government lies when it says the base will not harm nature.  The government lies when it says the base is not intended to help the U.S. "control" China.  The government lies when it says that Dr. Song is a criminal.
You too can show solidarity with Dr. Song by sharing his story with others.   

Sunday, July 08, 2012


A week after Mexico's presidential election, thousands are still protesting against the result.

PRI-party candidate Enrique Pena Nieto won by a margin of nearly seven points.

Many accuse the old-guard PRI party of vote-buying: giving out gift cards in exchange for support.