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. We must all do more to help stop this western corporate arrogance that puts the future generations lives in despair. @BruceKGagnon

Thursday, January 17, 2013


  • A friend of mine who teaches college in California shared this picture yesterday and wrote, "my engineering students armed to the teeth."  Referring to my post yesterday about kids making violent videos this same friend also wrote, "they all want to be Tarantino!" (the famous violent filmmaker).
  • Tarantino is my grandmother's (on mother's side) family name.  I wonder.....
  • This morning I found on the Global Network Facebook page a comment from USN kids here in Maine who produced the violent films.  I had posted a link to my blog about the story on the GN page.  USN wrote: "hahahahahahahahaha".  I see they are taking the entire situation seriously - about as would be expected under the circumstances.
  • There is a raging debate on the No Drones list serve about a petition that has been posted by one of the Washington DC peace lobby groups calling on Congress to decide whether or not Obama should order drone flights over Mali as he assists the French attack.  The DC group staffer got angry when many grassroots folks declined to sign the petition because it did not stand in opposition to the use of drones - period.  (In other words if Congress says its OK, then what is your next move after your strategy was to rely on Congress to oppose drone use?  We all know that Congress has largely been bought and sold by corporations like Boeing who now are huge drone makers.)  The staffer wrote, "Why isn't the whiner dogmahead ideological purist ultra-left doing anything about Mali?"  You can imagine the push back that resulted from that comment and it still is going on.
  • I decided that something was missing in the Mali drone debate so I wrote a response and sent it to the No Drone list.  Here are my words:

    I think we have to be much more analytical about the reasons for divergent strategies....

    When one looks at the organizational infrastructure of Robert's group what you find is an inside the beltway group that likely gets funding to try to bring the grassroots energy into the lobbying scene in Washington.  Sometimes these groups are funded by foundations with close ties to the Democrats.

    Thus there is a tendency among many DC groups to try to work on issues that are "pragmatic" or even "acceptable" to those political institutions.  Thus the staffers in these DC oriented organizations often feel upset when the great unwashed (and far too independent) grassroots folks abandon the DC strategy.  Sometimes, as in this case with Robert, the grassroots gets called a bunch of do-nothings.  The thinking often becomes "if you are not playing ball in my ball park then you don't matter".

    So Robert is correct in saying that these divisions are real and they are important.

    Some of us out here in the hustings think the two-party game in DC enables the whole war making process.  Some of us have declined to use our limited energy and funds on the standard DC swirl - usually we have much less $$$ and paid staff than the DC groups have.

    So I think this debate should continue - but we need to be much more open about how some groups are closer to the power structure and are willing to occasionally accommodate with politicians.

    This question of "who speaks for the peace movement" will continue to rage on and it should.  It's just nice to know who and what we are dealing with when we do it.

    Bruce K. Gagnon
    Global Network Against Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space


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