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

Monday, March 18, 2013


Yesterday MB and I drove to Portland early in the morning and jumped on the bus to Boston.  We were going to join the Veterans for Peace (VFP) alternative St. Patrick's day parade through the streets of South Boston.

The traditional parade (with its military, fire and police focus) has refused for years to allow peace or gay rights groups to be in the event.  These organizations have taken the case to high courts and lost.  Three years ago VFP decided to just start a second parade that would follow in the steps of the traditional one.  Each year it has gotten bigger and yesterday was quite a large alternative parade with VFP members attending from throughout the area and from other states including New York, Oregon, New Hampshire, and Maine.  Other contingents in the parade included LGBT, religious, labor, environmental, Bread & Puppet Theatre, Green Party, and more.

The big controversy in Boston is now that they make the alternative parade wait for the street sweepers to clear the streets after the first parade is over thus delaying our start by about an hour.  The thinking of the local power structure is that most of the parade watchers will be gone by the time the VFP parade begins.  But the local media has extensively covered the story and many people have taken the side of VFP and waited to see the alternative parade.

It was cold and windy as we waited for the go-ahead and once finally moving we warmed up to the sounds of five different bands interspersed in our parade.  The Leftist Marching Band was right behind the huge VFP delegation that was at the head of the parade and we were amazed that they played continuously during the 4.5 mile route that wound its way through the neighborhoods of South Boston.  Many people stood on their door stoops drinking and waving to us, others sat in their windows and gave us the peace signs, and many young people cheered as they stood in long lines to get into the Irish bars sprinkled along the parade route.  During the more than two-hour parade I saw only one person give us the "thumbs down" and she was chided by those surrounding her on one stoop where quite a party was going on.

MB and I got home at 10:00 pm and were wiped out from the long day.  My cold, which was already lasting a full week, was set back even more but it was a spectacular experience.  We were able to take our message directly to thousands of "Southies" and the local media was covering our presence as well.

Much respect and congrats should go to Pat Scanlon and all the other members of Boston-area VFP chapters for fighting for the right to be in the parade.  Build it and they will come.


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