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.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

REMEMBERING A LEGEND





  • Jane Brown (left), Richie Havens, and me at the October 24, 1987 protest outside the gates of Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. I was saddened to hear today about the passing of the legendary folk singer.  He came to the protest at the space center that I organized while working for the Florida Coalition for Peace & Justice.  He was very kind to us, didn't ask for any money, just poured his heart out in his energetic and humble way.  He just wanted to help.

  • We had two big protests that year against the militarization of space - the first one in January 1987 drew more than 5,000 people and 186 were arrested for symbolically trying to enter the base to sit on the launch pad where Trident II nuclear missiles were being test fired.  Jane Brown was a good friend and leader of the South Florida Peace Coalition and had arranged for Havens to sing at our rally in October.  You can see a news article from the Orlando Sentinel (dated September 3, 1987) which promoted our October 24 rally here.  Back in those days we could actually get some media coverage of these events before and after they happened.

  • I am wearing a hat that read "American Agriculture Movement" which was given to me by another speaker that day - an old peanut farmer from northwest Florida by the name of Fred Williams.  Fred came to speak out against the militarism of space which for us was a big deal.  Family farmers struggled to survive as they are pitted against corporate agri-business and he appreciated that we were getting his message out to folks from the cities.  In return for inviting him to speak at our rally he invited me to his farm, loaded me into his pickup truck and drove me around to other peanut farms in his neck of the woods and even over the border into lower Alabama.  He would introduce me to his farmer friends and say, "Bruce is going to tell you about Star Wars." They were very receptive to what I had to say and understood that an arms race in space was going to cost all of us an arm and a leg.

  • On our weekly radio show tonight at a nearby college station partner Peter Woodruff and I did an hour tribute to Richie Havens by playing his music. He was a great man, a great worker for peace and justice, and will surely be missed by all of us.  He fully gave his life to his beliefs.

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