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

With a new administration in Washington it will be a challenge to get the 'liberals' to hold Biden-Harris to the few 'progressive promises' they made during their campaign. Biden is bringing back many of Bush & Obama's neo-cons to head his foreign policy. I'll be on this case without hesitation.

Sunday, June 02, 2013

LEARNING TO LOVE JEJU ISLAND


It was a long day.  The Moana Nui Teach-In ran from 10:00 am til almost 11:00 pm.  Amazingly many people stayed until the end.  Those that did were glad they stayed as they got to hear Mayor Kang speak after a moving introduction by Koohan Paik (on right in photo).

Koohan lives in Hawaii and has become an avid supporter of the village.  She showed a series of photos to the audience about the beauty and tragedy of Gangjeong village.  Included were several showing the mayor being beaten up and arrested for defending nature and their sacred way of life.

The mayor made a moving speech and by the end of the evening many in the crowd lined up to get their photo taken with him.

I've known the mayor for a couple of years but never have had the chance to spend this much time with him.  Let me tell you, this man gets it.  He is like a philosopher.  He understands what this struggle is all about and he really understands his role as leader of his people.  He understands how this tiny little village fits into the grand scheme of super-power dynamics that are happening between the US and China.  He will not waver.

We didn't get to eat dinner until about 11:00 pm and were taken to a local Thai place for food and a well deserved beer by a wonderful man named Jiwon Chung who teaches at the Graduate Theological Union here in Berkeley.  Jiwon is originally from South Korea and was in the military there as a young man.  He now belongs to Veterans for Peace in the US and spent many hours yesterday talking with the mayor and translating our conversations.

Just after midnight we finally got back to the hotel and in the lobby a multi-cultural Pacific Island sing-a-long was underway.  The word was already out that Mayor Kang is a great singer so they immediately got him to join in.  The mayor grabbed something from one of the tables and used it as a microphone and proceeded to sing a Korean song.  After finishing he raised one finger into the air - one more song he said.  He then sang a song in Japanese.  The folks loved him and they are quickly learning to love Jeju Island.

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