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, Maine, United States

I'm back to work for the Global Network. Will continue to help Lisa Savage for US Senate campaign on my free time. Trying to self-isolate as much as possible. Best wishes and good luck to you all.

Wednesday, June 05, 2013

LOOSE ENDS FROM BERKELEY CONFERENCE


  • Japanese right-wing Prime Minister Shinzo Abe recently climbed into a military airplane marked with the number 731 and sparked considerable controversy across the Asia-Pacific.  The number 731 evokes the name of Imperial Japan's notorious biological and chemical warfare research unit in China between 1932 and 1945.  During the Japanese occupation of China Unit 731 held captive and infected thousands of men, women and children with virulent strains of anthrax, plague, cholera, and other epidemic and viral diseases.  Soon entire Chinese villagers were being hit with biological bombs.  In all more than 250,000 were infected and the vast majority died. (You can read more on this story in my previous blog posts here.)
  • Seeing the right-wing Japanese allies of the US "pivot" into the Asia-Pacific unearth and celebrate Unit 731 is an ugly and dangerous signal to China that "we are coming after you again".  Prime Minister Abe is also currently asking the Japanese government to give him the authority to undertake a new doctrine of preemptive attacks which would clearly be aimed at China and North Korea.
  • One thing I learned during the Moana Nui conference in Berkeley was that various Korean studies programs at colleges and universities in the US and around the world are most often funded by the South Korean (ROK) government.  This of course means that the Korean studies programs are expected to toe the line of the right-wing ROK government and if they don't they are put under severe pressure.
  • As Chinese workers increasingly organize and demand fair wages and working conditions in their sweatshop environments, corporations are moving their operations to Vietnam where workers make one-third of what their Chinese counterparts are paid.
  • Under the proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership - TPP - (which is all about pushing forward the international program of deregulation and expanding US economic control in the Asia-Pacific) extensive plans are developing to make it possible for corporations to sue governments for "anticipated profits" when national regulations stand in the way of economic exploitation.  Some investors are putting their money into "catastrophe bonds" where they help fund law suits against "renegade" governments and then reap benefits when "trade tribunals" reward corporations massive royalties. Governments will thus be deterred from trying to protect their environment, workers, and independence.
  • Several speakers at Moana Nui talked about braiding our often-times isolated and fragile struggles into a powerful cord.  We all know this, talk about it, and then often return to our own corners and hold onto our "issues" like a person adrift at sea clinging to a life vest.  Only when we get serious and open ourselves to real learning and true solidarity will we able to actually bind ourselves together.  Without being bound together we will continue to falter.

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