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. @BruceKGagnon

Saturday, May 17, 2014


Self-defense forces are on full alert in East Ukraine's newly proclaimed Donetsk People's Republic. The region cut ties with Kiev after a popular vote last Sunday - and activists are expecting a new wave of government crackdown. Tensions are highest in the city of Slavyansk that's been besieged by troops for weeks. Reinstating control over the restive region isn't the only agenda driving Kiev's ongoing offensive.... follow the money and the fossil fuels.


At the court in Syracuse, NY yesterday were Ed Kinane, Teresa B Grady and Mary Anne Grady Flores

Protests and arrests at the Hancock drone base in Syracuse, New York have been steady for the past couple of years.  So many have been arrested that the trials are backed-up like five o'clock traffic in Los Angeles.

I was arrested there on April 28, 2013 and still don't have a trial date.  

In order to "deter" more protests the court has been handing out "Orders of Protection" (to protect the base commander Col. Earl Evans) to all who have done non-violent civil resistance at the drone field.  The order declares that the protester will "refrain from assault, stalking, harassment, aggravated harassment, menacing, reckless endangerment, strangulation...."  The list goes on.  On my last two travels out of the US, when I returned, I was pulled aside at Customs & Immigration and interrogated about my Order of Protection from Hancock. 

Yesterday Mary Anne Grady went to trial in Syracuse from an arrest in February, 2013 when she was merely an observer and support person for another action at Hancock Field.  She was charged with violating the Order of Protection and faces one year in jail.  Her sister Ellen Grady posted the following comments:

Off to court this morning in Syracuse for my sister Mary Anne's trial. She was arrested 2/13/13 as she walked away from Hancock Airfield after taking pictures of the Ash Wednesday action at the main gate of the base were 8 of us stood with signs calling a halt to the war crimes being perpetrated from the base. She is having a jury trial. Her charge is contempt of court for violating the order of protection. If found guilty she is facing a year in jail.
Following the trial Ellen again wrote:

Guilty of contempt for violating the order of protection! Not guilty of disorderly conduct. Sentencing date has been set for July 10th.
Having sat through this process at this point I have nothing but contempt for this court and their continued protection of this Empire's war on the world.

Friday, May 16, 2014


Corporate fascism is growing in India with the recent election victory of Narendra Modi's Hindu Right’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) which now takes control of parliament.

In the video above Arundhati Roy speaks in Chicago about Modi and the Hindu Nationalists. Tapped on March 18, 2013.

See the latest on the story here


It's a Jungle Out There

The cracks in the road
as the grass
and weeds
pop their heads up
nature has its ways

Even in our darkest
we should look to nature
for answers
about how to live life
but we forget....

Our connection to the
has been severed
like a lost arm
or a broken heart
by 'modern' life

we are taught to
'go it alone'
and many of us
have tried
but come up searching
for something
and of value

life can be so hard
it gets lonely
at times
we often give up
because we are so
and weak
all by ourselves

The weeds pop thru
human made obstacles
in bunches
nature knows
that power comes from unity

the only way to defeat
the dark forces
against nature
is to do it


Japan's pacifist constitution is under threat, lawmakers agreed on moves to restore the country's imperial might.

Japan hosts many US bases. Washington is beefing up its presence in the region. Joseph Gerson (AFSC) tells RT that Tokyo's militaristic ambitions are being fueled by the agenda of its American allies.

Japan's current right-wing Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's grandfather was a member of Tojo's imperial cabinet during WW II and founded the political party that Abe leads today.


Kathy Kelly being removed while blocking entrance to Navy base construction gate in Gangjeong village

Park Jung-Joo reports from Jeju Island, South Korea:

Peace Seminar of Gangjeong Peace School was held tonight at Peace Center in Gangjeong Village. Kathy Kelly gave us a talk of her experiences of peace activism in her life. She told us about people in Afghanistan, Iraq and in the US and how they have gone through the wars and fears caused by wars. It was really inspiring, challenging and also encouraging time for us. This is a poem she shared with us tonight in the middle of her talk.


by Daniel Berrigan

Some stood up once, and sat down.
Some walked a mile, and walked away.

Some stood up twice, then sat down.
“It’s too much,” they cried.
Some walked two miles, then walked away.
“I’ve had it,” they cried,
Some stood and stood and stood.
They were taken for fools,
they were taken for being taken in.
Some walked and walked and walked
they walked the earth,
they walked the waters,
they walked the air.
“Why do you stand?” they were asked, and
“Why do you walk?”
“Because of the children,” they said, and
“Because of the heart, and
“Because of the bread,”
“Because the cause is
the heart’s beat, and
the children born, and
the risen bread.”


Solidarity beyond borders – Building democracy from below

The programs of austerity and privatizations imposed by the Troika decide on the lives of millions of people in Europe. Together with people in Europe and the whole world we resist the rehabilitation of capitalism on the backs of employees as well as unemployed, retirees, migrants and the youth. Together with them we say: “We don’t owe, we won’t pay!”

While the European Union crisis regime builds more and more borders in order to divide, exploit and oppress us, new transnational movements are arising. We are social movement activists, altermondialists, migrants, precarious and industry workers, party members and unionists and many more, who want to connect our struggles and powers beyond nation-state lines. During the week before the elections for the European Parliament we call for the spirit of the multitude of these social movements to build real democracy from below.

We call for an international week of decentralised actions from May 15-25, 2014. Be part of it!

Starting on the symbolic date of the 15M movement in Spain, we aim for strong, united, internationally visible actions from May 15-18.

Beyond these days there will be actions in many cities in many countries linked to one another by the broader perspective of a transnational movement for democracy, solidarity and commons.

Then, in autumn, we will bundle our strength again – this time to prevent the new tower of the European Central Bank from opening in Frankfurt. We invite you to join the action days! Be creative and participate with your own initiative! 

See more here

Thursday, May 15, 2014


I've had Richard Rhames on my show more than anyone else in the 10 years of This Issue.  He's a character study and it is always fun to talk with him.

Richard was recently defeated in his city council reelection race in Biddeford, Maine.  He grows vegetables for a living and has been a public access TV advocate for more than 20 years.

We talk local, state, national and Ukraine politics.  He's worth a listen.

A real Mainer.


FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler got permission from Congress to give the Internet to the corporations.  He is more than happy to do the job. He's the bag man.

Fire Sale

It's all about looting.

The corporations
Mr. Big
are lined up and ready
to feast

it's  a fire sale
and the people's
the Internet
is on the block
to be chopped
and handed out
to the already
rich and greedy

it's a fire sale

there is an emergency
in the House
Mr. Big owns it
and now Congress
has decided
to hand him the
keys to the door
and the city
and the national
and the Internet

it's a fire sale

Ukraine, Greece
African continent
'vital resources'
cheap labor

Mr. Big wants
it all
and he is gonna get it
because he now owns
the Internet

and the people hardly
raise a voice
they are too busy
knocking down pills
or gazing at
Dancing with the
or peeking from
round the corner

it's a fairy tale.

* You can watch an excellent action at the FCC meeting by Kevin Zeese, Margaret Flowers, Ken Ashe and Tarak Kauff agitating from the back of the room.  C-SPAN caught this coverage and available here


A provocative look at the 1893 treasonous coup d'etat against the Hawaiian Kingdom, described by President Grover Cleveland as "an act of war."

Mainer Jon Olsen, who lived in Hawaii for many years, will present his new book entitled "Liberate Hawai'i: Renouncing and Defying the Continuing Fraudulent US Claim to the Sovereignty of Hawai'i" at the Addams-Melman House (212 Centre St) in Bath on Sunday, May 18 from 4:00 - 6:00 pm.

There will be a pot luck supper and talk by Jon.  All are welcome.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014


A son of US Vice-President Joseph Biden has joined the board of directors of Ukraine's largest private gas producer. Hunter Biden now leads the company's legal unit - getting the position a few weeks after his father's trip to Kiev. 

Connect the dots and see how the US-NATO intervention in Ukrainian affairs is all about fossil fuels.  Somebody will be making some $$$$$$.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014


I was recently sent an email alerting me to a conference at the University of Maine that appears to be about dragging us into another one of the oil-i-garchy's latest chaos zones.  I inquired about attending but was told it was "sold out".  Here is a bit from the invite:

The University of Maine School of Policy and International Affairs and the Maine Army National Guard will co-host a conference May 20 to 21 to explore challenges and emerging opportunities in the Arctic. The free conference, "Leadership in the High North: A Political, Military, Economic and Environmental Symposium of the Arctic Opening," will be held at the Maine Army National Guard Regional Training Institute in Bangor. Speakers will address global, national and state issues and implications related to diminished sea ice in the Arctic, including the changing environment, trade, geopolitics and policy.

Scheduled speakers include: Gen. Charles Jacoby, commander of North American Aerospace Defense Command and United States Northern Command; Rear Admiral Jonathan White, oceanographer and navigator of the Navy, director of Task Force Climate Change; Paul A. Mayewski, director of the UMaine Climate Change Institute; Major-General Christopher Coates, deputy commander, Canadian Joint Operations Command, National Defence and Canadian Armed Forces; Philippe Hebert, director of Policy Development for Canadian Department of National Defence; and John Henshaw, executive director of Maine Port Authority. And officials from the U.S. Army Mountain Warfare School will share experiences and display cold-weather operations equipment.

The words "emerging opportunities" jumped right out at me.  The Arctic region is loaded with oil and natural gas and with extreme melting of the ice the oil corporations are itching to get at it.  But look at a map to see which country has the largest land border with the Arctic... it is Russia.  Thus we see this intense US-NATO move toward militarization.  In order to build public support for this new "strategic plan" they are throwing out some financial incentives - the only job creator in town anymore, the military industrial complex.  America is being hollowed out and turned into a garrison state for global capital.

The Pentagon has created the "US Navy Arctic Roadmap: 2014-2030".  The plan includes such gems as the Navy needing ways to distribute fuel in the [Arctic] region to air and surface platforms.  Fuel allocation needs to be staffed and protected which means bases will be built.  How close would they be to Russia and how would that go over?  The current US-NATO movement of major offensive forces along the Russian border, having used the Ukraine crisis as a pretext, helps the military more effectively "control" the Russian bear in the event of future conflict over Arctic resource extraction.

Late last March the Navy took New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman, Sen. Angus King (I-ME), and others for a submarine ride below the Arctic ice.  Friedman wrote:

“In our lifetime, what was [in effect] land and prohibitive to navigate or explore, is becoming an ocean, and we’d better understand it,” noted Admiral Jonathan Greenert, chief of naval operations. “We need to be sure that our sensors, weapons and people are proficient in this part of the world,” so that we can “own the undersea domain and get anywhere there.” Because if the Arctic does open up for shipping, it offers a much shorter route from the Atlantic to the Pacific than through the Panama Canal, saving huge amounts of time and fuel.

Our Sen. King here in Maine sent around an email called Impressions from the Arctic.  He told his constituents that there has been "a 40% reduction in ice as a result of global warming"  He reported that "previously inaccessible" gas and oil reserves were now going to create "new opportunities".  King concluded, "I am convinced we need to increase our capacity in the region, something I intend to press upon my colleagues on the Armed Services Committee as we work on our military priorities for the coming years."

King's state of Maine builds destroyers, armed with so-called "missile defense" (MD) systems that are key elements in Pentagon Global Strike planning.  After a US first-strike attack is launched at China or Russia, the MD "shield" helps take out any retaliatory capability.  It's a gun to the head which sometimes does not need to be fired to be effective - the threat in and of itself is bad enough.

I’m sad that I couldn't get a ticket to get into the Arctic event in Bangor.  Funny that a public institution like the University of Maine would limit participation.  But then again I'm not surprised at all.


The use of Agent Orange during the Vietnam War continues to cast a dark shadow over both American veterans and the Vietnamese.


Mourning Time

It's mourning time in America
the sun is up
life imperiled

Indians said
white man is blinded
by his love for the green frog skin,
dollar bill,
can't see his connection to nature
to all life
watch out for the white man
he is crazy

Once years ago
I saw a bank named Freedom
and finally realized
what the oligarchy meant
when they used the word

Much of the world understands
this about America
the myth about democracy
really means we bring freedom
for Mr. Big
to dominate the rest of the planet

I'm mourning here in America
for our lost souls
for those we bring suffering to,
in the name of freedom

Freedom for who?
What is it?
The one with the most $$$

I'm mourning in America

Monday, May 12, 2014


Col. Wilkerson says the United States and China must stop the arms buildup and solve the climate change crisis or humans may not have a future on this planet.

Sunday, May 11, 2014


Yesterday in Ansan, South Korea, the hometown of the most of the Sewol Ferry tragedy victims. People are very angry with the government and the mainstream media.


Why are Sewol families so angry with the media?

Some media coverage of the tragic ferry sinking has been inaccurate and reporters’ behavior has at times been insensitive

The reason grief-stricken family members of victims in the Sewol ferry sinking headed for the Blue House [house of President Park Geun-hye] on May 9, carrying portraits of their children, was remarks by KBS newsroom chief Kim Si-gon that triggered an explosion of pent-up distrust and frustration with the media’s reporting on the disaster and its aftermath. What sent the relatives into the streets was a combination of repeatedly inaccurate reporting, the failure to cover family members’ criticisms of the government’s irresponsible behavior, and boorish behavior by reporters at the scene.

See full story here


FCC Can’t Handle All The Phone Calls They Are Getting. Call Them!

Keep making telephone calls to the FCC and demanding net neutrality. The FCC is reporting they cannot handle the volume of telephone calls.

So, keep calling.  Call them often. Let them hear from you and tell everyone you know to do the same.

Call the FCC at 202-418-1000 or 888-225-5322.

You can also write them at to express your outrage about the threat to net neutrality. 

Our demands:

1. Reclassify the Internet as a common carrier so it can be regulated in the public interest.
2. Put net neutrality into law so we all have equal access to all of the Internet.
3. Remove restrictions on municipalities and other local governments that want to create their own public Internet service.

Finally, activists will be back out occupying the FCC this week. If you can be in Washington, DC please join the effort.  Folks are camped at the 1201 Maine Ave SW entrance of the FCC right around the corner from their main entrance at 445 12th Street, SW.


Ukraine plunges into complete chaos-perfect timing to ship missiles to Kiev? America war hawks, including John McCain think so.


Despite the fact that Obama and the western media calls these folks "separatists" what they are actually voting for today is one of two things:

1) Greater autonomy for eastern Ukraine but still remaining a part of Ukraine.  Under this plan they would continue their historic trade and cultural relations with neighboring Russia.

2) No change from the present situation

How many media sources will even bother to tell us that bit of truth?

“My problem is not Ukraine, it is the authorities in Kiev,” said Anton Karpov, a 31-year-old coal mine worker.

“It’s good to live in Ukraine, but the situation nowadays is not good for Russian-speaking people,” said 60-year-old Galina Borisovna, a retired former computer worker. “The Kiev authorities are illegal, and people just want the right to decide for themselves. I hope everything will be peaceful within a federal Ukraine.”

Voting in four towns across Lugansk region has already been disrupted, as military vehicles block passage to polling stations, representatives of referendum coordination council told Interfax.

“In four districts – Belokurakinsky, Svatovsky, Troitsky and Melovsky – APCs of the Ukrainian National Guard do not let residents pass to the referendum polling stations,” the sources said.

Kiev’s armed forces also entered the town of Krasnoarmeysk in the Donetsk region and seized four school buildings where residents were voting in the referendum, Denis Pushilin, co-chairman of the Donetsk People’s Republic, told Itar-Tass.

All the people in the election district were evacuated, he said, adding that all voting bulletins were saved and taken away by the electoral commission. Voting was also stopped.

"They threatened us and said that they were sent by the Kiev authorities," Sergey, a local resident.