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....

My Photo
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, December 06, 2014

Which Seed Do We Carry?

I'd like to watch this on TV but probably won't.  There are growing numbers of space movies with the general theme about the need to move human civilization off to another planet.  The aerospace industry is doing mass marketing for their expensive technology venture.

You can find many links between outfits like Lockheed Martin and corporate front-groups such as the Mars Society.  The Mars Society line is that the Earth is a rotting, dying, stinking planet and we need to terraform Mars and move our civilization there.  Likely ride on a nuclear powered rocket to a nuclear powered Martian mining colony.  I'm not interested in that trip.

It looks like this TV production called Ascension might cross a few of those themes and I'd be interested to see how they treat them.  Here is the official description of the program:

Who will save Humanity's last chance for survival? Ascension, a three night event, begins Dec. 15 at 9/8c.

A young woman's murder causes the subjects of a century-long mission to populate a new world to question the true nature of the project as they approach the point of no return.

What is Sacred?

One to another
we are all sacred
each to
each other
brother to brother
sister to sister

the rain
the rocks
plants, trees
things that fly
all sacred

Our path
where do we step?
how does our heart
stay open
to our sacred

How do we
deal with our rage?
Better to
share it
with others
turn it towards
the light
where it
will heal
and become
pure energy
for the good

We Do

You can get the subtitles by clicking on the wheel in the lower right hand corner after the video starts and then select your desired language

Friday, December 05, 2014

U.S. Pushing War with Russia

The US House of Representatives has overwhelmingly passed a resolution lashing out at Russia over its foreign policies. The language of the non-binding document has been widely equated by critics to Cold War-style rhetoric. RT's Gayane Chichakyan looks at the diplomatic falling out between the US and Russia.

Socialized Medicine

Like air - at this point free, though not always clean - medical attention should be free and abundant for all.  But the free enterprise-niks got their greedy hands on dispensing health care and turned it into a profit machine.  In fact many of those same interlocking corporate entities that own the 'health insurance' gambit are doing alot of the polluting.  They have no real incentive to stop poisoning us.

Last Monday I made my first trip to the Veterans Administration (VA) hospital complex at Togus here in Maine near Augusta.  I had recently applied for coverage and was accepted into the VA program.  I have a few nagging medical issues and thought I should get into the VA system while I am still kicking.

I'd never been to Togus before but it is a huge place - almost looks like a college with their red brick medical campus.  A covered walkway connects the many buildings where thousands of Maine veterans get excellent medical care.

After my introductory appointment with my new doctor I walked the halls of the hospital.  I had some time on my hands because the van that picked me at my door and would return me home would not be available for another two hours.  I had on my new VFP knit cap that I bought while in St. Louis from the national office.  Many of the vets there at Togus wore various service jackets and hats.  I saw no visible signs of any anti-war thinking but knew in my heart that many had to harbor such feelings on some level.

I felt some guilt being able to walk into Togus and have a red carpet thrown out for me just because I had been in the Air Force during the Vietnam War.  I couldn't help but think of all the deserving people across the country that have no health care or are paying a high-price for insurance that in the final analysis is making some corporation wealthy.  Shouldn't all US citizens (human beings) get this socialized medicine?

I read something along these lines the other day by Iowa's outgoing Sen. Tom Harkin who I used to think alot of.  But over the years, like most Democrats in power, he repeatedly let our side down.  Here he acknowledges that the Dems essentially took an unneeded dive when they went with the ObamaCare program (basically a giant corporate subsidy) instead of creating a single-payer health care system for everyone.

Sen. Tom Harkin, one of the co-authors of the Affordable Care Act, now thinks Democrats may have been better off not passing it at all and holding out for a better bill.

The Iowa Democrat who chairs the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, laments the complexity of legislation the Senate passed five years ago.

He wonders in hindsight whether the law was made overly complicated to satisfy the political concerns of a few Democratic centrists who have since left Congress.

“We had the power to do it in a way that would have simplified healthcare, made it more efficient and made it less costly and we didn’t do it,” Harkin told The Hill. “So I look back and say we should have either done it the correct way or not done anything at all.

"What we did is we muddled through and we got a system that is complex, convoluted, needs probably some corrections and still rewards the insurance companies extensively,” he added.

Thursday, December 04, 2014

It's 1950's All Over Again in Missouri

Raw footage of the NAACP's Journey for Justice: Ferguson to Jefferson City through Rosebud, Missouri. Local racists lined up along the highway as the peaceful NAACP march went back - you can see and hear some of what happened.

The US is going back to the 1950's when it comes to race, income inequality, foreign policy and more. 

Read more about this incident here

We Can't Breathe!

New York City last night (Photo by Ellen Davidson)

Another not so
Grand Jury
Eric Garner
"I can't breathe"
choked to death
by NYC police
caught on tape
he was unarmed
once more
cops set free
no accountability

No justice
No peace!

In the US
an African American
killed every 28 hours by cops,
security guards or vigilantes
African American 22 times
more likely to be killed by cops
than a white person

Hands Up
Don't shoot!

Militarization of local
now serve and protect
the corporate oligarchy

Shut this shit down!

Mr. Big
is cutting off our
air supply
democracy drowned
in the bathtub
the citizens
are the enemy

We can't breathe!

Indict, convict,
put the killer cops in jail
the whole damn system
is guilty as hell!

Forward together
no going back!

Wednesday, December 03, 2014

All Fracked Up

  • The red house is ours.  This photo was taken last week after a snow storm - we had more snow last night so it is fairly accurate view of our neighborhood right now.  I am in bed sick in an upstairs room looking out over this very street.  I must have caught a bug on my way home from Missouri.  A good day to stay in bed and write a blog post.
  • Obama is now preparing his nomination for new Secretary of Defense and it looks like Ashton Carter will be the pick.  Most know little about him but here is a note from renowned anti-nuclear activist Jackie Cabasso about Carter:
I am horrified that Ashton Carter has been nominated as Secretary of Defense. On June 22, 2006, Ashton Carter and William Perry co-authored an op-ed in the Washington Post calling for the US to threaten a pre-emptive strike to take out a planned North Korean missile test, even at the risk of igniting a war on the Korean Peninsula. This proposal was so extreme that it was rejected out of hand by then VP Dick Cheney in favor of diplomacy!  It should be noted that less than two weeks earlier, the US conducted a successful routine test of a Minuteman III ICBM from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California.
  • My latest interview on Iran's PressTV was about how the US is using ISIS to create more fear back in the US making Homeland Security and local police stronger as the public turns to them for "more protection" while giving up our civil liberties.  You can listen here
  • Efforts to reach a negotiated settlement with Iran over their nuclear program are being undermined in the US Senate by Republicans and Democrats alike.  Essentially carrying water for Israel (which wants to take out Iran so bad they can taste it) these members of the Senate should be questioned about whose interests they actually represent - US or Israeli?
  • Some time ago I recall reading that Iran really wants nuclear power so they can use their existing fossil fuel supplies as their primary cash cow for their national economy.  They understand that fossil fuels are on the decline and hope to extend their profit potential by using nuclear for domestic power.  The US and Israel though are not interested in a stable and thriving Iranian economy and thus continue to work hard to destabilize that nation.
  • The European Union (EU) and the US have forced Bulgaria and Serbia to deny Russia's plan to transport natural gas via pipeline (South Stream) through their countries to European markets.  They will lose lots of money as a result.  Russia turned around and made a deal with Turkey and the pipeline will pass through that nation and end in Greece for transport to markets.  The US-EU sanctions on Moscow appear to be continually harming Europe more than Russia - but that is what happens when the EU lap dog follows orders from Washington.
  • Gas prices at the pump in the US are lower than they have been for quite a while.  Americans love it but few really know why the prices have dropped.  It was ultimately a deal between the US and Saudi Arabia to lower world oil prices so that Russian and Venezuelan oil profits are reduced thus helping to destabilize those economies.  One US domestic consequence is the fracking industry is hurting because they only make money when fossil fuel prices are sky high since it takes so much capital to successfully drill for fracked gas.  You can bet there is some clamor going on inside the mahogany walled offices on Wall Street about all of this.

Sicily: Plant Seeds Not War

A hundred miles off the coast of Africa, the American military has built a base in Niscemi, Sicily. Behind the cordoned-off facility, there is a new war instrument : the Mobile User Objective System (MUOS).

According to journalist Antonio Mazzeo Due, “The MUOS embodies the many contradictions of neoliberal globalization. It kills in the name of peace and order. It destroys the climate, the environment, the land. It squanders human and financial resources.”

Sicilian activists are against the military exploitation of their land and have been organizing to fight against the MUOS. For the No MUOS resistance Sicily is a bridge of peace between Africa and Europe. 

Yesterday morning, the activist Turi Vaccaro has broken into the US military base to plant some seeds of fig trees and to meditate. The US army captured him and transferred him to the Italian police. 

This act by Turi comes after similar actions by NO MUOS activists over the course of the last year. By taking back the land, even briefly, they are resisting the neo-colonial expansion of the US military.

Tuesday, December 02, 2014

Free Speech in Germany?

Abby Martin speaks with author and journalist Max Blumenthal about his recent trip to Germany and how he was treated like an anti-Semite for his criticism of the state of Israel.

Taking a Stand

BuzzFeed's Jazmin Michole writes:

On Saturday, November 29, 2014, days after the Grand Jury Decision, Knox College Women’s Basketball Player Ariyana Smith bravely held a one woman demonstration at the Knox College v. Fontbonne University game held in Clayton, MO.

During the singing of the national anthem, Ariyana walked with her hands up towards the American flag and fell to the ground for a full 4.5 minutes to bring awareness to the inhumane killing of Micheal Brown in which his body was left to lay on a neighborhood street for 4.5 hours.

While Ariyana lay on the ground in honor of fallen black lives, she was told to move so they could start the game. Refusing to compromise the integrity of the movement, Ariyana stood after the full 4.5 minutes with her fist proudly in their air.

She has been suspended from the team indefinitely. After the suspension, her coach unjustly had her escorted out of the building by security.

Not alot of people in the gym but it showed the young woman's courage even more so.

Update:  The college has changed their decision on this suspension.  Likely public support for the young woman was strong.  In addition it is interesting to know that the game was played at  Fontbonne University located in Clayton, Missouri, the town in which the Grand Jury decision to not indict police officer Darren Wilson for his role in Brown’s death was announced. The national Veterans for Peace office (where I slept on the floor while there last week) is just a couple blocks from the County jail and courthouse in Clayton.  Here is the college reconsideration statement:

“Upon review of the situation and discussion with the team, and in recognition of the larger national context, the decision was made to reverse the suspension, and the player has been invited to resume all basketball activities,” the release said. “The college deeply appreciates the many viewpoints expressed by the women’s basketball team and their thoughtful dialogue as we sought to arrive at a resolution that considered all perspectives.”

Monday, December 01, 2014

Stand With Those Who Are Cast Aside

I am back home from Missouri and feeling happy that I went to St. Louis to stand with people in the black community.  I just told my sister (my travel agent) that this is where I got my start as an organizer - working in the black community in central Florida.  I am not afraid of black people and relate to their burning rage and exasperation with the white dominated system.  I am most happy to see a generation of young black folks who are strong and clear and doing great organizing.  And I am equally proud of the young white activists who are supporting their black brother and sisters on the ground and trying to follow and work without attempting to take control.

There are a few white liberals across the country who are saying that the peace movement should not be engaging in this issue.  "We've got to honor the legal process" they say.  They are dead wrong.

The legal process is the problem - it's a rigged game for big $$$.  Working class blacks are not really needed anymore in our society as jobs have become mechanized, computerized, robotized and outsourced.  The people are expendable.  That is how feudalism works.

We should all find ways to stand with the black, brown, red, yellow, and poor white people's of this nation who are being cast aside.

I was grateful to the four St. Louis Rams football players who took the field yesterday with their arms raised in "Don't Shoot" mode.  It showed lots of courage on their part but those guys know the real score.  Good on them for withstanding the howls from the local St. Louis cops association that is demanding a public apology.  Maybe the cops should try to show some compassion and political analysis before they go off as a mouth piece for corporate capitalism.  The cops, who are paid "to serve and protect", are revealing to the public which side they truly stand on.

Police all over the nation are being militarized in order to neutralize the public when the big clampdown comes.  These cases like Ferguson are a field test for the military - and in a way they are a field test for all of us.  We'd better learn quickly how to react to this growing boot of fascism.  The black community, like Occupy before it, is now leading the way.  I intend to keep following as best I can.

Inside Walmart - Don't Shoot

Protesters shut down a Walmart store in St. Louis South County on Sunday evening. For the fourth consecutive day, the activist group led by Bishop Derrick Robinson has shut down multiple retailers in the St. Louis area to protest the grand jury ruling on Monday to not indict white police officer Darren Wilson in the fatal shooting of unarmed African American teenager Michael Brown.

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Sunday Song