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. We must all do more to help stop this western corporate arrogance that puts the future generations lives in despair. @BruceKGagnon

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Day 17: Local paper rejects my scheduled Op-Ed

With friends yesterday at the capital in Augusta, Maine

The local Times Record newspaper, based in nearby Brunswick, yesterday rejected my scheduled Op-Ed in the paper.  Our local group called PeaceWorks has a twice a month column in the paper which I often write for.  The only rule we've ever been told was that we had to keep the issues local.  Nothing could be more local than the one I submitted.  When we asked the editor why it was rejected he said the following:

• There's no attribution to the [BIW] workers he cites, and I'm afraid we're going into hearsay territory with this;

• I'd like some attribution to "43,000 kids living in poverty in Maine" — where did that number come from?

• I haven't seen any reports that General Dynamics is "suggesting that if they don't get this $60 million then BIW might have to shut their doors and move." Does he have a source for this?

• If Bruce hasn't eaten since he went on hunger strike two weeks ago, how is he still able to demonstrate outside BIW?

My responses to his questions did not seem to change the editor's mind and he refused to run the Op-Ed.  So here it is and you can decide what you think.

The Tragedy of Corporate Welfare in Maine

By Bruce K. Gagnon

The Taxation Committee of the state legislature will likely vote ‘Ought to pass’ this week on LD 1781 [they actually delayed the bill until March 6] – the corporate give-a-way of $60 million to General Dynamics (GD).  The bill will then go to the floor of the state House and Senate for final vote.

It’s been an interesting process to watch legislators, who complained about Sen. Susan Collins supporting the Trump federal tax bill, turn around and support a similar bill (on a lesser scale) in Augusta.  And politicians wonder why citizens have become so cynical and many have given up on politics.  The idea of truth, fairness and justice seem to get squeezed out of the process in Augusta just like in Washington.

I’ve been doing a hunger strike against LD 1781 since February 12 and now about 25 others around Maine have joined me by fasting for days at a time.  During this period I’ve been going down to BIW during shift change to stand with a sign and hand out flyers.  I’ve had some very interesting conversations with workers.

Some workers I met are not in favor of this corporate welfare bill for GD.  Two told me that they were angry about the last contract that froze wages for the next four years and forced give-backs in health and pension benefits.  Other workers talked about the stock buybacks by GD – from 2009-2017 the company bought back $14.4 billion of its own stocks – driving up market share.  Buybacks benefit corporate executives like GD’s CEO who made $21 million in 2016.

On my flyer that I handed out at BIW (which I titled ‘Where is our solidarity?’) I said in part, “There are now 43,000 kids living in poverty in Maine.  There is no money to fix pot-holes in roads and our bridges are deemed ‘deficient’ by DOT.  Thousands in Maine have no health care.  In rural Maine hospitals, schools and mills are closing.  What could Maine do with $60 million that GD does not really need? ”

It’s been quite rewarding to watch the level of interest and activity across Maine around this bill.  There have been more than 80 letters to the editor published in 20 Maine media outlets.  People really do care about how their tax dollars are spent by Augusta.

The fear card is constantly played by GD suggesting that if they don’t get this $60 million then BIW might have to shut their doors and move.  Ridiculous.  BIW is a money making operation for GD and the backlog of ships continues to grow.

One important thing we’ve learned during the debate over LD 1781 is that when GD signs a contract to build ships at BIW all of their costs are covered by the tax payer funded Pentagon budget. Worker training, equipment, materials, wages, utilities and a healthy profit for the company are all included in the contract.  We also learned that GD’s taxes owed to Maine are also reimbursed by the federal taxpayers under the contract.

It is the job of the federal government to pay for the national defense.  It is not the job of state and local governments to cover those expenses.  But corporations like GD have upped the pressure on states like Maine (and Connecticut where GD is demanding $150 million) and cities like Bath that are hit up by GD for tax breaks.

Corporations are in business for one thing and that is to make maximum profit.  They don’t care where they get it as long as they succeed.  But the role of government (local, state, national) should be to strike a balance to ensure all the needs of the people are met – health care for all, fully funded education, roads, bridges, water, sewer and other public services in good repair.  In order to pay for those things government needs to ensure that tax dollars are properly spent to do the most good.  In my opinion LD 1781 violates that mandate to do good.

The public should be alarmed about this corporate welfare bill.  Most conservatives complain about welfare for poor people but remain largely silent about tax dollars given to the corporate class.  Generally liberals oppose corporate welfare but sadly most elected Democrats in the Midcoast are supporting LD 1781 because they fear they will not be reelected if they deny GD.  They’ve put their own reelection above the needs of those who presently suffer from poverty and neglect in Maine.  To me that is a real tragedy.

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Short update from Augusta by leaders of campaign opposing corporate welfare

Mark Roman (Solon), Mary Donnelly (Brunswick) and Jason Rawn (Lincolnville) give a short run down on the status of LD 1781 corporate welfare bill demanded by BIW/GD.

Video by Martha Spiess (Freeport).

Day 16: GD bill tabled again in Augusta

John Morris (left) and Peter Morgan at entrance to the House chamber in Augusta

Cynthia Howard offering flyer to Taxation Committee co-chair Sen. Dana Dow (on left)
Mary and Mike Donnelly inside the capital building
Mary handing flyer to union representative from BIW
Russell Wray (left) and Jason Rawn outside the Taxation Committee work session room
Bruce asking Taxation Committee co-chair Rep. Ryan Tipping to vote against this bad bill to give GD $60 million

Ten of us gathered this morning at the state capital in Augusta before the House and Senate members began entering their respective chambers on the third floor.  We spread out along the hallway between the two chambers with our signs and flyers that outlined our opposition to LD 1781 - the $60 million corporate welfare bill that General Dynamics is demanding from the state.

We handed out about 125 flyers to the elected officials, lobbyists and even a swarm of school kids on a tour of the capital building.  We had quite a few conversations with various members of the House and Senate as well.  Our presence was surely noticed and felt.

Just after 12:30 we all gathered in front of the Taxation Committee meeting room where their 3rd work session on this bill was scheduled for 1:00 pm.  LD 1781 was supposed to be the fourth item on the agenda but they moved it to the front of the queue and immediately said they had to table the bill for the third time due to the new language submitted by BIW/GD at the last session still not being understood.  So we will be back at the capital on Tuesday, March 6.

On that day we'll again gather at 9:30 am on the third floor between the two chambers with signs and flyers so we could use some more help on that occasion.  Then at 1:00 pm we'll go down to the first floor to Room 127 for the Taxation Committee meeting.

There are many ways to view these delays but it appears to me that BIW/GD are resisting some language changes that the legislature wants in the bill and likely negotiations are going on behind closed doors.  In the meantime the delay gives us more time to organize opposition and I can say with delight that people are working harder than ever across the state to stop this corporate give-a-way from cash-poor Maine. Our state has massive human and infrastructure needs that $60 million would go a long way in helping us deal with.

So please keep contacting your state legislators and keep writing letters to local papers.  In the meantime I remain determined to continue my hunger strike until the final votes are taken in the legislative chambers.


Photos by Regis Tremblay, Peter Woodruff and Martha Spiess

Plan now for April actions

Monday, February 26, 2018

Day 15: Zumwalt to be nuclear equipped?

This is a message from Gangjeong village on Jeju Island, South Korea where the new Zumwalt destroyers will be porting.  They are built at Bath Iron Works in Maine and might soon be equipped with nuclear-tipped first-strike attack cruise missiles.

The Nuclear Posture Review (NPR) includes a long-term plan that could put nuclear cruise missiles aboard the new Zumwalt class (DDG 1000) of stealthy Navy destroyers, according to the commander of U.S. Strategic Command.

Air Force Gen. John Hyten, StratCom chief, said the plan to develop a new, low-yield nuclear Sea-Launched Cruise Missile (SLCM, or "Slick-em") would not be limited to using ballistic submarines as the sole launch platform, as many assumed when the NPR was endorsed by Defense Secretary Jim Mattis earlier this month.

"It's important to know that the NPR, when it talks about the Sea-Launched Cruise Missile, does not say 'Submarine-Launched Cruise Missile,' " Hyten said in a Feb. 16 keynote address in Washington, D.C., at the National Defense University's Center for the Study of Weapons of Mass Destruction.

In response to questions, he said, "We want to look at a number of options -- everything from surface DDG 1000s into submarines, different types of submarines" for the SLCMs.

  • Went back to BIW at shift change time this afternoon.  Not one worker taunted me - usually some young whipper snapper does but they were all subdued.  My legs are quite shaky now - standing there for an hour is a challenge.  In the morning I leave early for the state capital in Augusta where I will stand (along with some others) between the House and Senate chambers while they are in session.  Then at 1:00 pm the Taxation Committee meets again to discuss the bill.  We will be there for that meeting as well.  Thanks to all those who are fasting alongside of me and I deeply appreciate all the kind words of solidarity from friends and family.

Aerospace industry pushes war in space

Huge profit$ to be made by moving the arms race into space.  The aerospace industry has long claimed that the arms race in space would be the largest industrial project in human history.  They salivate at the thought of the $$$$ they can make.

Sunday, February 25, 2018

Day 14: This Issue latest guest

Dear friend Mark Roman, woodworker from Solon, Maine, was my latest guest on This Issue.

We discuss, of course, the $60 million corporate give-a-way bill for General Dynamics.

Mark is one of the leaders in this statewide effort to stop LD 1781.

You can send a message to your Maine legislators by clicking here 

The show plays on 16 local public access TV stations across the state.

Sunday Song

Saturday, February 24, 2018

Which side are you on?

You pick - 43,000 kids in Maine living in poverty or more corporate welfare for a mega-rich General Dynamics - which had $3 billion in profit last year?

Who needs help the most?

Video by Regis Tremblay

Day 13: A Holy Day in Bath

We gathered at Bath Iron Works for the Lenten Vigil today at 11:30 am. They will be held weekly until March 31.

Bob Klotz rode his bike up from South Portland (took almost 4 hours) to join us and link his 350Maine climate change work with our efforts to help Mainers save $60 million.  Bob’s been a key force to spread the word about this effort into places where we had few real contacts.

Twenty-eight turned out for the vigil and ‘enjoyed’ the warm spring feeling – but also knew that February in Maine isn't supposed to look like mud season in April.

Our signs focused on the moral need for disarmament and the demand for conversion of the military industrial complex if we wish to actually give the future generations a chance for life.  Our signs had images of rapid transit, offshore wind turbines (the Gulf of Maine has the most wind in the US), and appeals to fix broken Maine.

People are excited about how things are going and the breadth of the letters to local papers that have been printed.  That has been surprising and most helpful.

My plan is to go back to BIW on Monday at 3:30 pm to vigil.

Then on Tuesday, Feb 27 some of us are going to the House & Senate Chambers (3rd floor) at the capital in Augusta at 9:30 am.  The legislature will be in session then and we intend to stand with signs opposing LD 1781.  At 1:00 pm on Feb 27 the Taxation Committee again meets to likely finalize the corporate welfare bill and send it off for final vote in the House and Senate.  We will also attend this meeting.

The legislature will also meet in chambers on March 6 & 8 at 10:00 am and I intend to be at those with my sign.

You might have noticed that we’ve had virtually no mainstream media coverage of our campaign – despite all the many letters to the editor.  My thinking is that the media feel ‘constrained’ by the power of BIW/GD so they stay in line - after all our state is a corporate colony.  But then editors allow the message to get out via our letters.  So at least we are getting something out to the public in this era of corporate media clampdown.

We’ve been trying to also think a bit more strategically – if you live in a community near one of the legislative leaders in Augusta please get some help and let them know how you all feel about LD 1781. I'd be surprised if this doesn't come to a head by the end of next week.

You’ve got to be a pain in the ass to get anything done anymore – so on we go....

You can contact your two local Maine legislators here


Photos by Regis Tremblay

Friday, February 23, 2018

Day 12: More letters in Maine papers and Solidarity from Jeju Island

I was back at BIW this afternoon during the 3:30 shift change along with Mary Beth who took this photo of me trying to hand workers a flyer.

We learned for certain today that the General Dynamics (GD) welfare bill will come back before the Taxation Committee in Augusta on Tuesday, February 27 at 1:00 pm.

I am planning to attend (need to work out a ride) and want to get there at 9:30 am to stand by the House and Senate chambers with my sign as members of the legislature come in for the 10:00 am sessions.  I hope to do that several times next week.

The Letters to Editor continue in papers across Maine.  There were two of them opposing LD 1781 in our local Times Record today and two of them in the Bangor Daily News.  It's quite amazing how steady they have been rolling into papers - now more than 70 letters to 20 Maine media outlets since we began this effort.

Inside of the packed Taxation Committee hearing room yesterday. 

A couple of days ago I printed the letter from 86-year old Suzanne Hedrick that she wrote to the sponsor of the GD give-a-way bill.  Today Suzanne sent me another note that I must share.  She wrote:

I had another one [letter printed] in the Free Press this week. And I had a chance encounter with Sen. John Martin [conservative State Senator] and some lobbyists for BIW. I told them my thoughts about the DESTROYERS and that they kill children and told them I would be arrested  at the next "christening". Take care.

Suzanne is a long-time peace activist in Maine and still drives across the state for protests and various other events.  She is an associate member of Veterans For Peace as well.  She's one of a kind.  We all respect her so much.

Finally, as I was typing this blog post I glanced at my Facebook page and there was a lovely message from Jeju Island, South Korea with several photos of folks doing their daily protest at the new Navy base in Gangjeong village.  They had one sign offering solidarity with us here in Maine who are campaigning to stop the GD corporate welfare bill.  They understand very well what we are doing here as the warships built at BIW are being sent to the Navy base in their community.  So we thank them for their solidarity and send our best wishes back to them!

Thursday, February 22, 2018

We must all lend a hand.....

Video by Regis Tremblay

General Dynamics corporate welfare bill tabled again in Augusta - temporarily

Mary Donnelly (on right) and I standing outside the Taxation Committee Work Session room before things began today in Augusta.  BIW V-P John Fitzgerald is on the far left leaning up against the wall.

The Taxation Committee today voted 8 to 4 to table the $60 million General Dynamics welfare bill again due to outstanding issues not yet clarified after Bath Iron Works V-P John Fitzgerald brought in more amended language to LD 1781.  Committee Chairman Dana Dow (R-Waldoboro) though stated that he wanted to reschedule the bill as soon as possible - likely next Tuesday.

The sponsor of the bill Rep. Jennifer DeChant (D-Bath) did not even show up for the Taxation Work Session which indicated to me that her role is essentially over.  BIW has now taken control of the bill and will be using their economic and political muscle to try to push it through the legislature - sooner rather than later.

BIW's Fitzgerald had the job today of explaining the latest changes to the committee (which is largely favorable to the bill) but most of the 12 committee members were visibly confused so they had to table the bill in order to have more time to sort things out.

Still several members of the committee raised very serious objections and concerns including those by Sen. Justin Chenette (D-Saco) who said, "We are still not being provided the full financial picture [of GD/BIW].... I'd like to request for the 5th time a clear demonstration of financial need...until that level is met I'm gonna be a no vote."

Much of the meeting was spent trying to get a handle on new language that would determine the way the corporate subsidy would be paid, new annual reporting requirements for BIW about how they spent the taxpayer funds, and definitions of things like what is a full-time worker, qualified worker, transferability of the tax subsidy if BIW was sold, and confusing concepts like acceleration and deceleration of the payment formula (depending on the amounts of workers hired at any one time) that virtually no one on the committee understood.

Rep. Janice Cooper (D-Yarmouth) made the remark that the confusing acceleration/deceleration clause "could be used to decrease employment due to automation" which BIW has been doing for years by 'mechanizing and modernizing' the operation.

In the end this further delay gives us more time to alert the public to this corporate give-a-way bill.  We urge everyone to re-contact your state legislative team in Augusta and let them know how you feel about LD 1781.

It is very likely that once it does pass the Taxation Committee (all the Republicans and several of the Democrats on the committee support the bill) it will surely be rushed to the floor of the State House and Senate for a vote without much, if any, public notice.

I will continue my hunger strike until the bill is voted up or down in Augusta.  Twenty folks from around the state showed up to oppose the bill and we had a chance to talk afterwards.

You can contact your legislators here

Photos by Regis Tremblay and Bob Klotz

Drug company interests trump the truth

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Day 10: Solidarity Hunger Strikers in Maine

People across Maine and beyond are signing up to join my hunger strike opposing the General Dynamics request for $60 million from the Maine legislature.  This corporate shakedown comes from a company that paid their top CEO $21 million last year and made $3 billion in profit.

I am planning to stay on my hunger strike until the bill, LD 1781, is voted up or down at the capital in Augusta.  If anyone wishes more information about joining this hunger strike please contact Mary Kate Small at

Thanks to everyone for their great support.  We are causing a much needed debate about corporate power all over our state which has long been a corporate colony of one form or another.

You can contact your Maine state legislator here


Solidarity hunger strikers

2/12  Bruce, Don Kimball
2/13  Bruce
2/14  Bruce, Connie Jenkins
2/15  Bruce, Connie Jenkins
2/16  Bruce, Mary Kate Small
2/17  Bruce, Mary Kate Small
2/18  Bruce
2/19  Bruce, Don Kimball, Russell Wray, Akemi
2/20  Bruce, Joseph
2/21  Bruce, Peggy Akers, Dixie Searway
2/22  Bruce, Meredith Bruskin, Peggy Akers, Cindy Piester, Ken Jones
2/23  Bruce, Connie Jenkins, Mary Beth Sullivan, Bob Klotz, Ken Jones
2/24  Bruce, Cynthia Howard, Peter Morgan, Larry Dansinger, Ken Jones
2/25  Bruce, Cynthia Howard, Ken Jones, Mary Donnelly, Mike Donnelly, Mary Beth Sullivan
2/26  Bruce, Don Kimball, Connie Jenkins, Cynthia Howard, Richard Cate, Ken Jones
2/27  Bruce, Barbara, Cynthia Howard, Ken Jones
2/28  Bruce, Cynthia Howard, Ken Jones

and on if necessary......

Against NATO in Sweden

Anti-NATO protest in Sweden where the US and NATO are expanding military operations, including space technology war fighting bases.

Sweden and Finland are under heavy pressure by Washington and Brussels to sign on to NATO.  If that does not work out because of public opposition as we see in the video, then NATO will attempt to sign them up as 'NATO partners' which still gives the US military control of that country.

You've got to fight it the whole way - don't stop when you get half the loaf.

There are some good interviews half-way into the video.

A peace friend in Finland sent me this message just today:

There has came an initiative from Norway to make a common Nordic peace statement against the militarization of the Northern Europe. The Peace Committee of Finland has joined it, which I am glad for. At the same time our government and parliament are discussing new surveillance laws which make it more easy to read people's emails and letters. So they try to create totalitarianism, I guess. (We must talk, write and think as StratCom tells us.)


Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Day 9: Emotion and reaction from BIW today

I handed out seven flyers today at the shipyard.  It was a foggy-misty day that happens when the warm air hits the frozen ground.  A day of emotion for me.

Not so many people were grumpy with me today - I think I am wearing them down.....

The best moment of my shift change vigil came when a young worker walked up to me and said he wanted to talk.  He told me he does not want to build weapon systems for war.  We talked about conversion of the shipyard to build things that would help us deal with the coming harsh reality of climate change.  He quickly noted the mist because of the warmer temperatures - "It's not supposed to be this warm this time of year," he said.  He took my flyer and I asked him where he lives.  Bath, he replied.

A retired BIW executive had an Op-Ed posted today in a couple of the bigger Maine papers declaring his support for the $60 million gift to General Dynamics from our very poor state.

I love the response tweeted by school teacher and activist Lisa Savage (above)  to media throughout the state - right on the money as they say on Wall Street.

Word got around about the Op-Ed, written by Bill Haggett, and one long-time local activist from nearby Brunswick, Selma Sternlieb, replied on email:

Here’s my story about Bill Haggett: About 40 years ago, [now US Senator] Angus King had a program on TV in which he interviewed people. One night, when I was watching, he interviewed Bill Haggett. Angus asked him to predict the future of BIW. Haggett responded something like this: "In the worst possible scenario, peace.…"  I wrote a letter to the editor of the Times Record quoting him. He called me to say, "Mrs. Sternlieb, I am not a warmonger."  I’d like to know what else you could call him.

Also today I got a message from my good buddy in Albuquerque, N.M., Bob Anderson. Bob told me that:

I took Sally Alice Thompson (94) to the ER again today with pneumonia.  She was also there for it last month.  She is tireless, at this age and opening her house to political asylum seekers and doing demos.  The VFP chapter is named for her here.  She is like our mother.  I told her of your hunger strike and why and she said 'well I might as well join Bruce' — but she was in the ER bed trying to breathe.  I told her to get well first and then she could do a sympathy strike with you.  I think knowing what you are doing made her a little more determined to get well soon...
So my heart was touched alot today.  There is more going on than we realize across Maine.  I'm certain that GD did not want to have to engage in debate and a public defense of their corporate welfare bill.  They wanted it to slide quietly to passage without anyone knowing about it.  But now nearly two months later the bill is in amended form (still no damn good) in committee with another work session on February 22 at the capital in Augusta.  There have been more than 65 Op-Eds, letters and radio shows on 20 different Maine media outlets all critical of the bill.

As far as I know Mr. Haggett's piece today was the first we've seen speaking in favor of the corporate subsidy bill.  Likely BIW/GD determined that they needed to call on one of the old whigs to declare the virtues of the shipyard and up the fear ante about possible closure.  He knows the script quite well, they've been recycling it for years.

In the end GD is having to work pretty hard for their welfare check from Maine taxpayers.


Message from grandmother to BIW corporate welfare bill sponsor

Suzanne Hedrick is the woman in brown coat in the middle of the photo next to man in green coat.  She sent this letter today to Rep. Jennifer DeChant (D-Bath) who is the lead sponsor of LD 1781 to give BIW $60 million in corporate welfare.  

Dear Ms. DeChant,

I am 86 years old and have a deep concern for children. I am a retired school teacher and am heartsick over the massacre of children at a high school in Florida.

I am also concerned by the massacre of children by US drones, bombs, and other weapons of war. You are a strong supporter of BIW which makes DESTROYERS which, in fact, destroy the lives of children in many parts of the world. As woman to woman, I must say I find it abhorrent that a woman would give whole hearted support to weapons of mass destruction such as DESTROYERS.

The name of these ships alone should convey to you just what their purpose is. We have children in Maine who go hungry every day. Many lack affordable health care and adequate housing.

A USS Zumwalt costs at least $4 billion to build. That is taxpayer money going for destruction and not for the desperate needs of people here in Maine. A lead article in today's Bangor Daily News, "Already struggling to pay minimum wage, homes for people with disabilities face cuts July 1."

Maine's tax payers should expect our legislators to work for the common good of all its people.

Building DESTROYERS and giving billion dollar weapon manufacturers millions of dollars in tax breaks hardly contributes to the common good.

Please, for once, think of the children who are targets of Maine's DESTROYERS.

Suzanne Hedrick
Nobleboro, Maine

Who has all the military bases?

Monday, February 19, 2018

Day 8: Democrats afraid won't be reelected if reject GD welfare bill

  • I got a call today from a friend who had spoken to one of LD 1781 sponsors - the Maine bill to give up to $60 million in corporate welfare to General Dynamics (GD).  The friend told me the politician, a Democrat, was afraid she would not be reelected if she did not support the bill.  This was the same Democrat who had tweeted against Maine Sen. Susan Collins (Republican) when she supported Trump's corporate tax bill that reduced the federal tax rate of GD to 19%.  So in this case the Democrat state senator rationalizes her way out of this moral dilemma by considering her reelection the most important issue - greater than the reality of 43,000 kids in Maine living in poverty or roads and bridges falling apart.  Why the hell sign up for the job if you are not going to vote for what is right?

  • I went down to the shipyard today at 3:30 pm but the place was mostly shut down due to the Presidents' Day holiday.  I'll be back there again tomorrow at 3:30 pm.  I am going to skip the noon hour vigiling that I did all last week due to my energy beginning to fade.  Today was the hardest day yet for me.  I'm not much of a nap taker normally but this afternoon I fell out for 30 minutes.

  • While I was down at the shipyard I did see some people.  One guy gave me the middle finger and then made a gun out of his fingers and repeatedly shot me as he drove away.  But soon after that another worker walked right up to me and I asked him if he wanted a flyer.  He eagerly took it and said he was opposed to the GD welfare bill.  He said most workers don't like GD - primarily after how they were treated in their last contract.  He said the new contract has a freeze on raises for the next four years, there were cuts in their health care and retirement packages as well as other benefits.

  • So we see GD squeezing the workers while at the same time increasing executive compensation packages and doing major buybacks of their own stocks.  Just last week GD spent $6.8 billion in cash to buy an IT company that does military contracting.  So GD is partly able to spend like that after they have taken money from the workers and from states like Maine, Rhode Island, Connecticut and Kentucky where the politicians are too 'afraid' to say no.

  • I want to thank two folks for their extraordinary efforts in this campaign.  Mary Kate Small (Camden) has sent a letter all over Maine inviting people to join the hunger strike and she is now keeping a log.  She reports that every day is covered through March 17 with someone in Maine joining the hunger strike.  I know of at least three that were fasting in solidarity today. Quite amazing.  Also thanks to Bob Klotz (South Portland) who is a leader in the climate change group 350 Maine for his daily efforts to build this campaign.  Today he put up an online petition that you can sign here


Sunday, February 18, 2018

Day 7: Update video by Regis Tremblay

Thanks Regis and all the peeps out there working to save Mainers $60 million.

You can reach your Maine member of the state legislature here 

Please sign the petition that Bob Klotz from South Portland has started to oppose GD corporate welfare in Maine

The Legislature, GD/BIW Need to Wake Up — Maine People Are Not Stupid

By Orlando E. Delogu

Most Maine people know that GD/BIW does not need another $60 million dollars of taxpayer’s money to keep the doors open.  They are scamming the Legislature and the public with veiled threats of closure and job loss if this subsidy is not provided. In fact GD/BIW is one of the wealthiest corporations in America. 

Here are 10 reasons all of which suggest that this latest round of corporate welfare is unwarranted. Badgering the state for another $60 million is an abuse of corporate power; giving in to this demand is legislative dereliction of duty—a duty owed to Maine taxpayers. 

1. Past and ongoing state tax subsidies to GD/BIW total more than $220 million. Maine taxpayers have already done enough for this corporate entity.

2. GD/BIW (on the Fortune 500 list) is the 90th largest corporation in the nation. In FY 2017 alone GD/BIW generated $31 Billion in revenues (five times Maine’s annual budget) and $3 Billion in profits. This rate of profitability goes back over a decade. Given this level of wealth, squeezing Maine for another $60 million cannot be justified on economic grounds.

3. The CEO of GD/BIW is paid $21 million annually; four other employees in the corporate hierarchy annually earn a combined total of $20 million. At public hearings on LD 1781, BIW’s corporate leadership refused to disclose their levels of annual compensation—but they had no qualms asking Maine for $60 million scarce tax dollars.   

4.  Beyond enriching management, the extraordinary level of GD/BIW profitability has in recent years allowed $12.9 Billion to be returned to shareholders in the form of stock buybacks.  They currently have $2.7 Billion of cash on hand.  The assertion that they need another $60 million from Maine taxpayers is ludicrous.

5. The claim that GD/BIW is in competition with the Ingalls yard in Mississippi for navy contracts is also ludicrous.  Both yards make this argument in their respective states in order to extort legislative subsidies; these subsidies inflate corporate profits at the expense of taxpayers.  The fact is the navy, for strategic purposes, needs/wants both of these yards to succeed.  For decades it has almost evenly divided shipbuilding contracts between these two yards and it builds into ship contracts both worker training programs and generous profit margins.  

6. The veiled threat that the failure to grant the requested $60 million will cause GD/BIW to rethink its presence in Maine is pure posturing.  Recently six vessels were simultaneously under various phases of construction; BIW has a nearly ten-year backlog of work; they have over $500 million dollars invested in the present plant, and a trained workforce in place. No corporate entity in their right mind walks away from a profit-making engine of this size and continuing potential.

7. The recently passed GOP tax bill reducing the corporate tax rate from 35% to 21% pours even more money into GD/BIW’s retained earnings—but they still want $60 million from Maine taxpayers.

8. The recently passed budget bill staving off a government shutdown removed long-standing caps on defense spending. The President/Congress is committed to raising this spending sharply. Given events in Southeast Asia navy procurement of next-generation vessels will certainly increase. BIW will get its share of this spending; it does not need $60 million dollars from Maine taxpayers.  

9. To further enhance profit margins, GD/BIW recently acquired CSRA Inc., one of the largest systems research and information technology companies in the nation, for $9.6 Billion. The Departments of Defense and Homeland Security are CSRA’s biggest customers—this completed deal is further evidence that GD/BIW does not need $60 million from Maine taxpayers.  

10.  Finally, the proposed amendment to LD 1781 breaking it into two $30 million dollar subsidies, each running 10 years, is a total sham.  LD 1781’s employment requirements are low and will be readily met. And the $100 million of so-called “new major investment” is defined so broadly that it too will be readily met in the normal course of building the ships already contracted for, or that will be contracted for, as navy defense budgets increase. The present BIW facility will not be altered significantly.       

In short, Maine people understand most of the above points; so too do most members of the Legislature. We know that $60 million is “chump change” for GD/BIW—but for the people of Maine this is real money needed to address real needs outlined daily in newspapers across the state—the opioid crisis, underfunded schools, dangerous roads, funding health insurance expansion, and more. 

Maine is a poor state; the needs of its people should count for more than marginally increasing profits for one of the wealthiest corporations in America. Shame on GD/BIW for insisting on this $60 million dollar subsidy. If it capitulates to this demand, shame on the Legislature.
~ Orlando Delogu is emeritus professor of law at the University of Southern Maine and specializes in government relations and tax policy.  He also writes a regular column for The Forecaster.

Sunday Song

Saturday, February 17, 2018

Day 6: Maine can't afford to give $30 million to GD/BIW either!

Here are a few thoughts I have about the amendments offered to LD 1781 by Rep. Jennifer DeChant (written by BIW and lawyers at Preti Flaherty):

  • The amended bill would reduce the subsidy amount from Maine from $60 mil to $30 mil over 10 years.  But the kicker is that BIW/GD would then renew for another $30 mil for a 2nd 10-year period.  So it’s just an accounting trick to still give the same $60 mil over 20 years.  Do they think we are that stupid?  Answer is yes they do.
  • Don’t give them $30 million either – Maine can’t afford $30 mil anymore than it could afford $60 mil.  Listen to the people – we are being squeezed from every end. 
  • GD pays state taxes for BIW.  They add the tax amount to their contract with the Navy reimbursing those costs.  It’s a racket.
  • GD still refuses to show the real need – they’ve been asked by members of the Taxation Committee to go into closed-door confidential session and look at the books.  BIW/GD refuses.  Who needs this money more – 43,000 children living in poverty in Maine or GD?
  • Adding requirements for end of year reports to the state?  A nice touch to the bill, would be nice if BIW had been willing to disclose how money was spent and how many jobs were created in the years since 1997 – but they were not.  And the state does not have a functioning program to thoroughly review and contest BIW’s annual reports.  It is a sham and a sop to ‘compromise’.
My recommendation is to continue to oppose the bill.  Stay the course – full speed ahead to defeat LD 1781.  Keep the letters to local papers going.  As best I can tell so far we’ve had opposing views aired at least 63 times in 20 different Maine media outlets since this campaign began.

My hunger strike enters Day 6 and we had the first Lenten vigil for disarmament at BIW this morning.  The vigils will continue every Saturday through March 31, for an hour starting at 11:30 am.

We will be at the next Taxation Committee Work Session at the State House (room 127) in Augusta on February 22 at 1:00 pm.

Happy Chinese New Year to all.


Friday, February 16, 2018

Day 5: Words from some workers at BIW

It was a dreary day weather wise at BIW during the noon hour but the action was swift, furious and very exciting.

I was joined by Blob Klotz from South Portland (along with his dog who had a sign on reading 'Dogs against corporate welfare!).  Bob is a leading climate change activist in the state with 350 Maine.

We walked down toward the south end of the shipyard where the Navy crews are HQed.  Once the ships are near complete they come to start to learn how to operate them.  So in addition to BIW workers we were able to hand out flyers and talk with the sailors.

Best of all were conversations I had with three BIW workers.  One told me, "Friggin GD don't need no more damn money."  A woman said, "I'm with you.  Fuck GD."

The most interesting of all was my conversation with a worker who told me not to continue with the hunger strike.  Nodding his head toward the river he said, "Don't hurt yourself. They ain't worth it man.  You would not believe all of the waste and fraud going on in there."  I asked him to define the word 'fraud'.  He replied, "Getting paid for doing the same thing twice.  I see all kinds of shit."

The author of LD 1781 is Rep. Jennifer DeChant (D-Bath) and today several papers across Maine ran an Op-Ed she wrote trying to sell her amended corporate welfare bill.  Responding to obvious and growing opposition, she offers a compromise of $30 million instead of $60 million for the mega-weapons corporation in 10 years rather than 20.  But the kicker is that at the end of 10 years General Dynamics could come back in and ask for a renewal.  By then most of us will be dead and gone.

We should be confident that our opposition is indeed being felt in the halls of the state capital in Augusta.  Now is not the time to relax.  Now is the time to step up our calls and emails to our local legislators and tell them - NO $$$$ for General Dynamics.  They don't need it but the state of Maine surely does.

You can contact your Maine state legislators by clicking here

Don't wait - do it today.


Why couldn't we do this at Bath Iron Works?

The Gulf of Maine has the most wind in the U.S.

Instead of endless war, which is the biggest contributor to greenhouse gases and climate change, we could be doing something else and still create jobs for Maine workers.  But we must collectively demand this change.


Thursday, February 15, 2018

A short film about a Global Network protest

The Poster, a short film created by W. B. Park for the Global Network in 2000.  He put out word in a Central Florida magazine for professional actors and film people who would volunteer to make this short film.

Will is a great artist who illustrated the work of the Florida Coalition for Peace & Justice when I worked there (1983-1998) and the Global Network since the mid-1980's.  In our latest Space Alert newspaper he has two illustrations.

Enjoy this short film about a woman who gets a flyer about a protest at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida and decides she wants to make a poster and come along.


Day 4: Good reception at the shipyard

             Some of the folks who gathered in front of BIW administration building yesterday during noon time

I went down to the shipyard today from noon to 1:00 pm and stood by a walk way that workers use to cross the street to go downtown to buy their lunches.  It was a great spot as well over 100 men and women passed me by.  I handed out 17 flyers which was quite good.

Three people stopped to talk to me - one man said, "You've got more support in here than you know."  Another man joked saying he was 'worried about Phoebe' (the CEO of General Dynamics who made $21 million last year and was quoted as being 'happy' after Trump's corporate tax bill dropped GD's tax rate to 19%).  He went on to recall how in their last union contract with the company they got squeezed hard.

Quite a few folks nodded, waved or made friendly eye contact unlike some who avoided looking at me at all.  One young woman, walking along with several other workers, reached out and took a flyer saying, "Give me one, I don't care."  It made me wonder just what she was referring to.

Mostly I felt very good about the overall reception and I tried to say hello to everyone that walked by.  Many responded in a kind way with 'good luck' or 'take care'.  It was a very rewarding experience.

The workers at BIW are caught between a rock and a hard place.  They appreciate the good paying job - especially considering that there are few opportunities in Maine for union wages and benefits - even though some of these benefits are now being whittled away.  Many travel a long way to work - a guy yesterday at quitting time told me he comes in a van with others from Rockland - a bit more than an hour drive away each way.

But many of the workers have issues with GD - a company that does not really care about the workers or the state of Maine.  BIW is just a tool for GD's corporate profits and they could theoretically sell BIW at any point - something everyone in Maine fears.  But that is not likely to happen anytime soon as the contracts for war ships keep rolling into BIW.

The $60 million GD is requesting from Maine is peanuts to this mega-weapons corporation.  They are also hitting up Connecticut for $150 million (also chump change to them) but GD does it because they can.  The corporate ethos is to make money - any way possible.  As one worker said to me as he was walking out during the afternoon shift change, "Hey those poor executives have to eat you know."

My goal for being down at BIW everyday during this hunger strike is obviously to ensure they know about our statewide campaign to resist the GD corporate subsidy.  But I also want to put a human face on our effort and I feel that slowly each day that is happening in a good way.


Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Message from the street in Bath

Thanks to Regis Tremblay....

Day 3: BIW with members of the band

Fifteen folks turned out today at noon at Bath Iron Works (BIW) across from the administration building.  This was the Ash Wednesday vigil that has been organized here for many years by the Smilin' Trees Disarmament Farm from Hope, Maine.  They are a Catholic Worker community that will also sponsor the Lenten vigils, held every Saturday from February 17 to March 31.  We'll always gather at the same spot on Washington Street from 11:30 am to 12:30.

At the end of each of these vigils we also have a closing circle to share our concerns about others who are not with us or who suffer around the world from the affects of war.

Today after most folks had left five of us remained and were talking.  BIW V-P John Fitzgerald, point man for the General Dynamics request for the increasingly controversial $60 million in corporate welfare, was entering the building and stopped to talk with us.  We had a friendly and frank discussion with him on the steps of the administration building.

During that discussion we talked some about the vision (and true difficulties) of converting BIW (and the entire military industrial complex) to sustainable and needed products and technologies.  Fitzgerald's primary goal is to keep the money flowing that will employee over 5,000 workers at the shipyard.

We reminded him that we didn't want to close the yard down.  When we protest at BIW we are not against the workers.  We are for conversion.

Back at 3:30 today for the shift change - massive traffic jam happens so the workers get a good look at my sign.  So far in three days I've handed out 40 flyers.  Three Op-eds and letters in two different papers today - Bangor Daily News and Times Record in Brunswick. Keep the letters coming please, they are having impact.  I called the Taxation Committee in Augusta today and there is no word on when the next Work Session of the committee will be held.  Likely won't get much warning.  We understand there is alot of talk in the hallways of the state capital about all of this.

Admittedly BIW about 7 years ago tried to link up with a Norwegian company that builds offshore wind turbines.  That would have created a process of diversification that we were very happy to hear about at the time.  Our current right-wing Gov. LePage killed the deal.

I told Fitzgerald that our strategy was two-fold:

  1. We have been working for years to get the public to understand that unless we convert the military machine (and much else of fossil fuel dependent America) then our hopes to offer a real chance of survival to the future generations will be dead in the water due to the coming ravages of climate change.  We need the public to demand a change now.
  2. Once this demand builds within the public consciousness we need to then increase our work on Congress to get them to support this life saving change in our industrial system.
But unless we do #1 above then the chances for #2 will never happen.  We each should work in our bio-region to bring these changes forward.  BIW happens to be in my bio region.  (See the local PeaceWorks bi-weekly Op-Ed in our paper today here.)

It is a tough fight - one of the hardest to imagine - and it can be a lonely climb sometimes.  But right now we've got a very powerful band playing this tune all across the state of Maine.  This is what it takes.

We are fighting for all the children - even the kids of those who work at BIW. 


Pentagon: 'We've got to ramp it up'

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Hunger Strike Day 2: What are our priorities?

I was back out at BIW today at noon and again at 3:30 pm.  Some of the workers are now beginning to joke with me about being hungry so I replied, "Yeah I am hungry for justice.  I'm hungry for some solidarity."

At 4:30 filmmaker Regis Trembly and I were on WERU alternative radio (north of here) for half an hour.  Amy Browne began her show with some of the audio that Regis captured during the recent Taxation Committee Public Hearing on LD 1781 - the bill to give General Dynamics $60 million in corporate welfare.  She played 30 minutes of that and then had Regis and I give updates on everything including my hunger strike.

Its very exciting to see that virtually everyday there are at least one or more Letters to Editor or Op-Eds in some Maine newspaper.  Today there was one in the Portland Press Herald and in the Brunswick Times Record.  So folks are doing a great job of keeping the message in front of the public.  You can't expect people to do something about this potential waste of state resources unless they know about it.  So far there have been more than 40 letters printed in 16 papers across the state.

I'll be back out at BIW tomorrow at noon and 3:30.  I am drinking lots of water with a bit of lemon juice.  I felt serene during most of the day.  I've done two 14-day hunger strikes before in solidarity with others so I have a good idea what to expect.  I've put no time limit on this one - it all really depends on the status of LD 1781 and how the public opposition is building.  So I am keeping an open mind.

Thanks to all who are doing things to help.  I know that VFP member Don Kimball down in Portland is talking about the corporate welfare bill tonight on his radio show on WMPG.


Monday, February 12, 2018

Day 1 updates from Bath

  • The first day of the hunger strike and vigil at BIW went quite well.  Mary Beth, Peter Morgan and Jason Rawn joined the vigil so we were able to cover two key places along Washington Street.  It was cold out there - and always more wind down along the river.
  • We were there at noon and then again during shift change at 3:30 pm.  When they blow the whistle at 3:30 guys come rushing out and I stood in the middle of the parking lot entrance and offered flyers.  One guy walked by me real close and half-whispered, "I agree with you." We handed out about 20 flyers which ain't bad on the first day out.  There is alot of peer pressure not to take a flyer.
  • The first thing I did when I arrived at the shipyard (where destroyers are built for the Navy and are outfitted with 'missile defense' systems being used to encircle China and Russia) was to go to the Machinists Union Hall and handed two flyers to a couple of guys sitting in a meeting.  I told them what I was doing and that the protest was not aimed at them.  I explained it was about the General Dynamics (GD) demand for $60 million from our cash-strapped state.  Before I could finish the sentence one of them reached across his desk and held up a copy of The Bollard with its front page story entitled Ship of Fools: Tax Breaks for BIW, World War III for us.  That pretty much said it all.
  • The Bollard is a very popular free monthly arts, culture and politics magazine out of Portland.  Chris Busby is the editor and while standing at the shipyard during the noon hour he came and snapped the photo above.  He told us that he does not usually do updates on stories in between issues but this time he was going to because he's been finding so much interest in the story.  You can see his update, posted today, here.
  • Busby also told us about a poll he ran across at the Maine Biz (a business paper) web site that asked readers their opinion on GD's $60 million.  Those opposed to LD 1781 in Augusta came out on top at 55%.  Not bad from a business friendly audience.
  • Another exciting thing today was an email from a woman I don't know from Bridgton, Maine who just had a letter published in her local paper opposing corporate welfare for GD.  Bridgton is way out in western Maine where we have no contacts so I take this as a good sign that word is spreading.  We need more of that if we hope to help the people of Maine save $60 million from a hugely wealthy corporation that cares nothing about our poor state.
  • One last bit of news today about GD.  It was announced by Reuters news service that "U.S. defense contractor General Dynamics Corp said on Monday it would buy CSRA Inc, a smaller provider of government services for about $6.8 billion, to expand the services it offers to the U.S. Department of Defense."  Lots of extra cash laying around there at GD HQ.....they don't need $60 million from Maine.
  • Give us some help please.

Message from Okinawa peace leader - please sign the petition

Hirosi leading the singing outside US Marine base Camp Schwab in Okinawa where a 13-year daily protest continues against base expansion that will destroy pristine Oura Bay

Dear Members of the Coalition Against U.S. Foreign Military Bases,

I am Hiroji Yamashiro, the Chairman of the Okinawa Peace Action Center.  As a result of my involvement in the protest movement opposing new U.S. military base construction in Henoko and Takae in Okinawa, I was arrested and detained by the Japanese police and am in the middle of a legal battle right now. 

On February 6, the two major local newspapers in Okinawa published substantial articles reporting that the Coalition Against U.S. Foreign Military Bases launched an international e-petition campaign demanding that all charges against me and my 2 co-defendants be dropped and that all U.S. military bases be removed from Okinawa. I heard that even in the Tokyo metropolitan area, a few national newspapers including Tokyo Shimbun provided similar coverage. I feel deeply delighted and encouraged to read that people from more than 20 countries around the world have already signed the petition (within the only first 1 or 2 days) and that the Coalition continues to be energetically involved in this campaign. I am sorry for not being able to write this sooner but I would like to express my heart-felt appreciation. At the same time, I would like to let you know that your powerful support reaffirmed my determination to keep fighting through the trial with dignity. I thank you so very much. 

I do believe that this petition will put huge pressure on the Japanese government authorities, including prosecutors and the Department of Defense, who are eager to set me up as a wicked criminal. Although the Japanese government would not listen to domestic public opinion at all, we know that they are standing in a vulnerable position where they cannot ignore and refuse to react against international public opinion. It is a well known fact that supporting actions by international human rights organizations, including IMADR (International Movement Against All Forms of Discrimination and Racism) and Amnesty International, served as the inciting cause of a reconsideration by the prosecutors and Japanese government authorities, who had refused the defense counsel’s demand for our release over and over again. I have no doubt that your international move initiating this e-petition will have a powerful effect on the Japanese prosecutors and authorities, and they will learn they cannot do whatever they like. I thank you very much again for this. 

I also express my deepest appreciation to the Coalition Against U.S. Foreign Military Bases for the invitation to participate in your first-ever conference which was held in Baltimore on January 12th.  Although I was extremely delighted by your invitation, unfortunately I could not visit Baltimore, as I was already booked for a talk event in Tokyo on that day, in addition to some other complexities. However, through the newspaper reports, I learned that my video message for people in America, which was shot in front of the Kadena Air Force Base gate, was screened at the conference, and that the audience’s warm reaction to the video led to the e-petition campaign. I must say, I was very impressed with the way that the video came out.  I only can imagine that the video shooting and editing, including adding English subtitles, was not a simple job, and I am very grateful to everyone who was involved in the video filming and producing. I will also never forget the moment when I met face-to-face with the members of Veterans for Peace and exchanged our passions. I am certain that the creative production skill of the VFP members in addition to the organizational involvement of VFP made the video come out as a lively and impressive work.

Finally, I would like to express my most sincere gratitude to everyone in the U.S. who has encouraged me with his or her support. I hope that we will win a victory on the trial and that our protest movements will work closely together going forward.

Hiroji Yamashiro February 8, 2018

~ You can sign the petition here

Hunger Strike Day 1: Messages from the band

  • As a sign of solidarity with those in need across our state, I will fast 2 days a week, on Mondays and Fridays, during the Hunger Strike you are undertaking.  I will also offer up my Lenten observances for the cause of stopping  LD 1781.     ~ Connie Jenkins, Orono, Maine

  • I choose to be in the trumpet section!  ~ Patricia (Pasha) Warren Huntington, Bath, Maine

  • I'll fast on the 12th with you. Good luck with it!   ~ Don Kimball, South Portland, Maine

  • I wish I was living closer to Bath so I could join you in your BIW vigil/flyering. Having been sick for so much of the last few months, since returning from Okinawa, I need to try to regain some strength in my immune system, so I can’t join you for the entire time of your open-ended hunger strike, but I will be joining you for a part of it. In Solidarity.   ~ Russell Wray, Hancock, Maine

  • I like the pan-pipes!  ~ Eric Herter, Brunswick, Maine

  • We admire you but we are a little worried at this news. I think turning your anger and frustration to fuel a hunger strike will inspire others.   ~ Lisa Savage, Solon, Maine

  • I wish Bruce the best with his hunger strike. I hope he has some advice as to how to do such a strike. Keep me up to date. The Smedleys [VFP chapter in Boston] have a meeting on Monday. I will let them know.  ~ Pat Scanlon, Andover, Massachusetts

  • Thank you, Bruce  ~ Alice Bolstridge, Presque Isle, Maine

  • I’m definitely a big drum guy. Or guitar. Or harmonica!  ~ Bob Klotz, South Portland, Maine

  • I also wish you strength and good health in the hunger strike.  ~ Lorry Fleming, Bath, Maine

  • I will commit to a modified fast and will be standing next to you in spirit.  ~ Christine DeTroy, Brunswick, Maine
  • Thank you for your amazing steady work.  ~ Nick Baker, Veazie, Maine
  • Any help you need with signage let me know.   ~ Brown Lethem, Bath, Maine

  • I have contacted both my Senator (R) and Representative (D) a couple of times about this disgraceful bill. Thanks for keeping me and others in the loop. I'll be with you in spirit outside BIW.  ~ Peter Garrett, Winslow, Maine

  • Where is our solidarity?  That's an excellent question.  I find it difficult to get a response to a basic hello.  Anything more sophisticated than that….????  ~ Joe Ciarrocca, Brunswick, Maine

  • I'll pile on soon. Our next-door neighbor, a vigorous widow, is talking up the matter with her circle -- I'll urge her to write a letter to editor also. Fortunately, our legislator is firmly opposed to the bill.  ~ John Peck, Brunswick, Maine

  • With you Bro! [and he shaved his head in solidarity]  ~ Regis Tremblay, Brunswick, Maine

  • I will be returning to live in the US with my family later this year and hope to join you someday soon on the street.  ~ Jason Von Meding, Newcastle, New South Wales, Australia

  • BIW must be very worried about your "one man band", Bruce but you and I both know there are a lot more members to your group. Make 'em dance!  ~ Joyce Katzberg, Warren, Rhode Island

  • I agree 100% will do my best to contact my representatives.  ~ David Fortier, Biddeford, Maine

  • A man with justice on his mind.  ~ Mark Roman, Solon, Maine

  • Maybe those workers who walk right past you will be deeply affected by your action (reminds me of something at some US Airbase some time ago...). Take care of yourself, keep warm, please stay solid in your solidarity.  ~ Jill Gough, Ceredigion, Wales
  •  Best wishes for the hunger strike - take care of yourself, thinking of you!  ~ Dave Webb, Leeds, England