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 26, 2018

Water should not be for profit$

Nestle owns Poland Springs water company here in Maine.  It's the same story here - corporate domination of water is not acceptable.

For Russia, escalation is the enemy

Syria has won the war. Israeli missiles change nothing

The war against foreign-backed terrorist in Syria is all but over. Russia understands this – and has acted accordingly
By Edward Slavsquat

Authoritative and well-respected commentators on Russia and Syria are up-in-arms: Moscow has betrayed Damascus and Tehran by allowing the United States and Israel to strike Syria with impunity. To add insult to injury, Benjamin Netanyahu was Vladimir Putin’s guest at the Victory Day parade in Moscow on May 9. This can mean only one thing, or so we’ve been told: The Russians are two-faced and spineless, Putin is weak and indecisive – and so forth.

From my perch here in Moscow – and as someone who works in Russian media – I must confess that I don’t share the same grim interpretation of recent events. Incidentally, neither does Bashar Assad – and if anyone should feel betrayed by Russia’s lack of S-400-launching, or S-300-providing, or Netanyahu’s apostate presence on Red Square, it should probably be Syria’s president. After all, the Americans and Israelis are dreaming to put Assad’s head on a pike. Surely, Assad must feel at least a little bit betrayed by Russia?

Maybe. But in an interview conducted in the aftermath of Israel’s missile strikes against “Iranian” targets in Syria earlier this month, Assad used a different word to describe Moscow’s posturing: Wise.

Here’s the exchange:

               Q: Are you worried about a third world war starting here in Syria? I mean, you have the Israelis hitting the Iranians here in your own country. You have the Russians, you have the Americans. Are you concerned about that possibility?

Assad: No, for one reason: Because fortunately, you have a wise leadership in Russia, and they know that the agenda of the deep state in the United States is to create a conflict.

               Since Trump’s campaign, the main agenda was against Russia, create a conflict with Russia, humiliate Russia, undermine Russia, and so on. And we’re still in the same process under different titles or by different means. Because of the wisdom of the Russians, we can avoid this … And I hope we don’t see any direct conflict between these superpowers, because that is where things are going to get out of control for the rest of the world.

As for Moscow’s view on the brewing conflict between Iran/Hezbollah and Israel, I will defer to Russian statesman Konstantin Kosachev, who chairs the Federation Council’s International Affairs Committee:

            We are absolutely categorically against the strengthening of military activity in this area and   not only because our troops are now there. Any escalation would put an additional burden on the shoulders of the Syrian people (as well as everyone else in the region), will lead to new victims, and will hardly bring notable dividends to any of the sides. Only extremists (there are already media reports that militants tried to exploit the Israeli missile attacks and capture Syrian army positions near the city of Al-Ba’ath in the Golan Heights) and opponents of peace in the Middle East can win.

He then sums up Moscow’s position quite elegantly: “For Russia there is no enemy in the Iranian-Israeli confrontation, for the enemy is the confrontation itself.”

Not long ago I interviewed a Duma deputy about Russia’s stance on the current precarious situations in Syria and East Ukraine. He invoked a common saying here in Russia: “A bad peace is better than a good war.”

The Russian military is not an errand boy tasked with righting all the wrongs in the Middle East – however unjust and intolerable they may be. Moscow has only one objective in Syria: To end the conflict and restore regional stability. When necessary, this goal has been pursued through military means. But de-escalation is the goal, and Moscow has shown again and again that it prefers ceasefires and humanitarian corridors over air strikes. The reason for this is plain: Protracted war is destabilizing. So is needlessly escalating a war against foreign-backed jihadists that has been all but won.

Although your Facebook acquaintances may suggest otherwise, the United States, Israel, Saudi Arabia, space lizards, whoever – none of these foreign actors are currently in a position to fundamentally change the reality on the ground in Syria. Russia realizes this. So does Assad.

Russia will always have the threat of S-300 deliveries to Syria as a major bargaining chip. Why up the ante now? Is the occasional Israeli missile strike – although illegal and abhorrent – turning the tide of the war? Nein.

If we are to believe recent media reports, Russia has repeatedly given the Syrian military a heads-up about impending Israeli attacks inside Syria. The very fact that Israel has reportedly agreed to inform Russia ahead of such strikes shows that Tel Aviv understands that Moscow is showing restraint, not weakness, in Syria. If Israeli strikes ever pose an existential threat to Syria, rest assured that Russia will act accordingly.

But if you think that Russia is interested in helping Syria settle old scores with Israel – buckle up for a lifetime of disappointment. Even indirectly supporting Syria in a conflict against Israel would be like pouring water on grease fire that was nearly contained. Just … why? What purpose would it serve?

Yes, Netanyahu was Putin’s guest at the Victory Day parade; and yes, on a day which commemorates the 25 million Russians who died during the Great Patriotic War, the Israeli prime minister really did suggest that Iran is a modern-day Nazi Germany.

But are we really so thin-skinned? I sometimes wonder if westerners – Americans in particular – have forgotten what diplomacy looks like, and what it entails. If diplomacy always produced good optics for domestic or international consumption, more people would be doing it.

Critics will characterize Putin’s posturing as naive, and point out that the United States and Israel are hell-bent on prolonging and expanding the conflict. Okay, but doesn’t this mean that escalating the conflict would be a massive Hanukah present to Israel? Since when was the anti-war Left (or Right) so eager to “get it on”? To its credit, Russia isn’t rubbing its nipples in hot anticipation of a Middle East apocalypse. If war is inevitable – so be it. But in the meantime, we should be rooting for a bad peace – not a good war.

To those still fantasizing about Russian anti-air systems vaporizing US and Israeli jets over Syria: Let’s hope your wet dream never comes true – because it would snatch certain defeat from the jaws of imperfect victory.

Edward Slavsquat is an American journalist living in Moscow. He works for a Russian media outlet.

Friday, May 25, 2018

Trump pulls out....for now

Listen to "Trump Blows Up Summit with Kim as North Korea Blows Up Its Nuclear Site" on Spreaker.

I love this show 'Loud and Clear'.  Brian Becker and John Kiriakou (excellent hosts) are joined by Hyun Lee, a member of the Solidarity Committee for Democracy and Peace in Korea and writer for, and Steve Gowans, a journalist and author of “Washington’s Long War on Syria.”

Hyun Lee is a good friend and long-time Korean-American activist.  She's one of the most articulate people around on this important subject.

Trump once again reveals to the world his unpredictability and instability as he pulls out of the planned June 12 talks with North Korea.  As it turns out North Korea yesterday brought international journalists to a series of explosions at its Punggye-ri site in the mountainous north of the country, where it has previously tested their nuclear weapons.

The destruction included two tunnels, a barracks and observation towers, according to South Korea's Yonhap, which said that American, British, Chinese and Russian journalists were all invited.

I've long felt that the hard-right, now in control of US foreign policy, would not ultimately allow this North Korea-US peace effort to flourish.  Maybe history will prove me wrong - I hope it does - but it seems clear that John Bolton is working overtime trying to ensure that this deal (like the Iran nuclear deal) is prematurely killed.

Why is it OK for the US and its allies to test and deploy nuclear weapons?  Why does the US get to decide that the nukes from Israel, England or France are acceptable but those in North Korea, China or Russia are not?  It's hypocrisy.

The media is reporting today that now Trump is saying the June 12 meeting in Singapore might be back on schedule.  Hang onto your hat!


The puzzle is finished

With the good help of 19-year old friend/neighbor Leann yesterday we finished the stacking of 2 1/2 cords of wood.  There are three rows under this wood shed.

We get the wood delivered precut but quite often some of the pieces are way too large and we have to recut them so they can be handled and will fit into our two wood stoves in the house.  Leann had never swung an axe before but she quickly got the hang of it and was chopping away.  Was fun to watch her grow into the task.

Other housemates gave a hand one day last week for a bit as well.  I spent a total of eight hours on the job.

I love doing this although it is hard on the back.  But in my peace work it is rare that you see immediate results (if any at all) from your efforts.  Stacking wood (sort of like putting a big puzzle together) gives you fairly quick results and a real sense of accomplishment. 

After having lived in Florida for 30 years one of my great joys about being in Maine is sitting by the fire on a cold snowy day losing my mind in the dancing flames.  I was made to live in the cold country.

There is a great wood stacking story I love.  An old farmer hires a young man from the city to stack his wood one summer.  After working all day the young man asks how much wood should be stacked.  The farmer says, "Well, I'm not sure.  Why don't you go up the mountain and ask that old Indian what he thinks."

So the young man crawls up the mountain and asks the Indian.  The Indian says, "Well, I'm not sure but it might be a bad winter."  So the young man goes back down the mountain and stacks a bunch more wood.  He again asks the farmer if it is enough and he replies, "We'll I'm not sure.  Maybe check with that Indian again."

This goes on two or three more times and the young man is getting tired going up the mountain and stacking by now a massive wood pile.  So finally the young man musters up the courage to ask the Indian, "How is it that you know the weather is going to be bad this winter?"

The Indian looks to the sky and then down the mountain and points to a big wood pile in the farmer's field.  He says, "Well, I see that big wood pile down there so I figure it's going to be a bad one."


U.S. peacenik in Russia

My friend Regis Tremblay from Maine just returned from a two week trip to Russia.  He went as a peace ambassador and filmmaker as he continues to create videos in order to dispel the insane notion that Russia is our enemy.

He went to Moscow, the Komi Republic, and Crimea during the trip.  This particular video is from his meeting with Russian Veterans For Peace members in the Komi Republic (which is up in the Arctic region of the country).

Because of the friends and connections Regis has made we are now working to formulate a proposal to hold the 2019 Global Network annual meeting in Russia.  More on that as things develop.

Thanks to Regis for being a good messenger for peaceniks in the US.


Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Demand peace in Korea

Would Trump try to promote real peace on the Korean Peninsula? Here's four reasons why Trump will pledge for peace on the Korean Peninsula.

This video was made in collaboration with ZoominKorea, an online news organization that provides critical news and analysis of the Korean Peninsula. Be sure to check them out at:

Video by Will Griffin 

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

War profiteers the new royalty

The tax collectors of old hit the villages at the bottom of the hill where the feudal Lord's castle oversaw their mini-empire.  The peasants were bludgeoned if necessary to maintain the way of life of their masters and support their greedy desires for imperial expansion.

Times have changed a bit.  Now even working people can own (mortgage) their home and have their tiny lawn in front - a postage stamp-sized pasture but psychologically important to those hoping to climb the ladder and break all ties to their hard past.  Corporate media helps even more to erase those memories of the toiling class.

But social progress is outmoded as the new ruling oligarchies of our age set their sights on taking control of the universe thanks to space technology advances.  Earth is now just a jump off spot for this very expensive desire to colonize the heavens.  It's a god-like vision.

Few of the 'modern peasants' have any notion what is in store for them.  A collapsing environment, due to human misunderstanding of our relationship to nature, and a failing economy mean that hard times are here.  There is no Plan B for the public - you are on your own.

The aerospace industry has long claimed that 'Star Wars' will be the largest industrial project in human history.  This means social programs that tried to level out society - to give the peasants a chance - are now needed to pay for the current imperial project - Pyramids to the Heavens.

One example of this corporate capital accumulation period we are currently in was the recent effort by General Dynamics to steal $60 million from the poor state of Maine.  They eventually got $45 million and are demanding $100 million from Connecticut and about $40 million from Rhode Island.  The people are told that if they don't give the corporate masters what they want the company just might have to cut jobs or even move.

The public is kept in check with public charades like the recent royal wedding in England.  Prince Harry (dressed ready for war) unveiled his new chic American wife making the multi-cultural unification between the US and its former colonial master relevant in the modern era.  The show (a theater production really) drew raves and hours of wasted attention as the royals drain the public purse and revive the dark periods of the past.

The message to the vast majority of humanity is either get on your knees and submit to corporate authority (enjoy the wedding) or face the harsh club that will keep you in place.

It seems appropriate to re-think the meaning of words like slavery, freedom, justice, liberty and connection to nature.


Monday, May 21, 2018

May 26 Okinawa event in Brunswick

Hanging out with the Greens

  • Yesterday MB drove me to Augusta for the annual Maine Green Independent Party convention where I was the keynote speaker.  Also in attendance was State Representative Ralph Chapman (Brooksville) who left the Democratic Party two years ago and became the highest ranking Green Party elected official in the US.  Chapman was a big help to us during our recent General Dynamics corporate welfare bill campaign here in Maine. He is a very decent human being.
  • I was impressed with two of the young Greens that are running for state representative seats in a couple districts in Maine.  One from a wealthy coastal area in Falmouth and the other from the run-down urban Lewiston in the central part of the state.  Each of these two women candidates are doing great work at trying to educate and mobilize people.  They brought tears to my eyes.
  • It was great to see Bob Klotz at the Green Party meeting.  Bob served as one of my medical advisers during my hunger strike.  He is a Physician Assistant in the Portland area and is a strong campaigner on climate change issues.  Bob is a rare bird among that species of activists - he recognizes the deadly connections between US military operations and climate change.  He wanted to review my current medical condition and had some advice as I go forward with treatment for my current ailment.  MB and I love the guy.

Sunday, May 20, 2018

Sunday Song