Organizing Notes

Bruce Gagnon is coordinator of the Global Network Against Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space. He offers his own reflections on organizing and the state of America's declining empire....

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Location: Brunswick, Maine, United States

I grew up in a military family and joined the Air Force in 1971 during the Vietnam War. It was there that I became a peace activist.

Wednesday, May 01, 2019

May Day parade and round table meeting in Simferopol


Crimea has 175 ethnic groups.  Many of them wore costumes during the May Day parade through the streets of Simferopol this morning.  Lots of people posed behind our banner with us and media was particularly interested in us as well.  The crowd along the parade route gave us a warm reception. (Click on the photos for a better view)

Seven members of Veterans For Peace are in our delegation to Russia. 



Passing by the reviewing stand which cheered us as we walked by.

The Crimeasn side of the round table.  Several from this side welcomed us and spoke about their organizations and the impacts of US sanctions on Crimea.

Our side had four speakers including Dave Webb (UK), Carrie Schuchardt (Massachusetts), Leslie Harris (Texas) and me.

Yan Epshtein (Black Sea Assn for International Cooperation) and GN board chair Dave Webb sign cooperation agreement.

We began the day participating in the May Day parade in Simferopol, Crimea.  Our banner was a huge hit with many people wanting to get behind it before the parade began.

Leaders in Crimea spoke to us at a round table conference that was organized after the May Day parade. Four of us from our delegation spoke during the round table meeting.  I used an outline to guide my short presentation so below is my best recollection of what I said.  Lots of media interviewed us before and after the event.  We also signed a Cooperation Agreement between the Black Sea Association for International Cooperation (NGO) and the Global Network.

We’ve come to Crimea to pick the forbidden fruit.

The Global Network was created in 1992 to prevent the arms race from moving into space.

Each year we hold an annual meeting in a different country.  Last year we met in Oxford, England near a US space warfare base.

We decided that this year we should come to Russia for a study tour in order to break down barriers between our nations.  We’ve come here to listen and learn and to return home and tell the stories that we hear.

We are not happy with all the demonization of Russia that is currently going on in the US and across the west.  When the governments are frozen the people must step up to break down the barriers.

It’s an honor to be here today.  The US sanctions against Crimea and Russia are wrong.  The US is unfairly punishing the people of Crimea for trying to exercise democracy.

I closely followed the Maidan (so-called revolution) in Kiev in 2014 and the resulting overwhelming vote in Crimea to seek to return to Russia.

We worry about war between the US-NATO and Russia. 

The US-NATO are expanding their military operations right up to the Russian borders. The US Navy is sending warships into the Black Sea.

The US is encircling Russia with so-called ‘missile defense’ systems.

The US continues to withdraw from important arms control treaties.

Trump is creating the ‘space force’ to give the US domination of the planet.  This is arrogance.

We have come here to build a bridge of peace between our peoples.
Thank you very much
Bruce

Photos by Will Griffin

1 Comments:

Anonymous Jon Olsen said...

Thanks for being at the right place at the right time with this important message.

5/1/19, 2:19 PM  

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