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, August 07, 2019

Summer fun in Maine....

Peace Fair

The crowd above gathered in Brunswick, Maine last Saturday for the final Peace Fair which has been held for 15 straight years on the town green.  Christine DeTroy, who initiated the fair and has done much of the leg work over these years, is now 91 years old and has reached her limit.  No one seems yet willing to keep the tradition going. It's been a good run.

The keynote speaker on Saturday was Maine artist Robert Shetterly who has painted the portrait series called Americans Who Tell the Truth.  He's done more than 235 portraits and spends alot of time on the road showing them and telling stories about the people he has painted.

I facilitated a workshop under a shade tree about the links between the military and climate change and met some new folks in the process.  There is expanding interest around Maine in the subject.

Hiroshima Day

On Tuesday at 7:00 am 21 of us met in front of the administration building at Bath Iron Works (BIW) for a two-hour vigil remembering the US bombing of Hiroshima, Japan on August 6, 1945.  We concluded the event by taking turns reading parts of a long poem written by Thomas Merton called the Original Child Bomb.  As we read the moving story of the warped US decision to produce and drop the atomic bombs, two BIW security stood silently just a few yards away.  I turned up the sound on our portable amplifier to max level to ensure they could hear Merton's words.

Afterwords most of us went together to a local eatery for a late breakfast.  We've become like a family after all these years of working together in Maine - particularly with the regular protests at BIW. Quite a few of those attending the vigil came from a long distance - two of them making a three-hour drive from the north to be with us.

Court Arraignment

It was fitting that on Hiroshima day 13 folks from our last arrest at BIW (twenty-two were arrested on June 22 for blocking the highway during a 'christening' of another destroyer at the shipyard) had to appear in West Bath District Court for their arraignment.  Nine of us had already been arraigned after spending the weekend in county jail because we refused to pay the bail commissioner fee after our arrest.  We learned that the state reduced the misdemeanor charges to a 'traffic citation' for the 13.  They now face a $150 fine which no one wants to pay.

The nine of us previously arraigned at the jail in June have to appear for our Disposition hearing at the court on September 4.  Not certain what our next steps will be after that.

Staying faithful & determined

In the midst of a United States that is coming apart at the seams (almost daily terrorist shootings of innocent people by white nationalist men; worsening climate change; growing global poverty as corporate capitalism extracts and hoards wealth; Washington's wars all around the world; sanctions increasingly squeezing China, Russia, Iran, and Venezuela; plus announcements of US withdrawal from arms control treaties and production of new deadly weapons systems) we here in Maine are doing our best to stay active and public.  Like so many of our friends in similar places around the world - we want to show a frightened, discouraged, depressed, and resigned public that there are those who still care and are doing all they can to stand up against the insanity of our corporate run government.

We'd all like to be successful and show good results from our activism.  But I don't worry so much about 's-u-c-c-e-s-s' anymore.  I keep rolling because I must.  I continue to protest because I could not live with myself if I wasn't doing all I could do to protect the future generations.  Yes, results are great - but I figure you have to put the gears of outrage into motion first if you ever hope to make an impact.

I'll leave the rest to history - so to speak....



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