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

Thursday, September 03, 2020

Connecting the dots

Photo from last Friday at the Brunswick, Maine peace & justice vigil.  The vigil began right after 9-11, 2001 and has been going on ever since through rains, snow, sleet and heat.

 

In this photo I've kind of covered alot of bases in one shot.  BLM mask, Lisa Savage campaign shirt and the sign about the climate crisis and the 'product' built at Bath Iron Works (BIW).

The sign was made by retired BIW worker Peter Woodruff who put in 30-some years at the shipyard.  I carry the sign to honor Peter who has been a dedicated peace, environmental and social justice activist for many years.

Peter and I had a weekly radio show at Bowdoin College in Brunswick for about six years but had to eventually give it up for two reasons.  First, the college 'security services' decided that all show hosts had to be finger-printed to prove we were not terrorists of some sort and secondly Peter was losing his ability to speak.

For many years at BIW Peter sucked in steel dust from the cutting of steel for the destroyers built there.  Over time this dust entered his blood stream to the point that today the manganese poisoning has made it so he really can't verbally communicate anymore.  He can send emails and be as clear as a bell or write things down but he can't talk.  He once did some investigation on the Internet and found that African miners, who dig up the manganese that goes into steel, were suffering many of the same symptoms that Peter is experiencing.

Peter told me that over the years he has seen other BIW workers who suffer similarly, though no one was ever willing to speak about it.

Peter did speak with a labor lawyer who was willing to get him a 'settlement' from the company but Peter didn't want money, instead he wanted the company to deal with the problem.  The lawyer, if I recall properly, was not so interested in a lawsuit against the General Dynamics Corporation and their huge team of corporate lawyers.

Bruce

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