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: Bath, Maine, 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.

Saturday, October 03, 2020

Mainers are not stupid - they know authentic when they see it....

 

 

My volunteer work on Lisa Savage's US Senate campaign (a Ranked Choice Voting - RCV race) basically consists of two things.

First, I've been helping to hold banners in various communities across Maine.  So far a statewide team of extraordinary volunteers has visited more than 25 towns.  Some folks have come repeatedly and have developed a good sense of how one location might compare with others.  The response in some communities has been so good that we go back more than once.

My other task is to track Maine donors and send them a bumper sticker and frig magnet.  Along with that I fill orders people have made at the campaign store - buttons, yard signs, and other baubles.

Just like from the bannering experiences, by doing 'merch' I'm witnessing the statewide geographic expansion of Lisa's base of support.

I've heard this from people on the street and via social media:

  • 'I like Lisa - she comes across as real.  I like that she was a teacher for 25 years.'
  • 'RCV allows me for the first time in my voting life to be able to vote my heart & soul....and then rank the corporate 'safe' choice 2nd.'
  • 'I don't trust Gideon.' [the Democrat running for the same US Senate seat]
  • 'Lisa takes stronger and more principled positions on key issues like Medicare4All, Green New Deal and the like.'
  • 'I liked it when Lisa said in the debates that she was the only non-millionaire in the race.'
  • 'I never heard of Lisa before the debates.  She answered questions in a direct way and she also explained things in an easy to understand manner.'
  • 'Thank you for coming so far south to Wells to hold these banners.  I'm going to rank Lisa first.'
  • 'The Collins-Gideon attack ads are everywhere and I just turn them off.'

We believe the corporate-owned media and the polling companies work to downplay the growing strength of independent candidates like Lisa who stand against the ruling oligarchies. This is done to create the impression in the public's mind that 'Lisa can't win, don't waste your vote'.  They often refuse to even mention the existence of RCV in this race.

Maine has long been a resource extraction colony for the elites.  (Timber, fish, farming, minerals, Nestle bottled water - sold as 'Poland Springs' -  and vacation labor for the rich who luxuriate in the beauty and cool of a Maine summer.) Mainers work hard and have little job/retirement security after hundreds of years of 'service to the nation'.  The beaten down working class and growing numbers of poor people here are angry.  They are calling out for help and few are listening.  It's pretty sad when one of the only 'leaders' that 'appears' to speak for them is Donald Trump - who uses white working class anger as a play toy.

The Democrats are possibly even more insidious.  They proclaim love for the unions and other such interests and then ultimately betray the people before the wheels of corporate power.  They first serve Mr. Big and the people come second - or usually last.

And now comes our current climate crisis.  Maine's summers the last couple of years have been the hottest ever recorded.  The Gulf of Maine (historic fishing grounds) is warming faster than 99% of the world’s large bodies of saltwater, scientists say. The rest of the world’s large bodies of saltwater are also warming, although not as fast.  The lobsters are crawling north looking for cooler temperatures.  Lobstering as a way of life is in danger. Whales are also leaving the Gulf of Maine. Both mainline political parties are doing little to actually deal with the climate issue.  They can't - they have already been bought out.

We heard from one volunteer that a 'buzz' was happening across his community about Lisa.  His source is a person deeply involved in local town politics.  A couple of former mayors, from significant Maine cities, are supporting Lisa.  The Maine media is not interested in such trivialities.

The corporate elites and others have poured more than $20 million into the campaign coffers of the Democrat, Sara Gideon.  The current, increasingly unpopular, Republican Senator Susan Collins is not far behind in the money game.  The corporate interests, like in most American elections, are running two horses in every race.

This is what Lisa Savage is facing.  She is speaking for the interests of working, poor and marginalized people.  Just yesterday a request came from a disabled man in Maine for a yard sign.  His caregiver said he couldn't afford to pay for it but we gladly sent it anyway.  

I am proud to be using my free time to help build this campaign which is much bigger than just Lisa Savage.  It is an extension of the kind of political work many of us have been doing our entire adult lives.  We are connecting the dots between the various issues - showing how health care, education, environment and other concerns can't be effectively dealt with as long as we continue to waste 60% of every federal discretionary tax dollar on endless war$ that only benefit Wall Street.

We have one month to go before election day.  Some people will begin early voting by mail very soon. As Hall of Fame baseball player Yogi Berra once said, "You can take 'em to the ball game, but you can't make them go in."  We do our best to reach the people in hopes they will politically come alive and end the corporate colonization of our minds, our planet, and our body politic.

On we go...

Bruce 

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