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, July 18, 2020

All moved into new house in Bath

The front porch of our new house in Bath, Maine

We moved into our new house (which is actually 100 years old) in Bath yesterday.  We closed the purchase on June 30 and have been cleaning, painting and doing minor repairs since then.  We had two young men professional movers come and pick up our stuff up Brunswick early yesterday and move it to Bath.

We lived previously in Bath for 12 years in the Addams-Melman House - an intentional community that we shared with friend Karen Wainberg and others during those years.  It was a big house with lots of room for guests, meetings, and potluck suppers.  It was a great run.  But as we all aged a bit that house and its big grounds became way too much for us to manage.  So we sold the house and moved to a small rental apartment in nearby Brunswick until we could figure out our next steps.

So the next phase in our lives puts us back in Bath where much of our current peace work is centered.  Mary Beth's church community is also here - we asked our dear friend Bill Bliss (the minister who performed our recent wedding ceremony) to come to the house two days ago and he did a sage blessing for us which we deeply appreciated.

I planted pole beans, tomatoes, peppers, lettuce and various herbs as soon as we got access to the house.  It's a bit late in the season but I should still get something.  There are two quite large raised garden beds in the yard which was a very welcoming feature of the house.  We've also been grateful that various friends have donated flowering plants to us to enhance the grounds.

We have much work still ahead of us - most of the windows have no blinds or curtains and we have to replace the 1965 oil furnace that is so old the insurance company won't give us a homeowners policy unless we got rid of it.  So we are buying a new high-efficient propane furnace that gets installed next week.  We lament the fact that there are few affordable non-fossil fuel options available to us.  An energy audit is also on the 'To Do' list so we can tighten up the house as much as possible.

We had to get a new phone number for the Global Network (and us) so please make note of it - (207) 389-4606.  Give us a call to welcome us and make sure it works!

We look forward to reconnecting with old friends in Bath and hopefully, if and when this virus ever subsides, we can host a meeting or potluck supper again some day.  You are all invited!


Friday, July 17, 2020

Washington's 'Bio-Terror labs'

U.S. military has set up over 200 'bio-security labs' in 25 countries for research and development of biological weapons such as dangerous bacteria. 

Where are these mysterious laboratories? 

What are the hidden secrets and risks to us all?

Thursday, July 16, 2020

Troops in Germany?

A broken clock is right twice a day.

Trump was right in his call for US troop withdrawal in Afghanistan and Germany.

But the corporate deep state wishes to maintain its military & economic global empire - and its more than 800 bases worldwide - no matter the costs.

Trump is threatening to withdraw thousands of American troops from Germany. He accuses Germany of not contributing enough to NATO.  The truth is that there is no need for US troops anywhere in Europe.  What is the threat?

The overall number of US soldiers based in Germany dropped massively at the end of the Cold War. But the country still hosts more troops than any other European country.

FRANCE 24 TV went to Kaiserslautern where more than half of the American soldiers are based. It’s a region where the American presence is an essential part of the economy.

This addiction to Pentagon spending helps keep the empire in place.  Inside the US many communities are equally addicted to military spending.  Politicians from both major parties in Washington are essentially slaves to the military agenda.  The corporations give big donations to Political Action Committees (PACS) of party leaders who then dole the $$$$ out to junior members (if they vote the way they are told by 'leadership') for their future campaigns so they can stay in power.  One hand washes the other.  It's the worst kind of corruption.

Until we deal with the military industrial complex budget then forget about any of the following:

  • Medicare for all - a single-payer government run health care system
  • Effectively dealing with climate crisis - especially remembering that the Pentagon has the largest carbon bootprint on Mother Earth
  • Forget about creating a sustainable society and future for the next seven generations
  • Having the need funds in the nation to deal with creating real justice for the vast majority of the people (the 99%) who are now being ground into poverty, are most susceptible to the virus, and are increasingly being evicted from their rental properties.  Mr. Big is cracking down hard - the corporate oligarchs are playing their four Aces poker hand.  They control the media, the courts, Capitol Hill and the White House.  No one trumps the corporate master.

All it takes is one switch to turn off social media - and then how can we communicate and organize?

So what is to be done?

Stop voting for their corporate minions and stay on the streets.  It's the one place we can still go (for now) where we can be seen by the public. 

Work together when possible - be kind to others - share as much as possible - seek honesty and true justice - give voice to the voiceless - show courage even when your knees shake.

Give thanks to the great spirit for our lives and the chance to do right.  Keep working for the common good.


Wednesday, July 15, 2020

Why the race to Mars?

Years ago I attended a military space conference in Cocoa Beach, Florida - home of Cape Canaveral Air Force Station.  The conference was sponsored by the aerospace industry, the space nuclear power industry and the Kennedy Space Center tourist facility.

During a workshop exclusively on Mars the head of the KSC tourist center led the discussion.  He gave a surprising figure of the numbers of local school children annually brought to the facility and said with confidence, "We're completely changing the tourist facilities focus to Mars - in 20 years all the kids will be taxpayers and we want them to support everything Mars."


The nuclear industry wants to build nuke-powered mining colonies on Mars.  The Halliburton Corporation has been working for years on a drilling mechanism for mining.  They say there is magnesium, colbalt and uranium on the red planet.  Can you imagine 'strip mining'?

The profits from building and launching rockets to Mars will be huge.

Pyramids to the Heavens.  Who are the Pharaohs and who will be the slaves?

What does it mean that space agencies from China, the United Arab Emirates and the US are launching Mars missions within days of each other?

What will be the collective cost of these missions to the people of Mothership Earth?  How could those funds be better spent?

Will there be wars fought to control the mining operations on Mars?  How much would those wars cost taxpayers?

Why is it we hear virtually no critique of these Mars missions on corporate controlled media?

What does the public believe it will get in return for funding these interplanetary space missions?  


Tuesday, July 14, 2020

Important webinar coming on Thursday

To get the invite link to this excellent webinar click here

Join U.S. Senate candidate Lisa Savage, Pulitzer-winning author, journalist, and minister Chris Hedges, and Iraq/Afghanistan veteran, author, and USM lecturer Jason White, in the first of a 5-part webinar series.

 “The Cost of War” will examine U.S. policies that inflict pain and suffering around the world under the guise of protecting U.S. interests.

Filmed in American Beach

This John Sayles film (released in 2002) was filmed at American Beach in northeast Florida to tell the story of that long-time small black owned beach community.  Their fight against corporate development is central to the story line.

MaVynee Betsch (the infamous beach lady) makes a fleeting appearance in the film that was actually inspired by her and her fellow residents of American Beach.

Well worth watching on the Internet.

Monday, July 13, 2020

The beach lady from American Beach, Florida

With her searing intellect, deep spirituality and 7 foot dread lock, The Beach Lady was a free spirit who fought for historical and ecological preservation of American Beach. Photo by Eric Breitenbach, Courtesy of American Beach Museum

A great article was recently published (The Spirits of American Beach) about the only black-owned beach in the southeast during the days of segregation called American Beach in northeast Florida.

When I lived in Florida, and frequently organized peace walks up and down the state, we twice camped on this beach and were regaled (in word and song) by the beach lady, MaVynee Betsch, who is credited with saving American Beach as rich hotel/condo/golf courses encroached on all sides of the historic black beach and its endangered dunes.

MaVynee was an opera singer who got cancer while singing in polluted European cities and came home to American Beach to heal herself. Soon she began fighting to save the beach. She never cut her hair or nails again (carrying them in a bundle in her arms) - some folks thought she was crazy but she was brilliant - a true fighter for the environment and peace.

One of my favorite stories she told was one day being on the beach and a white woman gruffly approaching her complaining about the condition of the deteriorating buildings on American Beach. During its segregation heydays American Beach was filled with black people from all over swimming, dancing, eating and being free from the cruel confines of Jim Crow.  

After integration came black folks largely stopped coming to American Beach and it declined.  The white woman said to MaVynee, "Why don't you people clean this place up?"  MavVynee proudly replied to her with force, "These are our ruins.  You white folks travel to Europe and other places to see ruins from civilizations - well baby these are our ruins."

I was honored to know her and call her a friend.

Read the full story here


Sunday, July 12, 2020

Sunday song