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, May 26, 2021

At the BIW Navy compound today


Trying to hand out flyers to Navy personnel at the BIW shipyard today (Photo by Peter Morgan)


Four of us (three from Veterans For Peace) returned to Bath Iron Works today for our Wednesday vigil outside of the Navy compound at the shipyard owned by General Dynamics. They build Aegis destroyers for the Navy here and many Navy personnel are sent to BIW to oversee the ship building operation from inside the gated compound pictured above.

In addition, as the warships near completion, the Navy crews are sent to BIW to begin to learn how to operate them. Thus we have a captive audience as six destroyers and hundreds of sailors are now at BIW.

My sign today read 'Where do these Aegis go?'  


At a previous protest at BIW along with a visiting South Korean activist from Jeju Island where the Navy is porting many of its warships. Her sign reads 'No Navy base'.

Each time I come to BIW I bring a different sign with a new message. We come for an hour starting at 11:15 am - right as many BIW workers and sailors are hitting the sidewalks to go to lunch.

We are doing this the 2nd and 4th Wednesday each month and invite others to join us. 

Today we heard about a dozen times from sailors that 'We are not allowed to take your flyers'. I asked several of them if they had actually been ordered to refuse our flyers and they answered Yes. Some took them anyway.

We handed out about 20 flyers to sailors and BIW ship builders.

It is our intention to prepare these sailors for the protests they will inevitability see as they set sail to ports around the globe where the US military empire has bases. (Largely encircling China and Russia.) We want the sailors to see that there are people at 'home' who are opposed to Washington's endless war making.

When the sailors told me they could not take the flyers I responded with, 'I thought we live in a free country?'  One of them turned and smiled at me and said, 'We ain't free.'

That's about right.

It was my similar experience at Travis AFB, California in 1971 during the war on Vietnam. Peaceniks outside the base gate created loads of discussion in the barracks, chow hall, and on the job.  We were told to ignore them, not talk with them, not take their literature, etc. It made me wonder - I thought we were in Vietnam for freedom? Why can't I hear what they have to say?

It was from that experience that I became an anti-war activist.



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