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

With a new administration in Washington it will be a challenge to get the 'liberals' to hold Biden-Harris to the few 'progressive promises' they made during their campaign. Biden is bringing back many of Bush & Obama's neo-cons to head his foreign policy. I'll be on this case without hesitation.

Thursday, May 13, 2021

Meeting the sailors at BIW

 


Four of us (Peter Morgan, Jane Newton, John Morris and myself) stood yesterday for an hour at midday at the Navy gate at Bath Iron Works. I held the sign pictured above and Peter Morgan (also above) held his Veterans for Peace flag. (This photo was taken at a previous vigil.) We handed out about 25 flyers to mostly Navy personnel. 

Many sailors politely refused with their heads hung knowing that the 'freedom' they are protecting does not allow them to take and read a simple flyer about the need to covert BIW to building sustainable technology like commuter rail systems, offshore wind turbines and tidal power systems.

The Navy has their own facilities at the shipyard. They monitor the destroyer construction process. Once the ships near completion Navy crews come to BIW to begin to learn how the ships work. Since there are six destroyers under construction at BIW there are more Navy personnel around than I can ever remember seeing.

So in addition to our Saturday vigils (held during Advent and Lenten seasons) it seemed like a good idea to begin holding midday vigils at the Navy gate twice a month. So yesterday we began to do so. (During our Saturday protests we rarely see Navy personnel - we mostly see BIW shipbuilders.)

It is my feeling that the Navy personnel need to see our signs, flags and banners before they set sail. These warships are today provocatively bumping up against Russia and China.  They port at US bases near those two countries and are often exposed to peace protests.  It seems like we have a good chance for these sailors to see these similar protest messages before they leave US ports.

Our Maine congressional delegation (1 Republican, 1 Independent, & 2 Democrats) have joined together demanding that the US build even more destroyers. “We have a goal, in law, of building 350 ships,” Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) said. “Right now, we’re at about 296. The Chinese are closer to our goal than we are so it’s so important that we have an adequate budget so that we can continue ensuring we have the best naval fleet in the world.”

 

 

There is just one major problem - money. I noticed yesterday that the Air Force has decided to stop building the F-22. The national debt (now over $28 trillion) is catching up with Washington's dreams of eternal global domination. The chicken$ are coming home to roost. Right now Washington just keeps printing more money (what I call 'Confederate dollars' essentially meaning they are worthless).

So the question is how much longer can the US keep building these expensive destroyers - and aircraft carriers, nuclear submarines, and F-35 boondoggle warplanes, keep 800 military bases functioning around the globe, etc? 

How can Congress keep forking over the funny money while our collapsing Covid economy worsens, climate crisis blows hot and other unattended issues remain unresolved?

So our plan is to go to BIW on the 2nd and 4th Wednesday every month from 11:15 am for an hour. 

One final thought - a large group of sailors yesterday came out of their black-gated compound at BIW and immediately I saw one of them make eye contact with me from afar.  I said to myself - he wants to take a flyer. As the group approached me they all refused the flyer except for this one sailor who reached out and took it. I know with confidence that when they were sitting down having their lunch all of them asked to see it.

That is how these things work.

Bruce 

1 Comments:

Blogger Herb Hoffman said...

Bruce, et. al.,

This is a great and creative effort. It will bear fruit, though it is likely to be some time before you see the harvest.

Peace,
Herb

5/13/21, 12:21 PM  

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