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, June 24, 2021

Meeting Navy CO at BIW

 

 

Yesterday four of us peaceniks returned to the Navy compound gate at Bath Iron Works (BIW) for an hour as part of our bi-weekly vigils.

As we've come to expect we are now seeing more sailors (of all ranks) turn their eyes to the ground as they pass us by. More than a third of those passing me who refused a flyer made sure to say, 'We can't take one'. That means of course they have been ordered by their commander to 'stand down'! No interaction with those 'activists'. 

It's a big mistake because it causes the wheels to turn and many sailors (liked happened to me during my time in the Air Force during the Vietnam war) begin to question the definition of democracy. 'I thought we had this massive-offensive military in order to spread democracy! And I can't even take a flyer. But I can die in battle representing corporate interests. Where truly is this democracy?'

Most of us at these vigils wear our Veterans For Peace shirts and Peter Morgan always flies his VFP flag. I keep changing my sign. Yesterday I used a sandwich-board sign made by artist Natasha Mayers. Here she is wearing it at one of her recent arrests at a BIW 'christening'.

 

Artist and activist Natasha Mayers (left) with her sandwich-board sign at BIW.  Ridgeley Fuller (Belfast) on the right.

 

Early on one sailor took my flyer, paused, looked me in the eye, and while smiling said, 'Thank you for being here'. He then walked away and the next thing I knew this same sailor was talking to John Morris at another of our protest positions and they spoke for a long time.

We go to lunch afterwards to kick-around what happened at our vigils. John reported that the sailor took a 2nd flyer, saying it would be shared. Apparently the sailor has applied for conscientious objector status (CO). When asked why, John said the sailor didn't believe in the mission anymore and wanted out.

That takes guts and we wish this person the very best. The sailor had not heard about VFP so John gave a good explanation about the group.

We are told that another VFP member from Massachusetts wants to come join us next Wednesday. Normally we'd not go that particular week (only do the 2nd & 4th Wednesday) but since we have a guest coming we'll return to the Navy compound gate at 11:00 am.

One BIW worker I met during last year's labor strike - we met on the picket line - walked by again yesterday for the 2nd time this month. We always have a nice chat. He's a very loving man - very religious and credits Jesus with turning his life away from drugs, alcohol and the like. We exchanged thoughts about the nature of God - I told him I gravitate more toward Native American spirituality - the Great Spirit. I did ask him if he thought Jesus (the Prince of Peace) would call the destroyers made at BIW 'evil'?

We parted in peace. It was nice.

(I'd like to offer a sincere welcome to BIW and Navy 'investigators' who are reading this blog. I hope you all are learning something as you keep an eye on us dangerous rascals.)

Bruce 

4 Comments:

Blogger Peter said...

I'll join you Wednesday.

6/24/21, 7:24 AM  
Blogger Lisa Savage said...

Really inspirational action. Thanks for posting about it! I'm working on being there next week with you all.

6/24/21, 8:36 AM  
Blogger Unknown said...

Great work Bruce and folks.

Out herein Albuquerque the gates are high speed drive through and we don't get a chance to talk to anyone. The war base here is so large with many entrances.

If I were up there I would come help.

Bob

6/24/21, 1:42 PM  
Blogger Bruce K. Gagnon said...

Thx friends for your comments and support. It is exciting to know that some of the sailors share our concerns. That likely means they will be talking to each other (even debating) more than we realize.

6/25/21, 8:47 AM  

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