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.

Thursday, September 23, 2021

BIW Navy gate vigil continues



Yesterday we were back at the Navy compound gate at Bath Iron Works (BIW) for another of our twice-a-month vigils during the lunch break at the shipyard.

Peter Morgan (on the left) and John Morris from Maine VFP held the large banner made for one of our previous peace walks through the state. The banner was painted by Maine artist Russell Wray (Hancock). You can imagine that we got some double-takes on it.

It was probably our best day for reactions from shipyard workers and the public.

I was holding a sign that reads 'Are we building a sustainable future yet?'  The sign was made by long-time BIW worker Peter Woodruff who passed away some months ago. Peter often joined us at our BIW vigils and took photos.

One guy drove by and yelled, 'No, not yet!' in response to my sign. I usually stand on the opposite side of the street from Peter and John so I can catch Navy personnel and workers as they come and go from the compound.

I'd estimate that about 17 of our VFP (Pentagon's contribution to the climate crisis) flyers were handed out while we were there on Wednesday. That is about half-a-dozen more than usual. I like to say we are wearing them down. 

One young worker passed me by and said we should not just be talking with the 'low level workers', but that he agreed with us anyway. On his return trip from the local convenience story (where many workers/sailors buy their lunches) I asked him if he had a minute to talk. He stopped and I told him that he was correct and that we are constantly looking for all kinds of ways to communicate our message about converting BIW to building commuter rail, offshore wind turbines, tidal power systems and the like. 

I told him we try to communicate with the Maine congressional delegation, the big-wigs at General Dynamics (that owns BIW) and the top Pentagon officials as well as the public. But, I reminded him, BIW workers and sailors are citizens as well and should also hear our message. He agreed.

I also explained how studies at U-MASS Amherst and Brown University Economics Departments reveal conversion would create thousands more jobs with the same amount of money now spent on destroyers. Military spending is 'capital intensive' while any other kind of civilian production would be 'labor intensive'. 

It was a nice conversation.

Actually it would be really helpful if we could get some religious leaders across the state to be part of our conversion effort but so far it has been quite difficult. One would imagine that those who profess to follow the 'Prince of Peace' would be eager to see the nation move away from endless war to a more peaceful and sustainable posture on our fragile planet. Imagine if we could cut the Pentagon budget - lots of money would become available to help those in need. 

But I suppose the call of the Sunday collection plate holds most of them back from being involved with us. It's very sad. In the meantime the 'money changers' keep doing what they do.


Navy compound gate at BIW. From this site the Navy monitors the process of building Aegis destroyers and sailors assigned to the new warships come and learn to operate them. So we get to see alot of people during these vigils.


Near the end of our hour-long vigil one man drove out of the navy compound and shouted from his car 'Keep doing what you are doing'. He had a big smile on his face.

We return for our next Wednesday vigil on October 6 at 11:00 am. It will be during Keep Space for Peace Week which is a good fit. (Additionally another space week vigil will be held at BIW on Saturday, October 9 in front of the administration building on Washington St. starting at 11:30 am.)

If you click on the photo at the top, take note of the missile being fired from the destroyer on the left side of the banner. It is an 'interceptor missile' that has previously shown the capability to knock a satellite out of the sky (Operation Burnt Frost). Thus it can be called an ASAT (Anti-satellite weapon). 

So it is clear that the destroyers made at BIW in some respects are part of the Pentagon Star Wars program.

On we go....



Blogger Regis said...

Sadly, the churches of yesteryear that were all out in the streets no longer feel the pressing needs of our times: war, social justice, human rights violations, immigration, etc etc

9/23/21, 8:05 AM  
Blogger Patsy said...

Once again, a huge Thank You to All !!!!

9/24/21, 7:13 PM  

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