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

I grew up in a military family and joined the Air Force in 1971 during the Vietnam War. It was there that I became a peace activist.

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Peace Movement Should be Broadening

  • As I was sending around Keep Space for Peace Week emails to the various Global Network lists today it was interesting that emails to our own address landed in our spam filter.  Increasingly email service providers are making it really hard to get emails through to their customers unless you pay for an email delivery service.  What a racket.....

  • I had an email from a fellow peace organizer in Finland today.  I found it interesting the way she described how local people have become so fearful due to corporate media propaganda.  In the end she says they've concluded that they must be on the street more often.  Yes, it must be considered that as the corporate crackdown widens on us that even the Internet could be shut down and our primary communication vehicle would be gone overnight.  Think about that one.  How many groups still have a street address mailing list for their members?  Probably not many. 

  • Here is Kerstin Tuomala from Finland:

We used to celebrate October 24th as the UN Day of Disarmament. So this year we will combine this with the Keep Space for Peace Week and it is possible that we focus on the tensions and how to reach detente in our near environment – the Arctics and round the Baltic sea.

In our group the history and the situation on the Korea Peninsula was quite unknown, so we will study it during the year. We have decided to study half an hour in the beginning of each meeting. We studied for instance the massacre in Odessa and the situation of friends and relatives to the victims of the massacre in April, and on May 2nd we had a manifestation were we joined the Solidarity Campaigne, signed the petition and sent it to the president of Ukraina. In this world were disinformation is called truth, we must study all the time. Global Network's material is a good support for this purpose.

Right now our group has decided to support the Swedish peace activists as they resist the Aurora NATO military exercises. The No to NATO Movement collect names on a petition against the NATO installations in Sweden. So we went to the border town of Haparanda and presented the petition for people in the street. It is a job that has to be done as many of the persons we met were afraid of Putin and welcomed NATO. Some hesitated but were easily convinced, when we discussed with them. Of course other persons too, whom the daily mainstream media’s propaganda had not influenced, [signed] as they follow more seriously what is going on in the world. 

Our conclusion was that we must be more on the street, collect names and discuss – also in Finland. All my regards to You all!

  • Another friend, Andre Brochu, who lives in Sweden also wrote today about the NATO war games there.  Andre grew up in Massachusetts (with family in Maine) and resisted the Vietnam War draft by going to Sweden.  He organized the speaking tour by Dave Webb and I last year when we visited several cities in Sweden and Copenhagen, Denmark.
 Last Saturday we had the Stop Aurora War Exercises demonstration in Gothenburg.  An estimated 3,500 participated. A good showing and another time, not today, I shall write you my analysis of how it was organized.  We are at a juncture when the peace movement should be broadening.  

  • The banner above was delivered to our house a few nights ago by Natasha Mayers, one of the leaders of the group Artist Rapid Response Team (ARRT) that meets monthly to make banners for various protest movements across Maine.  They made this one for our up-coming Maine Peace Walk.  Getting artists involved is an important way to widen our circles.  Many in the public don't read much about politics so banners like these can go a long way in reaching out to folks.

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

The Pentagon's Black Hole

Decline of the Petrodollar

Venezuela, the country with the largest oil reserves in the world, has begun to report its crude oil prices in the Chinese Yuan, abandoning the oil market norm of pricing in the U.S dollar.

The reason the U.S. has lately been attempting to overthrow the current government is Venezuela is basically because they use the profits from their oil to benefit the poor across their nation.  To Washington this is a bad example and must be crushed.

Man Self-Immolates Over THAAD Issue

The Korea Herald reports:

South Korean activist Jo Young-sam died one day after setting himself on fire Tuesday in Mapo-gu, Seoul, to protest against the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense system.

“THAAD should go and peace shall come. (The peace initiatives of) the Moon Administration should prevail,” 58-year-old Jo had said. He also left a four-page statement addressed to President Moon Jae-in, in which he denounced the THAAD [missile offense] deployment and called for peace initiatives regarding North Korea.

Jo had suffered third-degree burns all over his body and had been rushed to a hospital for treatment. However, he died Wednesday morning.

Jo visited North Korea in 1995 upon a formal invitation from Lee In-mo, who had been repatriated to the North. After his visit to North Korea, Jo took refuge in Germany for 18 years. He finally returned to South Korea in 2012 and was sentenced to one year in prison for his unauthorized visit to the North.

After serving his prison sentence, he moved to Miryang, South Gyeongsang Province, and had recently been engaging in an anti-THAAD campaign.

At a joint press conference early Wednesday, activist groups said the Moon administration and the US should be held accountable for his death.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Why is Washington never sanctioned?

Article 2, paragraph 4 of the UN charter – “All Members shall refrain in their international relations from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state, or in any other manner inconsistent with the Purposes of the United Nations.”

How can the United Nations, and any of its members, sanction North Korea and then allow the world leader in militarism, empire and chaos creation, the United States, to do what it does?

Why is Washington never sanctioned?  Why is Washington never held accountable for any of its long list of known war crimes?  

Why do the American people allow a series of presidents, Democrat and Republican, to start wars all over the globe and NO ONE is ever punished for these obvious and glaring crimes against humanity?  Why are the American people so damn silent?

Why don't more people get off their butts and help stop WW III now before it happens so we won't have to say shit like, "Oh, why didn't I speak up while I could?"

Let's just be clear here - if the US attacks North Korea then China has said they will have to intervene and so will Russia.  That means nuclear war.  Trump is threatening nuclear war.....


Monday, September 18, 2017

October 7 Vigil at BIW during Keep Space for Peace Week

On Saturday, October 7 we will hold a vigil from 11:30 til 12:30 at Bath Iron Works in solidarity with Keep Space for Peace Week - the International Week of Protest to Stop the Militarization of Space.
We will meet across from the Administration building on Washington Street and walk up to the Navy Research Center at noon.
General Dynamics continues to build Aegis guided missile destroyers [equipped with so-called ‘missile defense’ systems] as well as the new Zumwalt which is on track to becoming the most expensive warship ever built.
It is imperative that we speak clearly to say No! to the building of warships here in Maine!  No! to the militarization of outer space.  It is time for us to set aside technologies that only enslave us to wars that never end.  The insanity of building these warships must come to an end so we can instead use the Earth’s resources to heal the many ills of our society and those we continue to inflict upon our Mother Earth.
Let’s stand together with love and with all of creation calling for DISARMAMENT NOW.
Let us ask “Where do these warships go when they leave BIW?”
Please bring signs and banners.
FMI call: Smilin’ Trees Disarmament Farm 763-4062

Gureombi: the Wind is Blowing

"Gureombi: the Wind is Blowing".

This is a full length film about the Gangjeong struggle on Jeju Island, South Korea and is directed by Cho Sung-bong and originally released in 2013.

The US gave the specifications for the Navy base in Gangjeong village to the South Korean government and told them to build the base.  Since the opening of the base last year US Navy warships have already begun to port there.

This heart-breaking film tells the tragic story about the destruction of sacred Gureombi rocky coastline and the still on-going struggle of the villagers and their many supporters.

Gangjeong is a 500 year old fishing and farming village of 2,000 residents that today is being over run by Navy personnel.  This story is just one tiny example of how the demands of the US military empire impact the lives of innocent people all over the world.

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Weekend of Preparing for Peace Walk

Fellow Maine peaceniks Russell Wray (left) and Jason Rawn painting a barn

  • Mary Beth (MB) and I had a great day yesterday as we joined Lisa Savage and Mark Roman at the Sierra Club's climate change conference in Lewiston.  We went under the banner of Maine Natural Guard that Lisa has formed to bring the links between endless war and the Pentagon's impact on the environment to the public.  We handed out flyers about the upcoming Maine Peace Walk (October 13-21) that will be calling for the conversion of the Bath Iron Works Navy shipyard.
  • After we left Lewiston MB and I drove further south to York Beach, Maine where Boston-area Veterans For Peace (VFP) members were holding their annual BBQ at the summer home of Vietnam veteran Pat Scanlon. Fellow Mainers John Morris and Peter Morgan also came and we all had a moving time talking about US past and current war mongering.  The collective clarity and commitment for peace at these kinds of gatherings of veterans is always inspiring.  I spent some of the time talking with various guys about coming up for some part of the Maine Peace Walk.  Al Johnson is raising money in Boston for walk expenses which is a huge help.  This is the third year in a row that Al has taken on that task and we are very grateful.
  • In December I will be going to Okinawa with another VFP delegation.  This will be the third VFP trip to Okinawa to stand with the local people as they oppose expanding US military bases on their beleaguered island.  This new delegation will have more younger vets from more recent US wars.  Also several of those younger vets will be women.  
  • Maine artist Russell Wray (pictured above) will be coming along on the trip and is helping Jason Rawn paint a barn in order to make some money to cover his expenses.  Russell is the coordinator of Citizens Opposing Active Sonar Threats (COAST) and has a deep love for sea life - particularly sea mammals.  So this will be a special trip for him. One place we will join the locals in protesting is outside the gates of US Marine base Camp Schwab where the US is forcing the Japanese government to build twin-runways out over pristine Oura Bay for Pentagon war planes being sent to the Asia-Pacific as part of the 'pivot' of US military forces into the region.
  • People who live in South Korea, Okinawa, Japan and Guam are very worried about aggressive language by Donald Trump about 'fire and fury' because they know that their lives will be sacrificed if the US goes to war with North Korea - or China and Russia. 

Search those Buggers for Weapons

Veterans For Peace in the United Kingdom conduct a vehicle check point to search for banned weapons during the set up of the DSEi Arms Fair at the Excel Centre in London.

Sunday Song