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

Saturday, July 29, 2017

More Democracy in Caracas than in Washington



Why does the U.S. and Venezuela's opposition feel so threatened by the National Constituent Assembly? Nothing has drawn more ire, condemnation and panic from imperial powers and the opposition than this proposal.

There can be no doubt that the CIA is behind this attempt for regime change in Caracas.

Have you noticed that we now have a retired Marine Corps General as Chief of Staff in the White House.  Could we call that a coup d'etat?

Friday, July 28, 2017

Korean Mothers to Lockheed Martin CEO - NO THAAD!



These women, mothers, and grandmothers have a special message for the Lockheed Martin CEO Marillyn Hewson, who is also a mother.  NO THAAD!

The Task Force to Stop THAAD in Korea and Militarism in the Asia Pacific's (STIK) Solidarity Peace Delegation visited the village of Soseong-ri in Seongju County, South Korea to show support to the villagers who have been fighting to stop the deployment of the THAAD anti-missile system just two miles away from where they live. 

This video features the voices of residents as well as Koreans from other parts of the country who are struggling for peace in Soseong-ri as well as the Korean Peninsula.

The residents had a message for the CEO of Lockheed Martin (manufacturer of the THAAD battery) -- "Stop making weapons of destruction like the THAAD and contribure to the work of peace!"

For more on STIK and the Solidarity Peace Delegation, please check us out at -- http://stopthaad.org/
and on facebook -- https://www.facebook.com/StopThaad/
 
Global Network Board member Will Griffin, a member of the Solidarity Peace Delegation, helped film and interview some of the local villagers who's lives have been turned upside due to this deployment.

#NoTHAAD

Last One Standing.....


I've been calling the craziness in Washington the 'mob versus the mafia'

The mob is the down and dirty street crazies from the Trump syndicate

The mafia are the 'sophisticated' corporate Yale, Harvard, Princeton, Wall Street Hillary Clinton crew

The American people lose either way

The Democrats corporate mafia are working hard to bring the so-called 'progressive' community onto their side - aka the Pink Pussy hats which were likely made in China in advance thanks to a generous donation from George Soros and his Open Society Foundations.  How else could those 'knitted' pink hats just have appeared miraculously everywhere overnight?

When Hillary announces she is 'joining the resistance' you know you want to make tracks fast and get the hell out of there!

It's pox on both your houses!

Free your mind from the corrupt corporate tyranny

Don't buy the bullshit coming from any of them in Washington!

Bruce

Thursday, July 27, 2017

What a Lovely Day....



A birthday present to myself - one of my all-time favorite Kinks songs....thanks for all the good wishes folks.

Report from Korea on 'No THAAD' Delegation from U.S.


A four-person US peace delegation is now wrapping up their trip to South Korea.  The event was organized by the U.S. Task Force to Stop THAAD in Korea which I am proudly a part of.  (Delegation includes Medea Benjamin from Code Pink; Jill Stein of the Green Party; Will Griffin of Veterans for Peace & Global Network; and Reece Chenault of U.S. Labor Against War.)

In the photo they are holding the 2017 Global Network poster for Keep Space for Peace Week that this year has a No THAAD in South Korea theme. In the front row on the left is Buddhist Won Rev. Seonghye Kim who serves as Co-Chair of the Seongju Struggle Committee to Stop THAAD Deployment.  She along with Will Griffin and Reece Chenault were speakers at our 25th annual space organizing conference in Huntsville, Alabama last spring.  (Thanks to Will for bringing along the posters.)


Sixty-four years ago a cease fire ended fighting in the Korean War when the United States, China and North Korea signed an armistice.  South Korean President Syngman Rhee refused but observed the armistice.  The three-year Korean War that cost 3.5 million lives has not ended.  Millions of Koreans—including South Korean President Moon Jae-in’s family-- have been separated for more than 65 years. The time has come to end the Korean War and sign a real Peace Treaty Now!

Will Griffin writes:

    At our meeting for a "Strategic Discussion on US-Korea antiwar movement", we exchanged thoughts on how we can work together.

    I mentioned that our Stop THAAD in Korea task force will be planning to protest a weapons expo in DC this October called AUSA. Lockheed Martin will be displaying the THAAD missile system there. In return, a South Korean member of People's Solidarity for Participatory Democracy said they too are planning to protest a weapons expo here in Seoul. She said it was the largest weapons expo in the region and held every year. We plan to communicate with each, share information, and plan ahead.

    I also feel our delegates are becoming more invested in Korean struggles. Jill Stein already understands the devastating consequences that are happening here. Medea Benjamin is bringing a lot of knowledge from her experience with Women Cross the DMZ in 2015. Reece Chenault is the main event because so many labor organizers here in Korea have heard a lot about US Labor Against the War. And I'm meeting many activists that I met on previous delegations, strengthening our relationships.

    Our delegation met with Representative Jae Kwon Shim at South Korea's National Assembly, who is chairman of the foreign affairs and unification committee to talk about our opposition to deployment of THAAD anti-missile system in South Korea. He was surprisingly rational. To sum up, he said we need to change public opinion and force him and the government to remove THAAD. Also, he mentioned that we need to work together to create an environment in which we don't need THAAD. We plan to do that. 

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Israel Tries to Destroy Boycott Rights in U.S.



Philip Giraldi is a former counter-terrorism specialist and military intelligence officer of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and a columnist and television commentator who is the Executive Director of the Council for the National Interest, a group that advocates for more even-handed policies by the U.S. government in the Middle East.

Today I sent letters to our Maine congressional delegation opposing the totally undemocratic bill to make it illegal to boycott Israel's apartheid.  Years ago when we were involved in boycotting South African apartheid no one introduced legislation like this in Washington.  Why does Israel think they can control our rights here in the US?

Jewish Voice for Peace, the U.S. Campaign for Palestinian Rights, the ACLU and J-Street oppose the legislation. On July 18, the American Civil Liberties Union released a letter to the Senate and a letter to the House, urging them not to co-sponsor the bill because it unconstitutionally discriminates against people "for no reason other than their political beliefs".

What does the bill actually do?

The Israel Anti-Boycott Act (S. 720/ H.R. 1697) is the latest, and most extreme, of a series of unconstitutional anti-boycott legislation at both the federal and state level. The law aims to quell the movement for Palestinian rights by penalizing companies and individuals engaged in commerce for using the nonviolent tactics of boycott, divestment and sanctions to hold Israel accountable for violations of Palestinian rights.

First introduced in March, this bill seeks to amend two laws – the Export Administration Act of 1979 and the Export-Import Bank Act of 1945 – to penalize companies that participate in boycotts, and to preempt efforts by international governmental organizations from complying with international law and calling for an end to trade with Israel’s settlements or companies that operate in the settlements.

The bill opposes the creation of a database of Israeli settlement companies by the UN Human Rights Council and any efforts to boycott those companies’ products. The bill categorizes violations as felonies, and the potential penalties are steep: a minimum $250,000 civil penalty and a maximum criminal penalty of $1 million and 20 years imprisonment.

You can learn more and take action here

Airshows Recruit Our Kids for Endless War



The U.S. government is using airshows to manipulate children to think that war and violence is fun and glorious.

In this video see Iraq war veteran Michael Hanes who enters a San Diego airshow and reveals the extent of indoctrination of the kids by the military.

This story makes me remember Tom Sturtevant from Maine who passed away some years ago.  He was a leader in Maine Veterans For Peace and had been a former high school teacher.  Tom's top issue was military recruitment so when these airshows came to the former Brunswick Naval Air Station Tom was always involved in the organizing of protests at the base.

Since the 'Great Maine Air Show' is coming to Brunswick in August we urge you to share this video widely.

We will be holding a protest at the airshow in Brunswick, Maine on Saturday, August 26 from 9:00 am to noon.

Sponsored by Global Network, Maine Veterans for Peace and PeaceWorks

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

'That's the Challenge'


In early July Roy Pingel and his son visited our house here in Bath.  Artist and housemate Brown Lethem lived in New York City for many years and often gets visitors from the city.  This summer has been pure joy as we've seen a poet, author, painter and friends visit Brown from New York.

I'd never met Roy Pingel before but he was very interested in talking and I showed him and his son the short video about our April 1 arrests at BIW during a destroyer 'christening' ceremony.  I handed him one of the Global Network newspapers and he promised to stay in touch.

A week or two later I received a letter in the mail with a donation from Roy.  But most importantly, and exciting for me, was to see his words describing his clear understanding about the need for 'defense' conversion.  I'd like to share his good thoughts on the subject.  We need more folks to be talking about (and demanding) conversion of the war machine.

A very good friend of ours has also mentioned to me your work and interest around the retooling, converting, weapons industries into production that supports and improves life, not destroying it, and ultimately creates more jobs.

'Retooling America for Peace' (hey, maybe that can be used as a slogan for a campaign for industrial conversion, maybe it already is) stimulates a lot of interest but the conversion process to a peacetime economy - how does that start and move forward without major labor dislocation, especially at the initial stages?  How to confront the massive counter reaction by 'defense' contractors and financial elites, causes abundant fear, hesitancy, resistance, among labor leaders, workers and, of course, the politicians?  I guess that's the challenge, how to increasingly win over more of a US populace to Retooling America for Peace when much of the people seem disengaged from the reality that their country is an empire unmatched in history.

Good luck in your trial and all your work for demilitarizing space!

Roy Pingel
NYC

My only real response to Roy would be thanks for the great letter and thanks for seeing this big picture that is not adequately being addressed by the peace and environmental movements, the media, Congress nor the so-called 'Democratic Party' which says it is for peace and prosperity for the workers.  They ain't....

So folks that really understand this issue need to put our heads together and organize more discussion and action - everywhere.  The other necessary message, which is getting more play, is the devastating carbon bootprint of the Pentagon and its endless wars.  Climate change is worsened by the ever cancerous US military empire that impacts the environment and cultures of people in places like Guam, Jeju Island, Philippines, Australia, and Okinawa.

Thus we need conversion, and conversion campaigners, to be organizing particularly in communities where manifestations of the military production system are located.  We've got to keep looking for local people who will help us connect to labor unions that represent the workers at these production sites.

It would be helpful if labor would recall the words of William Wimpisinger (1924-1997) the 11th International President of the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers.  During the early 1980's 'Wimpy' (as he was called) became a national leader in the united effort by his union and the peace movement to promote conversion.  In a speech at a conference in 1980 Wimpy spoke in favor of disarmament saying economic conversion of the weapons industry was key to economic stability in the US.  He maintained that weapons production is a capital intensive industry that doesn't do much in creating additional jobs. Instead it causes inflation and unemployment.  You can hear Wimpy's talk here

Most 'defense' workers just want a decent job with healthcare.  They'd be happy with conversion to building commuter rail, solar, wind, and tidal power systems. If we actually went that direction we'd also not have to go to war for oil.

That would make the local workers happy too because in the end it is often the case that their children are the ones dying in US wars for the oil corporations. 

Build it and they will come.

Bruce

Monday, July 24, 2017

To Serve the Present Age


Late Sunday afternoon Mary Beth and I drove with Regis Tremblay about 15 miles from our house to Reid State Park for a picnic along the ocean.  This beautiful place happens to be a sacred spot for Regis who began coming here as an eight-year old Catholic alter boy when his Waterville, Maine parish would sponsor annual trips for the kids and their parents.

I met Regis some years back at a protest event and immediately saw strong similarities between him and my step-dad who my mom married when I was about three years old.  My step-father Wes was from Rumford, in western Maine, and was the son of a paper mill worker.  Wes was wild and independent minded and joined the Air Force in order to escape Rumford and we spent our life moving around the world to various Air Force bases.

Regis is friendly, smart, direct, and does not suffer fools lightly.  It's been quite amazing to watch him travel to South Korea and make the excellent documentary called Ghosts of Jeju and then follow that up with his new truth telling film called Thirty Seconds to Midnight.  In between these films he's traveled the world and made many shorter videos on various subjects including the one from Odessa, Ukraine when we both went there for the May 2, 2016 event to stand with the mothers of those massacred by the Nazis two years before at the Trades Union Hall.

He's got quite an amazing back catalog - see it here.

Here is Regis standing in front of the spot where as a kid he and other alter boys would catch crabs under the bridge.  He says it has not changed one bit in the last 60 years.


MB and I always love to go to this state park either to walk along the beach or sit upon the rocks where we can lose ourselves as the waves crash up against the shore line. So when Regis invited us to join him in a picnic at his favorite spot we jumped at the chance.


We brought along our little propane grill to do some cooking and ate way more than we should have but enjoyed every moment.  We always have very stimulating conversations when the three of us get together about politics, sports, people, the 'movement' (or lack of one), our personal futures and the futures for our own children.  Like most parents these days we worry about how our kids will fare in this world as we all face climate change and the growing economic divide between the rich and the poor.  We struggle with the question what more should we each be doing?

Being around nature helps us keep things in perspective as we know that humans are just one of many life forms on this beautiful planet and certainly not the most important.  But we agree that humans have to take responsibility for the mess we've made here on Mother Earth and we are frustrated that people are not more engaged in pushing for fundamental and needed change.  We have lots of theories why people don't do more to help but have fewer ideas how to get them to wake up and act.

Regis is working on some exciting upcoming travel and film projects while MB and I lately have been doing alot to help friends who have lost love ones.  MB is a social worker with a homeless agency in Portland (now just working three days a week) but her four days off are nearly always spent doing volunteer social work in our local community with various folks who are in need of a caring and devoted listener, companion and helper.

My vegetable gardening keeps me occupied when I am not on the computer doing organizing work or traveling.  I love nothing more than playing with my tomato plants and trying to get stubborn pole beans to climb their appointed paths.

In the end we each agreed last evening that we are lucky to live in this beautiful part of Maine and to have found the good work we are each doing. 

Years ago while working in Florida I used to organize an annual peace retreat at a camp that had a slogan painted on the wall that read 'To serve the present age'. I'd say that in the end each of the three of us are doing our best to remain faithful to that sacred calling.

Bruce

Hear the Forbidden Story



Just had lunch with New York City friends artist Anne Gibbons and her husband Ivan who've been on vacation in Maine during the past week.

We frequently use Anne's cartoons (syndicated as Six Chix) in our Space Alert newspaper.  Much of our conversation was about this whole 'Russia election hack' being run by the Democrats.  It's good to know someone else who is not buying this dead fish story.

Comedian and activist Jimmy Dore does a nice job sinking this big lie in this short video.

It's all about distraction and mind manipulation to keep the public away from the real stories of endless war and complete destruction of social progress in America by both corrupt political parties.

Think good cop-bad cop or professional wrestling.  Think of a magician - you've got to watch both hands.

In the old days there was a saying in the former Soviet Union that people had to learn to read the Pravda newspaper upside down.  I'd strongly recommend that people today need to learn how to read the New York Times or Washington Post upside down - or watch CNN or MSNBC with the sound turned off.

During lunch we asked each other this question:  Why do so many liberals buy this BS recycled red-baiting story from the Democrats?

Our conclusion:  Most liberals are 'educated and comfortably middle class' and they don't really want to confront the corrupt corporate oligarchies that run this country and much of the world.  It would cause them to fall out of favor in their middle class social circles.  So comfort and social standing trump the god awful truth of our current moment....

Bruce

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Sunday Song