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

Monday, June 26, 2017

Listen to Your Heart


Space Mine Field



Voice: Bruce Gagnon, Coordinator of the Global Network. Listen to Bruce's entire talk: https://youtu.be/oerbJKbjpRs

Animation by Stuart Grey: https://youtu.be/O64KM4GuRPk

Thanks to Will Griffin for this important video.

Get Up Off Your Knees



We are talking
serfs
vassals
slaves
here

the return
of feudalism
21st century
corporate style
 
Mental slaves
all around us
go any place
where people meet
the joint
is crawling
with them

Whining about Trump
dreaming
of the good old days
when Obama
'respected'
the rule of law
ran a 'clean' government
only got us into
7 wars
Drone executions
Expanding NATO
Health care
was a corporate subsidy
but allowed
for pre-existing
conditions
yeah the glory days

Saw an invite
from a liberal group
'Join the resistance'
was the headline
the fine print
told the real story
come learn how to lobby

Resistance redefined
as accommodation
and horse trading
from a position
of weakness
and servitude

Putin
is on the west's
shit list
because he won't
submit
won't get on his knees
like vassals

resists being
another Yeltsin
won't bow
to the banksters
dares talk of
sovereignty

The fightback
is half-stepping
reading the
Post and Times
falling for the lies
another 'shock and awe'
Syria
Iran is next

Folks know better
but running scared
don't want
to get
outside their
comfort zones

Liberals
demonizing
Russia
trying
to change
the script
off their
big loss
to the 'Donald'
gotta blame
the evil bear

There's
no fight
in the bones

Speak out
get accused
of being violent
or too radical
blacklisted

Liberals
run and hide
wait for next election

Been determined
that
on your knees
is the safest
position
to face
coming
high tide

Bruce

Sunday, June 25, 2017

South Koreans Encircle U.S. Embassy



Thousands of demonstrators formed a human chain around the American embassy in the South Korean capital, Seoul, to register their disapproval of the US-built THAAD missile defense system in their country.

South Korea’s President Moon Jae-in and Trump are due to meet for the first time in Washington next week, with THAAD expected to dominate the agenda.

Moon, a center-left politician, who was sworn in last month after a corruption scandal brought down the previous right-wing administration, has been a critic of the way in which the sophisticated defense system has been deployed and has ordered a full investigation.

"We got a fuckin‘ problem"



From Seymour Hersch
Printed by WELT (Germany)

Intelligence officials doubted the alleged Sarin gas attack at Khan Sheikhoun. WELT AM SONNTAG presents a chat protocol of a security advisor and an active American soldier on duty at a key base in the region.

This conversation was provided to [award winning journalist] Seymour Hersh. It is between a security adviser and an active US American soldier on duty on a key operational base about the events in Khan Sheikhoun. We have made abbreviations: American soldier (AS) and Security Advisor (SA). WELT AM SONNTAG is aware of the location of the deployment. For security reasons, certain details of military operations have been omitted.

April 6, 2017

American Soldier: We got a fuckin‘ problem

Security-Adviser: What happened? Is it the Trump ignoring the Intel and going to try to hit the Syrians? And that we’re pissing on the Russians?

AS: This is bad...Things are spooling up.

SA: You may not have seen trumps press conference yesterday. He's bought into the media story without asking to see the Intel.  We are likely to get our asses kicked by the Russians.  Fucking dangerous.  Where are the goddamn adults? The failure of the chain of command to tell the President the truth, whether he wants to hear it or not, will go down in history as one of our worst moments.

AS: I don't know. None of this makes any sense. We KNOW that there was no chemical attack. The Syrians struck a weapons cache (a legitimate military target) and there was collateral damage. That's it. They did not conduct any sort of a chemical attack.

AS: And now we’re shoving a shit load of TLAMs (tomahawks) up their ass.

SA: There has been a hidden agenda all along. This is about trying to ultimately go after Iran. What the people around Trump do not understand is that the Russians are not a paper tiger and that they have more robust military capability than we do.

AS:  I don't know what the Russians are going to do. They might hang back and let the Syrians defend their own borders, or they might provide some sort of tepid support, or they might blow us the fuck out of the airspace and back into Iraq. I honestly don't know what to expect right now. I feel like anything is possible.  The Russian air defense system is capable of taking out our TLAMs.  this is a big fucking deal...we are still all systems go...

SA:  You are so right. Russia is not going to take this lying down

SA: Who is pushing this? Is it coming from Votel (General Joseph L. Votel, Commander of United States Central Command, editor‘s note) ?                 

AS: I don't know. It's from someone big though. . . . This is a big fucking deal.                      

AS: It has to be POTUS.      

AS:  They [the Russians] are weighing their options.  Indications are they are going to be passive supporters of Syria and not engage their systems unless their own assets are threatened..in other words, the sky is fucking blue.'         
        
April 7, 2017

SA: What are the Russians doing or saying  Am I correct that we did little real damage to Russia or Syria?                       

AS: We didn't hit a damn thing, thankfully. They retrograded all their aircraft and personnel. We basically gave them a very expensive fireworks display.                      

AS: They knew where ships were and watched the entire strike from launch to end game.                      

AS: The Russians are furious. Claiming we have the real Intel and know the truth about the weapons depot strike.                      

AS: They are correct.                      

AS: I guess it really didn't matter whether we elected Clinton or Trump. Fuck.                      

AS: No one is talking about the entire reason we're in Iraq and Syria in the first place. That mission is fucked now.

SA: Are any of your colleagues pissed or is everyone going along with it and saying this is OK                      

AS: It's a mad house. . . .Hell we even told the Russians an hour before impact                      

SA: But they clearly knew it was coming                      

AS: Oh of course                      

AS: Now Fox is saying we chose to hit the Syrian airfield because it is where the chemical attacks were launched from. Wow. Can't make this shit up.                      

SA: They are. I mean, making it up                      

AS: It's so fuckin evil                      

SA: Amen!!!      

April 8, 2017

AS: Russians are being extremely reasonable.  Despite what the news is reporting they are still trying to deconflict and coordinate the air campaign.

SA: I don't think the Russia yet understands how crazy Trump is over this.  And i don't think we appreciate how much damage the Russians can do to us.

AS: They're showing amazing restraint and been unbelievably calm.  They seem mostly interested in de-escalating everything.  They don't want to lose our support in the help with destroying Isis.

SA: But I get the get the feeling are simply trying this approach for as long as they feel it might work.  If we keep pushing this current aggressive stance they're going to hit back.'

Sunday Song




Saturday, June 24, 2017

Day in Portland: Trains and Film



MB and I went to Portland today to see the tall sailing ships and a movie.  As we were walking toward the port district we passed by the narrow gauge train museum and went inside to have a look.  I've always loved trains and still have my train set that I got for Christmas in 1959.  In fact I still have the turkey box from our holiday turkey that year that I have kept the train in ever since.  In later years I gave the train to my son Julian but it is still stored in our attic with his baseball cards and other such things.

In 1980 I worked with friend John Hedrick in Orlando, Florida to create the People's Transit Organization that worked to get the city and Orange County to upgrade their public transit.  (Our campaign was successful in getting the community to double its funding for public transit.) I am not fond of cars, nor of super highways, but love the idea of public transportation.  It's better for the environment and better for the public - its a common carrier.

Maybe it was living in Wiesbaden, Germany in the mid 1960's - our apartment in the center of the city was just blocks from the rail station and I used to spend alot of time there - and that experience of seeing what a real national rail system was like must have had a big influence on me.

Needless to say I was fascinated by the museum and I remain a huge advocate for building commuter rail systems as one small way to deal with our addiction to the automobile which is a major contributor to the pollution that has helped bring about climate change.

At one time Maine was connected by passenger rail lines that covered most of the state.  Many small towns still have their train stations standing but sadly the coming of the car destroyed that system.

Following our visit to the museum we continued our walk to the port area, had a late breakfast, and then sat in a park while waiting to go the the movie theater.  We went to see "All Eyez On Me" which tells the true story of prolific rapper, actor, poet and activist Tupac Shakur. The film follows Shakur from his early days in New York City to his evolution into being one of the world's most recognized and influential voices before his assassination at the age of 25. Against all odds, Shakur's raw talent, powerful lyrics and revolutionary spirit propelled him into becoming a cultural icon whose legacy continues to grow.

Tupac's mother was a member of the Black Panthers and during her pregnancy she represented herself in a trial and was found not guilty of the charges.  She brought Tupac up to be a revolutionary. His fame brought him much suffering as he was targeted as an enemy of the state at an early age.  I highly recommend the film.

Bruce

Must Watch Talk on Congo



Maurice Carney from Friends of the Congo speaking about US Foreign Policy in Congo, the heart of Africa. #UNAC2017

Maurice is Co-Founder and Executive Director of Friends of the Congo. He has traveled widely, leading workshops and teach-ins at universities, community colleges, businesses, faith groups, labor unions, and think tanks. He has provided analysis for media outlets including Pacifica News, Al Jazeera, ABC News, Democracy Now, Real New Network, and Pambazuka News.

Thursday, June 22, 2017

UNAC Panel Presentation on 'Missile Defense'



While at the UNAC national anti-war conference last weekend in Richmond, Virginia.

Thanks to Iraq and Afghanistan veteran Will Griffin at The Peace Report for making the video  available in this format.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

U.S. Navy War Games off Jeju Island



You don't have to understand Korean to watch this short news report about people on Jeju island, South Korea being angry about the port call by a US Aegis destroyer to the new Navy base in Gangjeong village.

The news report shows footage of the Navy war exercises that will be going on between the US, Canada and South Korean navies.  (Imagine all the sea life killed and pollution resulting from these so-called games.)

You also see a bit of the protest at the front gate of the new Navy base.

Practicing Solidarity Here at Home



Larry Hamm speaking at the #UNAC2017 conference, United National Antiwar Coalition, held in Richmond, VA.

Larry is founder and Chairman of the People's Organization For Progress in Newark, NJ. Check them out here

Larry calls for all movements to support one another.

Protect Your Spark Plugs

Veterans For Peace national board member Tarak Kauff from Woodstock, NY joined us in Maine for the Zumwalt destroyer 'christening' civil disobedience in 2016


Many moons ago, while I was working for the Florida Coalition for Peace & Justice, we organized a weekend retreat and our guest speaker was the legendary peace activist Abbie Hoffman.  I recall being blown away by his skill as a strategic thinker and the interaction made me realize how much we often fall for the mainstream media's definition of people - especially those who are in the limelight.  The media had long made Hoffman out to be a jester and a bit of a fool - not to be taken too seriously.  Seeing Abbie in person dispelled all those media-driven false impressions. (Later I read all of Hoffman's books which only confirmed for me his brilliant organizing know-how.)

One expression I will always remember that Hoffman made during our daylong event was his warning to us that we should be sure to "Protect your spark plugs".  He was not talking about auto repair.  In fact he was talking about our peace groups and the need to recognize who our spark plugs are and to make sure we take good care of them.  He did not mean this in an elitist manner but purely in the good sense way that we should know who it is that often energizes us and helps to make our groups move into action.

One such spark plug that I know is Tarak Kauff from VFP.  Tarak has boundless energy (not bad for an old man) and is able to turn ideas into action.  He's got a few rough edges (like most of us humans) but in many ways his roughness is part of his charm.

Tarak had much to do with making the recent VFP anti-war rally and protest in Washington DC happen.  He has been a leader in VFP solidarity trips to South Korea, Okinawa and Palestine during the last couple of years.  He was also heavily involved in organizing VFP's strong presence at Standing Rock in North Dakota last winter.

Tarak puts his heart in gear when he feels outraged at the insanity coming out of the US government.  He feels a sense of personal responsibility and acts on it and his sheer energy draws others who might not have ever thought of acting.

Tarak is a spark plug.

Bruce