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, October 22, 2016

Portland & Wet for 2nd Day

It rained the entire 16 miles into Portland today but our spirits remained high with the addition of new walkers. 

The Friends School was luckily available to us for a sheltered lunch stop just half way to Portland and thanks to Sukie Rice and Leslie Manning for providing us with a lovely meal.  We sat at the desks of the 7th grade class to eat and were asked to leave each of the students a note about each of us.  A nice surprise will be waiting for the students when they return to school on Monday.

Grace Braley organized a fine program at the State Street UCC Church in Portland after the evening pot luck supper.  Just before things got started our Korean-American friend Juyeon Rhee from New York City walked into the church.  She'll walk with us on Sunday before heading back to NYC on Monday.  Last summer when our VFP delegation went to South Korea for three weeks in August it was Juyeon and Hyun Lee that were going to be our guides and translators. When they arrived in the Seoul airport they were kicked out of the country.  They recovered quickly and continued to direct our tour long-distance and successfully found others to do the needed translations.

It was obvious that the right-wing South Korean government feared Juyeon and Hyun being inside the country of their birth as they have become major activists for peace and reunification of Korea - something that neither the US nor its puppet regime in Seoul wants to happen.  The US gets alot of mileage out of the continued division of Korea - particularly Washington uses North Korea as an excuse to kept building up its military operations in South Korea, Japan, Okinawa, Guam and other places in the Asia-Pacific region.  While this 'pivot' of 60% of US forces into the region is really aimed at China and Russia, North Korea is the perfect foil.

In the morning the sky is supposed to clear up but the temperature will drop to the kind of cold one would normally expect to see in Maine during this time of year.  So we'll all bundle up and keep heading south toward Saco where we'll be hosted by the First Congregational Church.

Friday, October 21, 2016

Freeport in the Rain

It was a dreary day here in Maine today with mist and rain.  But after all the good weather we have had along the way I can't really complain and we sure need the rain.

We met in Brunswick this morning and the group walked 10 miles to Freeport.  I drove the van and then helped set up lunch and walked the last four miles.  It felt good to be back on the road behind the drums and it felt like what ever ailment I've had might be on its way out of my body.  At least I hope so.

We were hosted tonight at the Durham Quaker Meeting House about 12 miles from Freeport.  They organized dinner and home stays for us.

In the morning we shuttle back to Freeport and then walk about 15 miles to Portland where we will be hosted by the State Street Church.

VFP member Ken Jones from North Carolina (who used to live here in Maine) arrived today.  Ken was with Will Griffin and I for the Grand March for Life and Peace on Jeju Island, South Korea last August.  It is fun to have him along.  Another VFP member Nate Goldshlag is back for his second round of walking - he lives near Boston.

A couple of our key walk organizers have to leave - one to return to prior commitments at home and the other because her knee gave out.  We will miss Katie Greenman and Connie Jenkins a bunch.  We are so grateful to both for their outstanding efforts to help make this whole event happen.

The Times Record (our local midcoast paper) ran an excellent front page story about the walk today.  You can see it here and a story from our visit to Norway, Maine which was also published today here

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Coming Nov. 11 to Brunswick, Maine

Stomp on THAAD!

In its arrogance and desperate rush to encircle China and Russia with so-called 'missile defense' systems, the US is successfully driving formerly conservative communities in rural South Korea into the arms of the peace movement.

As you can see in this short music video the people are learning the songs and dances that are such a big part of Korean progressive movement culture and they are having fun.

The US has a 'no holds barred' strategy as Washington-London-Brussels-Paris-Berlin know that their window of control of the planet is closing.  China and Russia (being now joined by other nations not part of the western club) are moving to open a different window, a much bigger window, called multi-polar world.

Virtually every military move Washington makes though is creating more opposition thus their plan for 'full spectrum dominance' is running into the reality of  'full spectrum resistance'.

All that is needed now is for the vast majority of the American people to wake up from their deep sleep so they can join the rest of the planet in recognizing who the real terrorists are these days.


No THAAD Peace Walk Event in Brunswick

  • It's been hard to keep up with the blog during the walk.  Not only have there been days, especially in rural Maine, with no Internet connection but I also got sick.  I found it almost impossible to sleep more than 3-4 hours each night despite being exhausted from walking all day.  Then one night I got a fever and sweated buckets.  So on Tuesday I walked in the morning and then came home and slept 13 hours.  I missed the walk into Brunswick on Wednesday and just stayed in bed most of the day although I did post a couple videos below.  Then last night I attended the pot luck supper in Brunswick since I was responsible for the program.

  • This week there has been a call for No THAAD (Terminal High Altitude Area Defense) protests across the nation against the Pentagon plan to deploy the 'missile defense' (MD) system in South Korea.  Last night I gave some background on the controversy, also included the Aegis MD equipped warships built here in Bath, and then we showed the six-minute video compilation (see posted in menu a couple days ago) of the candlelight vigils in South Korea opposing THAAD.  We took the photo above of those in attendance in our meager effort to show solidarity and denounce these provocative first-strike attack systems.

  • When I got home from the walk I found last Friday's local newspaper sitting on my desk and inside was a large article entitled:  Clinton said U.S. would 'ring China with missile defense'.  I clipped the story and took it to the event last night and read these remarks from Clinton that were revealed by WikiLeaks.  "We're going to ring China with missile defense.  We're going to put more of our fleet in the area."

  • Clinton is of course referring to the US Navy's Aegis destroyers with MD interceptors on-board and I made sure to point that clear fact out to the group last night.  So South Korean people are directly fighting against ground-based THAAD deployments on the mainland and against MD at the new Navy base on Jeju Island where these ships will be ported.  Both of these places thus become prime targets in a war with Russia and China and the people know it.  Protest and survive is their operating message now.

  • Today is a peace walk day off and our fantastic team of walkers surely need and deserve it.  But of course we can't pass up such a great chance with so many activists being around to pay a visit to Bath Iron Works. We'll go from 3:00-4:00 pm during the shift change for a vigil highlighting our demand to convert the shipyard to sustainable technology production that would in fact create more jobs than making warships.

  • We get started again on Friday walking from Brunswick to Freeport and from there our route will be directly south on US Hwy 1 to the Navy Submarine shipyard in Kittery where we will end the walk on October 26 with another protest calling for the conversion of that yard.  More walkers join every day and people come and go - some even come back for a second or third try at it.  The sense of community building is quite lovely.  We are grateful to all those across the state who have supported the peace walk helping to make it a special event.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

U.S. Wants to Balkanize Russia

Fellow Mainer Regis Tremblay is currently in Russia working on his upcoming documentary.

Here he interviews Riley Waggaman, an American journalist who works in Russia. 

Regis and I met Riley in Odessa, Ukraine when we traveled there to show solidarity with the mothers of those murdered by Nazis at the Trades Hall Building in 2014.

The Era of Fossil Fuels is Coming to an End

There's a revolution happening in Standing Rock, at the Očhéthi Šakówiŋ camp, and across the country. Over 200 indigenous American nations and 6,000 people have travelled to the community in an unprecedented act of solidarity. Catalyzed by the fight against Dakota Access Pipeline, Native American tribes are protecting their water, but even more, protecting their sovereignty in the face of a colonialist State. In a time when we still celebrate Christopher Columbus, violent colonizer, the indigenous rights movement is more important than ever.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Some Walk Photos

As we headed to Norway, Maine yesterday we stopped at the Poland Spring bottled water plant (owned by Nestle) to protest their extraction of water from our state without paying anything for it.  They buy up the land over a well field and then pump it to their hearts content.  The taxpayers of Maine get nothing but a few jobs in the bottling and trucking departments.  Once we arrived at the entrance to Poland Spring we walked deep into the production facilities area and were eventually stopped by a surprised manager who called the police to chase us away.  Before leaving we made sure to express our disgust with the greedy Nestle corporation that cares about nothing except $$$$$$$.

A supporter made an amazing Indian dinner for us two nights ago when we arrived in Augusta.  It was restaurant quality.