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

Sunday, March 26, 2017

U.S. Navy Keep Out!



The first U.S. Navy destroyer makes port call at Gangjeong village on Jeju Island, South Korea.

The Obama-Clinton (and now Trump) 'pivot' of 60% of U.S. forces into the Asia-Pacific requires more barracks for American troops, more ports-of-call for American warships and more airfields for Washington's warplanes.

The Pentagon does not care about the impact this 'pivot' has on the lives of people in the region.

Villagers and supporters in Gangjeong met the Navy destroyer with a protest and denounced its arrival.


We'll be talking about all of this on April 1 in Bath, Maine at the next 'christening' protest of another one of these provocative Aegis destroyers.

Will Americans ever be able to empathize with the people of the Asia-Pacific who want our military boot off their necks? Can we stand in solidarity with their non-violent acts of resistance?

Bruce

Sunday Song




Friday, March 24, 2017

Grannies Against THAAD in South Korea



On March 18 elderly residents of Soseong-ri, South Korea (a village in Seongju County just 2 miles from the deployment site) joined the national peace march of more than 5,000 people against THAAD (Theatre High Altitude Area Defense).

Leaning on walkers, they marched with high spirits, held up big picket signs and chanted, “Illegal THAAD, back to the U.S! THAAD, go away! Come Peace!” 

These people who live near the THAAD deployment site are mostly melon farmers who used to be 85% in favor of the right-wing ruling government.  Since the decision was made to deploy the so-called 'missile defense' system in their community they quit the right-wing party and joined the peace movement.

One of their leaders will be speaking in Huntsville on April 8 at the Global Network space organizing conference. The THAAD 'missile defense' system is built in Alabama and has been deployed in South Korea in recent days. 

THAAD is also currently deployed in Guam and the Pentagon will soon be undertaking a THAAD testing program at a launch site located on Kodiak Island, Alaska on what used to be a pristine nature preserve area.

Navy Wants to 'Give Back' to Jeju - In That Case Just Leave!


US Navy Visits Republic of Korea Island for First Time 
 By U.S. Navy News Release

JEJU-do, Republic of Korea – The Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Stethem (DDG 63) is scheduled to arrive in Jeju-do, Republic of Korea (ROK) on Saturday, March 25, 2017.

This is the first visit by any U.S. Navy ship since the ROK Joint Civil-Military Complex opened February 26, 2016.

Rear Adm. Brad Cooper, the commander of U.S. Naval Forces Korea, will greet the ship along with Rear Adm. Kim, Jeongsu, the commander of Maritime Task Force Flotilla 7, as more than 100 ROK sailors, will welcome Stethem to the southern island.

“This may the first time we [U.S. Navy] will visit Jeju, but we have a long history of visiting the Republic of Korea at ports in Chinhae, Pyeongtaek, Donghae, Mokpo, and Busan,” said Cooper. “So, while the location may be new, our commitment to being good guests, respectful partners, and strong allies is as firm as ever.”

The ship is going to Jeju as part of a routine port visit following the ship’s participation in Foal Eagle 17, a joint exercise between the Republic of Korea Navy and U.S. Navy.

“We enjoy anytime we get to train with our ROK partners,” said Cmdr. Douglas Pegher, Stethem’s commanding officer, “because with each engagement we improve our cooperation and through that we enhance our combined defensive capabilities. We have trained with them at-sea and look forward to strengthening our relationship here in Jeju.”

While in Jeju, Stethem Sailors will have the opportunity to participate in various Morale, Welfare and Recreation (MWR) activities, sporting events, and participate in community relations projects to give back to the local Jeju community.

"We are honored to be here and develop new friendship and strengthen existing relationships through team building exercise, combined sporting events, and by giving back to the island through a community relations event," said Cmdr. Jeff W. Benson, Stethem’s executive officer.

Stethem is on patrol in the U.S. 7th Fleet area of operations in support of security and stability in the Indo-Asia-Pacific region.

Never Forget Odessa!


A Call for an April 10 International Day of Solidarity with the People of Odessa!

The Odessa Solidarity Campaign is calling for an International Day of Solidarity with the People of Odessa on April 10, 2017, to draw attention to the Ukrainian government’s repression of anti-fascist activists in that city. We are calling for rallies, vigils and demonstrations outside Ukrainian embassies and consular offices around the world. April 10 is a date of great significance to all Odessans, as it marks the day in 1944 when Odessa was liberated from years of fascist occupation.

February 2014 saw the overthrow of the elected president of Ukraine in a violent, right-wing coup supported by the U.S. government. Just three months later, on May 2, Odessa experienced one of Europe’s worst civil disorders in many decades, when 46 mostly young progressives were brutally murdered by a fascist-led mob at Odessa’s Kulikovo square.


Ever since that day, relatives, friends and supporters of those who were killed have been demanding an international investigation into the massacre, a demand that has been blocked by the federal government working hand-in-hand with the fascist organizations responsible for the deaths. This obstruction by the Ukrainian government has been noted by the United Nations, the Council of Europe and other international bodies, as well as the U.S. State Department.

It should be noted that, despite many videos taken of the fascists participating in the massacre, not one of those responsible for the murders has ever been brought to trial, while many anti-fascists arrested that day are still in prison, many never having been charged with a crime.

Each week since the massacre, Odessans have gathered in Kulikovo square to remember their dead and press the demand for an investigation. And nearly every week, neo-Nazi organizations like the notorious Right Sector harass and sometimes physically attack them. The police occasionally intervene, but the fascists are never arrested.

In an alarming new development, several anti-fascist Odessans have been arrested by federal authorities and falsely charged with serious crimes. On Feb. 23, Alexander Kushnarev, 65, a deputy of the Limansk District Council and father of one of the young people murdered at Kulikovo square, was arrested by agents of the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU). Also arrested was Anatoly Slobodyanik, 68, a retired military officer and the head of the Odessa Organization of Veterans of Armed Forces. The Odessan region’s chief prosecutor claims the two men were planning to kidnap a member of the country’s Rada, or parliament.

The Rada deputy, Alexei Goncharenko, a member of a parliamentary bloc allied with Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko, was in fact missing for a short time. But he quickly reappeared and was interviewed on the Ukrainian television channel EspresoTV, stating that his abduction had been staged by law enforcement officers. Kushnarev may have been selected for a government frame-up because Goncharenko was at the scene of the 2014 massacre where Kushnarev’s son was killed.

Kushnarev and Slobodyanik are now languishing in the Odessa prison where conditions are aimed at breaking the prisoners’ will to resist. Both elderly men have had long-standing heart problems and it is feared they may not survive their confinement.

Since the two men were taken into custody, the homes of other relatives of the victims of May 2 have been searched by police. Ominous reports are now surfacing about plans to arrest more relatives and supporters and extract “confessions” of plans to commit violent acts against the government.

Since the coup of 2014, the right of the Ukrainian people to free speech has been steadily restricted. The continuing demand of Odessans for an international investigation into the massacre at Kulikovo square has been a particular irritant to the federal government. If the voices of these brave people are allowed to be silenced, Ukraine will have taken another huge step toward becoming an undemocratic police state in collusion with murderous fascist groups.

All out for the April 10 International Day of Solidarity with the People of Odessa!

Free Alexander Kushnarev, Anatoly Slobodyanik & all political prisoners in Ukraine!

Stop the repression against relatives & supporters of those killed on May 2, 2014!

No to fascism in Ukraine & all over the world!

The Odessa Solidarity Campaign is a project of the United National Antiwar Coalition (UNAC).

It was founded in May 2016 following the second anniversary memorial of the massacre of May 2, 2014.  A delegation of UNAC members from the United States attended the memorial, which was held at Odessa’s Kulikovo square.

www.odessasolidaritycampaign.org 

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Planning a War in Space



These space warfare proponents are crazy and have their greedy hands on the national treasury.  But still that is not enough money for them and now these aerospace industries are rounding up the international allies to help pay for the US Star Wars program.

Taxpayers everywhere beware!

Glen Ford: Black Agenda Report



Glen Ford is a distinguished radio-show host and commentator. In 1977, Ford co-launched, produced and hosted America's Black Forum, the first nationally syndicated Black news interview program on commercial television. In 1987, Ford launched Rap It Up, the first nationally syndicated Hip Hop music show, broadcast on 65 radio stations. Ford co-founded the Black Commentator in 2002 and in 2006 he launched the Black Agenda Report. Ford is also the author of The Big Lie: An Analysis of U.S. Media Coverage of the Grenada Invasion.

It Ain't So Much Fun After All

After eight hours of debate, House Rules Committee Chairman Pete Sessions, R-Texas, left, and Rep. Tom Cole, R-Okla., the vice chair, listen to arguments from committee chairs Wednesday as the panel meets to shape the final version of the Republican health care bill.


Saddle up
one Republican
in the House of Reps
demanded
"At some point we have to cowboy up and prove we can govern"

The Obama Care
health bill recall plan
has hit the rocks
as Republican
verses
Republican
squabbling
endangers
the current
'reform' process

During the Obama tenure
when the health bill was passed
Congress was not allowed
to consider
Medicare for All,
Single-payer,
a real national health care plan

So instead we got
a corporate health care
subsidy
welfare package
complicated
expensive
and certain to make big $$$
for the insurance companies

Now the Congress
talks about
'access' to health care
that means
the hacks in DC
will make it possible
for you to buy
insurance on the
open market
if you can
afford it,
most can't

Still today
inside the hollow halls
of Washington
Medicare for All,
Single-payer,
is only whispered
in the toilets
by those
pissed off
about the
corporate domination
of the people's house

Soon corporate adverts
will be emblazoned
on the outside walls
of the Capitol
neon lights blinking
everything is for sale

even the steps
up to the Capitol doors
will be painted with ads
to remind the 'consumers'
who actually owns
the house

each step
sold to the
highest bidder
the soul
of the nation
now has a price tag
our God
is the
green frog skin

Step right up!
Make a bid
on a Capitol step
the higher you
get to the heaven$
the more they cost!

Bruce

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Anti-THAAD Protests Growing in South Korea



Catholic Priest Pat Cunningham reports from South Korea:

Heavy handed tactics were used by the police and the security state in Seongju yesterday, March 18 to remove Won Buddhist monks and their Peace/Prayer Tent situated at the entrance to the Lotte Golf Club, the proposed site of THAAD 'missile defense' (MD) battery, which is being vigorously and nonviolently resisted by the Won Buddhists (who have a sacred site and place of pilgrimage in the area) and other civil and religious groups from around the country.


March 18 was the first day of the Peacebus and afforded up to 5,000 people from around the country an opportunity to come together in solidarity with the local villagers in walking for peace and resisting THAAD.


Yesterday happened to be the 249th day of candle light vigils and the Columban's [Catholic order] were happy to join peace/labor/environmental/religious activists to be present and walk in solidarity with the local villagers during these very tense and dark days on the peninsula when the drumbeats of war and military buildup have seemingly taken on an inevitability with military exercises and recent visits from US Secretary of Defense and Secretary of State stating that the possibility of a military strike against North Korea could not be discounted. 


This warmongering was countered by community leaders and their message of peace and dialogue built on a relationship of mutual trust that should be promoted by the next political administration. 

The message was loud and clear - 'THAAD is not inevitable or unavoidable - it will not be deployed and all peace loving people should resist its installation with all their might'.

This spirit of nonviolent resistance was on display yesterday when the monks and their supporters/activists successfully resisted police attempts to demolish the tent and ensured that it was hastily re-erected in order for the peaceful resistance to continue.


There will be more candle light vigils and protests in Seoul and Seongju in the coming weeks and months. The Catholic community in Seongju will continue with weekly Wednesday mass and prayer vigils in the village of Seosongri.

Op-Ed in Local Paper


Sustainable Energy to Ensure Future Generations

By Bruce K. Gagnon

Recently, a man in Bath who currently works at Bath Iron Works (BIW) told me, “We can’t afford to keep building these expensive Zumwalt destroyers.” The ships are now coming in at more than $4 billion per copy. He later told me that he no longer knows whom to believe as he watches Trump and the Democrats battle with one another. I told him he isn’t alone and is smart to mistrust all that is going on in Washington these days. The corporate oligarchies internal power struggle is not considering the well being of the public. We the people have got to come together and fight for our children and grandchildren who are being left with an economic and environmental mess to handle.

In early March I had to leave our Bath "Zumwalt 12" trial a day early to attend a conference in Sweden. After that event I did a speaking tour throughout Scandinavia and ended it in Copenhagen, Denmark. I was quite impressed to see the many offshore wind turbines in the waters between Sweden and Denmark as I rode a high-speed rail system over a bridge connecting the two nations.

My mind flashed to our own Gov. LePage who, soon after taking office, moved quickly to kill any chance of a Norwegian energy company building an offshore wind farm in the Gulf of Maine. (Experts say that the Gulf of Maine has the greatest wind power potential in the US.)

Very recently I read an article that reported on Gov. LePage’s failure to create more energy for our state and to lower our energy costs.

The governor’s plan to expand natural gas capacity in Maine has stalled, a good thing considering the fact that we must move away from fossil fuels if we hope to successfully deal with global warming.
LePage’s wrong-headed stands against rooftop solar and against greater statewide emphasis on energy efficiency is a direct threat to our future generation’s chances for survival.

From what I can see, the governor has also done little or nothing to promote public transportation across Maine. A commuter rail system from Portland to Bath would go a long way in reducing our state’s carbon footprint.

Studies from UMASS-Amherst Economics Department have long revealed that building a commuter rail system at BIW would double the existing work force. The cost of one Zumwalt-class destroyer could surely build a world-class commuter rail system for Maine. And shouldn’t creating clean energy jobs be a priority in our state? I don’t hear any of our elected officials pushing for that. If Sens. Collins and King really wanted to create jobs and deal with global warming this would be the way to go.

On April 1 there will be a christening at BIW as another destroyer (outfitted with missile defense interceptors) is commissioned. Peace groups from across Maine will once again hold a non-violent protest at the shipyard gates demanding that we end our wasteful addiction to militarism. We will call for the conversion of BIW to building commuter rail, wind turbines, solar and tidal power systems.

My son recently got married and he and his wife are likely to have children in the near future. I am focused like a laser beam on wanting to ensure that my descendants, and all future generations, have a real chance of survival on our Mother Earth.

Building more warships, which dramatically contribute to the Pentagon’s number one global carbon boot-print, won’t cut the mustard.

We should all care about preserving life on this fragile planet. Thus we must continually demand an immediate switch from endless war making to sustainable production that helps us deal with our real enemy today – climate change.

Bruce K. Gagnon is a member of PeaceWorks and lives in Bath, Maine

Very Smart...



Let's build these at US weapons production facilities across the nation rather than having endless wars to control oil.

This won't happen unless we demand it repeatedly!

“Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will.... If there is no struggle, there is no progress. Those who profess to favor freedom, and deprecate agitation, are [people] who want crops without plowing up the ground, they want rain without thunder and lightning.”  

~ Frederick Douglass (American Abolitionist)

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

'Brave Nazis' Shell Kindergarten in Eastern Ukraine



Those 'brave' western Ukrainian Nazis (armed, funded and trained by US-NATO) continue with their shelling of their fellow citizens in eastern Ukraine.

The training base in western Ukraine has rotating US Army Special Forces soldiers from Fort Carson, Colorado there teaching the Nazis the 'fine art' of warfare.  I know this to be true for two reasons:  first I've seen the base in operation on video which you can watch here.

Secondly, I have a friend whose son is stationed at Fort Carson in the Army Special Forces and at this moment he is at this training base in western Ukraine.

So in the video above the 'brave and valiant Nazi forces' shelled a kindergarten and 15 civilian homes.  Attacking unarmed and innocent senior citizens and a school - this is what the US is teaching its allies in Ukraine to do.  That in my book is terrorism - simple and easy to understand.  And dammed sicking as well.

Thank god they attacked at night when none of the children were taking naps at the school.  A small blessing indeed!


These are the lengths the US is going to in order to try to destabilize Russia in order to force regime change in Moscow.  The crime of these Ukrainian citizens living in western Ukraine?  They live near the Russian border and speak Russian as their first language.

It's all sick - very sick. All Americans should be outraged and ashamed of what our country is doing in Ukraine.

Bruce

French Left Leader on Korea Tensions



Jean-Luc Melenchon is a leader of the Left Party in France and is currently running for president.

NewStateman reports:
Mélenchon passionately defends the idea of a new Republic that gives power back to the people and abolishes the “presidential monarchy”, wants more fiscal justice, a review of the European treaties to put an end to “austerity policies”, and a new ecological order which would see France drop nuclear power.

French voters go the polls on April 23 and May 7 in the two-round election, which is being closely followed outside France as another test of popular discontent with traditional parties and institutions like the European Union.

Emmanuel Macron, former investment banker and economy minister running as an independent centrist, remains the favourite to win France's turbulent presidential election race.

Macron would lead first-round voting with 26.5 percent, just ahead of populist leader Marine Le Pen at 26 percent, before beating her 64-36 in the run-off, according to the Odoxa poll.