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, April 23, 2017

Sunday Song




Saturday, April 22, 2017

How Would Jesus Look in that Bomber Jacket?



Many people want
to impeach Trump
for similar war crimes
committed by Obama,
Bush II, Clinton,
Bush I, etc....

Then we'd get
Pence
the bible thumper
the true believer

Katie
bar the door

But Pence is
presidential
he looks good
in the bomber jacket
harsh
and tight-assed
just the way
they like them
inside the
Deep State
in the land
of the free....

Washington
has a tough sell
as the empire
implodes
under its own
contradictions

They are now
asking themselves:
Do we just bluster
and boast
our way through
the collapse
or
do we keep
bombing
the hell out of anyone
as an example
to others
who stand
in our way?

The Deep State
wants to
make them
shake and shudder
down along the East River
at the U.N.

Many Christians
declare
that the bombs
will help
bring on
the end times
They love us so much
they are ready
to kill us all

Not the kind
of love
I'm looking for....

Can't help
but ask
How would
Jesus look
in that
bomber jacket?

Bruce

Friday, April 21, 2017

Fromm: Political Emptiness & Stupidity



The Mike Wallace Interview: Erich Fromm (1958-05-25)

Erich Fromm, psychoanalyst and social critic, talks to Wallace about society, materialism, relationships, government, religion, happiness and his fear of nuclear war.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

U.S. Forces THAAD Deployment in South Korea



Report from South Korea:

Today, a great struggle in Soseong-ri. The policemen enforced to pass the trucks loaded with THAAD 'missile defense' base construction materials. They met with the people's fierce protest. During the process, a resident was carried to hospital while two people including a Won Buddhist Reverend were arrested by the police.

A construction truck in which a US soldier was driving was passed into the former Lotte golf course area, a planned area for the deployment of THAAD after hours of confrontation between the policemen and people who struggled to stop the truck.

During the lunch time, the policemen rushed into the village again and detained the villagers into the village hall.

After all the struggle in Soseong-ri today, a Yonhap news report told that the process of free land provision to the US military based on SOFA (Status of Forces Agreement in South Korea) was done. What the Yonhap news doesn't tell is that such land provision was illegal.

It was two days ago that the people, having a press conference, demanded that the current corrupt acting government should do nothing as there would be a new government after the Presidential election on May 9.

According to the people, the land provision to the US military for free, based on SOFA, is illegal unless a law on the limitation on special benefit in providing state-owned land is revised.

According to lawyers, the SOFA is NOT applicable to such category for special benefit. Still the land provision was done in the way of simple document signing. You can say it is a ROBBERY.

See more photos here

Lamentation


Yesterday I interviewed artist Russell Wray (Hancock, Maine) on my public access TV show called This Issue.  He brought along this piece of sculpture that he made depicting a Cuvier's beached whale and two women in deep sorrow - he calls it Lamentation.  The sculpture was made from one piece of cherry wood.

Russell described how this particular breed of whales are often impacted by Navy sonar.

Russell was arrested the last two times we held a non-violent civil disobedience action at Bath Iron Works during a 'christening' of a new destroyer.

Russell was highly motivated to stand in resistance because of his deep love and connection with all sea life - much of his art work is centered around whales and dolphins.  Over the years he has become an expert on the effects of Navy sonar on sea life.  Thus his creation of the organization called COAST (Citizens Opposing Active Sonar Threats).

During the taping of the TV show Russell also talked about going to Jeju Island, South Korea a couple years ago with a Veterans For Peace delegation that I helped to organize.  While there he was angered by the destruction of the fishing and farming village by the Navy as they blasted the sacred rocky coastline with dynamite and then poured concrete to make docks for warships.

He learned about the endangered Indo-Pacific bottlenose dolphins that would daily circle Jeju Island and which surely will be negatively impacted by Navy sonar as US and South Korean warships port at the new base.

During our last couple of Maine Peace Walks Russell has fully participated in the organizing of those events that took our messages through the state.  He painted incredible banners that he mounted on a van and carefully placed the dolphin Maka that he sculpted on top of the vehicle as well.  We used the van to shuttle walkers and you can imagine how people's eyes were drawn to these images. (Click on the photos for a better view.)


Years ago while working for Greenpeace Russell pulled Maka on an environmental walk all the way across the US.  So he has a long relationship with Maka.


Russell is an extraordinarily gifted artist who puts his talents to use as an activist as well.  I've been lucky to visit his home in Hancock where he has a gallery full of magnificent wooden sculptures.  You can see them by clicking on his web site here

We are lucky to have Russell as a friend and a fellow peace worker - there are few people who have devoted their life so fully to protecting nature and sea life the way he has done for so many years.

I should be able to post our interview here on the blog in another week or so.  You will want to watch it for sure.

Bruce

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Sharing Hearts



I once heard that the rich don't often give donations to organizations and efforts that benefit the poor.  The rich largely give to the symphony and the opera and the art museum.

Statistics show that poor and working people are the big givers to efforts to really help the poor.

This video confirms this reality.

Bless these fine people in Mexico.

Bruce

One Last Story from Huntsville


During our last day in Huntsville, Alabama (Sunday, April 9) we had a brief membership meeting of the Global Network to review some organizational issues such as an evaluation of the conference, a new board appointment and where we would hold our annual space conference in 2018.  We met just outside the hotel around a fire pit and when we were going around doing introductions a man introduced himself as a US Air Force officer who was staying at the hotel and wanted to see what our group of "interesting people" was talking about.  (Many in our circle were wearing Veterans For Peace shirts/hats.) So he sat and listened to some of our meeting.

After the meeting was over John Schuchardt from Ipswich, Massachusetts went up to the officer to talk with him.  John himself had been a Marine Corp Reserve Officer during the Vietnam War and quit the military because of his opposition to the war.  I asked John to share his conversation with the officer on April 9 and here is what he wrote.

My conversation with the Air Force Reserve Officer who listened in on part of our meeting:  
He said that he was an Administrative Liaison for B-1, B-2, and B-52's bombers in the Reserves.  His job was to manage "assets" and coordinate, advise, and plan the deployment of Reserve assets with regular Air Force command structures.  His position was increasingly being called upon because there is a growing emphasis from reserve status to operational status.   (This would mirror or parallel the increasing use of  Reserve units to shift from the normal Reserve assignments to overseas war-fighting.)

I did not ask all the questions I would want to, trying to keep things social and friendly.   I didn't find out his rank, his Reserve unit, or exactly why he was in Huntsville. He suggested he was taking part in meetings to work on over-all issues of force integration and changes being brought about as his reserve assets became more integrated with operational regular commands. 

I did say, "59 US cruise missiles attacked a base in Syria with Russian personnel (and probably planes) yesterday.  What is going to happen tomorrow?"  His reply, "Nobody knows."   
My parting handshake was, "Please don't blow up our beautiful world."  He smiled and agreed that he hoped not.

I think it was interesting that the officer wanted to stick his head into our circle and we were glad he did.  It was good that John spoke with him afterward to make the human connection.  And their parting words were important as well as they reaffirmed for me that not everyone inside the military  is anxious to blow up our planet.

Reflecting on this chance encounter I thought about all the US military personnel stationed around the world and, just from my own experiences in the Air Force during the Vietnam War, I am certain that many heartfelt discussions are currently happening on US bases between those who are eager for war and those who are not.

We know from past history that signals from military personnel who are doubting US aggressive moves, risking WW III, can in fact help slow down the grinding wheels of the Pentagon's war machine.  I don't know if the officer who sat in our meeting is one such doubter or not - but the fact that he was drawn to our peaceful spirit speaks for itself.

We can only hope that the legions of US military personnel who do in fact doubt the current mission will speak up often and loudly and help bring some sanity to the out-of-control US imperial war machine.  Everyone has a role in protecting our Mother Earth from a devastating global nuclear war.

Bruce 

The Phony North Korea Threat



How many nations has North Korea attacked since the 1950's?

How many nations has the US attacked and forced regime change during that same period?

What country has military bases all over South Korea, Japan, Okinawa, Guam and Australia?

Which country organizes regular war exercises on the Korean peninsula aimed at the north and is encouraging Japan to rearm and develop offensive military capability?

Who is the real threat to peace on the Korean peninsula?

Which nation still refuses to negotiate and sign a final peace treaty to officially end the Korean War?