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, February 15, 2014

NO COWERING IN IRELAND



Imprisoned peace activist Margaretta D'Arcy has reiterated her assertion that Shannon Airport's runway is being used improperly for the purposes of war, and has called on the Minister for Defence Alan Shatter to stop defending the indefensible military use of the airport. Speaking to John Lannon and Edward Horgan of Shannonwatch this Monday, she said that the State has a responsibility to ensure the proper use of the airport and to protect it against security threats.

"The fact that Niall Farrell and I could walk out onto the runway at Shannon demonstrates that it is not secure." said Ms D'Arcy. "The military use of the airport presents grave risks to the people in the airport or living nearby, as well as being in contravention of international laws and against the wishes of the majority of Irish people".

A PRIMER ON IRAN



Hamid Dabashi is the Hagop Kevorkian Professor of Iranian Studies and Comparative Literature at Columbia University. He received a dual Ph.D. in Sociology of Culture and Islamic Studies from the University of Pennsylvania in 1984, followed by a postdoctoral fellowship at Harvard University. He wrote his dissertation on Max Weber's theory of charismatic authority with Philip Rieff (1922-2006), the most distinguished Freudian cultural critic of his time. Professor Dabashi has taught and delivered lectures in many North American, European, Arab, and Iranian universities.

Professor Dabashi has written twenty-five books, edited four, and contributed chapters to many more. He is also the author of over 100 essays, articles and book reviews on subjects ranging from Iranian Studies, medieval and modern Islam, and comparative literature to world cinema and the philosophy of art (trans-aesthetics). His books and articles have been translated into numerous languages, including Japanese, German, French, Spanish, Danish, Russian, Hebrew, Italian, Arabic, Korean, Persian, Portuguese, Polish, Turkish, Urdu and Catalan.

Friday, February 14, 2014

HELP THE BOYCOTT OF SODASTREAM


This morning, after first shoveling a large dump of wet heavy snow, I met local Episcopal Deacon Carol Huntington at a coffee shop in our downtown Bath shopping area.  We prepared to cross the street to a popular local store called Now You're Cooking where we had an appointment with the owner.  We carried a letter asking him to stop selling SodaStream carbonation devices or other products made by this company.

SodaStream manufactures these machines within an Israeli settlement in occupied Palestinian territory. These settlements are illegal under international law and are obstacles to peace.

The store owner brought us into his office and had three of his staff join us.  Carol, who has been to Palestine twice in the last 16 months, and I asked him not to continue supporting this unethical enterprise built on lands stolen from the Palestinian people.  We handed him the letter full of signatures from people who live in the Midcoast of Maine.  Carol shared with him a church produced document called "Steadfast Hope: The Palestinian Quest for Just Peace."  It chronicles the history of Israel's illegal theft of Palestinian lands and the ever expanding settlements that to this day keep grabbing even more land and water.

The store owner was polite and made the case that he likes to let his customers decide for themselves what they will and will not purchase.  He said many of his products come from China but he does not support the way that government is run.

The boycott of SodaStream is having an impact.  Bloomberg Businessweek recently reported that, "SodaStream slumped 3.3 percent to $35.34 in New York [stock exchange], the lowest since Nov. 20, 2012. The stock plunged 26 percent on Jan. 13 after SodaStream reported worse-than-forecast preliminary earnings for 2013."

I reminded the store staff of the recent global celebrations of the life of Nelson Mandela.  I suggested that South African apartheid was ultimately defeated in large part due to global economic boycotts and sanctions of that nation.  The bantustans in South Africa, virtually identical to the reservations on Indian land across the US, are in fact what we see today in Palestine.  The people face cultural genocide as their lands are taken, their ability to grow food is destroyed, and their remaining villages are separated from one another by the occupation wall.

The store owner did tell us that he was hearing from some of his customers about the boycott though he said he has about 200 people who he supplies with SodaStream products.  We told him that this effort was not directed at him personally but that we wanted to be upfront and inform him that we will continue to ask others in the community to share their feelings about SodaStream with him.

As we left the store I told the shop owner and his staff that they needed to learn more about the history of the Palestinian land that the SodaStream factory sits on today.

If you live in the Midcoast and are at all inclined to support the SodaStream boycott we ask you to contact Now You're Cooking in Bath and share your feelings.

Wherever you live you can help bring justice to the Palestinian people by lending a hand to the boycott of Israeli products as long as that nation continues to enforce their apartheid system on the people of Palestine.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

WHAT'S WITH THAT WEATHER?



  • The snow is coming again now, up to 18 inches in some parts of the state, the media plays it up big.  Everyone is beginning to fear climate change but we are still not allowed to talk about the subject in any meaningful way - particularly the military aspects of weather modification.

  • In 1999 I was part of a small group that went to Puerto Rico to support the people's occupation of the island of Vieques that was then a bombing range for the US Navy.  It's was thrilling and humbling to visit the occupied island as Puerto Ricans waged an ultimately long but successful campaign to kick the Navy out.  The island is now faced with serious environmental impact from the years of pounding with US ordnance .

We were invited to Puerto Rico by a group called the Comité Contra las Experimentaciones Ambientales. They were the organization that led the protests against NASA in 1998-99, which forced cancellation of the Coqui Two rocket, launches in the town of Vega Baja. The Coqui Two were a series of atmospheric experiments by NASA. The rockets released chemicals into different layers of the atmosphere in order to test their effects on communications and radar signals. Protests forced NASA to close down the operation after eight tests even though 11 had been scheduled. (See my report at the time here

Learning about the NASA-Pentagon weather modification experiments was deeply disturbing to me.  We are talking about people who are playing-testing-toying with the whole web of life in order to "control" nature and use it as a weapon of war.  It is shocking...... it is the work of the devil.

  • There are many theories, and wild claims at times, by folks trying to get to the bottom of the whole question of weather modification for corporate control.  But when we see Monsanto in action - destroying natural seeds - and we see Nestle - grabbing local water supplies, even here in Maine - the picture becomes murkier and clearer at the same time.  The corporate war is on and they will do anything to win.  They are crazy.  They have a spiritual disconnection with the real world.  It is like Avatar.
  • On Saturday at 3:00 pm, we hope the storm will be gone by then, David Swanson from Virginia will speak in Brunswick at the public library (and later that evening in Portland at USM).  He is a very creative, funny and dedicated pro-peace activist.  He puts all the pieces together and has made important re-discoveries that connect us to massive anti-war sentiment amongst the people just after WW I.  The US signed an international treaty to outlaw war, which of course today is totally ignored by our war machine government.  David has the kind of spirit that wants to reconnect us to times when we were more united and filled with determination to end war.  He helps us rediscover our power as humans. And he will make us laugh a bit as well...

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

MILLION$ TO MAR$


 Read it and weep - and discourage your kids from taking the nuclear bomb to Mars.....


Universe Today reports:

    SpaceX CEO Elon Musk is a huge fan of Mars exploration and Mars colonies, and in a new interview he says a launch system to send people to the Red Planet could be available in 10 to 12 years. Requirements: it has to be big, and it has to be launched frequently to send millions of people and tons of cargo space wards.

    “We need to develop a much larger vehicle, which would be a sort of Mars colonial transport system, and this would be, we’re talking about rockets on a bigger scale than has ever been done before. It will make the Apollo moon rocket look small,” said Musk in a recent CBS interview, referring to the 363-foot (110-meter) behemoth that was the Saturn V.

Examiner.com brought this key piece of the issue into focus - what about nuclear power?

Musk did not elaborate about what this super rocket would look like or what technology it might contain. However, back in the late 1950s and early 1960s a group of researchers developed a concept of a spacecraft that would be propelled through the use of nuclear bomb detonations under Project Orion. The project was terminated soon after the Nuclear Test Ban Treaty. In any case the problems of nuclear fallout and electromagnetic pulse caused by the detonation of hundreds of nuclear bombs in the Earth’s atmosphere were never resolved.

Certainly a nuclear bomb propelled spacecraft, as large as a World War II battleship, carrying hundreds of colonists, would certainly fit Musk’s vision. One way to make it work might be to build the ship in pieces in Earth orbit, beyond the magnetosphere, and then only use the nuclear bomb drive in deep space. Assembling such a vehicle would take a considerable number of launches of conventional heavy lift rockets and a construction project that would dwarf the International Space Station.

For whatever reason, Mr. Big is anxious to get to Mars.  Is it because they know something we don't?  Is it because there is huge money to be made selling us this project of Mars exploration and colonization?  The aerospace industry has said that space development will be the largest industrial project in human history. 

Who is going to pay for it?  They are only now privatizing space operations because the taxpayers paid all the years of research & development (R & D) via NASA.  The public pays the R & D and the corporations are brought in once there is ‘opportunity’ for private profit. 

Mars though is far away and a dangerous ride it would be.... so much investment is still necessary and they want the public to pay for it.  The global citizen is being asked to pay for space technology R & D - it's the high tech jobs everyone keeps talking about.  So we pay for the freight and once the package gets successfully to the station Mr. Big is waiting at the loading ramp to receive it.


They sell us this vision of new life on an exciting red planet.  Most people could care less.  I am a little suspicious of anyone who is so eager to move from this beautiful planet Earth (in spite of its current environmental crisis) to a dead barren red planet - what is going on there? 

Is this some sci-fi movie where a team of ship-wrecked aliens land on Earth, mess everything up and turn the earthlings into slaves to build an escape vehicle back to Mars?  I try to keep an open mind - anything is possible these days......

While we are on this story..... the aliens here are fully in control of the CIA, NSA, Wall Street and such.  They drive BMW's and were somehow linked to Operation Paperclip.  (But that one will wait until a later chapter.) The aliens want us to not only build them an escape vehicle - they also want us to set them up with some fancy residential colonies on Mars.  Terraform the planet so life will be sustainable there.  The nuclear industry is eagerly behind this program.  They envision these colonies to be very dependent on nuclear power generation.  And even nuclear rockets could give Mr. Musk the ‘lift capacity’ he needs to send millions to Mars. 

Do they mean millions and millions of dollars are going to Mars or are they talking about sending people?  I can see the strapped-in suckers now riding on the ‘heavy lift nuclear bomb' with destination Mars painted on the side.  Mars or Bust!  Bust they go and we could eat radiation forever.  Is this the aliens Earth population control program? Dr. Strangelove is back.

Wake up….it’s just a bad dream.

Beware of the hustlers.

A SONG FOR THE TRIP TO MAR$


Tuesday, February 11, 2014

TODAY IS THE DAY



  • Today is the NSA action day.  All you have to do is make a call or send an email - and share the action with others.  This is the kind of action day that helps decide whether we have any rights at all or we become a full-blown police state.  Just go here to help the cause.

  • We had a meeting at the house yesterday of a group of Bath residents, and one from Arrowsic, to plan a public forum on the diversification/conversion of the local shipyard at Bath Iron Works (BIW).  They make nothing but warships there now.  We'll hold the event in June and have a potluck supper along with it.  We are going to try to bring in a couple speakers with expertise on this issue so it should be exciting.  Coming out of our committee meeting we had folks volunteer to meet with BIW administration to invite them to be part of this public discussion.  Another one of our folks yesterday agreed to check with his union leadership at BIW and request that they speak at the event as well.

  • Our friend Peter found two great videos by accident the other day - or should we call it providence?  The scene is Labor Day in 1994.  President Bill Clinton comes to BIW and endorses diversification of the shipyard.  Also speaking that day was former Maine Sen. George Mitchell, Rep Tom. Andrews, and the union president of the BIW local as well as the president of the International Association of Machinists.  They were all begging for conversion/diversification – bring back commercial shipbuilding!  Now our challenge is to get the current crop of leaders to just match that mark.  It's sad to see how far things have slipped in these years.  We've got to regain the initiative.

  • I've just been reading a biography of Bertolt Brecht the German playwright who got caught in the middle of the Nazi party taking power prior to WW II.  I wanted to learn about the challenges they faced during that period and was eager to learn more about how Brecht thought and spoke about those times.  He was an inspiring man who, once Hitler's blitzkrieg began, still believed he had to keep creating plays that could inform and inspire the people to popular rebellion.  I see many historical similarities to our present moment in the US. 

  • Brecht wrote:

There are uncritical people who have doubt
And there are scrupulous people who never take action…
With the murderer’s axe raised above their heads
They ask themselves whether he isn’t human too…
You can make mistakes
By acting with too little thought,
But the mistake in time of danger
Is to go on thinking too long.

  • The marriage of corporations and government - especially the government with the biggest military machine on the planet - is fascism.  It's dangerous and deadly.  Put your ear to the railroad tracks and hear the train coming.

Monday, February 10, 2014

STANDING UP FOR INDEPENDENT MEDIA



Investigative journalists Jeremy Scahill and Glenn Greenwald join Democracy Now for their first interview upon launching The Intercept, their new digital magazine published by First Look Media, the newly formed media venture started by eBay founder Pierre Omidyar. Greenwald is the journalist who first broke the story about Edward Snowden’s disclosures on the National Security Agency. He was previously a columnist at The Guardian newspaper. Scahill is producer and writer of the documentary film "Dirty Wars," which is nominated for an Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature.

"We are really about a journalistic ethos — which is not doing things like helping the U.S. continue its targeting of U.S. citizens for death, but by being adversarial to the government," Greenwald says. "Telling the public what it ought to know, and targeting the most powerful corporate factions with accountability journalism." Greenwald and Scahill founded TheIntercept.org with filmmaker Laura Poitras.

STAYING ON THE CASE IN NAGPUR



Global Network board member J. Narayana Rao held another workshop for students in Nagpur, India yesterday.  The man has more energy than the rest of us put together.  He's a real inspiration. Rao wrote:

Another workshop has been held today for the Students. 35 students have participated. They said that in their colleges, they have not been explained any thing about space including the peaceful use of space leave alone weaponisation of space even though India is making great progress in space science and technology. The are happy to know several things on space and pledged their support to participate in any programme to oppose weaponisation of space.

Sunday, February 09, 2014

SUNDAY SONG