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, December 31, 2016

A Look Inside Liberated Aleppo



French reporter Charlotte d'Ornellas shares what she learned from Aleppo.

What she saw there is not what western mainstream media have been saying in the last weeks.

New Year Resolution: Stop Ignoring the Obvious


Friday, December 30, 2016

Punching a Hole in the CIA Deception


Who Runs the Show?



I'll never forget while living in Florida watching former Gov. Jeb Bush (R-FL) stand amongst the state government buildings in the capital city of Tallahassee delivering his first speech after winning election.  He pointed to the state offices and said, "My dream is that someday all these buildings will be shut down."

That is the corporate oligarchy talking.  Like the graphic above so well points out, the goal of the top 1% is to kill any 'regulation' of their corrupt business dealings.  They don't want environmental regulations, labor wage & hour regulations, they don't want the people's government regulating their criminal banking operations.  They surely don't want any people's government to monitor the outrageous spending appetite of the Pentagon nor do they want the public to be engaged in any debate about foreign policy - especially since the Pentagon and NATO are nothing more than the military arm of corporate globalization.

While in power Obama played a magicians act - appearing to be on the side of the people while in reality essentially serving as a bag man for Wall Street.  Now with Trump coming into office the veil is pulled off the brides face and the public will get a clearer picture of this corporation domination of Washington and the rest of the nation.   Trump will continue to tweet his little rallying words out to his followers but those he is putting into power to run the government are so arrogant they don't usually even try to hide the truth about who they are working for.

Hopefully the American people begin to see that the ruling corporate elite run two horses in every race.  They don't intend to lose control of the White House or Congress.  It would be more than smart for folks to come to grips with the way the oligarchy runs our country and much of the world.  Only when that happens can we even hope to change things for the better.

Bruce

Thursday, December 29, 2016

Peace Work in the 'Solid South'

Rocket park in Huntsville, Alabama. Huntsville will be the site of the Global Network's 25th annual space organizing conference and protest on April 7-9, 2017.


  • I've been working for the last couple of days to wrap up our April 7-9, 2017 space conference promo brochure.  Our layout person Nancy Randolph (who also does a fabulous job on our newsletter Space Alert!) did a quick turn-around on this one as I am anxious to get it done and to the printer before Mary Beth and I head to Taiwan for my son's wedding there next week.
  • Even though we are still working to confirm all of the speakers and co-sponsors for the event I want to get the brochure (along with a cover letter) in the mail on Trump's inauguration day - January 20.  I also set up a Facebook page for the event which you can see here
  • Things are falling into place quite nicely as we now have the location of the meeting secured as well as a hotel for folks to stay in.  Local activists in Huntsville have been super helpful to us suggesting the meeting site and one of the caterers we'll use.  One local supporter has also offered to help set in motion our home hospitality requests.  So all that takes a huge load off my back.  Thanks Huntsville!
  • Yesterday I had a call from an old friend in Florida who volunteered to help promote the conference among peace people in her state and across the southeast.  There will be an annual Kings Bay, Georgia nuclear submarine base protest vigil on New Years Eve in St. Marys near the Georgia/Florida border.  Folks gather from across the southeast and she is helping to organize that annual event which has been going on for more than 30 years.  I can't think of a better way to bring in the new year than holding hands with other dear souls outside a nuclear submarine base.  Always a spiritual experience.  I might add that former President Jimmy Carter (who had been governor of Georgia) had the base built while he was president.  I voted for Carter when he first ran because during the campaign he said, "The arms race is a disgrace to the human race."  Fool me once......
  • When my friend called from Florida one of the first things she said was that she felt the Global Network's Huntsville conference in April was important because not many national peace events are held in the 'solid south'.  If one looks at the voting patterns of those in Congress it is generally the southern states that provide the bulwark of support for the military industrial complex.  Having lived and organized in Florida for more than 25 years I fully agree that most peace groups pay little attention to the south - largely because many activists feel it would be a waste of time to hold events down yonder.  But how will we ever change that power dynamic in the country unless we show support for those who live and do peace work in the south?  
  • So in the final analysis I am thrilled that we are getting such great support from people in the Huntsville area and I'm going to work hard to get folks to head south for the April 7-9 events.  In the meantime I have a trip to Taiwan ahead of me which will be followed by one week in Okinawa where I will join with monks and nuns from the Nipponzan Myohoji Buddhist order who are planning to hold peace walks and vigils at the numerous US military bases on that beleaguered island.
  • It's one thing to go protest at US bases overseas and demand they be closed. It is quite another thing to hold protests back home in our own communities (like Bath, Maine or Huntsville, Alabama) where the warships and missiles are built and then deployed at these overseas bases.  I want to connect all these dots.  If we are truly going to help shut down the US imperial war machine then we must consistently take on the tough job of calling for the conversion of the US military production system to sustainable technologies that would help us deal with the coming reality of global warming. 
  • A double thumps up and peace sign to all those across the country who protest at US bases and weapons factories - Creech, Beale and Hancock drone bases come to mind as well as those this weekend at Kings Bay nuclear sub base in Georgia.  
Bruce

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

An American Goes to Russia



Mainer Regis Tremblay recently visited Russia to film for his upcoming documentary, "Thirty Seconds to Midnight".

He decided to make an off-shoot short doc from the film taken there. 

This 39 minute documentary, "Je Suis Russia," is a counter-narrative to the U.S. and western media lies and propaganda about Russia and President Putin. He interviewed ordinary Russians, educators, former military officers, activists, students, and even members of the Communist Party.

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

The Hangings in Mankato



In the spring of 2005, Jim Miller, a Native spiritual leader and Vietnam veteran, found himself in a dream riding on horseback across the great plains of South Dakota. Just before he awoke, he arrived at a riverbank in Minnesota and saw 38 of his Dakota ancestors hanged. At the time, Jim knew nothing of the largest mass execution in United States history, ordered by Abraham Lincoln on December 26, 1862. "When you have dreams, you know when they come from the creator... As any recovered alcoholic, I made believe that I didn't get it. I tried to put it out of my mind, yet it's one of those dreams that bothers you night and day."

Four years later, embracing the message of the dream, Jim and a group of riders retraced the 330-mile route of his dream on horseback from Lower Brule, South Dakota to Mankato, Minnesota to arrive at the hanging site on the anniversary of the execution. "We can't blame the wasichus anymore. We're doing it to ourselves. We're selling drugs. We're killing our own people. That's what this ride is about, is healing."

This is the story of their journey- the blizzards they endured, the Native and Non-Native communities that housed and fed them along the way, and the dark history they began to wipe away.

Monday, December 26, 2016

Regis Tremblay's New Film



A shocking documentary that traces the origins of American genocides, military interventions and wars from the 15th Century when the white, colonial explorers first came to the Americas to the very present. American Exceptionalism, Manifest Destiny and the right to claim the land and its resources as their own are the foundation of American foreign policy in the 21st Century that have humanity on the brink of extinction.

Christmas in Maine


  • It's cold in Maine today with snow on the ground.  Tomorrow it is predicted to be much warmer with snow turning to rain.  It's been like that alot this winter - cold and warm - back and forth.  Our bodies get confused as they begin to adapt to the cold and then it turns warm again.  Lots of people we know are sick including MB who can't seem to shake her rough cough.

  • We had a lovely Christmas day made particularly special by a lunch date with our high school neighbor Leann who we befriended soon after moving to Bath nine years ago.  She so kindly took the money her parents gave her for Christmas and bought gifts for all her friends.  She's learned to have a sharing heart.  In the evening we went to the home of friends in nearby Brunswick for dinner and little skits.  Three of us from the Addams-Melman House sang a homemade song that introduced the carrot cake we brought along with us.
  • It was a pleasant surprise to see the outgoing Obama administration go off the rails and abstain on the UN Security Council resolution condemning Israel for their illegal settlements in Palestine.  Less surprising was the response to the US abstention by Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) who vowed Saturday to not allow the US to give any more money to the United Nations until it reversed its Friday decision. The Hill newspaper in Washington reported Cruz tweeted that he spoke with Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu, adding, "No US $ for UN until reversed."  It is this kind of talk coming from supremely arrogant Republicans in Congress that is going to make for some very interesting times during the next four years.  My guess is that these prima donnas are going to help drive the US empire right over the cliff into the abyss.

  • It was encouraging to see this short video below of Christians in Aleppo celebrating their liberation from the US-Saudia Arabia-Qatar-Israel-Turkey funded, armed and directed ISIS terrorists just in time for the holy holidays.  It has been a tragic several years to watch the US and its allies try to turn Syria into another Iraq, Afghanistan or Libya.  There can be no doubt that one reason the US has been demonizing Russia is due to the fact that Moscow has determined that it will not allow another nation in the Middle East to be turned into a failed state.  For the deep background story on why Syria was being punished by the US and its allies read Robert F. Kennedy Jr.'s piece here   
  • Bruce

Sunday, December 25, 2016

Extra Bonus Song for the Holidays



Thinking of my son Julian today.  He was born just days after John Lennon was killed in 1980.  We named Julian Gagnon after John's son Julian.

Julian lives in Taiwan now.... MB and I will be going there just after the first of the year to attend his wedding to a wonderful woman named Emily.

Paul McCartney wrote this song for Julian Lennon after his parents were divorced.  It's a beautiful tune that always makes me cry.

Happy holidays to all of you!

Bruce

Sunday Song