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

Friday, March 03, 2017

Rispetto

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When I was recently in Gothenburg, Sweden, Dave Webb (UK) and I were taken by our friend Andre Brochu to a local radical bookstore in a cozy basement.  The warm and snug feeling inside this cave-like book warren helped to make it a special night.  Andre is originally from the northeast in the US but moved to Sweden during the Vietnam war as part of his draft resistance.  He stayed there,  raised a family, and worked as a librarian.  He is often sending emails to me with many excellent resources.

Inside the bookstore Dave and I made our space militarization presentations.  Before the event began one of the bookstore hosts approached us with an armload of books - all written in English.  "These don't sell well here, please take home what you'd like."  I took two books and just finished the first of them entitled: PETE: The Story of Peter V. Cacchione, New York's First Communist Councilman. 


I was moved by the story and appreciated the education I received from the book written by Simon W. Gerson.  Cacchione was elected because New York City instituted 'Proportional Representation' for minority political parties what is today called Rank Choice Voting (RCV).  Voters eventually put two Communists on the NYC Council along with various labor party leaders.  This was a challenge and threat to the ruling oligarchies on Wall Street so they eventually turned the media into attack dogs by ordering them to take down the RCV process in a future election.  Their goal, made easier by the demonization of the Communists on the Council, gathered enough votes from fearful and manipulated NYC voters and RCV was struck down.

In the book the author writes about Pete's reaction to the growing repression from the ruling elites. His Italian-American working-class community tried hard to stand in unity with other racially and economically repressed people in the city.  Pete knew that respect for one another was the road to creating real social harmony and political unity.

Gerson wrote:

For Pete the fusion of the theory and practice of the united front was no problem.  He had an almost intuitive feeling about unity.  All his life he had identified with people; there was a deep reservoir of empathy in him. Other people's problems, particularly those of the poor and powerless, became his problems quickly - sometimes all to quickly, his co-workers would say fondly.  It was virtually second nature for Pete to find common ground with his fellow worker and neighbor.  "The truth is," he once said, "that most people shrink from dog-eat-dog competition and crave a life of cooperation.  Unity is the most powerful word ever invented."

Pete's life should help illuminate the path ahead: a great, new fighting unity of the people from which can develop a powerful antimonopoly coalition and a new, people's party with a decisive working-class component that can attain governmental power.

I'm glad I picked up the book and glad to know more about a fellow Italian-American who gave his life to building unity, justice and peace.  His words carry value and wisdom.  When people ask me, 'what should we do now?' ....... my answer will be unity.

Pete died while in office - many said because of a broken heart. He was a WW I veteran as well.  The author Gerson was nominated by the Communist Party to replace Pete in a manner outlined by the City Charter.  But the Democrats who ran the city saw this as an opportunity to deny the council seat to a Communist.  So they resisted Gerson's legal appointment (see article above) as Pete's successor.  Once again the media carried water for the financial big wigs who sat on their thrones on Wall Street.  Wall Street cheated for what it wanted.  The elite could not win any other way.

Pete believed in taking the big wigs on - head on - and he won the people's love and confidence for doing so.  He was a great man and should be remembered.

Bruce

Thursday, March 02, 2017

New Jeju Island Film - Village versus Empire



Jeju Island, South Korea is one of the Seven Wonders of Nature, also known as The Island of Stone, as Peace Island and also as Woman’s Island – is an island of beauty and wonder, with more UNESCO Natural Heritage Sites than any single geographic location on planet earth.

But, there is trouble in this paradise. It has been transformed – militarized. Its fragile ecology is currently being devastated by the construction of a naval base that is a globally dangerous provocation that imperils the island’s future.

The “spirit” guide of the film, the main “driver” of the film, is Dohee Lee, a native of Jeju, who grew up on naval bases and is now living in America. Dohee Lee, an extraordinary performance artist and her work centres on Jeju and its life forces. For her this is also a personal story, a plumbing of her memories as well as an expression of her political and spiritual beliefs.

Oppose THAAD - Boycott Lotte


On March 1 about 400 people gathered and marched in Seongju, South Korea to protest against the land swap between the government and the Lotte corporation.

Lotte turned over a golf course that will be used as the deployment site for the US THAAD (Terminal High Altitude Area Defense) missile defense system that will be aimed at China and Russia.


Already a fence is being erected around the former golf course as the South Korean government readies the land for the US military to take over.

The people of Seongju (once largely right-wing party members and supporters of the current corrupt government) have been building a national movement to oppose the US THAAD deployment.

 
South Korea's progressive newspaper the hankyoreh reports:

“I think relevant parties know full well the opposition of the Chinese people to the deployment of THAAD by the US and the ROK. I believe they have noted the voice of the Chinese people in recent days,” said Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Geng Shuang in the regular press briefing on Feb. 28. “The Chinese market and consumers will determine whether a foreign company is successful in China.” This was Geng’s response to a reporter from the Global Times who said, “Many Chinese people say recently that they want to boycott the Lotte. Will the Chinese government take punitive measures against the Lotte Group?” The Chinese government basically said that it could do nothing about a potential boycott.

The day before, the Chinese media unanimously criticized the South Korean government and Lotte in connection with Lotte’s decision to provide land for THAAD and urged their audiences to participate in a boycott. In an editorial on Feb. 28 titled “Hurting Lotte and punishing South Korea: China has no other choice,” the Global Times urged readers to refrain from buying South Korean vehicles and mobile phones and to cancel plans to travel to South Korea. The paper called for restrictions on the import of South Korean cultural products to be gradually strengthened until there was a complete embargo and said that it was right and proper for China to drive Lotte from the Chinese market to set an example for others.
Lotte is fretting about these indications from China. Currently, Lotte has 22 subsidiaries doing business in China and more than 20,000 Chinese on its payroll. The group is operating five department stores, 99 hypermarkets, 16 supermarkets and 12 movie theaters in cities such as Beijing, Shanghai, Tianjin, Shenyang, Weihai and Chengdu, and it has so far invested more than 10 trillion won (US$8.78 billion) with some subsidiaries even locating their production bases there. Since the end of last year, the Chinese government has been carrying out audits and fire safety and hygiene testing of Lotte’s workplaces in China.
There has also been a boycott of Lotte declared inside South Korea by the Buddhist Won sect whose spiritual founder's home is next door to the THAAD deployment site.

The US does not care about any of this - all they want is THAAD deployed in South Korea in order to expand the Pentagon's so-called missile defense (MD) capability in the region.  Various types of US MD systems are currently deployed in Guam, Taiwan, Japan, Okinawa, Hawaii, South Korea and onboard Navy Aegis destroyers deployed throughout Asia-Pacific waters.

MD is the shield that would be used after a Pentagon first-strike sword is thrust into the heart of China or Russia.  

Wednesday, March 01, 2017

Militarized Force Against Peaceful Water Protectors



This episode, similar to the police responses to Black Lives Matters, shows the true face of America.

To the rest of the world - don't follow the U.S. and its military arm NATO.  Don't give them your money - they will turn this military machine against you.

Reject the U.S. fear and war mongering.  Reject U.S. leadership which claims to be about democracy and freedom.  It is all a lie.

See how the U.S. government treats unarmed, peaceful, prayerful people.

Who Will Lead the Growing Anti-Trump Movement?


  • Thirteen of us from across Maine gathered today to commemorate Ash Wednesday at Bath Iron Works (BIW) during the lunch hour.  There were many workers walking and driving by including many sailors who will be on-board the newly built destroyers made at the shipyard.  I took great pleasure in them seeing us knowing that soon enough they will be making their way to the new Navy base on Jeju Island where they will also be met by protests.  We are getting them prepared.

  • Today began the annual Lenten vigils at BIW that will be held each Saturday in March and the first three Saturdays in April.  We'll gather from 11:30 am for an hour each time.

  • I was supposed to go to the County District Court at 1:00 pm today for my sentencing as a result of being found guilty during our recent Zumwalt 12 trial.  (I had been given permission by the judge during the trial to leave the day before the trial ended in order to do a long ago scheduled speaking tour in Sweden, Finland and Denmark.)  But the court called me this morning around 11:00 am and told me that the sentencing had to be cancelled because the judge was not available. It has been rescheduled for March 8 at 1:00 pm.

  • I watched the Trump speech before Congress last night and the bottom line for me was his call for $54 billion more in Pentagon spending.  This money will first have to be taken from the hides of people in need and environmental programs before it can be handed over to the endless war machine.

  • Across our state people are forming new local groups and coalitions to 'fight the Trump agenda'.  But sadly many of these groups are being directed by Democratic Party operatives who are leading the angry public into electoral efforts to put the corporate dominated Dems back into power in future elections.  Most of these groups will refuse to take on the military spending issue, and our endless wars, largely because they receive their direction (and often funding) from the Democrats.

  • The Democrats are afraid to upset the military industrial complex.  Here in Maine the elected Democrats work hand-in-hand with the Republicans to keep the military production lines humming across our state and I know it is the same all across America.  It has been determined that the US role under corporate globalization will be 'security export' so the Democrats are quite happy to help maintain the status quo.  Democrats get handed the hot campaign cash from the weapons industry just like the Republicans and they will make sure that the 'progressive groups' now being mobilized in Maine and beyond steer clear of such radical ideas as cutting the Pentagon's bloated budget and stopping these god awful wars!

  • All of those who are working to make progressive change across the land (such as dealing with climate change, cleaning up oil spills, funding public education, providing welfare and health care for the poor, etc.) will soon enough find out that there will be NO $$$$$ available largely because Congress and Trump will be doing two basic things in the years ahead.  First they want to give even more tax cuts to the rich and secondly they intend to raise military spending by another 10%.

  • I've been working on these issues full time since 1980 and can testify that I've seen progressives turn their backs and walk away time and time again in order to avoid taking on the military industrial complex.  It's an unpopular issue but it's getting much harder these days to deny reality. Sadly as long as the Democrats push themselves to the front of this growing anti-Trump movement it is unlikely that things will really change.  Local people who really want change in America must take back control of this much needed new movement and demand that the military war machine has to be on the agenda!
Bruce

Feeding the Alternatives



Imagine it - demand it - build it.  Protect the future generations.

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Future Generations are in Our Hands


Lynda Willams (on left) and Lindis Percy held an 'updated' American flag during Global Network conference and protest in Yorkshire, England in 2001


Our long time goal at the Global Network has been to expand the international consciousness about the pure insanity of moving the already evil Earth-bound war machine into the heavens.  We have tried to educate the public and link activists from around the globe who are working to oppose some local manifestation of the US initiated 'Master of Space' program.

Often local communities have a production site for the war machine as we do here in Bath, Maine or they suffer from the hard boot print of a US military controlled 'installation' in their neighborhood.  We've seen the harsh effects on the lives of people in Afghanistan, Iraq, South Korea, Okinawa, Ukraine, Sicily, and many other places where the environment and culture of the people are threatened.

Space technology links the world on behalf of the corporate mega-machine that is rolling over our brothers and sisters around the globe.  Each new space warfare program, surveillance system and downlink station (usually plopped down in some remote location) expands the 'global watch' capability and gives the Pentagon an over-bloated sense of confidence to threaten war.

The cost to these programs are beyond imagination. The aerospace industry has long claimed that Star Wars will be the largest industrial project in the Earth history.  Where will those funds come from?

Many enemies are needed to sell this super-sized space directed war machine to the public.  In the end though what keeps this ball rolling is the influence peddling going on inside of Washington with the military industrial complex handing out hot cash faster than pig can squeal in mud.

This latest request by Trump for another $54 billion for the Pentagon is all about high-tech warfare.



The military is reducing troop levels, cutting benefits for current service members, and even cutting back on the handing out of war fighting equipment to existing troops.  One friend who had a son recently stationed in Afghanistan had to package up and mail body armor to him.  The troops are being squeezed to shovel more $$$$ into the greedy mouths of the weapons and intelligence corporations.  That is where the profit is to be made - space tech is big bucks.

So even with all that US military money in hand (more than the next dozen nations combined) these international war making 'industries' want even more.  It's obvious their plaintive calls have successfully reached the waiting ears of  Donald Trump.

Mary Beth raged last night after hearing Trump say that austerity cuts will have to come from environmental and social sector funding but these agencies "will do more with less".  She works on the front lines with the homeless in Maine and daily sees more need and less support.  It's similar to some burger joint where one worker is expected to do the work that three people used to do.  No wonder people hate their jobs and the quality of the work coming from the corporate dominated service sector generally sucks.

We have many huge issues in our world today but this overriding reality of material greed being promoted non-stop on corporate TV is our greatest sin.  It keeps us disconnected from each other and from our Mother Earth.  We've lost these spiritual links and once that mooring is gone we drift wherever the crowd surge leads us.  We lose our native ability to think and to feel - human solidarity suffers as our soul gets overridden by the techno machine consciousness.  We lose our humanity.  $$$$ becomes god.

Lately we've been lucky to see how the Native Americans at Standing Rock have taught us all to resist while in prayer in order that we might repair our broken spiritual link with all that is sacred.

Our friends in the Global Network are taking all of these issues on as they organize to stand against this endless war machine that is raping the planet.  All of us who are in this fight are linked by one important reality - the future generations are in our hands.

Bruce

Trump's New War Budget....



Lawrence Wilkerson is a retired United States Army soldier and former chief of staff to United States Secretary of State Colin Powell. Wilkerson is an adjunct professor at the College of William & Mary where he teaches courses on US national security. He also instructs a senior seminar in the Honors Department at the George Washington University entitled "National Security Decision Making."

I disagree with Wilkerson's excitement for new technology war fighting systems that will be robotic and unmanned.  He uses these 'cheaper and smaller' programs to make his case cut Pentagon cuts.  I guess he wants to remain 'relevant' in the DC policital swirl where you have to make concessions to the corporate war machine.

In the end though I always learn something from Wilkerson and I do respect that he is one of the few that were once on the inside of the Washington political world willing to speak out about anything. 

Bruce

A Sense of Wonder


Monday, February 27, 2017

Banana Republics


U.S. Expands Cyber Warfare Capabilities


The US-NATO attack on Yugoslavia in 1999 was one of the first Pentagon 'field tests' of cyber warfare technology.  I recall at the time reading in aerospace industry publications that the US used computer hacking technology to shut down the air defense systems in Yugoslavia prior to the US-NATO air attacks.  As a result not one war plane from the 'western alliance' was lost during those bombing raids.

The Pentagon basically used cyber technology for the first time to crawl inside of Yugoslavian air defense systems and turned them off.   You might recall that during the bombing of Belgrade US-NATO war planes hit the Chinese embassy killing three reporters.  The US said, "Oh sorry, we used the wrong maps."  Yeah, sure......

Following that one-sided war the Pentagon went on steroids creating the offensive cyber warfare program.  By the year 2015, annual federal government spending on cyber security reached well over $13 billion, a compound increase of nine percent per year.  The cyber security industry has flourished with new companies and their facilities expanding throughout the greater Washington-Virginia area like a metastasizing cancer.

The US is undoubtedly the world leader in cyber warfare technology but Russia, China and other nations have joined this new arms race.  We frequently hear of claims about one nation hacking the other but confirming these charges is virtually impossible for the public or for the media - assuming the media was actually interested in learning the truth.  When it comes to stories about cyber hacking most mainstream media are left to reading the news releases sent out by the US Cyber Command.

Lately we've been hearing that the US intends to create arrangements with NATO that if any one member of the corporate military alliance is 'cyber attacked' that this would be viewed as an attack on all of NATO and would trigger war.  Proving that an alleged attack on one NATO member was actually real in the first place would be virtually impossible.

The cyber warfare program took off so big in large part because of the concerns of growing space debris orbiting the Earth at 15,000 mph.  The old plan was just to blow up other nations satellites in order to ensure US 'control and domination' of space.  But once the Space Command realized the full extent of the space junk problem they concluded that adding more debris would be quite problematic.  Thus finding another way to 'disable' another nation's satellites during times of hostility became a priority.

Cyber Command was created in 2009 at the National Security Agency (NSA) headquarters in Fort Meade, Maryland. It uses NSA networks and has been headed by the Director of the National Security Agency since its inception.

The Strategic Command (STRATCOM), headquartered at Offutt AFB in Nebraska, oversees the Cyber Command as well as Global Strike; Space Command; Integrated Missile Defense; Strategic Nuclear Missiles & Bombers; and Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance.

Bruce

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Latest Show



My latest guest Rosalie Tyler Paul from nearby Brunswick, Maine and one of the leaders of our local peace group called PeaceWorks.

Sunday Song