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

I grew up in a military family and joined the Air Force in 1971 during the Vietnam War. It was there that I became a peace activist.

Saturday, February 08, 2014

NOW WE ARE ALL GOING ON THE RESERVATIONS



Abby Martin features an exclusive interview with Pulitzer Prize winning journalist Chris Hedges, concerning areas of extreme poverty that he refers to as 'sacrifice zones', as well as the reasons behind the collapse of complex societies.

Part two here



UKRAINE: THIS IS HOW THE US DOES IT



Washington Post reports today:

On Thursday, a video was posted on YouTube in which Victoria Nuland, the top U.S. diplomat for Europe, disparagingly dismissed European Union efforts to mediate the ongoing crisis in the Ukraine by bluntly saying, “Fuck the E.U.” On Friday, Merkel, through press attache Christiane Wirtz, described the gaffe as “absolutely unacceptable,” and defended the efforts of Catherine Ashton, the E.U.’s foreign policy chief..... Nuland quickly apologized for the comments, with the United States pointing the finger Thursday at the Russians for recording and posting her private conversations with U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Geoffrey R. Pyatt.

The main issue here should be the arrogant US interference in Ukrainian domestic affairs.  This video clearly reveals just how so-called US "diplomat" Nuland is picking winners and losers in the Ukraine.  That is not acceptable under any circumstances.

The Ukrainian people now fear a Syrian-style civil war in their country which is being fostered by US support for ultra right-wing forces that were historically allied to Nazi Germany.  The US wants to see a civil war on Russia's border as one more step toward breaking up the Russian Federation.  Talk about playing with dynamite.

You also hear Nuland talking about using the UN to give political cover to US devious operations in the Ukraine.  UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon obviously is a US puppet.  

Again from the Post:

“Victoria Nuland must step down after these remarks, otherwise there has to be a suspension of negotiations about the E.U.-U.S. free-trade agreement,” Jörg Leichtfried, leader of the Austrian Social Democratic delegation in the European Parliament, told the Austrian press agency APA, according to the daily Die Presse.

Experts say the image of the United States has suffered deeply, with the Nuland gaffe reinforcing perceptions of American heavy-handedness at a highly sensitive time. This week, for instance, the Sueddeutsche Zeitung newspaper published fresh allegations that the United States had wiretapped former German chancellor Gerhard Schröder. In response, Schröder gave an interview to the Bild newspaper in which he said, “The U.S. has no respect for a loyal ally and for the sovereignty of our country.”

Nuland’s nomination as assistant secretary of state for European and Eurasian affairs in May last year clearly plays an important part in the Obama administration’s aggressive strategy toward Russia. She previously served as a deputy national security adviser to Vice President Dick Cheney and is married to the prominent “neoconservative” commentator and historian Robert Kagan. 

THE WORD


JAIL TIME COMING FOR DRONE PROTEST


Hancock 17 Drone War Crimes Resisters' Verdict Is In

All found guilty of  disorderly conduct but acquitted of trespassing; Order of Protection
extended 2 years; Judge decides to send a message


On Friday, February 7, Town of DeWitt Court Judge David Gideon found twelve of the Hancock Drone War Crimes Resisters guilty of disorderly conduct, but acquitted them of trespassing. They had gone to Hancock Air National Guard Base near Syracuse, NY, on Oct. 25, 2012, to bring a Citizens War Crimes Indictment to the base and symbolically block the gates. Their nonviolent action had called for an end to drone warfare.

Saying, "At some point this has to stop," the judge gave the defendants the maximum sentence - 15 days in jail (starting immediately) and a $250 fine with a $125 court surcharge. He also imposed a two-year Order of Protection, prohibiting the defendants from going to the home, school, business or place of employment of Col. Earl A. Evans, Commander of Hancock's mission support group. Considering that the defendants had never met or knew of him before their arrest, it is clear the intent is to keep people away from the base. Defendant Rae Kramer stated, "No person on the base was intimidated by us, that is clear. But the end result is to deprive me of my 1st Amendment Rights."

In their sentencing statements, the defendants spoke from their hearts and minds. Some reaffirmed their legal duties as citizens to stop war crimes. Clare Grady said, "We went there to stop the war crimes. That was our intent." James Ricks hoped the judge would "sentence us to community service to investigate the war crimes they are committing at the base." Judy Bello said, "The people suffering are so significant. It requires a persistent response," and argued that the international law argument is indeed valid. Mark Scibilia-Carver quoted the Pope saying "violence is a lie," and "Faith and violence are incompatible." Mark Colville challenged the Court, stating, "This court has been found guilty of stopping it's ears to the laws that are in place to protect life. This court has been found guilty of stopping it's ears to the voices of the victims of the drones."

The defendants were prepared for whatever sentence the judge imposed. In the words of Ed Kinane, "Any penalty this court can impose on me is trivial compared to the death sentences imposed on the drone victims."
.
Of the five defendants not sentenced, one, Elliott Adams, is to be sentenced later. Two others had their cases dismissed on technical grounds, and the remaining two had plead guilty earlier.

The defendants are part of the Upstate NY Coalition to Ground the Drones and End the Wars, which seeks to educate the public and Hancock Air Base personnel about the war crimes perpetrated in Afghanistan with the MQ-9 Reaper Drone piloted from Hancock Air National Guard Base. See 
upstatedroneaction.org.

Video of the sentencing and sentencing statements will be available soon at www.peacecouncil.net.

--------------------------------------------------

Defendants who were sentenced:



  • Judy Bello Rochester, NY 
  • Daniel Burgevin Trumansburg, NY 
  • Mark Colville New Haven, CT 
  • Clare Grady Ithaca, NY 
  • Mary Anne Grady Flores Ithaca, NY 
  • Martha Hennessy New York, NY 
  • Brian Hynes Bronx, NY 
  • Ed Kinane Syracuse, NY 
  • Rae Kramer Syracuse, NY 
  • James Ricks Ithaca, NY 
  • Mark Scibilia-Carver Trumansburg, NY 
  • Patricia Weiland Northampton, MA

Friday, February 07, 2014

THE PATH TO WORLD POWER


DYNASTY IN AMERICA

Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush (on left) and Hillary Clinton are being pushed by the corporate oligarchy as their candidates in the next round of political theatre


Now that Gov. Chris Christie (R-NJ) is political dead meat the ‘voices’ tell us that Jeb Bush wants to run for president.  The conservatives love him; the fundamentalists do as well, as do the militarists and bankers.  It's a good fit, as they say in the shoe business.

But the bankers, and oil barons and the military industrial complex like Hillary too.  Lots of liberal women adore her as well.  Many Democrats are excited about "putting" the first woman into the 'highest office'.  Some Democrats though remember Hillary's long ties to Wall Street evidenced during the first Clinton reign over the White House.  NAFTA, bank deregulation, and steadily building the war machine were the hallmarks of the Clinton years - that and "welfare reform" that stepped up the pace of austerity cuts.  While representing New York in the Senate Hillary was a strong supporter of an aggressive Pentagon. The Clinton's Democratic Leadership Conference (DLC) is a corporate funded political instrument designed to ensure their control of Washington.

So the oligarchy will run two horses in the race for president on November 8, 2016.

I lived in Florida when Jeb Bush was first elected governor in 1998.  He defeated a good man named Buddy MacKay who had been Lt. Gov. under the previous administration.  As a congressman MacKay had been good on many issues including speaking out against the US war in Central America.  For a southerner MacKay was an open man in most ways.  One of his campaign themes was that Florida could not handle any more people due to the draining of the water aquifer.  He wanted to put limits on growth.

Jeb Bush represented the powerful development industry and reactionary (slavocracy) interests that wanted control of everything in Florida and across the region.  That means Cuba, Haiti, the Dominican Republic, Latin America and more.  There has long been a historic link between Florida big corruption money and imperial ambitions across the Caribbean.

At Bush's first inaugural address at the capital in Tallahassee he pointed to the nearby government buildings and said, "My dream is to someday see all these buildings closed down."  Imagine how the corporate oligarchy cheered at the mere thought of the idea.  Feudalism - there can be no better word to describe the vision.

As president Bush would push feudalism with gusto while Clinton would shave a few of the edges and keep the progressive base frozen just as Obama has eagerly done while in office.  They all work for Mr. Big.

We are likely to get more of the feudal dynasty - Bush and Clinton - sold to us like soap on a TV advertisement.  Maybe the people will rise up and demand more. There still is alot of that Occupy spirit out there.  God knows things are not getting any better these days.

ARRESTED FIVE HUNDRED TIMES



Lindis Percy tells her story of activism against US military occupation in England.  From the women's peace camp at Greenham Common in the early 1980's to her work today at the US NSA surveillance and 'missile defense' base at Menwith Hill, Lindis has been arrested 500 times going to prison about 15 times.

Her work with the Campaign for the Accountability of American Bases (CAAB) in Yorkshire has helped to illuminate the military mission of Menwith Hill and other bases in England.

Lindis is also a board member of the Global Network Against Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space.

Thursday, February 06, 2014

ANTI-SNOOPING ACTION

 
   


DEAR USERS OF THE INTERNET,

In January 2012 we defeated the SOPA and PIPA censorship legislation with the largest Internet protest in history. Today we face another critical threat, one that again undermines the Internet and the notion that any of us live in a genuinely free society: mass surveillance.

In celebration of the win against SOPA and PIPA two years ago, and in memory of one of its leaders, Aaron Swartz, we are planning a day of protest against mass surveillance, to take place this February 11th.

Together we will push back against powers that seek to observe, collect, and analyze our every digital action. Together, we will make it clear that such behavior is not compatible with democratic governance.

Together, if we persist, we will win this fight.

February 11th 2014 is The Day We Fight Back Against Mass Surveillance

Go here for more info

'CHRISTENING' PROTEST PLANNED IN BATH

The Zumwalt 'stealth' destroyer was put into the water at BIW in late 2013.  The warship is outfitted with new electromagnetic 'rail guns' right out of a sci-fi movie. Using electric pulses, not chemical explosives, the guns can shoot a 40-pound metal slug from New York to Philadelphia at up to 5,600 mph - more than seven times the speed of sound - with 32 times the force of a car traveling at 100 miles per hour.


The Navy has announced that the 'christening' of the new $3 billion 'stealth destroyer' USS Zumwalt (DDG 1000) is scheduled for Saturday, April 12, 2014 in Bath, Maine.
 
This super high-tech destroyer will be a key weapon system used by the US to "control" China in what is turning out to be a very provocative strategy.

There will be a protest that day at the shipyard on the corner of Washington & Hinckley streets in Bath.  Thousands of people are expected to attend the ceremony.  This protest will be sponsored by Smilin' Trees Disarmament Farm, Veterans for Peace, and the Global Network Against Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space.  We'll hold the event from 10:00 am until noon.  We expect to have some special guest speakers that day.

Then that same evening there will be a pot luck supper and panel discussion about the implications of the US Asia-Pacific 'pivot' at a local church in Brunswick. The pot luck will begin at 6:00 pm and the panel at 7:00 which will feature speakers from Japan, Korea, India, and more.  This event will be sponsored by Veterans for Peace and the Global Network.

We will provide home hospitality for any out-of-towners that come to these events. Just let us know.

Please mark your calendar for April 12 and help us spread the word.

YOU WANT A JOB?



When Keystone XL's top job recruiter comes to town, he reveals just what jobs the controversial oil pipeline would really create.

Oil executives like to claim that the Keystone XL pipeline would create thousands of jobs. But in a project fueling so many environmental and health risks, only one man is honest enough to say exactly what those jobs would be. (Hint: they're not construction.)

It's true, Keystone XL has a job for you! But the question is: do you really want it?

Wednesday, February 05, 2014

A LOOK BACK



Here is a video called "The Battle for America's Soul" filmed at a 2005 speech. The event was held at the Emmanual Mennonite Church in Gainesville, Florida.

The one-hour video covers the mythology of America, corruption within the military industrial complex, plans for U.S. control of space, the corporate destruction of the American economy, America's addiction to weapons and war, and concludes with a transformative suggestion for the nation.

22nd ANNUAL SPACE ORGANIZING CONFERENCE


NOT MY CONCERN

New 'Prompt Global Strike' systems now under development would give the US Strategic Command (StratCom) the capability to hit Russia or China from space

The cutting of steel
the turn of the wrench
the twisting of the screw
our hard hats are at work

How these pieces fit together
is not my concern
it's jobs in America
what other option do we have?
It's the only game in town
we'd better take it
before someone else grabs the work
that's the way it is in dog-eat-dog land

I am just here
for the paycheck
and occasional rah-rah
when the politicians stop by
and tell us we are the greatest
aircraft makers, ship builders,
tank assemblers, satellite designers,
drone pilots
in the world

I have other things on my mind
I have things to buy at WalMart
made in China
or Vietnam
who we helped 'liberate'
for corporate capital

I have no concern about who
the latest enemy is
that these weapons will engage
So what if we encircle China
or Russia
in a new cold war

As long as the cheap stuff
still stocks the shelves at WalMart
then I have no concern
I am free
to shop.

Tuesday, February 04, 2014

SELLING A PIG IN A POKE



The idiom pig in a poke refers to a confidence trick originating in the late Middle Ages, when meat was scarce, but cats and dogs were not.  The idiom pig in a poke can also simply refer to someone buying a low-quality pig in a bag because he or she did not carefully check what was in the bag.

Maine's piece of this F-35 boondoggle is the Pratt & Whitney plant in North Berwick.  They make engines there for this plane.

Maine House Speaker Mark Eves (Democrat-North Berwick) in 2013 said he was pleased that Pratt & Whitney got the engine contract.  "This is incredible news for Maine workers in North Berwick," said Eves. "The jobs provided by the North Berwick facility serve countless families in the area and across the state. North Berwick is proud to have Pratt & Whitney and its workers in our community."

Our liberal congresswoman Chellie Pingree from Maine's 1st District has been a strong supporter of the F-35 engines being built at Pratt-Whitney.

THIS IS WHAT WE ARE TALKING ABOUT.....


  • I just brought in a bunch of wood as we expect to have a snowstorm tomorrow with 4-6 inches worth.  I love doing the wood - it's sunny now and cold outside.  A beautiful day really.  I try to make bringing in the wood my daily mantra.  Staying focused on that moment, each piece of wood, let the worldly worries pass through my mind and out.  Thanking the great spirit for each breath, each day, and each gift.

  • I love this art work above that I found on a Korean friend's Facebook page.  Really tells the story of the two worlds.  The natural world that indigenous people understand and nurture.  Then the world of capitalism that is all about destruction, consumption, and creating things we don't really need.  And with that life comes the spiritual disconnection from the real things in life.  No wonder huge portions of North Americans are taking anti-depressant meds.  We have to talk to each other more about these two worlds - that is part of the process of change.  Create a new consciousness.  We have to think it and live it if we really want to survive on mothership Earth.

  • I did an hour radio talk show out of Vermont this morning with Joseph Gainza who does a weekly peace show.  He's had me on several times and he is good about making the connections between militarism and so many other issues like austerity cuts, environmental degradation, corporate control of government and more.  Quite a few people called in.  One guy talked about his deep frustration with the decision that F-35 fighter planes will quite possibly be using Vermont's largest city (Burlington) as an airfield.  (Even their Socialist US Sen. Bernie Sanders supports the plan.) I told the story about the 80-year old woman in Ireland now in jail for going out to Shannon airport and blocking the runways. They did this because the Pentagon uses Shannon as a leap-frog base for US military planes going to Africa, Middle East and Central Asia.  How can peaceniks in other countries go to jail opposing US warplanes but activists here not do the same I asked the radio audience?

  • I also told the radio audience this morning that I went to a Tar Sands protest yesterday afternoon in nearby Brunswick.  There was a good crowd standing in the middle of town and my sign read: Pentagon has the largest carbon boot print on Mother Earth.  Many environmentalists don't want to talk about that fact.  They want to avoid the military issue because they feel like they have good 'rapport' with elected Democrats.  Connecting these unpleasant dots might alienate their good relationship and prevent the Democrats from stopping tar sands and doing more about our worsening environment and the coming reality of climate change.  But we were on the street yesterday because Obama is now characteristically caving on the Tar Sands issue.  The Dems aren't going to stand up to Obama on this in any meaningful way so what is there really to lose by telling the truth?

  • One caller this morning said "yeah activism is nice but we need to put our attention to alternative energy" instead.  What she was really saying is 'don't waste your time protesting and complaining about the military budget' that now consumes 60% of every federal discretionary tax dollar.  My response to her was, "You are right.  We need alternative energy like rail, solar, wind, and more but where is the money going to come from to build this in a serious way across the country?  Corporations are moving production overseas for cheaper labor.  The domestic investment has to come from the federal government, with our tax dollars, and the money is presently buried in the golden chest called the Pentagon."  

  • I repeated the words of abolitionist Frederick Douglas who said, "Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and never will."  So what is our demand?  And how strongly are we willing to make it - like a sheep or a lion? Think about the future generations before you answer that question....

Monday, February 03, 2014

SPACE ORGANIZING IN INDIA



J. Narayana Rao lives in Nagpur, India and has been on the board of the Global Network for many years.  He is a retired railroad union worker and lives very frugally.  He's been involved in the Indian peace movement for a long time and also works hard to help poor people get what little bit of support from the government they can get.  He's a tremendous inspiration to all of us.

This weekend Rao organized a workshop on peace in space issues for young people in his community.  I wanted to share his very moving report from that event.  I'm sure you will be touched by it as I was.  The Global Network tries to send some money to Rao each year to help him with his space organizing projects across India.  He often travels the country speaking to students and bringing the otherwise unknown issue of space militarization to the next generations.  The US is dragging India into the space warfare program particularly aimed at its neighbor China.  We are going to have to send him even more resources to do this vital work.

Today the first Workshop on “Space for Peace” has been held in the Railway Colony, Motibagh Nagpur. 42 boys and girls attended. I have dealt with every thing connected with space. Introduction, Use of space, Outer Space Treaty, Moon Treaty,Vision For 2020, The Danger of Weaponisation of Space, Space Debris etc. After my presentation two girls have only expressed their views. But one boy by name Ankit Singare who is in Class 8th Standard who came along with his cousin surprised me when he came forward and in a fearless manner started telling that this sort of Workshops will enlighten the present generation, no one should think of putting weapons in space. Having been surprised I called him to my house and talked to him in detail. He told me that he belongs to a poor family, his father died and his mother works in a cloth shop and with the help of his uncle, looking after him and his younger brother. He wants to be scientist and take part in all competitions in his school including debating competitions. I want to help this boy. You can see him standing behind me in the photo. I am attaching some photos.
            - J. Narayana Rao

Sunday, February 02, 2014

SUNDAY SONG