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....
- Name: Bruce K. Gagnon
- Location: Bath, Maine, United States
Get the revised version of my book "Come Together Right Now: Organizing Stories from a Fading Empire" - updated thru the end of 2008
Saturday, June 25, 2005
Friday, June 24, 2005
IRAQ WAR ACTION IN BANGOR
While we read the names on the federal building plaza, we also had six people at a time inside the office of Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) reading the names. Throughout the day we rotated people into the office to take a turn reading names and marking an X on a banner that read "Iraq War Dead." We had one banner inside the building and one outside on the plaza.
It appeared that a good number of media outlets covered the event. WERU radio covered the beginning and end of the vigil by having several of us speak live on the radio explaining why we were protesting.
Throughout the day we handed out our statement to people passing by the federal building and we also were able to gather over 250 signatures on a petition calling for an end to the war.
People from many different peace groups came during the day. Some stayed the whole day and others came for a couple hours. Two young kids came by and joined us and did a great job of gathering petition signatures.
We next plan to organize another of these readings in the Portland area in coming months. We've already shown that our efforts have forced Rep. Tom Allen to agree to hold a public town hall meeting on the war. Now we intend to keep the pressure on our two Republican senators until they both agree to do the same. We must turn these politicians away from their support for the war. To accomplish that task will take many more days of hard work like yesterday. But it was not all hard work in Bangor. What we also did was build community by gathering good sprited people to stand together. No one left this event untouched by the event.
Thursday, June 23, 2005
Tuesday, June 21, 2005
CUTS IN BIDDEFORD - SINGING THE BLUES
When I got back from Biddeford last time I told the story on my blog about the cable facility being inside an old school. They also have a free clinic inside the building and, like last time I was there, it was full of people last night.
I was told by my hosts that Biddeford is having one hell of a time with its town budget. They are having social problems dumped on them as the feds dump onto the states and then the states dump onto the local governments. The local government then gets to be the bearer of bad news. In the case of Biddeford, the bad news is that the local education budget must be cut.
On the cable show we talked about the costs of endless war. We talked about space technology coordinating modern warfare. We talked about America's empire and how the hopes and dreams of the people are fading as the Pentagon eats up our hard-earned tax dollars.
After the show was over I told my hosts about Cornell West's latest book, Democracy Matters, and how he has a chapter in it on the "blues." West says that white folks had better quickly learn how to sing the blues. Blacks have been singing them for hundreds of years in the U.S. as they have learned how to survive in this mean-spirited capitalist system where the dog eats the dog. White folks, not just Indians, are now being put onto the reservation. White folks will now face the humiliation of mass unemployment, no health care, bad education, losing hope. This will mean more social dysfunction for our children.
There is an alternative. But that would require a political fight. It would require people to quickly organize to oppose the expansion of the military industrial complex and endless war. It would require a political demand that we not spend $100 billion or more a year in Iraq and instead use that money for education, health care, public transportation and the like. So it is really up to you. Do you want to have to sing the blues?
Monday, June 20, 2005
Recently two separate sources have claimed that the U.S. military is dramatically underestimating the number of GI's killed in Iraq. The claim is the current estimates of 1,700 dead do not count those who died after being evacuated to Germany or other destinations. The sources state that internal Pentagon documents reveal over 9,000 have died. Wouldn't it be nice if the media would lock onto this story as hard as they did the Michael Jackson trial? By keeping the public honoring of U.S. war dead to a bare minimum, Bush has so far been successful in keeping the inquires suppressed.
Sunday, June 19, 2005
Rep. John Conyers (D-MI) was joined by 10 members of Congress last Thursday as he delivered a letter with 560,000 signatures to the White House. The letter called on the Bush administration to provide answers about the Downing Street memo that clearly indicates Bush lied in order to drag the nation into war. We need more of this congressional direct action. The people are starving for leadership and John Conyers is showing it.