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.

Monday, October 23, 2017

Parted Ways....


Parted Ways

When Steve returned home from Vietnam,
he did not recognize his parents' house anymore,
because it was vacant of childhood memories.
He turned 19 in Vietnam.
Two years before that he picked up a fumble
and ran for a touchdown.
 From the senior prom to Vietnam.
He eventually picked up the drink, like he did that
fumble, and ran with it through jobs and relationships.
Along the way, he met Anne and got married.
She had a secret that was as traumatic as Steve's.
Steve had been raped and betrayed by the Fatherland,
and Anne had been raped and betrayed by her Father.
Trampled and molested--the unforgivable.
 From one war zone to another.
When the multiplying pain got so hurtful,
and their traumas got so intertwined,
they parted ways.
They could never escape their past,
a past that had now doubled with so
much suffering.
You see, they took their pain out on each other.
Intelligence can be so vindictive, when great
suffering is so subconscious.
It turns into a war zone of resentments.
Every trauma is relived as it is miss directed
at another human being, when so much
of their pain was already there long before
they ever met each other.
War Zones.
Vacant.
Parted Ways.
Until death do us part.

By Mike Hastie
Army Medic Vietnam
Full Disclosure
October 23, 2017

Photograph by Mike Hastie
Dedication of Vietnam Memorial
Portland, Oregon 1988

Stop Deadly U.S.-Israeli Police Exchange Trips



Jewish Voice for Peace

One of the most dangerous places where the regimes of Donald Trump and Benjamin Netanyahu converge is in exchange programs that bring together police, ICE, border patrol, and FBI from the U.S. with soldiers, police, and border agents from Israel.

At Jewish Voice for Peace, we were disturbed to learn that many of the organizations running these exchange programs are institutions in our own community, including civil rights organizations.

To shut down the deadly exchange, we feel obligated to start with these complicit organizations in our own communities.

They include The American Israel Public Affairs Committee, The Anti Defamation League, and even Birthright Israel. 

As Jews, we feel a particular responsibility to address those who run these programs in our names as Jewish communal institutions.

Together, we'll bring this fight to the policy makers in our communities and hold accountable the policy makers that run and fund the deadly exchange.

You can sign a  petition opposing these exchanges here

Also see a related article by The Intercept here

Sunday, October 22, 2017

Protect the Future Generations



On Friday afternoon our Maine Peace Walk lined up outside Morse high school in Bath to greet the students as they left school.  We got there 20 minutes before the bell rang and Yoyakgol started singing toward the building. 

We saw some students at windows on the 3rd floor clapping.  When they came outside we handed flyers to many of them about our reasons for the peace walk.

Let it be Real


Let it be real
let the truths
of our moment
become clear

we need
to grieve
and organize
the storm is
rumbling

humans have survived
all these hard years
because we sat
around council fires
shared
rich history
of our time
on the mother planet

we connected
to the waves of time
listened to the voices
of the dolphins,
birds,
lions and tigers
the clams
and the worms

we felt the life
energy
from the
tree roots,
the wind spoke to us
water soothed us
all inside the web
from the womb

We brought the
Motha home

looking up
sliver of moon
connecting us

early morning
at Bath Iron Works
workers rolled in

we shared our hearts
and some shared back

Our message is
simple
survival
for all the relations

At the local high school
guitar strumming
strange Asian voice
kids clapping
3rd floor window

one youngster
dances with the Asian
man
dressed in pink
calls it the
'hot pink dolphins'
sneaks in the heart
of Jeju Island
on the twist side

Working together
in the kitchen
feeding stomach
and soul
a moving web of life,
love,
and determination

Music all the way
Korean and
country style

strong words
by many

we don't want to pretend,
to not know,
what is really
going on....

our responsibility?

listen to the
heart beat
protect the
future generations
from
Mr. Big

Love
calls us back
again and again
til we pass it on.....

Thanks
y'all

Bruce 

Sunday Song



Saturday, October 21, 2017

Beautiful Day in Bath



We had a great Maine Peace Walk finale event today in Bath.  The weekly farmer's market was happening so during the three hours we were there with music and speakers many people stopped by for a listen.  About 50 stuck around for the whole show.




The weather was great and the spot at the Waterfront Park on the Kennebec River was a perfect location.

I'll post more later as videos and photos come in.

Bruce

Just Change a Few Words.....


Thursday, October 19, 2017

More Maine Peace Walk Photos

Bath Iron Works (BIW) from a nearby bridge.  On lower left see the security boat watching us.
Joyakgol from Jeju Island, South Korea joined us for the walk and has been a wonderful addition to our group.  Once he leaves Maine he will speak in Boston, Waterbury & New Haven, Ct. and New York City.

Standing at BIW during the 3:30 pm daily shift change.  Workers are bused in every day from across Maine.  Out of the 5,500 workers at BIW only about 500 actually live in Bath.
A new banner made for us by a local artists collective that makes banners for various protests in the state.

Waiting for BIW workers to pour out of the shipyard.  Our twice daily vigils at 6:00 am and 3:30 pm have helped to create a dialogue inside the shipyard and throughout the community.
Another one of our great banners (click on it for a better view) being held by Morgana Warner Evans and Russell Wray.
Walking the 10-miles to Brunswick on Tuesday this week.

Crossing over the water on the way to Brunswick.
Liz McAlister sits in front of the BIW facility on the old Bath Road.  BIW has several facilities between Bath and Brunswick and we stopped at each one for a while on Tuesday.

Our dear friend Ridgely Fuller from Belfast, Maine walked with us for two days and brought along two of her friends visiting from Washington state.  Each day new people come and go which gives the walk a good new jolt of energy.
Artist Russell Wray carries his anti-sonar sign.  He has taught us all alot about the Navy impacts on sea life by sonar.  Just today while at BIW one worker saw the sign and told me she had never before known that sea mammals are threatened by sonar.  This well illustrates the power that just one sign can have on people.  

These photos are not in any particular order but are intended to give you a bit of a taste of what we have been doing this week.

Today we walked around Bath as a group, in single file like a herd of elk.  At 11:30 am we walked along Washington Street in front of BIW just as a couple hundred workers poured out of the facility for their lunch break.  We were up close and personal and greeted many of them.  Some responded and others did not want to make any eye contact.

At 10:00 am we walked through some Bath neighborhoods and were quite pleased to see the response we got from people outside their homes and driving by.  The majority of the people were friendly and very positive - took our flyers - one woman said, "I already got one here at my house" and then thanked us for doing the walk.  We feel that people are clearly getting our message about the dire emergency to deal with climate change while we still can by converting BIW to build appropriate sustainable technologies.

Tomorrow we will watch John Pilger's important new film called The Coming War with China and then walk around Bath some more.  We will also do our 6:00 am and 3:30 pm BIW vigils as well and then have a pot luck supper and music in the evening at The Neighborhood church.  We've got several excellent musicians in our group so it should be a good time for all.

Bruce

Carry the Peace Flag



On Tuesday we walked from Bath to Brunswick.  In front of the runway at the former Navy base in Brunswick we stopped and I told a story about being on the Jeju Island Grand March for Life and Peace two summers ago.  (Ken Jones and Will Griffin, both here in Maine now, were there too.) Many hundreds of Koreans of all ages joined that walk around the island - one team going east and the other west and then they met up for a big finale event at the end.

During each walking day the organizers stop the Jeju march and ask various organizations represented with their large flags on long poles to run along the line of peace marchers. The crowd cheers as they run back and forth in the intense South Korean summer heat.

I asked Joyakgol from Jeju Island to show us how it is done.  Then he was followed by John Morris (80 years old) from Maine who was carrying the Veterans For Peace flag.

Enjoy it....

Bruce

Maine Peace Walk Finale Event


Maine Peace Walk Finale Event

Saturday, October 21

Noon to 2:00 pm

Waterfront Park Pavilion

Downtown Bath

 
Join us for food, speakers, music. Everyone invited.

Help us celebrate the conclusion of the 2017 Maine Peace Walk and give your support for the idea of ensuring that the future generations have a chance for life on Mother Earth by converting the military industrial complex to appropriate sustainable technology.  The real problem facing us today is global warming - not the need for endless war.

Studies at UMASS-Amherst Economics Department have long shown that producing commuter rail systems, offshore wind turbines, solar and tidal power would in fact create more jobs at facilities like BIW than we currently get building warships.  Spending on education, health care, and other social programs also creates more jobs than does military production.

Maine Peace Walk is sponsored by:  Citizens Opposing Active Sonar Threats (COAST); Global Network Against Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space; Maine Green Independent Party; Maine Natural Guard; Maine Veterans For Peace; Maine War Tax Resistance Resource Center; Peace Action Maine; PeaceWorks; Veterans For Peace, Smedley Butler Chapter (Boston area); Waging Peace Maine; Waldo County Peace & Justice; UUCB Working for Justice Committee; Portland Food Coop          

Find more info at http://vfpmaine.org/2017%20Walk.html 

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Bath Pot Luck Supper & Music


Maine Peace Walk Pot Luck Supper & Music

Bath

Friday, October 20

6:00 pm

The Neighborhood Church

(Corner of Washington/Centre St)


Come and share food, conversation and music with peace walkers from across Maine, the US, and South Korea.
See remaining peace walk schedule at http://vfpmaine.org/2017%20Walk.html
More info call 443-9502

Get Organized....



VFP member Will Griffin showed up in Maine for our Peace Walk with this video he made.

Many thanks to him - he's a great activist and friend.  Be sure to follow his work at 'The Peace Report'.

Bruce