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....

My Photo
Location: Bath, Maine, United States

Sunday, April 20, 2014


They try to sell all of this new surveillance technology as a way to make our lives more secure and easier.  But there can be little doubt that these technologies are all about tracking every move we make.

The next step will be getting rid of money and just having all your financial dealings computerized.  Then if you move into opposition against the corporate oil-i-garchy they could just have your computer file turned off and you would have no way to travel, buy food, or the like.

Think I am being paranoid? Think again.  We are being sold a pig in a poke here that will make it easier to control all of us.

Agree to a microchip implanted in my body?  Not while I am still living and breathing.


Worldwide 'Biblical' disasters predicted by new UN study; successive global catastrophes served by a small sinister network of 'institutes'; and corporate-funded gangs trained to troll web users. Seek truth from facts with Merchants of Doubt co-author Professor Naomi Oreskes; As You Sow chief executive Andrew Behar; and science writer John Gibbons.


Saturday, April 19, 2014


I took the bus early this morning from Portland to Boston in order to get to the Asia-Pacific peace conference being held in Cambridge at the Friends Meeting House.  I will speak on a panel after lunch.

I got here about 30 minutes after the event began and caught the end of speech by Hideki Yoshikawa from Okinawa who was sharing stories about their struggle against expanding US military bases.  Other activists from Korea and China will also be talking. 

Hyun Lee, the Korean activist from New York City, who came to Maine last week to our rally at Bath Iron Works is here.  She, along with Joseph Gerson from the AFSC who organized today's event, also spoke in Orono and Brunswick last week when they came to Maine.

These events in Maine and here are being held in response to the call by the National Working Group for Peace & Demilitarization in Asia and the Pacific for nationwide actions this spring to bring this important issue to the public's attention.

The Obama 'pivot' into the Asia-Pacific to encircle China will be an expensive and provocative undertaking.

I take the bus back to Portland tonight.

Friday, April 18, 2014


Everyone is talking about it
those running the show here
are heavily psychopathic
(Miriam Webster dictionary: "one who has not lost contact
with reality
but who engages in abnormally aggressive and seriously
irresponsible behavior
with little or no
feelings of guilt")

Sounds familiar
their bloodlines
like Forbes
ran drugs during
Opium Wars
pirates did slave trade
sold and still sell weapons
bought up our media
and government
they are MR. BIG

the pirates dug up
Geronimo's skull
grandpa-Bush did the deed
and now the Indian remains
inside the Tomb at Yale

The message from Skull & Bones
to the world is
"we always get you in
the end"
WE always win

Look at Haiti today
they dared long ago
to revolt against
the pirate class
Vietnam was nuked with
Agent Orange
Iraq with DU
the oceans with sonar
the whales cry to us
we turn away
we need the jobs
at the shipyard

the pirates love death
and worship it
they are the evil of
this world

We elect the pirates
and give them power
and glory
and hefty pensions
and 'get out of jail free' cards

They laugh at us
as we mimic their lives
the pirates hold hands
and toast with the sultans
to their ill-gotten
good fortune

But they fear us
they worry to death
that someday the people
will turn
on the

Thursday, April 17, 2014


Click on document for better view and when it appears click again and it will enlarge even more.


As negotiations over the crisis in Ukraine begin in Geneva, tension is rising in the Ukrainian east after security forces killed three pro-Russian protesters, wounded 13 and took 63 captive in the city of Mariupol.

Ukrainian officials said the pro-Russian separatists had attempted to storm a military base. The killings came just after the unraveling of a Ukrainian operation to retake government buildings from pro-Russian separatists. Earlier today, Russian President Vladimir Putin accused the authorities in Kiev of plunging the country into an "abyss" and refused to rule out sending forces into Ukraine.

Meanwhile, NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen has announced a series of steps to reinforce its presence in eastern Europe. "We will have more planes in the air, more ships on the water and more readiness on the land," Rasmussen said.

Democracy Now is joined by Stephen Cohen, professor emeritus of Russian studies and politics at New York University and Princeton University. "We are not at the beginning of a new Cold War, we are well into it," Cohen says, "which alerts us to the fact 'hot war' is imaginable now. It’s unlikely, but it’s conceivable — and if it’s conceivable, something has to be done about it."


Gangjeong village on Jeju Island

The starkness of the times
causing even old warriors
to fall
the suffering can be a load
even on the strongest

For many moons our people
have struggled to survive
been through hell
and back
but we are here


Many of us have fallen
victim to the hype, the pretense,
the flim-flam man,
and the desire to just
be one of the crowd

That's OK

It's just time to move on
to get serious about dealing
with our present
here and now

Feel the spiritual connection
to our relatives,
that is real,
the two-leggeds,
the four-leggeds, the things
that fly, the things that swim,
the water, the air, the earth

All our relatives

We must struggle,
crawl, dribble,
snort, swear, and swim
in order to protect
the future generations
who cry out to us
in our sleep.

Here we are now.....


An example of corporate media promotion of the military industrial complex.

They undercut the actual price of the warship which will be more than $4 billion and they celebrate its provocative mission.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014


Kiev’s military faced off with protesters in east Ukraine on Wednesday to sort out their differences…and found none. Soldiers appeared reluctant to go into battle against anti-government activists.

When Ukrainian Armored Personnel Carriers (APCs) entered downtown Kramatorsk as part of Kiev’s military operation against anti-government protesters in the east of the country, they were stopped in their tracks, surrounded by crowds of local residents.

One YouTube video of what happened next shows a woman coming to a soldier with the reproach: “You are the army, you must protect the people.

We are not going to shoot, we weren’t even going to,” is the soldier’s reply.

Similar conversations could be heard at each of several APCs which entered the city, with locals promising to defend their neighbors, in case the soldiers start a military operation.

Military vehicles parked in downtown Kramatorsk have turned into hotspots for political discussion, with people beside the vehicles trying to get their views through to people on top of the tanks.

Another video features the Kramatorsk crowds loudly chanting “Army with the people” and applauding the soldiers as they were leaving their APCs.

“Guys, we are with you! You are great!” women are heard yelling to the vacating soldiers.

Six Ukrainian military vehicles in Kramatorsk actually switched sides and began flying Russian flags on Wednesday.

Around 60 crew members of Ukrainian armored vehicles sent to Kramatorsk for carrying out the military operation against anti-government protesters, have switched sides and joined the local self-defense squads, according to RIA Novosti, citing the self-defense leadership.

We’ve seen here, that these are neither separatists nor terrorists, but ordinary local residents, with whom we are not going to go to battle,” one of the defected soldiers said.

All of the troops who decided to side with the self-defense come from the Dnepropetrovsk region, neighboring with the Donetsk one.

This YouTube video shows an encounter where some of the Ukrainian military vehicles raise Russian flags, while others raise the flags of the Donetsk People’s Republic that the supporters of federalization want to establish. The crowd reacted with loud cheers.

The soldiers and civilians started fraternizing very quickly and soon were joking about “coming for a visit without weapons next time.” Many of the soldiers put on St. George’s ribbons, the traditional Russian emblem used to commemorate the Soviet Union’s fight against Nazism in World War II.

Tuesday, when the military operation against anti-government protesters in the east was launched, was not as peaceful.

According to activists, four people were killed and two others injured when troops seized an airfield in Kramatorsk, which had earlier been controlled by protesters. 


  • It took me 12 hours to get home yesterday from Toronto.  Time has new meaning as travel becomes even more problematic.... airline corporations are cutting corners and wild weather is disrupting schedules. 

  • My hosts in Toronto were long-time activists Judy and Jim Deutsch.  Jim was a radical student at Columbia University during the 60's student occupation of the administration building.  He was there when Columbia Professor Seymour Melman (father of economic conversion) crawled through the window in an attempt to join with the students.  Apparently Melman’s self-intro was poorly received and some shouted him down.  Melman crawled back out the window. Judy is one of the leaders of Science for Peace at the University of Toronto where she teaches in addition to a full schedule of local organizing.  On Sunday night they organized a dinner party where about 15 people (including some students) sat around and talked about growing fascism and what we should do in response.  It was a stimulating discussion.  No easy answers were found... just recognition that we must do the hard work of local-regional-national-international grassroots organizing.  We all agreed that there is way too much solo-silo organizing - alot of this has to do with organizational egos, power, money, media contacts, etc.  Also was agreed that governments, political parties, and foundations fund some "progressive" groups to keep them toeing the line.  These kinds of things happen in Maine and across the nation.  In Canada some groups get government money and spout the party line on militarism. 

  • People in Toronto are worried about the possible reelection of their crazy, spoiled Mayor Rob Ford. The crack smokin, arm swinging, bad mouth rich boy wears a Maple Leafs hockey jersey to keep the working class fans in check.  In the end Ford does the work of the oligarchy by introducing austerity and making the political scene toxic that discourages public participation.  It is the same story with our right wing gutter-mouth Gov. Paul LePage here in Maine.  He won in a three-way race with 38% of the vote but is up for reelection in November.  At this moment he is behind his Democrat challenger in the polls.
  • Getting into Canada was easy this time.  Sometimes I breeze through and other times I've been pulled aside to discuss my history of non-violent civil disobedience that is logged into the computer.  But interestingly the last three times I've come back from international trips I've been pulled into another room for questioning by the US Customs & Immigration.  Yesterday on my return there was a replay of this game.  I get quizzed particularly about my recent arrest at the Hancock Airfield in Syracuse, New York that has been turned into a drone base.  (I am still waiting for my trial date.) They also bring up my "Order of Protection" (sort of ban-and-bar letter from the base) except it also says that I must:
"Refrain from assault, stalking, harassment, aggravated harassment, menacing, reckless endangerment, strangulation, criminal obstruction of breathing or circulation, disorderly conduct, criminal mischief, sexual abuse, sexual misconduct, forcible touching, intimidation, threats or any criminal offense or interference with the victim.... members of family, household...”

  • Who is the order protecting?   Col. Greg A. Semmel, the commander of the base... so US Customs & Immigration asks me if I am traveling with Mr. Semmel?  I told them I'd not know the man if I stumbled into him.  I've come to the conclusion that the purpose of these little interrogations is just to remind me that MR. BIG knows who I am and has his electronic eye on me.  

  • One older man in Toronto, a long-time activist that I've met in the past, told our Sunday night dinner party that he was depressed by the current state of politics.  He sees the writing on the wall.  I told him I get depressed as well.  Everyone does.  I think it is hardest though for white middle class folks who have tasted elements of the success mythology.  For them acknowledging the 'dream' is a manipulation comes hard.  Social control is strong in the human community.  Indigenous people, people of color and the multi-generational poor have long been singing the blues.  Time for white folks to learn the blues.