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By Bruce K. Gagnon
Bruce’s book is part autobiography, but it is made up largely of articles and reports and diary entries and even a play that he wrote during the past 20-some years. These thoughts of an activist and an organizer, as he was thinking them, presented here in chronological order tell a wonderful personal story, but also a story of where the US and world have gone. In early descriptions of campaigns we see Gagnon and his allies able to make use of “mainstream” media outlets. Fourteen years ago he already had a crystal clear grasp on how Washington, D.C., corrupted movements, and he was proposing that all social justice movements get out of that town and engage in grassroots organizing and educating. But he made no mention of investing in communications media. In contrast, five years ago, Bruce was writing about two strategies:
“work hard to reach people by speaking to them directly; and utilize mass communications where possible. When mainstream media is not available to us, create our own and promote it widely.”
Bruce Gagnon got his training as an organizer working for the United Farm Workers Union in Florida after having grown up Republican, joined the military, and then been reached and persuaded by the peace movement. Gagnon later came to the decision that organizing the poor to demand basic needs was the uphill struggle it was, at least in part, because those with power were directing too many of our resources into wars and militarization. He became a leader of the peace movement in Florida and for 15 years he coordinated the Florida Coalition for Peace & Justice. He has worked on space issues now for the past 30 years and helped create the Global Network Against Weapons and Nuclear Power in Space in 1992. He is also a member of Veterans for Peace Gagnon and is now, among other things, the coordinator of the Global Network Against Weapons and Nuclear Power in Space.