Thursday, May 26, 2011

Missile offence at sea: protest fasts in US and Korea


Coastline of Gangjeong village on Jeu Island ... imagine these rocks covered with cement

At BIW yesterday as workers left the shipyard

I was able to hand out six leaflets yesterday as the hundreds of workers walked past me and hundreds more drove past my little spot on the corner in front of Bath Iron Works (BIW).

I plan on going back again today, and every weekday, as long as I continue with this fast (now 3rd day) in support of the extraordinary people of Gangjeong village on Jeju Island.

They build the Navy Aegis destroyers at BIW that are outfitted with missile offense systems and will be deployed at the base on Jeju Island and at other bases in the Asian-Pacific thus forcing China to expand its military in response.

I am grateful to Dennis Bernstein at KPFA in Berkeley who yesterday interviewed me about this story. I was touched by the sincerity of Dennis about Professor Yang Yoon-Mo who today is on his 51st day of hunger strike. You can hear the interview here.

Global Network board member MacGregor Eddy (Salinas, California) is working non-stop to create Facebook support for Yang, fellow GN board member Sung-Hee Choi (who is now on her 7th day of hunger striking while in jail), and the seven other villagers now in detention. It appears that the Navy has picked out many of the key leadership of the non-violent resistance to the base construction and put them in the slammer. So this is where we all come in - we have to internationalize this struggle in order to pick up the slack.

Last night I had an email from one of our supporters here in Maine. He told me he had called the South Korean embassy in Washington DC and they told him he had to call Boston to lodge his complaint against the treatment of the Gangjeong villagers. So when he called Boston the person there said they knew nothing about the Jeju story. It seems to me that the South Korean embassy in Washington must be getting tired of the phone calls and are trying to divert and frustrate those who are making the call. I take this as a good sign that they are trying to deflect the growing public support.

So my response is - step up the emails and phone calls! You can write to the South Korean Defense Attaché assigned to Washington DC. at this email and demand an end of the Navy base construction, or you can call the South Korean Embassy in Washington at 202-939-5600 to show your solidarity with the Gangjeong villagers. Or call the South Korean embassy in your own country.

If you haven't yet watched the video interview with Professor Yang you must do so and help us get others to see it as well. More than 6,400 have seen it since it got posted on May 20. You can see it here.

Keep checking my blog for regular posts about the situation on Jeju Island. Your support is urgently needed and appreciated.

Bruce K. Gagnon
Global Network Against Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space
PO Box 652
Brunswick, ME 04011
(207) 443-9502 (blog)

Thank God men cannot fly, and lay waste the sky as well as the earth. ~ Henry David Thoreau

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Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Two reviews of Imperialism

Imperialism: A Study
by J. A. Hobson

Introduction by Nathaniel Mehr
by Jeremy Corbyn MP

First published in 1902, Hobson’s seminal work was among the first to make the link between political economy and the imperialist expansionism of the advanced capitalist nations at the turn of the 20th Century. A devastating moral critique of the murderous cynicism of imperialism, Hobson’s book paved the way for the influential Marxist theories of imperialism advanced by Lenin and Bukharin and others. It provides an invaluable framework for understanding militarism and war in the 21st Century.

Two reviews of this classic work are available from: Morning Star and Socialist Review

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Wapping - An Exhibition and a New Book

On 24th January, 1986, Rupert Murdoch's News International group moved production of its four national newspapers to Wapping in London's Docklands.

Over 5,000 production and clerical workers were sacked overnight. The journalists were not sacked but more than 100 - the "refuseniks" - took a stand on principle and walked out of their jobs.

Wapping 25 Years On, is an exhibition of the dramatic images and accounts of the dispute and the challenges for print and media workers. The exhibition is being held at the Marx Memorial Library, 37A Clerkenwell Green, London, EC1R 0DU, until 31 May.

The latest podcast from Radio Free Press features a tour of this exhibition. Nicholas Jones talks to a number of Wapping veterans, including the exhibition organiser, Ann Field, a former official with the print union SOGAT and a union activist on The Times, John Bailey, a chapel father for the NGA print union at the Sun, and Graham Dodkins, former library worker at The Times and co-author with John Lang of a new book, Bad News: The Wapping Dispute.

The podcast lasts 18 minutes and can be listened to via the Campaign for Press and Broadcasting Freedom website.

Bad News: The Wapping Dispute by John Lang and Graham Dodkins can be purchased direct from Spokesman Books.