Peace Action Maine's Mission:
We are a voice of education and a center for people committed to disarmament and creative responses to conflict.

Peace Action Maine's Mission:
We are a voice of education and a center for people committed to disarmament and creative responses to conflict.

I recently returned from a nearly month-long trip to South Korea where I, and two others from Veterans For Peace, visited several farming villages that have been devastated by the expansion of bases for US military operations in the region.

Visiting  BIW

While gone I missed the West Bath Court arraignment for the Zumwalt 12 arrestees. We were arrested at BIW during the June 18 ‘christening’ of the second Zumwalt stealth destroyer. Bar Harbor lawyer Lynne Williams represented me in court on Aug. 2. Our group of peace protesters pled not guilty to the charges filed against us for blocking the road and gate in front of BIW. We are scheduled to return to court in September and November before jury selection and trial is scheduled in December.

While in South Korea our delegation visited two 500-year-old fishing communities that have been torn apart to build an Air Force base and a Navy base. The bases have caused tremendous suffering for villagers who have fed their families and lived in harmony with nature there for so long. But the Obama-Hillary Clinton ‘pivot’ of 60 percent of Pentagon forces into the Asia-Pacific region necessitates more ports-of-call, airfields, and barracks for the US imperial operation now aimed at China. When America demands they be moved out of the way, these villagers become expendable.

We spent six days walking around Jeju Island in the intense early-August heat. There a Navy base has been built that will port the Aegis and Zumwalt destroyers built at BIW. More than 600 people from throughout South Korea came to the island to support the Gangjeong villagers who have been fighting unsuccessfully for the last eight years to stop the base.

Two teams of 300 each headed east and west around Jeju Island taking six days to complete the 5th annual Grand March for Life and Peace. It’s no coincidence that five out of the 12 of us arrested at BIW on June 18 have been to Jeju Island over the years to stand with the people as they opposed the base construction. The villagers suffer from depression as they watch their way of life dying. The 2,000- person village is currently being besieged by more than 5,000 Korean and American naval personnel.

I also spent considerable time in Seoul attending various protests against the announced deployment of the US THAAD (Theater High Altitude Area Defense) ‘missile defense’ system. The Pentagon plans to stick it on the mainland in the farming village of Seongju (population 10,000). The right-wing South Korean government, following orders from Washington, likely chose this village because it had backed the conservative government by a margin of 85 percent in the last national election. But that has now changed. Just before I arrived in South Korea the residents of Seongju held a mock funeral where they announced that they had, en masse, resigned from the ruling party. Then, just before I left Korea, 900 of these same residents took the sacred step of sitting together and shaving their heads. In Korea this is a big deal. It indicates the commitment to fight to the death, and in this case many women also joined the hair shaving, which is rare.

I know it’s really difficult for many Americans to understand all of this because we think of ourselves as the ‘exceptional nation’ bringing peace and democracy to the rest of the world. The warships built at BIW are seen by most Mainers as symbols of American freedom, but these days people in places like South Korea, Okinawa, Japan, Philippines and Guam only see suffering when the US military arrives in their communities.

From Oct. 11-26 there will be another peace walk through Maine similar to the ones we have organized over the past five years. This walk will be called ‘Stop the War$ on Mother Earth’ and will draw links between our endless wars for oil and the ravaging of our planet by the fossil fuel industry.


We’ve just had the hottest summer in recorded human history and you’d think the nation would go on a massive campaign to reorder our society to solar, wind, tidal power and mass transit production instead of picking a fight with China and Russia. It would make more sense to convert BIW from war making to peaceful pursuits and help give future generations a fair chance at survival. Unfortunately, while we crash and burn, the American people seem distracted by the ongoing circus sideshow on corporate TV.

For the sake of our children and world peace we’ll keep protesting the building of war ships at BIW.

Bruce K. Gagnon is a member of PeaceWorks and lives in Bath


Upcoming or Recent Events:


Successful Spring Gathering with Colonel Lawrence Wilkerson

Thank you for a very successful Spring Renewal Gathering Saturday, May 4 at The Woodfords Club! You can review Colonel Wilkerson's talk and call to action recorded by the Portland Media Center. as well as Channel 13's coverage.Member Pat Taub interviewed Colonel Wilkerson at the Portland Media Center Studio and that link…
GDAMS2019 web

T-axe-ation! Do federal priorities cut it?

Tax Day event. In solidarity with GDAMS once again, Peace Action Maine's Devon Grayson-Wallace(center) talked Taxes. Did you know the Pentagon eats up over 60% of all Federal discretionary spending? On top of that, the U.S. spends far more on its military than any other country in the world. Budget Control Act caps (aka…

Nuclear Ban Treaty- an update from NuclearBan.US

Update on Nuclear Ban Treaty at USM DurhamLydia Wood is the Campaigner Coordinator for NuclearBan.US and Education Coordinator for the Treaty Awareness Campaign. She is a PhD Candidate in Geography at San Diego State University and University of California, Santa Barbara. Lydia has organizing experience on a range of…
DSC00753 layersPortlandKoreaPeaceNow Web

Vigil in Advance of Second Trump-Kim Summit, Mainers!

Days before President Trump again joins Kim Jong-Un for a summit, this time in Vietnam, we held a Vigil for Peace at Monument Square in Portland at 12 Noon on Monday* February 25 #KoreaPeaceNow! . We called it a"Pre-Summit Candlelight Vigil" in homage to the Candlelight Revolution of South Korea. #PeaceForClimate This "is…
yemen event

Update and next steps in Yemen

Yemen is a humanitarian disaster. Peace Action Maine remains focused on what Maine's Congressional Delegation can do to end this crisis. In the Senate: After discussion and several votes, the Senate voted 64-41 to pass S.J. Res 54, Here is the statement from Peace Action. This is the roll call. Today Peace Action Maine…

Medea Benjamin at Peace Action Maine's Annual Meeting

Highlights, Updates and a November Request for Warm Winter Apparel PAM's Annual Meeting was held on Oct 27. It was a successful and a memorable event. Keynote speaker Medea Benjamin spoke about the travesty of Saudi Arabia’s war in Yemen, the resulting humanitarian crisis, how the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi has…
Hyun Lee, panelist “Current State of Affairs”, June 11, 2018, Korea Peace Network Advocacy Days, Washington, DC

Armistice to Peace Treaty: The Path to Peace on the Korean Peninsula

Sunday Oct. 14 at 2:00 PMCurtis Memorial Library in Brunswick.Free and Open to the public. A talk by Hyun LeeHyun Lee is a New York City-based writer and activist.She is a member of the Solidarity Committee for Democracy and Peace in Korea. She is also a Korea Policy Institute fellow and a member of Nodutdol for Korean…

Sister Megan Rice, guest speaker

Sunday, July 29, 2018 6:00 PM 7:00 PM The Woodfords Club 179 Woodford Street Portland, ME, 04103 United States The new documentary “The Nuns, The Priests, and The Bombs” by Helen Young will be viewed in portions, followed by guest Sister Megan Rice- one of the anti-nuclear weapons activists who appears in the documentary.…
Imagine A World Without Nuclear Weapons

Film Series: Imagine A World Without Nuclear Weapons

Friday, July 13, 2018 6:00 PM Friday, July 27, 2018 8:00 PM Curtis Memorial Library 23 Pleasant Street Brunswick, ME, 04011 United States (map) Google Calendar ICS "#PeaceFair Prelude" Film series on July's final Fridays.July 13 6:30 Curtis Memorial Library Brunswick "Dr. Strangelove"July 20 6:30 Curtis Memorial Library…