Veteran, Organizer: b. 1952
When Bruce Gagnon was vice president of the Okaloosa County (Florida) Young Republican Club, he volunteered in Richard Nixon’s 1968 presidential campaign. Today, as co-founder and coordinator of the Global Network Against Weapons and Nuclear Power in Space, he fights the reach of corporate greed into space, which pits him against most Washington officials.
Getting his start as a state coordinator of the Florida Coalition for Peace and Justice, Gagnon has worked on space issues for more than 20 years. Valuable resources on the moon and planets form the next battleground for corporate profit, he says, and “defense” programs such as “Star Wars” actually are conceived as offense. “The U.S. intends to control…and dominate space and deny other countries access,” says Gagnon, adding that the nuclear threat used to seize this control threatens everyone on Earth and diverts funding from the common good.
Gagnon speaks internationally on this high stakes topic and has written for publications such as Earth Island Journal, CounterPunch, Z Magazine, Space News, National Catholic Reporter, Asia Times, Le Monde Diplomatique, and Canadian Dimension. He has produced two videos, Arsenal of Hypocrisy (2003) and Battle for America’s Soul (2005) and he published a book, Come Together Right Now: Organizing Stories from a Fading Empire (2005). He is host of “This Issue”, a cable TV program that airs in five communities in Maine, his home state. In 2003, Dr. Helen Caldicott named Gagnon a senior fellow at the Nuclear Policy Research Institute, where he also serves on her advisory board.
Gagnon’s work does not yet draw the attention it warrants. Television’s “60 Minutes” tuned in to his Cancel Cassini Campaign against the 1997 launch of plutonium into space. But Project Censored (based at Sonoma State University in California) found articles by Gagnon to be among the most censored stories of 1999 and 2005.
Remembering that his own shift in consciousness began with a handful of Vietnam War protestors who stood outside an Air Force base in California where he was stationed, Bruce Gagnon perseveres—and finds new ways to enlist others’ concern.