Hunger Strike Against Weapons-Maker Tax Giveaway
Above: Press conference and protest held in the hallway of the Maine state capitol on March 15, 2017.
On Resistance Report, we interview Bruce Gagnon, who was on his 33rd day of a hunger strike against a massive tax give-way to one of the largest military contractors in the country. General Dynamics, which owns Bath Iron Works in Maine, is seeking massive corporate welfare from the state even though the company is highly profitable. The tax give-away was initially $60 million over 20 years, but it has been reduced to $45 million over 15 years. Gagnon and his allies in Maine are seeking for it to be reduced to zero.
The company is highly profitable as the fourth largest military contractor in the United States. Since 2013, the year current CEO Phebe Novakovic, a former CIA agent, became head of the company, General Dynamics has spent nearly $11-billion on stock buybacks. Her salary is tied to the value of the stock, and stock buybacks increase the stock value of the company. This also results in bonuses to executives and profits for investors. During this time, the company has held back salaries and benefits of employees, resulting in the largest union at Bath Iron Works refusing to endorse the tax give-away.
Gagnon is the coordinator for the Global Network Against Weapons and Nuclear Power in Space and a member of Veterans for Peace. He is on a hunger strike to protest Maine bill, LD1781, that would authorize the massive tax break. He grew up in a military family and became a peace activist after he served in the US Air Force during the Vietnam War. Gagnon is a long time opponent of the Bath Iron Works facility, which makes destroyers for the US military. He calls for conversion of the site to meet the needs of a clean energy economy, including mass transit in Maine and throughout the country.
During the hunger strike Gagnon and eight others had criminal charges dismissed against them for a protest held at Bath Iron Works. One of the points made by the judge who that the local police had been outsourced and become employees for the corporation. Gagnon claims that not only have police been outsourced but so have the Times-Record, the local newspaper, and the Maine legislature. Alex Nunes, a reporter, was skeptical of Gagnon’s claims, but after investigating them, he wrote a column entitled Bruce Gagnon Is Right; Maine Has Been ‘Outsourced’ to Bath Iron Works.
The Maine media has not covered the hunger strike, so please share this article and video widely so people in Maine will become aware of it. If you live in Maine, support Gagnon by calling your elected representatives. If you don’t live in Maine make a donation to their efforts.
Gagnon’s writing can be read at Organizing Notes.
Hunger Strike Blog:
Feb 07: Video Stop Corporate Welfare at Bath Iron Works
Feb 12: Hunger Strike Day 1 (Blog)
Feb 12: Day 1 Update (Blog)
Feb 13: Day 2 Update (Blog)
Feb 14: Day 3 Update BIW w/ members of the Band (Blog)
Feb 14: Day 3 Video Hunger Strike
Feb 15: Day 4 Good Reception at ShipYard (Blog)
Feb 16: Day 5 Words from some BIW Workers (Blog)
Feb 17: Day 6: Maine Can’t Afford $30 Million Either! (Blog)
Feb 18: Day 7: Video: Hunger Strike Update
Feb 19: Day 8: Democrats Afraid Won’t Be Reelected If Reject GD Welfare Bill
Feb 20: Day 9: Emotion and Reaction from BIW Today (Blog)
Feb 21: Day 10: Solidarity Hunger Strikers in Maine (Blog)
Feb 22: Day 11: GD Corporate Welfare Bill Tabled Again in Augusta (Blog)
Feb 23: Day 12: More letters in Maine papers and Solidarity from Jeju Island
Feb 24: Day 13: A Holy Day in Bath (Blog)
Feb 25: Day 14: This Issue latest guest (Blog and Video)
Feb 26: Day 15: Zumwalt to be nuclear equipped? (Blog)
Feb 27: Day 16: GD bill tabled again in Augusta (Blog)
Feb 28: Day 17: Local paper rejects my scheduled Op-Ed (Blog)
Mar 01: Day 18: Outsourced… Maine is a corporate colony (Blog)
Mar 02: Day 19: How things really are in Augusta – it’s “the lobby” (Blog)
Mar 03: Day 20: BIW Lenten vigil and good media (Blog)
Mar 04: Day 21: Professor Delogu on giving BIW/GD $60 million (Blog) -Video: Day 21 Bruce Gagnon’s Hunger Strike
Mar 05: Day 22: Messages from friends about corporate welfare for GD (Blog)
Mar 06: Day 23: Shut out of Taxation Committee meeting in Augusta (Blog)- Video: Taxpayer Giveaway for Weapons of Mass Destruction
Mar 07: Day 24: My rejected Op-Ed makes it into even bigger paper (Blog)
Mar 08: Day 25: The weather in Maine… (Blog)
Mar 09: Day 26: Maine has been ‘Outsourced’ to Bath Iron Works (Blog)
Mar 10: Day 27: Democracy Drowned by the Corporate Agenda (Blog)
Mar 11: Day 28: Where is the outrage from the ‘progressives’ on GD corporate welfare? (Blog)
Mar 12: Day 29: Maine Taxation Committee trims GD/BIW corporate welfare request by 25% (Blog)
Mar 13: Day 30: Solidarity Forever… (Blog)
Mar 14: Day 31: Heading back to Augusta in the morning… (Blog)
Mar 15: Day 32: Holding vigil against this ‘bad bill’ inside the capital