The World Can't Wait
Revolution #017, October 9, 2005, posted at revcom.us
Years from now, when children want to know the character of their parents - as they lived in a country that was normalizing torture, moving to condemn half the population to enforced motherhood or back-alley dangers, attacking science and critical thought, enforcing a narrow brand of fundamentalist religion and bigotry, disenfranchising and then abandoning hundreds of thousands of Black people in an illegitimate "election" and a foreseen natural disaster, waging wars of preemption based on outrageous lies, snatching people off the street without lawyers or charges, and no major office-holder was making a stink-- they will ask, "Were you in the streets that day, on November 2, 2005?"
To the thousands we spoke to at the September 24 antiwar protests:
You met us. We listened to you. Almost all of you loved the idea of not waiting until 2006 or 2008, but the question you asked over and over again was: "How do you drive out a regime?" Here’s what we have to say:
In recent years, millions have spoken out, protested, refused to comply with outrageous new repressive measures, given money, voted, and more.
Still, the Bush juggernaut of war, repression, and hurtful fundamentalist morality has rolled ahead. All this has shown two things:
1. There are, indeed, tens of millions who are deeply disturbed by and opposed to the whole direction that the Bush administration is dragging our world into.
2. This will of the people means nothing to the Bush regime. The people’s will must be forged into an organized political resistance which repudiates and reverses the whole direction of society and where Bush himself is driven from office.
Of course, everyone wants to know exactly what steps will be taken to create a political situation where these things happen. But setting out to drive out a regime, in particular this regime, in this country has never been done before and there is no familiar script for how this will all unfold or what its final days will look like. On the other hand, we have a vision and more than a few ideas on this. And one thing for sure: You won’t drive out this regime by waiting on a move by the Democratic Party, who keep coming up with pale imitations and "yes, buts" every time this regime comes out with yet another reactionary monstrosity. It’s up to us.
The future is unwritten. Right now, we need very urgently to start writing a new chapter.
Think about this: When four young people sat in at a lunch counter in the South, they didn’t know exactly what forms of struggle the Civil Rights movement would develop or how many and who would join them. When women and doctors developed networks to provide abortions and held speak-outs to make it legal, they didn’t know exactly what court ruling or piece of legislation would codify this right. When a thousand young people stepped up the militance of the anti-Vietnam War struggle by attempting to shut down the Oakland Induction Center during "Stop the Draft" week, they did so before millions of others were prepared to take such steps.
They did these things because living one more day as things had been was intolerable. And, by doing what was right and not compromising, and having the confidence that people were ready to hear and join them, they set new terms for society, changed what was deemed possible and realistic, and galvanized many thousands more in ways they couldn’t have predicted.
Today we are facing an unprecedented situation. The challenge is bigger, the stakes are higher, and the Bush regime is relentlessly hammering their agenda into place, public opinion be damned. There is a moment to seize right now while millions are seething with anger and aching with desire to affect things. The world cannot wait. The Bush regime must be driven from power. But we must leave the comfortable ruts of familiar territory and politics-as-usual if we are to stand a chance.
Think of how many people were inspired by the uncompromising and courageous stand of Cindy Sheehan. We are in a moment when one person stepping boldly forward, pointing out that the emperor not only has no clothes, but is a lying, callous brute, can change the whole national discourse. Imagine what can happen when hundreds of thousands, on one day, refuse to bite their tongues or stay at home.
November 2, 2005 will be a launch of a new kind of movement, a society-wide resistance. It holds the potential to break open new space and possibilities for the struggle going forward.
November 2, 2005 must be a day when history starts to turn.
November 2 will be a day when those who hate and fear the future Bush is creating will pour into the streets together, out from beneath the suffocating "mandate" Bush claimed last November 2, out of the "acceptable" political framework that forces people to speak in "reasoned" tones about compromise positions in the face of utterly insane measures, out of the dynamic of fighting Bush’s outrages one at a time constantly losing ground to the whole onslaught, out of the logic of waiting…and waiting…and waiting for someone somewhere else to say what must be said and do what must be done, while each day people grow accustomed to unspeakable crimes.
On November 2, in society-wide outpourings--in large cities and small towns, emptying high schools and colleges and lining the highways in rural areas, buzzing through the media and provoking frank debates among families, friends and coworkers--we will say: NO MORE! WE REFUSE TO BE RULED IN THIS WAY! BUSH DOES NOT REPRESENT US AND WE WILL DRIVE HIM OUT! THE WORLD CAN’T WAIT!
People who come out will be clear--this outpouring is just the beginning of a new kind of movement which takes the offensive in society and really wages a pitched political battle for the whole direction of the future. The gatherings will bring together the impatience of the youth who walk out of school, with the experience of those from the ‘60s generation, with the stature and creativity of prominent artists and intellectuals, together with the anger and perspective of those who have been hardest hit by the Bush program of repression and heightened poverty and racism. The organizers will lead participants to trade phone numbers and emails, forging thousands into new communities of resistance which actually defend and take the counter-offensive around those who come under attack and who spend time reading and discussing the history of fascism and resistance movements elsewhere.
To launch our resistance onto this new trajectory, these outpourings must be powerful enough to become the top story in small towns and large cities on the news that night. In this way, this day will give heart and inspiration to millions of others who are looking for a way to stop this direction and will bring them into an organized resistance--perhaps more quickly than we can now even imagine. It will put a challenge to many who still support Bush, causing them to question and, for some, begin to break with a program that is not in their interests. And, it will give notice to the regime and its die-hard supporters that they will not have a free hand in reshaping the world, leaving them further exposed in the eyes of millions.
This day alone will not stop the regime, but it will introduce a whole new dynamic that can enable millions to make a big leap towards a movement that can. Finally, the relentlessness of this regime will be matched, but our relentlessness will be in the pursuit of justice as people will continue to press, uncompromisingly, for what the whole world wants and needs--the ouster of this regime. November 2 will embolden individuals and groups everywhere to speak up, to defend others who come under attack, to challenge the Bushian mentality and program everywhere it pops up--from the local school boards pushing "Intelligent Design" and Abstinence Only, to the unjust war and continuing torture, to the pulpits promoting hurtful intolerance of gays and non-Christians--all as part of an escalating coherent movement to drive this regime from power.
November 2 is a day for which thousands must immediately throw in all their energies and time, creativity and critical thought, connections, skills and finances to pull off on a scale that accomplishes this important beginning.
From here, further organization and planning will be required, but all of it will be in a new context and with new strength. As organizers of the World Can’t Wait--Drive Out the Bush Regime, we pledge to take responsibility for leading and broadening the core of those leading this all the way through. We will hold a national summit to chart our next steps, bringing to bear all the strength and momentum and lessons we have gathered and surge ahead on a higher level which impacts the terrain again nationally and internationally.
Years from now, when children want to know the character of their parents--as they lived in a country that was normalizing torture, moving to condemn half the population to enforced motherhood or back-alley dangers, attacking science and critical thought, enforcing a narrow brand of fundamentalist religion and bigotry, disenfranchising and then abandoning hundreds of thousands of Black people in an illegitimate "election" and a foreseen natural disaster, waging wars of preemption based on outrageous lies, snatching immigrants and others off the street without lawyers or charges, and no major office-holder was making a stink-- they will ask, "Were you in the streets that day, on November 2, 2005?"