Debra Sweet: World Can't Wait On the Move

Revolution #019, October 23, 2005, posted at

Revolution talked with Debra Sweet, National Coordinator of World Can’t Wait--Drive Out the Bush Regime, about building for November 2, National Day of Resistance.

Revolution: We’ve been hearing of significant new developments in building for Nov. 2, such as important new signatories to the Call, ads on the Air America radio network, and an encampment at the White House. Tell us what’s going on..

Debra Sweet: Since July we’ve distributed three and a half million copies of our Call hand-to-hand. Recently important cultural figures and people of social conscience have been signing on, including Cornel West, Michael Eric Dyson, Studs Terkel, Tom Morello, and Howard Zinn. Two members of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors have signed.

Things are really connecting. On October 14 we began an encampment in front of the White House that is going to continue till November 2, to represent the fact that a movement to drive out the Bush regime is being launched on November 2. Every day at noon, the encampment will deliver a counter-press briefing on the news coming out of the White House, turning all the outrages coming from Bush into more and more reasons to drive out the regime. We think it would be very good for people to join the encampment. We’re calling for different days--for instance, people from various religious communities are coming for No Theocracy Day, Tuesday the 18th and Wednesday the 19th. We had a No Genocide Day at the Millions More march, exposing Bush’s crimes around Katrina. We want to have a No Forced Motherhood Day, calling on people from the pro-choice movement. Information on the days will be on our web site as they develop.

R: Travis Morales was on a Chicago Spanish station, linking Nov. 2 with protests against the Minutemen vigilantes. And on, people can get audio files of an interview by Air America’s Mike Malloy with Sunsara Taylor talking about the urgency of driving out the Bush regime, starting November 2nd. You’re also running ads on the Air America radio network. What kind of response are you getting?.

DS: We’ve tapped into something in the Air America audience of about 5 million. After running ads on Air America nationally for only two days, we increased traffic on our web site about 800 percent, got many more people to sign the Call, and raised a significant amount of money. We’ve expanded the number of cities where events are going to take place on November 2. We’ve heard from sections of the country where we would not have reached without the ads. For instance, there’s a whole group of people in south Florida who are now organizing around Fort Lauderdale for November 2. This is Broward county, where in 2000 people actually saw an election stolen from under them.

We’re running new Air America ads, available on our web site as MP3s, featuring playwright Jessica Blank ("The Exonerated"), performance poet Koba of Kontrast, Boots Riley from The Coup, and Palestinian poet Suheir Hammad. We want people to rip them and get them on college and community radio stations.

We want to advertise on Comedy Central’s John Stewart show and the Dave Chappell show. It’s going to take hundreds of thousands of dollars. This would be a huge leap for us--you’re talking about tens of millions of people who watch those shows. We have a huge potential, but we’re also far behind where we need to be. This effort to drive out the Bush regime needs to manifest in hundreds of cities 19 days from now. This is only going to happen if thousands and then millions of people decide to take responsibility for driving this regime out. It’s possible to do that, but it’s going to be a fight all the way to the end.

R: Our newspaper is reporting that the Oakland teachers union is going to back up students and teachers who protest on November 2nd. What else is happening with mobilizing youth and students? .

DS: We’re getting emails from high school students all over the country, from most states at this point. In New York youth organizers have dressed up in hideously bright orange jumpsuits and hoods similar to what the detained prisoners in Guantanamo have to wear. These youth are challenging people: every day you don’t protest and mobilize to stop the legal sanctioning of torture, you’re going along with it. There’s significant activity going on in campuses all over the country, including at elite universities.

Somebody called us today from Madison saying they had met a student activist on the campus. This woman, an older social worker, was calling to order WCW stickers so that student activists would have stickers to plaster all over the campus. She had gone to DC for the Sept. 24 antiwar demonstration and lobbying. She said that on the bus ride back home, people were saying, "We’ve gone to Washington, we’ve lobbied, we’ve told this government that the war must be stopped, and now what?" And she said, "Then I ran into these activists yesterday who were telling me that they have a plan, and they told me about November 2. And I want to do what I can to support them, because I think this is the answer to what we were talking about on the bus--what to do next?" These are the types of people we’re hearing from and connecting to.