Can the World Wait?

By Kevin Gosztola
 "America has believed that in differentiation, not in uniformity, lies the path of progress; it has advanced human happiness, and it has prospered." -Louis D. Brandeis Success at the World Can't Wait (WCW) National Meeting this weekend rested upon whether those participating would be able to deliberate and synthesize ideas so that an agenda of goals and objectives could be formulated in the not-so-distant future. It depended on whether this deliberation and synthesis of ideas could be productive or not. When considering this, the WCW National Meeting was very productive especially since it features voices on the "left" that range from Revolutionary Communist to those willing to enter the voting booth on Election Day.

Such diversity could be a barrier to conversation. But unlike the U.S. Congress, which likes to put on a dog and pony show for Americans that features so-called right wingers squaring off with so-called liberals, the WCW is a group deeply invested and deeply confident in the necessity for WCW to produce real change in this country.

Primarily, the National Meeting centered on large group discussions and small intimate conversations among breakout groups. The goal for the discussions and conversations were to have impact and come up with ideas for a way forward under an Obama Administration.

Unlike years ago when the group was born, the group members did not have to worry about not being able to effectively express what they wanted to do or did not have to worry about not being able to discuss issues this nation currently faces with a certain amount of depth necessary for formulating plans to combat such issues.

The National Meeting honed in on three key questions, questions that every American should ask if they feel that they have a vested interest in seeing real change occur not just in America but in the world. These questions were: what will change, and how, under an Obama presidency, what has changed in the political terrain among the people, and what is the role for mass, independent action now.

Some suggested an Obama Administration will look different. The tone and style of the administration won't be the same as the Bush Regime.

Virtually everyone pointed out that Obama will make the closing of Guantanamo possible but emphasized that preventive detention would not end, renditions would continue, torture (or "enhanced interrogation techniques") would probably still be used, and Obama might do something we thought only Bush would do---He might setup a court outside the U.S. court system that would be used to try detainees.

Many focused on the fact that troops will be shifted from Iraq to Afghanistan and Obama will convince Americans to support "the good war" in Afghanistan.

As for domestic policy, few were willing to suggest that the fascist re-making of society would come to an end or that America's moves toward a theocracy would end now that Obama was elected.

To me, I thought it difficult to think about what would change. I felt it would be better to ask what will not change. And if we know certain things aren't going to change, than figure out what we have to do to change these things.

I thought that what will change largely depends on whether Obama supporters remain turned on politics now that Obama has politicized them and whether these supporters are willing to act outside the confines of the political system or not.

Change also depends on whether Obama supporters and Americans keep their expectations of an Obama presidency raised and whether Obama supporters will call into question these thoughts of bipartisanship, unity, and governing from the middle, which form a trifecta of bullshit that will seriously prevent Americans from getting the change America needs.

There was for the most part universal agreement that what is different in the political terrain is now people seem to think those in the halls of power are more inclined to listen to them, and people believe Obama will listen to them more than Bush did.
Obama supporters and Americans now think change is possible and are more open to the idea of politically organizing than they were years ago under Bush. Under Bush, these people would have questioned the idea that organizing would affect or effect change.

This politicization is good and as members of a group dedicated to independent action these people must be brought into the fold before Obama wills amnesia on them all by asking them to move forward and forget the crimes of the past years. They must be integrated into a movement for real change before Obama get people to think like those that rule America.

The role of independent action will be to provide a clearly defined way forward for Americans. It will be to build a movement that energy can be invested in and which will produce results Americans desire, which will produce results the world needs, and which will produce results that cannot be guaranteed if people just sit back and expect Obama to give them health care and jobs.

So, what are the actions of World Can't Wait going to look like?

WCW plans to hold Inauguration Day and March 2009 antiwar protests. They plan to complete a "We Are Not Your Soldiers" Tour (which will feature veterans and students visiting students in high schools to explain why they must resist military recruiters). They plan to continue the fight against torture, John Yoo, and war crimes (and this fight will include calling for prosecutions of members of the Bush Regime). And finally, they plan to stand with others and fight against Prop 8, attacks on abortion and evolution, and the fascist re-making of society.

WCW will track those who tortured and committed war crimes and as members of the Bush Administration like Condoleezza Rice and Donald Rumsfeld become employed by universities, the World Can't Wait will organize a resistance to universities" decision to employ those who should be indicted and put in jail.

Much is still unclear, however.

What will the Call be for this new version of WCW that plans to hold people to their principles as people "hold Obama's feet to the fire"?

How will the WCW handle those who wish to lobby Obama? And how will they cooperate or work with groups like the ACLU and Amnesty International that have close Guantanamo campaigns underway which are at the forefront of the movement to stop torture?

What will be done about the vilification of the "left"? Many are suggesting that Obama does not owe the "left" anything and while the "left" will try to tug Obama to the "left", he must not budge because we are a "center-right nation."

How will WCW oppose suppression of the "left"? Will there be actions to restore the reputations of people like Rev. Wright and William Ayers who were wrongfully vilified?

How will WCW grapple with the fact that Muslims were removed from the audience at Obama rallies because they mucked up Obama's backdrop or how will WCW handle the fact that Americans expect to affect or effect change through Internet organizing yet when 25,000 joined a group to oppose Obama's support for the FISA compromise bill in July, they were ignored and disregarded?

How will WCW use the economic turmoil in this country to expose contradictions and increase opposition to the "war on terror"?

What will the name be? Will it be simply the World Can't Wait? Or will it be a name with a verb and a noun attached?
WCW doesn't know and it won't be able to fully articulate answers to these questions until after Obama's inauguration.

Right now, the ideas, the goals and objectives from the meeting, will be put into a "hopper" and the best of the best will come out and become what the World Can't Wait is all about for the first year or two under an Obama Administration.

The "We Are Not Your Soldiers" tour will be making stops all over the nation during December and January. If you have schools in your area who you think should hear a message of resistance, do send a message to myself or send a message to World Can't Wait through the website.

WCW will continue to ask, "Can the world wait?" from now until Inauguration Day.

So to you, the reader who is possibly an American and no matter what a citizen of the world--- Can the world wait?

One of our competitors seems to think we can. And WCW will have to neutralize this organization before it moves forward.
For the sake of this country, I hope it finds a way to diminish the impact of this group (or its lack thereof) on business as usual in America.

The future is unwritten. Which one we get is up to us.

Kevin Gosztola goes to Columbia College in Chicago where he is studying film. He hopes to become a documentary filmmaker. He is currently working as a production assistant on a documentary called "Seriously Green" which traces the development of the Green Party throughout the 2008 election.


World Can't Wait mobilizes people living in the United States to stand up and stop war on the world, repression and torture carried out by the US government. We take action, regardless of which political party holds power, to expose the crimes of our government, from war crimes to systematic mass incarceration, and to put humanity and the planet first.