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Needed: Political Protest that Breaks out of “Business as Usual”

 By Debra Sweet 

 Last Saturday, a portion of the World Can't Wait Steering Committee met with activists from New York City, Philadelphia, the Bay Area, Seattle, and Denver to formulate plans for the next several months. 
 
In the process, we looked at the direction being taken by the Obama administration, and what we've learned from the last six months of being out among people protesting the crimes of our government, speaking in classes, tabling, and through the survey hundreds of you took.  Here are some of the things we covered:
  • Barack Obama's presidency came about and rides on pent-up disgust with the Bush regime, and huge hope for change.  Now the Democrats control Congress....and there is no real change.  Instead, the war in Afghanistan is expanded, the war in Iraq is shifting, but not ending. The Obama administration is continuing Bush's "state secrets" argument to prevent lawsuits exposing rendition, is proposing preventive detention for anyone the president deems a future threat, and people here and around the world are paying a terrible price for the 'bailout' of US empire.
  • Going to the youth is tremendously important, as high school youth know only the horrors of the Bush years, and  vague promises that Obama will make things better.  The need to know the crimes being committed in the US military occupations, and and that they can play a crucial role in stopping those crimes by building a movement of resistance to stop military recruiters in the high schools.
  • People in the antiwar movement want unity, and most of all, want to see more people resisting.  Yet the movement has mostly collapsed under leadership seeking to influence the Democratic Party to do what they will not do.  World Can't Wait is committed to telling the truth, and uniting with everyone against the war, but we will not put our hopes and energies into "leaders" who tell us to seek common ground with fascists and religious fanatics, or with commanders pursuing US empire.  And we will debate with and criticize those antiwar leaders who do.
  • Visible resistance necessary to reach & activate those who already know this direction of war, continued torture, spying and projection of US empire is wrong, and to reach the millions who are questioning and uneasy with the lack of change.  We need political protest that breaks out of "business as usual."
I will be sending more on what we're learning and thinking.  Here are the basic plans for 2 weeks of actions against the occupations of Iraq & Afghanistan, the drone attacks on Pakistan, and threats to Iran:
 
Monday October 5, in Washington DC.  Protest at the White House against Obama's Wars, on the anniversary of the US attack on Afghanistan, in coalition with National Campaign for Nonviolent Resistance (NCNR) and  Witness Against Torture, Activist Response Team & Veterans for Peace.  We will march from McPherson Square to the White House, and the action will include non violent civil resistance.

Tuesday October 6. We Are Not Your Soldiers!  A day of resisting recruitment in high schools, nationwide. In high schools, this means everything from wearing a button or orange armband, to holding film showings & talks, to bringing in anti-war veterans of Iraq & Afghanistan, to sitting in or walking out to protest at recruiting stations.  In support of these actions, we urge people to hold war protests on October 6 at recruiting stations, or city centers.
 
Saturday, Sunday October 10/11: Equality March in Washington DC.  World Can't Wait will be present to support the just demand for marriage equality for gay & lesbian partners and for the repeal of the "Defense of Marriage Act."  We are not against the repeal of the discriminatory "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy, but we plan to challenge anyone to say why people should go into the military now, when they will contribute to the illegal, unjust, illegitimate, immoral war, and occupations.
 
Saturday, October 17: Local Protests to End the Iraq & Afghanistan Wars and Occupations
 
A majority of people taking the survey said they are ready to organize for October, or want more information.  The basic plans are coming together, and we're asking YOU to develop the details as we go forward.

Debra Sweet, Director, The World Can't Wait

 

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