The Way Forward in Resisting and Stopping the Crimes of the Government

The following is the speech given by Jill McLaughlin, national Steering Committee member, at the opening session of World Can't Wait's conference in Chicago; November 22 2008.
 
We meet at a time where there is much euphoria and hope among the people of this country after eight long years of the Bush Regime and its crimes. America has elected its first Black President. This is something that many people never thought possible. And this is significant and it would be wrong to try to say otherwise or disregard it. Many people in this country from all sections of society became politicized around this campaign in a way they never had before.
This politicization of the people around this election was overwhelming. And in fact it is a good thing for it represents that the majority of this country who have so hated what the Bush Regime has stood for wanted to bring it to an end. They came forward in record numbers to vote for the "hope and change" that Obama represents to them and which they sincerely believe is a departure from the horror that the Bush regime unleashed on the world. 
 
In 2005 when World Can't Wait formed and was launched on the basis that there was an agenda of the Bush Regime to remake society in a fascist way that threatened not only the future of this country but the world as a whole. With an illegitimate war waged in Afghanistan in 2001 and in Iraq in 2003 that had support from both the Republican and Democratic parties, the erosion of the wall that separates church and state, the knowledge that people were being detained and tortured in the name of the "war on terror", another stolen election in 2004, and a lack of any real opposition from the Democratic Party to both the domestic and foreign policies of the Bush Regime, it was clear that something more was needed than politics as usual to challenge and reverse the fascist trajectory.
 
The Call of World Can't Wait was written to both highlight the fascist trajectory of the Bush Regime and its program and call on people of conscience to act in their millions outside politics as usual to halt it. In building a mass movement of millions it was hoped that a political situation could be created in which Bush himself was driven from office. Seven points known among World Can't Wait members and activists as the "your governments" emphasized the fascist direction that was being laid out by the Bush Regime. The Call also pointed to the fact that many looking at the direction taken by Bush were reminded of Hitler and his rise to power of Nazi Germany.
 
The last 18 months which are the longest election cycle this country has ever seen. We witnessed a transformation from the despair and longing of the people to one of anticipation and hope. Even in this atmosphere World Can't Wait is still there. We went out to the people with the message that there must be a mass movement acting outside official politics to stop and reverse the Bush program. Many were drawn to this election but for the moment were going to pin their hopes on the election. There were others angry with World Can't Wait for not endorsing Obama. And then there were also others who felt strongly that nothing short of a mass movement acting independently of politics as usual would end the wars and torture.
 
In the few weeks since this election we have seen those of the gay and lesbian communities around the country mobilize to give expression to their anger over Proposition 8 which banned gay marriage. To many this was a move on the part of the powerful right wing to create laws that would deny a section of people their human rights. We have seen a tremendous outpouring from LGBT communities across the country showing their opposition and resistance to this assault on their rights as human beings. They are not willing to wait and see- They are acting and they are not going to stop anytime soon.
 
On the other hand many of these same gays and lesbians who mobilized around the country voted for Obama despite his having said he doesn't support gay marriage because of his religious belief that marriage is between a man and a woman. Now they are mobilized in ways not seen since the days of since ACT-UP, AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power. So here we have an interesting contradiction. On the one hand gays and lesbians are excited and hopeful about Obama and a possibility of change and on the other hand we have this mass and visual outpouring of anger with the demand that people's rights be respected and recognized. In a way all of this serves as a good example of why we are all here this weekend.
 
We"ve come together to dig into some real questions. Will Obama listen to the people and grant them what they want? Or is it still the people's responsibility to mobilize and act independently of official politics to bring an end to the wars, the torture, and theocracy? Or is it both? We are here to look at what role, if any, World Can't Wait should play in this time of opportunity and possibility.
 

We need honestly look at what role World Can't Wait has played in attempting to stop and reverse the direction this government has taken the world. We need to explore whether there is still a necessity and urgency for something like World Can't Wait.