Revolution #67, October 29, 2006
Voices from October 5 Protests to Drive Out the Bush Regime
The following are excerpts from speeches given at, and messages sent to, World Can’t Wait protests in different cities on October 5, 2006. Revolution newspaper gathered these from audio files and transcripts available on the World Can't Wait website. For extensive reports about the Oct. 5 protests and information about the World Can't Wait movement, go to www.worldcantwait.org
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Statement from World Can’t Wait—Drive Out the Bush Regime (read at rallies across the country)
This is indeed a defining moment. It is not too late to stop this fascist trajectory. But if it goes unopposed by the people of this country, it could be too late. The darkness of this regime descending on the country and the world will succeed in silencing dissent, critical thought, science, the ideals of equality and even the way people think of basic human decency.
Millions of people deeply disturbed by this have been looking for a vehicle to express their outrage. Today in more than 200 cities—90 of them in 26 states that went for Bush in 2004—people are finding their courage in this vehicle. We are punching a hole in the political atmosphere of silence and fear that has people going along with a fascist program. And we are opening the way for the kind of resistance we need to stop and reverse the direction this government is taking this society and the world.
Acting in this way, we join with and give support and heart to people all over the globe who so urgently need and want this regime to be stopped. We have to look at ourselves through their eyes—how is the rest of the world seeing us. We have to reckon with how the people of the Middle East, whose countries have been turned to rubble, are seeing us. To be silent when your country is waging endless war, legalizing torture, and taking step after step towards consolidating a police state to “make us safe” is just not conscionable. But when we are out here as we are today, we are demonstrating to the world that there is a difference between the people and the government of George Bush.
Having taken this historic step, we must promise to take this forward to make resistance to all this a reality, now. We must go forward—transforming the anguish, outrage and frustration millions of us feel into truly effective, positive and massive political mobilization. We must stay on the offensive with our opposition to the WHOLE direction of things, and to this regime—including through the immediate period before and after the mid-term elections.
We must not stop, we must go forward. No matter who is elected, we ourselves, the people, by our OWN active initiative, have to now set entirely different political terms than the ones presently accepted as “realistic”…
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Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney (at NY rally):
What happens to any of us who question the White House and point out their bright shining lies?
First of all, we’re targeted as enemies. Then labeled un-American. Accused of hating our country. And one-by-one we’re isolated…
We are not tricked by George Bush, Dick Cheney, or Condoleezza Rice—today’s false patriots. J’accuse George Bush, Dick Cheney, and Condoleezza Rice! Not only have you strayed away from your own ideals, you no longer represent ours. And finally, Condoleezza Rice betrays all of us when she compares her work to that of the civil rights heroes who moved our country forward.
This is one of America’s most ignominious moments. Only the acts of millions of Americans, committed to peace and justice, can avert the mighty collision rushing toward us.
Our stand today, across our country, is just the beginning; we will wash down the mightiest walls of oppression.
Truth is on the march and nothing can stop it!
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Statement from the Revolutionary Communist Party, USA (read at rallies across the country):
Today we stand at a crossroads. Last week, Bush got the Congress to legalize torture, to revoke the right of habeas corpus, and to grant him and others immunity for war crimes, overturning almost 900 years of legal precedent. People can now be legally imprisoned indefinitely without a trial at Bush’s discretion. And everything that you saw in the pictures from Abu Ghraib can now be legally ordered by Bush.
And Bush plans to not just “stay the course” on the war, but to intensify and multiply the horror. What would it mean if Bush goes ahead and orders an air war against Iran? Think of the suffering this would cause. And think of the political consequences, in a world where millions believe their only choice lies between Bush’s fascist crusade or Islamic theocracy. People must see another way.
We must be as determined to stop this horror, as Bush and his people are to continue and worsen it.
We here today have a lot of different ideas about this situation. As our Party sees it, Bush represents a system in which the wealth created by the people of the whole world is controlled by a relative handful at the top; in which the fate of the people and the planet itself is subordinated to the relentless drive for profit; and in which the armies and prisons of the state are used to enforce that order. That system is imperialism.
Our Party stands for revolution against all that. Our Party is working for a world where the people themselves bring into being a NEW society and a NEW state which puts the interests of the vast majority of people at the foundation of everything it does. Our Party has the understanding and strategy to do that—and the leadership of our Chairman, Bob Avakian, who’s gone deeply into the experience of previous revolutionary and socialist societies, drawing from the achievements and analyzing the shortcomings, and who’s developed an inspiring vision of a whole new society and how to get there. Our Party invites everyone here to engage with that.
Today, all of us, from our many different viewpoints and organizations, must go quickly forward to rally millions more to act to bring this madness to a HALT. We must stay on the political offensive over the next days and weeks, building rapidly on our successes and calling forward other people into the fray. We cannot get lulled into thinking the Democrats will do it for us; they will not. Nothing good will happen without ferment and upheaval throughout society. Time is growing very short, but if we act we can, as World Can’t Wait has said, “make all the difference in the world, in a very positive sense and for the possibility of a better future for humanity.”
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Dr. Kenneth L. Samuel, pastor, Victory for the World Church in Stone Mountain, GA; president, DeKalb County NAACP (at Atlanta rally)
I consider it a privilege to stand in solidarity today with people of moral conscience all across America who are in courageous opposition to the pernicious politics of war, the politics of intolerance, and the politics of compassionless capitalism.
As a minister of the gospel of Christ, I want to say that the religious element which now drives much of conservative politics in America—the Christian Right—is wrong.
The religious Right is wrong because it is founded upon the flawed foundation of religious fundamentalism, and religious fundamentalism—whether it takes the form of the Taliban in Afghanistan or the radical Shiites in Iraq or the Zionists in Israel or the Christian Right in America—religious fundamentalism is wrong because it posits a myopic view of moral absolutes which leaves no room for dialogue, debate, dissent nor diversity…
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U.S. Rep. John Conyers (at Detroit rally)
To our friends all over the United States, that are doing exactly what we’re doing here in Detroit, let’s give them a big shout out! Detroit joins you in this great outpouring in which we begin the long and hard fought path to end the George Bush regime in the United States of America. This is the beginning. What we’ve done is demonstrate that people are aware and sensitive to the fact that we got into a war we should never have gotten into. How can you, when you think about it, how could Iraq attack the United States? The whole thing gets almost ludicrous. In all deference to some of my colleagues, whose naivete is beyond belief, I think they knew what I knew, they knew what you knew, we didn’t need a preemptive strike because they had no weapons of mass destruction, they had nothing…
I am working now to prevent any persons from coming into office that would turn us away from the goals of Martin Luther King. It’s ironic that a religious person would give me my political philosophy, but it boiled down to jobs, justice, and peace. And that’s what I’ve been working on for all of these years, and that’s why I’m going to continue to work on. And I want to invite all of you down to my office. What we’re going to do is provide us with coffee, snacks, telephones, let’s work on getting the vote out. That to me is very important. And I can say this is not a political rally, but voting is a Constitutional responsibility, without which we cannot maintain a democracy. So it’s in that spirit that I’m happy to join you. I’ll be working with you. I’ll be coming to your meetings at the café in Ferndale, and I want you to leave me some literature so that we can get new people out…
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Paul Haggis, screenwriter, director, and producer (from message to the Oct. 5 protests):
The Democrats will not lead us out of Iraq. As heretical as this may sound, I am more afraid of the wrong Democrat winning the White House than I am the wrong Republican—because then we will feel the need to support “our” president, and his or her “difficult decisions” on how to “do the right thing for Iraq” and “withdraw with honor.” We will divide, and conquer, ourselves.
We know from Vietnam that there is no way to withdraw with honor from a corrupt war. The only thing we can do is get out now, and that can only be accomplished by putting millions of people in the streets…
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Missy Comley Beattie, whose nephew was killed in Iraq (at NY rally):
There are too many casualties of the George Bush presidency. Our environment, victims of Katrina, our poor, child care, health care, voter integrity, veterans’ benefits, decency, truth, separation of church and state, habeas corpus, civil liberties, our image, our republic. And nobody knows how many Iraqi injured and death, nobody knows how many Afghan dead and injured, the at least 3,500 coalition troops killed in Iraq and Afghanistan. This is a man who travels the globe with threats, you are either with us or against us, who sends his neo-Neanderthals to other countries to say if you do not cooperate we will blow you back to the Stone Age. This is a man who talks about a culture of life but has caused so much death. He’s the decider and our self-righteous Republicans and neutered Democrats have given him the authority to decide if we are enemy combatants. My nephew, Marine Lance Corporal Chase Comley, killed in Iraq fourteen months ago, tomorrow—his death makes my family a casualty of the George Bush presidency. But we are all casualties of this presidency. Even those families who still support George Bush are casualties; they just don’t realize it yet…
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Sean Penn (from a message issued shortly before Oct. 5, read by Mark Ruffalo at NY rally):
This is an administration that advocates torture, deceives the public, spends billions of dollars on a failed war. This is an administration where in the year of Katrina, Exxon Mobil claimed the highest profit margin in the history of world business. It is an administration that belittles, demeans, deceives, and indeed kills our brothers, our sisters, our sons, and our daughters.
At the U.S./Mexico border, we panic at the notion of illegal entry, without blinking an eye as our elderly line up every Saturday morning with wheelchairs, walkers, canes and joint pain, queued up in the desert heat to enter Mexico where they can purchase affordable medication. In the human family, this President is indeed pushing his wheelchair-bound grandmother down the stairs with a smile on his face. Everyone knows that these are true statements. Everyone. Some are ashamed of where they’ve put their support in the past, their passivity in the present, with the courage of their minds and hearts at bay. What an exciting thing to reverse this as one America and show the world who wears the pants in this house.
Stand up as an American and join World Can’t Wait and those demonstrating this Thursday, October 5th.
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Rabbi Michael Lerner, editor of TIKKUN (from message that went out to his email list of over 50,000 people)
So why do I think we should participate [in Oct. 5] and help mobilize others to participate?
Because, frankly, the danger from the Bush administration, its possible extension of the war to Iran, its active dismantling of the human rights we’ve held sacred for centuries, its destructiveness toward the planet itself, its continuing war in Iraq, its refusal to push for Middle East peace, its total insensitivity to the needs of the poor, and its destruction of human rights and civil liberties constitute a clear and present danger to the survival of our beloved country and to the survival of the human race…
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Ted Glick, of the Climate Crisis Coalition (at NY rally):
We are not going to be able to heal this earth or each other under the Bush administration. And we are not going to be able to heal the earth or heal each other when we have a Congress that votes to allow George Bush to decide what his interrogators can do to people who they arrest, when the Congress votes to disappear people into prisons. We need a change. We need a fundamental change. And one of the issues that has to be central to this movement that we’re building is the climate crisis. The earth is not just warming, it’s not just global warming, it’s global overheating—wild fires, droughts, Hurricane Katrina, stronger hurricanes, the melting of the arctic, the melting of Greenland, the huge ice sheet on Greenland, we’re talking about sea level rise of potentially 20 feet, this century, maybe to the middle of this century if we do not turn this around. The George Bush administration is doing worse than nothing on this issue. The Bush administration is disrupting and obstructing the efforts of the world to deal with this…
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