Revolution #101, September 16, 2007
A Regime Still Set On Remaking the World. . . and the Need To Drive It Out
There are many deadly lies and deceptions in America today, but one of the deadliest is that the “Bush Regime is over.”
The torture, the wars, the spying and theocratic measures and the toxic waves of bigotry—against Black people today, gays tomorrow, immigrants or women or dissenting professors the day after—isn’t “limping to the finish”…it is intensifying. The crimes committed in our name pile up each and every day. The planning at the very highest levels—to sustain the war in Iraq, to very possibly launch a new one against Iran, to hammer in and further legitimize the revocation of the most fundamental rights—not only continues, but accelerates. The casting aside of high-level operatives like Rove or Gonzales is not the dissolution of a regime, but preparation for a “sprint to the finish.” Bush himself is reported to be impervious to criticism, “optimistic,” and acting with his “historic legacy” in mind.
That “legacy” is not something for the history books, after we’re all dead. It’s about locking in and pushing further the horrific crimes that have become “the new normalcy” of this imperialist system. It’s about what we’re willing to—and going to be forced to— live with; and what we’re willing to see other people live—and die—with. And that’s what will happen if the tens of millions who hate this regime and what it’s been doing continue on the current passive—and, yes, complicit—course. George Bush aims to use his last 16 months in office to do everything he can to ensure the continued existence and dominance of this empire, on even more horrific terms and with exponentially greater ability to suffocate any fundamental resistance to it.
The Bush Regime must be driven out. For unless it is decisively repudiated by the people, in massive visible political opposition, the outrages of today will indeed become the norms of tomorrow, with terrible consequences.
There Are The People to Do This
I have had the chance to talk to more people than most—traveling the country and speaking especially to young people on campuses—and there is a battle going on among tens of thousands of people. Giving voice to something I have heard repeatedly before, a young woman at NYU explained to me that if she led a walkout against the war she would risk her scholarship, have to go to a community college and work at the same time, and would never have the career that there is so much pressure to compete for in this increasingly insecure world...and then she added, “But I would do it in a second. I would risk all that and more—if I thought it would make a difference.” And there are people, increasing numbers of people, who want to hear about revolution —why it’s needed, what it’s all about, and whether it’s possible. And how does what we are doing today relate to that.
Three weeks ago in San Francisco, I watched the crowd at Rock the Bells go fucking wild when performers from the stage called for resistance and sacrifice to stop this machine and its fascist drive. Screaming, jumping, fists in the air.
There is a radicalness brewing in this country. There’s a section of this generation that is looking out on the world and sees nothing good and nothing they want to have any part of. A section of this generation that is ready to struggle and to question, that senses the need to be as radical as the times, that gravitates to the need for struggle and even great sacrifice to stop this whole direction.
But somebody’s got to step out and DO IT.
World Can’t Wait—Drive Out the Bush Regime has called for an “Orange Uprising.” Stop keeping your discontent and your anguish private. There are millions and tens of millions who share it—become a magnet for them, every day. Be part of setting a different social context where other people who, like yourself, feel—and right now, are—isolated, begin to see that there are others. Declare it loudly and boldly by brandishing orange, the color of the torture victims and the color of those who refuse to bow down. Wearing orange has to become a declaration of refusal to sit quietly as the world is burning around us. It has to be a challenge to all those who do in fact already agree but are not yet resisting, giving them the heart and the courage to not only step out against the regime but to go up in the face of those who are still going along, and to insist that they not allow these crimes to be done in their names. A sea of orange, to revoke the legitimacy of anyone—from the Bush regime to the “opposition” party Democrats —who claim to be acting with a mandate from the people; a sea of orange to confer legitimacy on those determined to drive out this regime, and to encourage and galvanize the massive disgust and refusal to accept its crimes.
Orange must become the color of defiance. People have to begin noticing all the orange, and asking each other what it’s about, and then become part of it catching on and becoming a social wave. It must be promoted by popular artists, advertised on the airwaves and internet, and in the actions of individuals and groups that take on these horrors. The news should feel compelled to regularly report on “orange‑clad protesters” sitting down in major intersections or in politicians’ offices and orange flags turning up in the most unexpected places. At the World Can’t Wait website there are all kinds of ideas on how this can go viral, and all kinds of things ready to happen—if people act.
This sea of orange must be coupled with, and reinforce, increasingly militant and growing outbreaks of real political resistance—actions of individuals or groupings that keep pace with and are on a scale commensurate with the horrors piling up. Some of that’s starting. But it’s not yet enough. We’ve got to stop waiting for a resistance to emerge, and go out and lead it. If we want to see a resistance movement, people need to start being one. Resistance needs to much more spring up like mushrooms after the rain, in all kinds of different forms and unexpected places, and everybody wearing orange can help spur that and spread it.
Four Crucial Political Battles
Four political battles are shaping up now that are crucial. If seized upon, and if coupled with the growing social wave of orange envisioned above and with the kinds of resistance I just outlined, these can be openings to make things more two‑sided, to bring another force onto the stage that can give expression to people’s pent-up aspirations, and to reverse the political momentum and direction in this society.
First, there is the extremely high‑stakes Jim Crow trial down in Jena, Louisiana where six Black high school students face decades in prison for standing up against nooses being hung from a “whites only” tree in their schoolyard. The actions being planned for September 12 and especially September 20 have everything to do with whether anything meaningful will be done to stop the whole direction of this society against Black people—and with the Bush regime, the definite genocidal element of this agenda has found sharp expression, as became sharply clear with Hurricane Katrina.
Shortly after that, on September 25, George Bush is daring to come to New York City to speak to the United Nations as part of greasing the way towards a new war against Iran. The eyes of the world look upon New York City and the city must appear to them as what it is—one of the most anti‑war and anti‑Bush places in the country, not like people who can’t be bothered to do anything as massive death, suffering and torture is being engineered. They also must not see simply an isolated, routinized protest. The city needs to be ORANGE—everywhere the eye looks and everywhere a news camera pans, on armbands and ribbons, on flags out store windows, on banners on rooftops and clenched in the fists that get raised in opposition to Bush’s monstrosities right outside where he speaks.
In the week of October 22-26, David Horowitz’s fascist student group “Students for Academic Freedom,” has announced a week against “Islamo-fascism” to take place on over 200 campuses. Horowitz is a close ally of Bush and intends for this week to target Muslim student associations, women’s centers, and more for not being sufficiently supportive of the “war on terror.” This has the potential to even more seriously chill what is already an icy atmosphere on campus. But it also has the potential—if it is met with orange-clad students and faculty ready to take them on and increase awareness of the fascist order being locked into place here—to actually turn the tables on these bullies.
Finally, on October 22, there will be a national day of protest against police brutality. This too can bring thousands more into political action against yet another horror of this system, and powerfully stand against outrages like the murder of Sean Bell in New York last December, on his wedding day.
Each of these must be very powerful in their own right; and they must also be times when the “orange upsurge” gets further launched into society.
A Different Political Calculus
If this movement of wearing orange takes hold, and people increasingly see that they are not alone and there’s an everyday defiance that takes hold in the culture and finds expression in all kinds of ways… if these important days of resistance and action this fall break into the atmosphere in a way that cannot be denied or marginalized…and with all that taking place in the face of the Bush regime’s high-stakes horrific gambles in Iran, their grinding bloody war in Iraq, and who knows what new measure within the U.S., as Bush sets out to cement his “legacy”… then there is a chance for a different sort of political calculus to take hold. A chance for a serious challenge to the legitimacy of this regime and to create a political situation in which it is driven out. The synergy between a growing social movement of defiance in the everyday action of wearing orange, and increasingly broad and determined outpourings of resistance, can create something on a whole other level…in other words, in the political sphere the whole can be greater than the sum of its parts.
And let’s imagine what that would mean. A victory like that would change things for millions of people and it would open up new possibilities in everybody’s thinking. People would feel their strength and they would raise their heads. The question of the imperialist character of the kind of system that gives rise to a Bush—and to political “opponents” who refuse to question his basic assumptions—would get posed in a different way, to millions. The question of what to do about it—of what kind of future people do need—including the possibility of revolution, would become a much more living thing.
And the Bush regime and all its horrors and the course it has set things on would be repudiated. The wars, the torture, the attacks on women’s rights, everything symbolized by Katrina, the gay-bashing, the repression and demonization of the immigrants, the outrages to people’s legal rights, the attack on critical thinking…repudiated.
And wouldn’t that be a new day worth fighting, and sacrificing, for?
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