A message for our times/report from Nov. 11th forum

Tuesday's successful event in New York City, "The Change We're Fighting For: STOP the Endless Wars for Empire!" showed that there is widespread concern that the atrocities the U.S. is committing in the Middle East will continue even with Obama, and not Bush in the White House.

Almost 200 people attended this event, organized only one week after the election, and the speakers- Scott Ritter, Larry Everest and Elaine Brower- delivered critical, powerful and thought-provoking presentations, documenting the crimes now being committed by our government in our names, as well as Barack Obama's position on all this.

That so many attended and engaged in this intense discussion drove home the message that people don't think we should "wait and see" what Obama does, but rather see the need to act immediately to stop crimes committed in our name.

In building for this event, it was striking how both the flyer and press release spoke to a deeply-felt urgency not to wait, but to act now, particularly against the escalating war in Afghanistan. As that flyer, which was updated the day after the elections, put it:

"While people in the U.S. were voting for President Obama, a U.S. air strike on an Afghan wedding party killed 34 civilians. On November 5th, another killed 7 civilians. U.S. drones daily cross the border into Pakistan, where scores of civilians have been bombed. Obama, the 'anti-war' candidate wants to leave 50 to 80,000 troops in Iraq, and move more combat brigades to Afghanistan. He promises to increase the U.S. military by 92,000…"

One of several indications that the statements in this flyer spoke to what a lot of people are thinking in the aftermath of the election was the front-page news story in the Metro, a widely-distributed newspaper, on Friday November 7: The article noted that, "One anti-war group has already protested against Obama - three months before he assumes control" and then extensively quoted Elaine Brower, speaking on behalf of World Can't Wait.

Some highlights from among the speakers many important points:

  • Larry Everest spoke extensively about why the war in Afghanistan is not a "good war", but --like the war in Iraq-- is an unjust war for empire. "There's nothing good about this so-called 'war on terror.'" Everest said. "It's a war for greater empire." Everest added: "Those who, through their conscience and beliefs find these wars intolerable, need to be coming together."
  • As part of exposing the lies and preparations for a U.S. attack on Iran, Scott Ritter responded to Obama's recent statement on Iran, saying Obama made the same unsubstantiated charges that Bush & Company have been making for several years. "What evidence does Obama have that Iran has nukes? There is no evidence that Iran is pursuing nukes."
  • Elaine Brower spoke from the heart on her conflicting emotions on election night - happiness that a Black person had finally become president, yet dismayed and depressed at the recognition that what Obama had been chosen for was commander-in-chief of the U.S. empire.
The audience at the event was diverse, with a broad range of views on the past election - many had voted for Obama, while others had voted for the Green Party or Nader or don't advocate voting at all. And there was sharp debate on some issues, which reflects the intensity and complexity of the times. Yet there was a general sense that it is up to the people not to sit back and wait, but to act now to fight to do what this government is not doing and will not do - end these endless wars for empire.

The program did not sufficiently address one of its stated objectives, to "begin making plans immediately to build a movement" of powerful resistance that is urgently needed. But these will be addressed this week: WCW has a national meeting planned for Nov 22-23 in Chicago (click here for more information and to register) to further analyze this new political situation we're in and to decide what role WCW needs to play within that. Some plans are in the process of being developed and others must be made, including:

  • The "We Are Not Your Soldiers" national tour with Iraq war vets to high school students in their classrooms, to get on MTV, creating an atmosphere in the national culture, which would effect youth not to join the military. The tour is coming to NYC in January.
  • Proposals for creative protest action in early December against the wars.
Come to this NYC planning meeting!
Monday, Nov. 17th, 6:30 PM
632 Broadway, 3rd Floor (near Bleecker St)

We urge all those who came on Tuesday, and many more, to come Monday to this meeting and to work together to make this all happen. The future is unwritten. Join us. Forward this email to your e-lists.

Three separate crews video taped the event, one for public access in NYC, one for NYU, and one for anti-recruiter organizing in New Jersey, and we hope to have the presentations available on the internet for those who missed it.

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