World Can't Wait: Agendas, Activities, and Affiliates
By Discover The Networks
Founded in June of 2005 by Charles Clark Kissinger, a former Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) radical and longtime leader of the Revolutionary Communist Party, World Can’t Wait (WCW) is a direct action movement that arrogates for itself the responsibility of “organizing people living in the United States to take responsibility to stop the whole disastrous course led by the Bush administration.”
The animating theme of WCW is an abiding hatred of the Bush administration. With the same urgency that informs its name, WCW stresses on its website that removing President Bush from office “will be like removing a forty-pound tumor from your gut.”
Tapping into a vast reservoir of anti-Bush bile on the far banks of political debate—“We reach out to people who have been fooled by Bush, and to those who have been most seriously affected by the outrages inflicted by the Bush Regime,” proclaims the movement’s website—WCW vows “to send Bush, Cheney and the rest of those fascists packing.”
The movement is in no doubt about what will follow its coup. “After that,” the WCW website explains, “there are people in ‘World Can't Wait’ who are working for everything from impeachment to communist revolution.” That revolutionary mission is in keeping with the fact that the movement is effectively a shell campaign for the Revolutionary Communist Party. Indeed, fomenting revolution is a longtime passion of WCW head Charles Clark Kissinger. Through the agency of his communist front organization, Refuse and Resist, Kissinger, who is also the founder of the Maoist anti-war group Not In Our Name, played an instrumental role in fanning the flames of the 1992 Los Angeles race riots. Kissinger proclaimed the riots, which left 58 people dead and 2,300 injured, an act of “rebellion.” A kindred revolutionary fervor extends to the WCW’s younger leadership. By no means an anomaly is Allen Lang. A member of the WCW’s national steering committee, Lang is also a self-professed member of the Revolutionary Communist Youth Brigade.
On October 13, 2005, WCW organized a protest “encampment” near the White House. Participating activists spent the ensuing 20 days counting down to the “end of the Bush regime.” Besides reciting the standard litany of anti-Bush propaganda, the campers were treated to visits from “national voices of conscience” who had endorsed their efforts. Most prominent among them was anti-war activist Cindy Sheehan, who even granted an interview to WCW member Travis Morales. Sheehan proceeded to hail the encampment for demonstrating that “not all Americans are robotic idiots.”
WCW clearly had high hopes for its encampment protest. “Our experience of being out there with the World Can't Wait White House encampment is that there's tremendous agreement among not just people from other countries but a lot of people from this country,” Morales assured Sheehan during their interview. Similarly, Sunsara Taylor, a WCW organizer, declared that the “encampment is a premonition. Soon, all the pent-up anger and outrage – of the hundreds of thousands of Black people betrayed during Katrina, of the millions of women who refuse to give up abortion, of the immigrants who have been demonized and rounded up, of the majority that is fed up with the lies and lies and lies – will come forward in a movement to drive Bush out.” But reality did not cooperate with WCW’s claims that the encampment showcased a “growing national movement.” Photographs that appeared on the WCW website told a different story: they depicted four or banner-wielding five protestors being ignored by passers by.
The WCW movement encourages the harassment and intimidation of anyone opposed to its extremist sensibilities, especially conservatives. On October 24, 2005, for instance, two Los Angeles-based WCW activists infiltrated an appearance by conservative activist David Horowitz as he was introducing a documentary film in West Hollywood. Professing themselves determined to “shut this fascist down,” the activists charged the stage to shout, “Fascists have no right to speak! Horowitz and the whole Bush Regime must be Driven Out! Horowitz is a bigot who wants to end ethnic studies and all critical thought on the campuses.” The two had to be forcibly restrained and removed from the theater. Were it not for the swift action of audience member, Horowitz later recalled on his blog, “I probably would have suffered some bodily harm…” The activists, for their part, boasted that they had disrupted a “Nazi Rally.”
Another target of WCW attacks is Berkeley Law Professor John Yoo. Yoo incurred WCW’s wrath after advising the Bush administration that the detainees being held at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, are not eligible for the protections accorded to prisoners of war under the Geneva Conventions. Seizing on his ties to the White House, WCW has taken to claiming that Yoo is the architect of torture policies allegedly carried out by the U.S. military. After thus vilifying Yoo for months, the movement’s organizers took action. In late October, WCW organizers stormed into Yoo’s class, accompanied by student activists outfitted in orange jumpsuits meant to symbolize those worn by detainees in Guantanamo Bay; another activist, dressed as an American soldier, mockingly thanked Yoo for allowing him to torture detainees. A celebratory report that appeared on a WCW website aimed at college students reported that “Yoo fled the scene and it caused a ruckus in the class,” while some students “complained that protesters were disrupting a class.”
The attack on Yoo was not the first of its kind. One week earlier, WCW organizers, in tandem with the New York City Communist Youth Brigade, had put on a similar display of Guerrilla Theater at New York’s Hunter College. Donning orange jumpsuits, the activists confronted students outside the college cafeteria, where they made a show of claiming that American troops were “raping” and “torturing” detainees. The agitators were later arrested and charged with misdemeanors. Calling the event a success, WCW had no patience for student complaints. When a Hunter student protested that WCW’s demonstration was a distraction, keeping him from taking a test on time, WCW organizer Allen Lang dismissively responded, “Fuck your exam.”
A key date in the movement’s still brief history was November 2, 2005. To hasten the coming of the communist revolution, WCW designated this date, the one-year mark of President Bush’s reelection and thus a dark day for WCW members, a day of “society-wide resistance” in cities and college campuses across the United States. According to the WCW website, the day signified the “beginning of a new kind of movement which takes the offensive in society and really wages a pitched political battle for the whole direction of the future.”
During the weeks immediately preceding November 2, the WCW website announced that the movement’s organizers would “direct participants to trade phone numbers and emails with other protesters, to start up discussion groups and book-clubs about fascism and resistance movements, building communities of resistance going forward.” While WCW acknowledged that November 2 “will not stop the [Bush] regime,” the organization promised that its event would “introduce a new dynamic” to the quest to overthrow the President and his administration. A declaration that appeared on the WCW website captured the sentiment:
“Years from now, when children want to know the character of their parents -- as they lived in a country that was normalizing torture, moving to condemn half the population to enforced motherhood or back-alley dangers, attacking science and critical thought, waging wars of preemption based on outrageous lies, snatching people off the street without lawyers or charges, and no major office-holder was making a stink – they will ask, ‘Were you in the streets that day, on November 2nd, 2005?’”
Because a number of college campuses host WCW chapters, many WCW activities center on student organizing. In preparation for November 2, for instance, WCW organizers exhorted students to engage in civil disobedience during class time and encouraged professors to distribute political propaganda. WCW activist Sunsara Taylor supplied detailed instructions: “Get Howard Zinn’s statement to the students played over and over again on campus radio stations, blast it in the commons, or have professors play it in classes.” Taylor also encouraged students to pester their professors—“to poke your head in during office hours and classes”—to apprise them of WCW’s anti-Bush campaign. Taylor did not fail to stress the importance of proper accessorizing: “You can get dressed up to do this [on-campus protest] – in the orange jumpsuits, hoods, and leashes like torture victims, or women wearing hospital gowns with blood smeared on the lower half carrying coat-hangers, or other ideas you come up with to dramatize the lives on the line by the Bush regime.”
Equally sought-after by WCW are high-school students. One WCW website is expressly aimed at teenagers who want to “drive out the Bush regime.” This appeal to student activists has paid dividends for WCW. The organization’s website boasts that students at Clinton Dewitt High School in the Bronx, on the instigation of WCW, are organizing a walk-out and protest in opposition to what the WCW calls, on no evidence, the “general police state atmosphere at their school.” Of this blatant act of juvenile delinquency, WCW wholeheartedly approves: “This kind of defiant resistance is something we urgently need right now,” it declares, encouraging other high-school students to organize similar protests. WCW organizers also exhort students to violate their schools’ rules and regulations in order to take part in protests. On October 31, 2005, WCW’s Allen Lang authored a “message to high school students,” wherein he called on pupils to take part in “walkouts” and “campus shutdowns” on November 2, while disobeying school principals if necessary.
WCW had a cognate agenda in store for November 2. In anticipation of the big day, vowed by the group’s organizers to be the “beginning of the end of the Bush regime,” the WCW website urged supporters to remember that “November 2 must be a massive and public proclamation that WE REFUSE TO BE RULED IN THIS WAY.” Not only that, but “November 2 must call out to the tens of millions more who are now agonizing and disgusted” by the Bush administration.
As it happened, the tens of millions had better things to do than rage at the “Bush regime.” And while small-scale protests did place in a number of cities, including New York, Los Angeles, Seattle, San Francisco, Atlanta and Chicago, they succeeded neither in the eviction of the hated President nor in launching the communist revolution for which WCW organizers candidly proclaim themselves to be fighting.
The closest that WCW came to its much-hyped fight was the San Francisco protest. The festivities began with the reading of a statement from the Revolutionary Communist Party. That was followed by a taped message from convicted cop-killer Mumia Abu Jamal, a declared supporter of World Can’t Wait. Anti-war termagant Cindy Sheehan, another prominent booster of the group, delivered a speech.
But it was not so much the mission of WCW members as their penchant for violence that caught the media’s attention, especially that of the San Francisco Chronicle, whose building was bombarded by a Molotov cocktail. Far from condemning the violence, WCW gleefully extolled the “militant” atmosphere of the San Francisco protest—a position that becomes more explicable when one considers that WCW members, urged by WCW supporters to harass ideological opponents, have in the past threatened physical attacks against conservatives like the aforementioned David Horowitz and John Yoo. And while most of the 1,500 protestors in San Francisco limited themselves to hoisting the group’s signature acid-green signs, police were moved to arrest nine WCW members after they staged a “die-in” on a busy street, stalling traffic for nearly an hour.
Los Angeles, too, saw its share of WCW-organized excitement. Most prominently, some 800 Los Angeles-area high school students cut their classes to swell the crowds of protestors. The chief operating officer of the Los Angeles Unified School District later said that students in as many as ten high schools had walked off from school to join the protest; WCW claimed on its website that in not a few cases, those students were joined by their teachers. Nonetheless the resulting rally, reportedly numbering several thousand at a most, succeed mainly in snarling traffic on Los Angeles’s freeways.
More typical were the New York protests. There several thousand activists, the majority of them college and high-school students who had skipped classes on the prompting of WCW organizers, spilled out into the streets. WCW organizer Sunsara Taylor did her best to fire up the underage troops. “The Bush regime is out to remake the world with its policies,” she insisted. “From the war in Iraq to environmental policies to the remaking of the Supreme Court ... we are staring down the barrel of fascism in this country.” But it was no use. After marching for two miles up the city’s Eighth Avenue, the protestors dispersed. And while a few of the more zealous types brandished banners declaring, “Ready for Revolution,” most protestors went their separate ways.
Still less impressive was the WCW display staged in Atlanta. About 500 college and high-school students showed up to hear the deputy director for the Southern Region of Amnesty International rail against the Bush administration’s treatment of terrorist captives. That reminded someone in attendance to voice support for a hunger strike being waged by some detainees at Guantanamo Bay. A small group of high-school students read a WCW announcement pledging the overthrow of the Bush administration, but the revolution went no further.
Equally timid were the demonstrations in Seattle, where several hundred protestors gathered to collectively vent their frustration at anything and everything that could be pinned, with varying degrees of improbability, on the Bush administration. In Chicago, the main—indeed the only—news event of the 500-person protest was the announcement of a new WCW slogan: “Bush Must Step Down and Take His Whole Program with Him.”
Lack of celebrity support was not to blame. The Los Angeles rally featured an appearance by Bianca Jagger, while several members of the far-Left cognoscenti, including Gore Vidal, Kurt Vonnegut, Howard Zinn, Cornel West, and Nobel laureate Harold Pinter, penned glowing endorsements of the WCW campaign. Pinter, in his statement of support, sounded one of WCW’s preferred themes – likening members of the Bush administration to Nazis: “The Bush administration,” Pinter wrote, “is the most dangerous force that has ever existed. It is more dangerous than Nazi Germany because of the range and depth of its activities and intentions worldwide.”
A comprehensive list of WCW endorsers can be viewed on the WCW website. Among the names on the list are: the ANSWER coalition of New York City, Aris Anagnos, Ed Asner, Mumia Abu-Jamal, Bill Ayers, Code Pink, Michael Eric Dyson, Eve Ensler, Jodie Evans, Jane Fonda, the Islamic Circle of North America, the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee, Charles Clark Kissinger, Michael Lerner, the National Lawyers Guild, Armando Navarro, Not In Our Name, Michael Ratner, Cindy Sheehan, Gore Vidal, Alice Walker, Leonard Weinglass, Cornel West, and Howard Zinn.
To fund its various protests and appeals, WCW relies partly on individual contributions and in the main on the Alliance for Global Justice, a Washington D.C.-based 501(c)(3) charity “focused on human, environmental and worker rights.
On December 12, 2005, WCW ran a paid advertisement in The New York Times which read, in part, as follows:
"YOUR GOVERNMENT, on the basis of outrageous lies, is waging a murderous and utterly illegitimate war in Iraq, with other countries in their sights. YOUR GOVERNMENT is openly torturing people, and justifying it. YOUR GOVERNMENT puts people in jail on the merest suspicion, refusing them lawyers, and either holding them indefinitely or deporting them in the dead of night. YOUR GOVERNMENT is moving each day closer to a theocracy, where a narrow and hateful brand of Christian fundamentalism will rule. YOUR GOVERNMENT suppresses the science that doesn't fit its religious, political and economic agenda, forcing present and future generations to pay a terrible price. YOUR GOVERNMENT is moving to deny women here, and all over the world, the right to birth control and abortion. YOUR GOVERNMENT enforces a culture of greed, bigotry, intolerance and ignorance. People look at all this and think of Hitler—and they are right to do so. The Bush regime is setting out to radically remake society very quickly, in a fascist way, and for generations to come. We must act now; the future is in the balance."
The signers of this statement included, among others:
Carl Dix, Revolutionary Communist Party
Michael Eric Dyson
Islamic Circle of North America
C. Clark Kissinger
Rabbi Michael Lerner
National Lawyers Guild
Not in Our Name
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