Revolution #57, August 20, 2006
Interview with Debra Sweet, National Coordinator of World Can't Wait
"Join in this great wave of people on Oct. 5, determined to drive out the Bush regime"
Revolution interviewed Debra Sweet, National Coordinator of World Can’t Wait—Drive Out the Bush Regime.
Revolution: Tell us about the ad World Can’t Wait placed in the New York Times on August 3, and the response you have gotten.
Debra Sweet: The ad was designed by George Lois, who is really well known in the design world for having come up with “I want my MTV.” He created a new logo for us—of the globe bursting into flame that he has given us We’ve just made a color poster of it. It really symbolizes very powerfully that the world can’t wait.
Some people have looked at it and said that’s the world on fire—the wars going on in the world. Other people are looking at it from the perspective of global warming, or just the world coming apart in various ways. But one thing that comes through is the urgency of driving out the Bush regime. And so we have adopted it as our new logo and we hope to be making it visible everywhere in the country as we head in the next eight weeks into October 5.
The ad appeared a week ago yesterday. We have done two full-page ads in December and January, eight months ago. We have found the response to this ad is about four times the response to those ads in terms of both money and response from people who want to drive out the Bush regime and be involved in October 5. And it’s really heartening. I’m sure it has to do with what is going on in the world and particularly in the Middle East right now – and that the graphic and the call itself really struck home with people.
This time, when people go to worldcantwait.org, we designed a way that people could sign the Call and give comments about why they were signing it.
We are looking at all the people who responded to this ad as the basis for having very powerful actions on October 5. Not the only basis but a really important basis, a broad spectrum across this country. We have a lot of academics and students, business people. A very high percentage of older and retired people who, I think, really have a sense of the sweep of history—and how much the Bush regime is actually at odds with and standing out from the rest of what people have come to expect from this country.
In the past when we printed the same Call in our ad, we had many people say, “We agreed with everything in your ad but that ‘fascist’ part—that the Bush regime is ‘remaking the country in a fascist direction and for generations to come.’” This time about 20 percent of the people who responded have mentioned that they do believe the country is being made in a fascist direction. Or they say, “I’m signing this because I don’t want to live in a fascist country” or “I don’t want my children to grow up in a fascist country.”
Quite a number of people are saying things like:
“I have been waiting for this movement for six years.”
“I have been wondering when someone would do this.”
“I’ve not known what to do.”
“What do I do on October 5? I’ve marked it on my calendar.”
So clearly people are taking it seriously and connecting with this message of bringing it to a halt. In the comments and when we are calling them, people are talking about theocracy—much more than they did eight months ago. That we don’t want a government that’s forcing its religion down our throats.
People are talking about the environment, having seen the movie An Inconvenient Truth, fearing for the whole planet and every person that lives on it. More and more people are talking about Iraq, mentioning the danger to Iran. Talking about the attacks on abortion and birth control.
This response shows, as the new statement on our website says, that there truly is a large reservoir of people across this country who are having all these feelings.
We learned there are a lot of people who want to see more ads like this, who want October 5 to happen, and (most of all) who feel the Bush regime is illegitimate and it must be driven out.
Revolution: What do you tell people when they ask what they should be doing now and on the day of October 5 itself?
Debra Sweet: We are concentrating over the next eight weeks on pulling out really massive mobilizations of people on Thursday, October 5. As the new statement at worldcantwait.org says, "It would go from something only vaguely hoped for, by millions of isolated individuals, and acted on by thousands so far, to something that had undeniable moral force and unprecedented political impact." And particularly at this moment, it is absolutely essential that people come out on the streets, make their sentiments visible, and manifest this in ways that have happened in other parts of the world (and are actually happening in Mexico, for instance, where there are 47 encampments tying up the center core of Mexico City right now).
On Thursday, October 5, people should take off work or leave work, take off school or march out of school, and come to the federal buildings in the center of their towns and cities. Hold rallies. Speak the truth. Find creative and imaginative ways of representing the seven “your government” statements from our Call that so powerfully evoke what this regime is doing to this country and the world.
Bring This to a Halt! October 5 can change the political atmosphere in this country so that those in power will be forced to take into their political calculations a movement that isn’t depending on them to set the terms. Some of these mobilizations can evolve into encampments and all-night street parties, drawing out even more people who hear about this on the news. Many peoples’ hearts will jump at the extraordinary sight of a very broad, diverse crowd, large enough that it can’t be ignored, breaking out of “protest as usual”. Everyone — youth; people who have never protested before; those who hope voting in the mid-term elections will change something; political candidates and office-holders already calling us to ask to speak — should join in this great wave of people on October 5, determined to drive out the Bush regime.
Revolution: And what should people do between now and October 5?
Debra Sweet: They can go to worldcantwait.org or call us at 866-973-4463—in either of those places they can connect with this movement.
Right now, this weekend, the second weekend in August, and moving through the month, World Can’t Wait is doing a mass fund drive where we are going out to broaden the base of this organization – with buckets (“Donate Da Bucks to Drive Out the Bush Regime”) and with beautiful new color copies of our New York Times ad to distribute to people, along with buttons and stickers and t-shirts and so forth that put out the call: “Bring This to a Halt on October 5.”
And we are asking people to go out and talk to everyone they know and start organizing right now. Eight weeks from yesterday, we’re going to be mobilizing in the streets.
What World Can’t Wait is doing is also mass fundraising on many different levels. We are out to raise half a million dollars by Labor Day, in order to do really large national advertising on a scale that will reach way beyond the usual hand-to-hand flyers, getting into more major publications, on the radio, internet advertising, and TV spots. Because we really want to reach the people out there wondering what they can possibly do, with the message that you can have a tremendous positive political effect, by exerting the moral authority of people in this country who are opposed to everything the Bush regime stands for, by being out in the streets on October 5.
I want to make a special call-out to the people right now who are horrified at the bloody destruction of Lebanon. To the people who are seeing the Bush regime with its nuclear trigger finger pointed at Iran. To all the people who have seen An Inconvenient Truth, andwho are truly and justifiably alarmed atwhat this regime has in store for the planet. To all the people who are looking at the anniversary coming up of Katrina when the Bush regime callously left thousands and thousands of poor and Black people in that city to die, went in with troops and shot them, and put them under repression. To all the people looking at this very urgent moment and seeing that this regime is illegitimate and everything they are doing is intolerable. To all those people, I say, it’s time to act.
We are giving people a way to act on October 5—in concert, across the country—a chance to come out from everywhere together, to do something incredibly important, possibly turning things around in this country onto a much more favorable direction that is going to take on this whole program, repudiate it, and set much better terms for the future.
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