“America has believed that in differentiation, not in uniformity, lies the path of progress; it has advanced human happiness, and it has prospered.” –Louis D. Brandeis
Success at the World Can’t Wait (WCW) National Meeting this weekend rested upon whether those participating would be able to deliberate and synthesize ideas so that an agenda of goals and objectives could be formulated in the not-so-distant future. It depended on whether this deliberation and synthesis of ideas could be productive or not. When considering this, the WCW National Meeting was very productive especially since it features voices on the “left” that range from Revolutionary Communist to those willing to enter the voting booth on Election Day.
Such diversity could be a barrier to conversation. But unlike the U.S. Congress, which likes to put on a dog and pony show for Americans that features so-called right wingers squaring off with so-called liberals, the WCW is a group deeply invested and deeply confident in the necessity for WCW to produce real change in this country.
Primarily, the National Meeting centered on large group discussions and small intimate conversations among breakout groups. The goal for the discussions and conversations were to have impact and come up with ideas for a way forward under an Obama Administration.
Unlike years ago when the group was born, the group members did not have to worry about not being able to effectively express what they wanted to do or did not have to worry about not being able to discuss issues this nation currently faces with a certain amount of depth necessary for formulating plans to combat such issues.
The National Meeting honed in on three key questions, questions that every American should ask if they feel that they have a vested interest in seeing real change occur not just in America but in the world. These questions were: what will change, and how, under an Obama presidency, what has changed in the political terrain among the people, and what is the role for mass, independent action now.
Some suggested an Obama Administration will look different. The tone and style of the administration won’t be the same as the Bush Regime.
Virtually everyone pointed out that Obama will make the closing of Guantanamo possible but emphasized that preventive detention would not end, renditions would continue, torture (or “enhanced interrogation techniques”) would probably still be used, and Obama might do something we thought only Bush would do---He might setup a court outside the U.S. court system that would be used to try detainees.
Many focused on the fact that troops will be shifted from Iraq to Afghanistan and Obama will convince Americans to support “the good war” in Afghanistan.
As for domestic policy, few were willing to suggest that the fascist re-making of society would come to an end or that America’s moves toward a theocracy would end now that Obama was elected.
To me, I thought it difficult to think about what would change. I felt it would be better to ask what will not change. And if we know certain things aren’t going to change, than figure out what we have to do to change these things.
I thought that what will change largely depends on whether Obama supporters remain turned on politics now that Obama has politicized them and whether these supporters are willing to act outside the confines of the political system or not.
Change also depends on whether Obama supporters and Americans keep their expectations of an Obama presidency raised and whether Obama supporters will call into question these thoughts of bipartisanship, unity, and governing from the middle, which form a trifecta of bullshit that will seriously prevent Americans from getting the change America needs.
There was for the most part universal agreement that what is different in the political terrain is now people seem to think those in the halls of power are more inclined to listen to them, and people believe Obama will listen to them more than Bush did.
Obama supporters and Americans now think change is possible and are more open to the idea of politically organizing than they were years ago under Bush. Under Bush, these people would have questioned the idea that organizing would affect or effect change.
This politicization is good and as members of a group dedicated to independent action these people must be brought into the fold before Obama wills amnesia on them all by asking them to move forward and forget the crimes of the past years. They must be integrated into a movement for real change before Obama get people to think like those that rule America.