THE WORLD CAN'T WAIT RALLY (Part 2), SAN FRANCISCO, NOVEMBER 2, 2005
( Part 1;
Part 3 )
San Francisco Supervisor Ross Mirkarimi kicked off the event with a rousing speech about revolution (QuickTime mpeg video, 1.2mb):
(Clicking on the link above -- and on all the similar links below -- will open a QuickTime video file in a new window. Below each link is an exact transcription of the speaker's words.)
"Revolution is in the air!
We need to commit to a revolution now!"
The crowd was loving it. Click here to see an audience member reacting to the speakers' exhortations (QuickTime mpeg video, .5mb).
One of the leaders of the Revolutionary Communist Party tried to get the crowd on board with his Maoist program, then was congratulated by his pal Cindy Sheehan (QuickTime mpeg video, 6.7mb):
Revolutionary Communist Party leader:
"And we stand for revolution. When a people themselves bring into being and create a new society and a new state which would put the interests of the vast majority of people at the foundation of everything it stands for, and everything it does. We have the understanding, we have the strategy and we have the leadership, the chairman of the Revolutionary Communist Party, Bob Avakian, to get us there, and we invite everyone to engage with us on this.
As our paper, Revolution, so aptly puts it: Conservative, my ass! These people are Nazis!
... making this day the beginning of the end of this justly hated regime. The future is unwritten. Which one we get is up to us."
[Leaves stage, is greeted by Cindy Sheehan.]
You may have noticed in the previous video a strange girl in the audience, stumbling around like a zombie in front of the stage. I'm not sure who she was (and no, she's not me!), but she heckled almost every speaker and behaved very bizarrely throughout the entire event. I don't think it was an act. You can see some of her antics here (QuickTime mpeg video, 2.1mb).
While waiting for her turn to go onstage, Cindy worked the crowd and posed for souvenir snapshots with her fans.
The strange thing about her (well, one of the many strange things about her) is that she never seems to stop smiling.
Next up was another San Francisco Supervisor, Chris Daly, who was aware of the growing characterization of the World Can't Wait movement as an extremist group, and who counter-attacked by positioning it as mainstream (QuickTime mpeg video, 2.8mb):
"There are some who've criticized The World Can't Wait/Drive Out the Bush Regime effort by saying this is just another gathering of leftists. Well, most of us here may be leftists, but what they didn't tell ya is that a majority of San Franciscans and increasingly a majority of people across the country have been adopting the position espoused by leftists for some time now."
Stephen and Virginia Pearcy were also on hand to give a speech about their career as avant-garde artists -- having first gained notoriety by hanging an effigy of a US soldier with an upside-down American flag in front of their former Sacramento home (and with an Iraqi flag in the window), pissing off their neighbors and a local talk-radio host; and then by managing to get their amateurish painting of the United States in a toilet displayed in a state government building in Sacramento. Both of these incidents caused a media firestorm, and the Pearcys suddenly found themselves as liberal celebrities. Unfortunately, Stephen did not seem comfortable with public speaking, and his speech was monotonous and mostly inaudible (at least to me).
His young wife Virginia seemed to bathe in the limelight; she was ecstatic when fans asked for her autograph.
A baseball-cap-wearing WCW organizer gave a fiery and rather hyperbolic speech about the coming end of the world if we don't kick Bush out and soon. Also notice how the number of World Can't Wait protesters swells from "thousands" to "millions" in mid-sentence (QuickTime mpeg video, 3.0mb):
WCW organizer with baseball cap:
"We have accepted the reality that we will be forced into fascism if we don't do something right now! We have accepted the reality that the planet will be destroyed if we don't do something right now. But most importantly, we have accepted the reality that when thousands of people -- millions of people -- across the country gather in the streets on a Wednesday afternoon to protest the illegitimate president, we are officially rejecting business as usual!"
The WCW people then made a big dramatic production of unveiling their new slogan, which they obviously had spent countless hours in committee meetings and struggle sessions developing. The crowd, unfortunately, didn't appreciate the significance of the unveiling (nor did I), and it was quickly rolled up and forgotten.
Petite firebrand and professional radical Medea Benjamin put her squeaky voice to use calling for Bush's impeachment. (QuickTime mpeg video, 2.7mb):
"And it is very nice that Lewis Libby has been indicted, but that is the bottom of the barrel. We want to go to the top. We want to see the -- not the indictment -- we want to see the impeachment of George Bush, and we will not stop until we get there. Power to the people! The world can't wait! Drive the Bush regime out!"
And FINALLY, after far too many warm-up acts, it was time for the Cindy Show!
She officially "went over to the other side" by insisting that none of the people killed in Iraq are terrorists. When she was done, she hugged various RCP members. Notice how the only time her smile disappeared all day was the moment her speech was over, and she realized that she was no longer going to be the center of attention. (QuickTime mpeg video, 11.3mb):
We do stand with Cindy. Please, please, please [...long dramatic pause...] show your support for one of the most amazing women and definitely the mother of the new peace movement: Cindy Sheehan!
[Wild applause as Cindy takes stage.]
The people that are being killed in Iraq are not terrorists. They're citizens of Iraq, they're members of the human race. They're our brothers and sisters. And last year, I worked really hard to defeat George Bush. But you know what? He refuses to be defeated, because if he loses, he cheats. And so he cheated himself into a second term. And I wrote a letter on April -- I mean November 4th. You know, I took a day off -- I was very devastated, very depressed....
Resist, stand up, speak out, and uh, we're going to Camp Casey on Thanksgiving: Join us! Thank you. I love you.
[Hugs WCW organizer.]
Afterwards, Stephen, Cindy and Medea got all friendly with the Revolutionary Communist Party bigwigs.
Once the speechifying was over, everyone headed off for a much-anticipated march through San Francisco's downtown.
The action was just getting started!
Click HERE to see what happened during the World Can't Wait march in Part 3 of the report...