National World Can't
Spread the Resistance - Wear Orange Daily
Los Angeles Students Page
Los Angeles Endorsers
ROCK THE BELLS/LA REPORT: AUGUST 11,2007
Hyundai Pavilion, San Bernardino California
The Hyundai Pavilion in San Bernardino California is a huge festival ground, and
can host concerts with an audience of up to 65,000 people. The concert was sold out. Concert goers
primarily ranged in age from 18 to 30, though there were others attending on
both ends of that spectrum.
The concert lineup with groups like Public Enemy, Boots Riley and the Coup, Wu Tang
Clan and Rage Against the Machine, drew many fans that were already politically
oriented toward questioning the system, though not necessarily organized to do
so. Many were college students and some were in workforce, having taken off of
work to attend what they articulated was an “awesome and important” event. For
the most part, people who approached the booth were very open to our message,
and the idea of Orange “going viral” seemed to strike a chord with them. Some
bought bandanas from us, though many were low on funds and this was not always
easy. (We started giving cold bottles of water and a granola bar out to those who would pay five dollars for
one! Water was only available for 4 dollars a bottle, and food was extremely expensive there.
The temperature was in the three-digit range.)
Others took out lengths of orange flagging tape that we had found at a hardware store
in LA. This became very popular, and as we tied this bright plastic ribbon
around wrists and arms, we reinforced that it was now their mission to get
orange out to others, as well as to take up small bundles of DIN orange half
sheets to everyone they know after they get home.
At the booth we would call out periodically: “What does orange mean? Do you want the war to stop now? Do you want
torture to stop now? Do you want to end the criminalization of immigrants and brown people? Do you want women to have
the right to control their own bodies? Do you want Bush and Cheney impeached for crimes against humanity?
Declare it now! Wear orange! We need a mass movement to drive out the Bush Regime! Let's go viral! Spread the word!"
This sometimes created lines or groups of people around our table, waiting to get
orange tape and bundles of 1-400 DIN flyers on the spot. The half sheet size was good for creating
packages that fit easily into bags and backpacks. Close to 15,000 flyers got into people’s hands this way. As
people waited, they talked about different ways they could get the flyers out.
One guy said he would put them at doors in his neighborhood. Another guy thought he might bring them to
work but wasn’t sure if he could get away with that. We offered that people
needed to be strategic about it and that there was not one-way to do this. Others would bring them to school and to coffee shops and to friends. We had a
small supply of orange duct tape at the table, and some people started tearing off long pieces and putting them on their clothes, writing and drawing
individual messages with sharpie. Some one else said they might use orange to paint orange messages on their bodies.
There were also a significant number of young soldiers, some getting ready to deploy
to Iraq. A few visited us, very tentatively, at our DIN! Wear Orange! Drive Out
the Bush Regime! booth. One conversation we had was the most poignant and
memorable of the day. Two young men approached our table. They were clad in
white t-shirts and dark cargo shorts, and had the newly shaved heads of fresh
recruits. They said they did not agree with the war, and had mixed feelings about going but were afraid to sign
anything or take up any orange, or any flyers because they had been warned by
superior officers that there would be punishment for having any written
political material critical of the war. They knew about the work of Liam Madden and Articles of Redress, and
were aware of how Ehren Watada was making a stand, but they clearly were on the
fence about what they were going to do. One said that though he knew that once he got to Iraq he was going to be
ordered to commit atrocities and crimes, it was so hard to imagine what that
would be like given that he was now living in a nice air-conditioned trailer
with other recruits, and being warned not to question anything. He added that
he had just turned 18. We talked more with them, letting them know that there are many who feel the way they do, many
who have chosen to resist, and that there are support systems they could find
out about by going to our website and spending time following links. We also pointed out the IVAW table across
from us, and underlined how these guys have been there and back, have Articles
of Redress, and can help out. They would understand their dilemma fully. The
two nodded agreement. The conversation turned to the choice of going to Iraq
and committing monstrous crimes, or facing a military court martial. Which
choice would fit their conscience? Both folded up a DIN flyer very carefully
and very small, and placed it in their deep cargo pants pockets. We shook their
hands and watched them as they made their way to the IVAW table. It was heavy.
WCW and DIN campaign did manage to touch this crowd. The message got out, and there
were dots of orange all around, but we felt there was too much space between
dots.There were so many there who we were not able to reach. We felt we weren’t matching our organizational capacity
to this moment of opportunity.
Something that Zack from Rage said at the end of the night struck deeply, because it was
also something that some young folks at a preliminary LA/RTB’s organizing
meeting had articulated with urgency. Paraphrased: This generation has the
potential to become the greatest generation in history. (Potential is the word
that resonated starkly).This generation has to rise up in leadership to stop the fascist onslaught. The future depends on this.
The crowd went wild and bonfires all around the stadium rose higher into the
sky. But wild cheers and bonfires are
not enough. There needs to be focused, mobilized resistance growing in youth
communities. And we in WCW have to step up our efforts to set this in motion. Now.