los angeles

E-mail: worldcantwait_la@yahoo.com
Phone: 866.973.4463



JULY 12, 2007 7pm

On a warm evening in Los Angeles, about 175 people gathered at their town hall meeting at the Immanuel Presbyterian Church on Wilshire Blvd.

Declare Yourself Video

It was mostly a middle-aged crowd, punctuated by some youth, and distinguished by a number of seniors exuding a notable and fiery stance against the Bush regime. Others seemed new to political life. The overall spirit of the crowd was high and determined as people sat listening intently, orange ribbons that had been given to them at the door bedecking their clothing in a variety of ways. Each speaker was received with applause, cheers and a few standing ovations.

René Auberjonois, an award winning stage, film and movie actor, began the program with a fiercely powerful reading of the Call. When he finished, there was a moment of quiet and then the audience rose to their feet in standing ovation. Before introducing our next speaker, Stephen Rohde, we made sure to let people know that they should visit our tables before leaving and pick up stacks of the Call, sign the Call, and then to take them out to others for signing as well.

Steve Rohde, a noted constitutional lawyer, spoke eloquently about how impeachment is not only necessary, but possible. He underlined that people need to understand that it will take much collaborative work between activists from various perspectives, causing such a climate of dissent and opposition that we cannot be ignored; not by representatives, and not by the media.

Elaine Brower, a member of the WCW steering committee, spoke of her experience as a Marine’s mother, and also called the inaction and complicity of Democrats to attention. She shared her experience of decorating her car with Declare Yourself orange festooning and posters, and then driving slowly through Coney Island during the annual hot dog eating contest, making her own kind of creative and sharp political scene. She called on people to get involved and active around this campaign.

Sunsara Taylor, on the advisory board of WCW and contributor to Revolution newspaper, drove home the need for an understanding of the full scope of the Bush program, that includes the outrage of Katrina, theocracy and attacks on women, science and critical thinking. She pointed out that even though there may be a pending constitutional crisis, that we should all reflect on some of the oppressive factors, such as slavery, that this same constitution was based on. There was some applause and a few shouts of agreement with her from the audience for this. Sunsara appealed to people to take up the Declare Yourself campaign, and to come out of the stands and on to the playing field. One woman commented afterwards that her grandchildren don’t know about the history of this country; the robbing of land from Native Americans, small pox spread in blankets the government gave native people, or what activists did in the sixties.

At this point we did a fund pitch, but not before we invited folks to stand up and participate in some singing and chanting. “There’s a killer in the White House, time to drive his a@* out! Can we do it? Yes we can!” They participated with full force and a certain amount of glee. We sat down, passed our fund baskets around, and introduced our last speaker, Professor Dennis Loo, co-editor of “Impeach the President”, and new member of the WCW steering committee.

Dennis outlined some of the crimes of the Bush regime, and the danger the world faces if we do no not stand up against all of this and drive them out. The audience quieted as the seriousness of the situation seemed to give them pause. Dennis changed the mood sharply as he introduced the Declare Yourself campaign, and some of the thinking behind it. He engaged the audience in some call and response, where the audience would respond to statements by shouting out, “Declare Yourself! “ The mood lifted once again, and as Dennis finished his presentation, almost half of the audience left to collect bandanas, orange crepe paper and stacks of the call, and to talk with each other about their “orange” plans. We had to quickly let people know that the panel Q&A was about to start, and so some sat back down again and engaged with the speakers. Folks didn’t have questions so much as they took this opportunity to make statements about how disgusted they were with the current political situation. One written question about why the media does not report on the true casualties of the war was addressed by each speaker, with the general consensus that it was up to all of us to get the word out and to take action to stop the whole onslaught.

People fell away, and speakers engaged one on one with those remaining. We began the video process of statements from people on why they are wearing orange. People lined up for turns to do this, wearing bandanas, ribbons and holding up the WCW orange “Impeach” posters as they spoke. These statements will be made available on our national website.

In talking with people, we found that a good number had found out about this event from our ad in the NYTimes. Others heard about it from friends, and a good number of KPFK listeners knew about it because it had been announced there.

As the evening ended and people began to leave, a hum of industry and commitment continued to crackle, much as the spirited and determined energy in the hall had. The mood of the people seemed to have shifted from confronting the reality of the whole program, to taking responsibility and leaving with stacks of Calls, orange crepe paper and DY flyers, and making plans for where they would take out the “wear orange” campaign. All of our orange crepe paper was taken to wrap around trees the next day, and about 4,000 Calls had been distributed in packets with the same number of Declare Yourself half page fliers. Some people were making plans for house parties around the BCC dvd. As organizers loaded their cars and drove away, little pieces of orange crepe paper rolled along the sidewalk in the night breeze, and a tree outside the church glowed from the orange wrap someone had given it. Evening orange.