Hawai'i Festival of Resistance


 World Can't Wait held its annual "Festival of Resistance" on the University of Hawai`i - Manoa campus Friday, October 26th. During the week prior to the festival more than 100 brilliant orange signs were hung from trees and railings: "Stop Torture" - "No Strykers" - "Stop the War" - "Pro Choice" - "No Human Being is Illegal" - "Arrest Bush & Cheney" and many more. A "Join the Festival of Resistance" banner stayed up in a central square for the entire week.

The morning of the festival activists put up another hundred signs all over campus, and big banners were dropped from building rooftops: "Before And After the Elections - We Are Still Against the War," "No Torture," "U.S. Military Out of Makua," "Stop Police Brutality," "No Attack on Iran,"" The entire area around Campus Center was covered with banners and signs and AFSC's display of boots and shoes symbolizing victims of war were lined up on the Campus Center steps.

By 10 am organizations began setting up tables. Planned Parenthood, Revolution Books, American Friends Service Committee, World Can't Wait, Voices for Choice, MANA (a student Hawaiian sovereignty group), Friends of Sabeel, Drug Policy Forum, Life of the Land, People's Fund, Iraq Veterans Against the War, Political Discussion Group, and more. Many set up displays and passed out leaflets.

At 11 am emcee Liz (a WCW activist) kicked off a Campus Center rally with a rousing call to resist the fascist direction of the Bush agenda, warning people that politicians have never brought fundamental change, and that a real change in this country is going to take a movement of resistance. She was followed by a professor who delivered a powerful challenge to students to oppose torture, and ending with everyone in the audience chanting "Stop Torture NOW" together.

Five UH faculty members prepared speeches for the Festival. All were strong indictments of the Bush agenda and called on students to WAKE UP before it's too late. They included professors: Monisha Das Gupta (author of "Unruly Immigrants" who spoke out against attacks on immigrants), Laura Lyons (an English professor who spoke against torture), Uzma Aslam Khan (whose talk against U.S. attacks on Pakistan can be found at: www.uzmaaslamkhan.blogspot.com), Michael Hadfield (who is on the Advisory Board of Defend Science and spoke to Bush's attacks on science), and Robert Perkinson (who specializes in U.S. "injustice" and the prison system, and spoke more broadly against Bush's reactionary agenda).

Other speakers included spokespersons from: Planned Parenthood (who spoke for reproductive freedom), MANA (who called for support for Hawaiians being evicted from Kahana Valley), the Revolutionary Communist Party (who spoke against capitalism and imperialism and put forward revolution and communism as the solution), and a speaker against the Superferry (to be used by the military). Emcees Liz and See (an actor/poet/hip hop performer), along with several poets and musicians kept the rally energized for a full 2-1/2 hours.

Thousands of students and faculty passed through Campus Center and no one could miss the political message. Several hundred put on bright orange armbands, or tied them to their backpacks. Between 40 - 70 people listened to the rally at any time - some for only a few minutes between classes and others for much longer. Hundreds stopped at tables to read displays, snatch up leaflets, or get into discussion. Many people who worked at tables remarked on the great conversations they had with students who were deeply concerned about the issues they were speaking to. Dozens of students signed up to receive WCW e-newsletters.

However, despite the incredible effort that went into politicizing the entire center, it was painfully obvious that it was going to take a lot more to really change the overall atmosphere of apathy on campus. Far too many students walked by the tables without giving them so much as a nod, or passed the rally without listening. Most students who stopped were progressive and had some agreement. Few initiated debate.

World Can't Wait, along with a few progressive professors, are currently drawing up plans to build on the momentum created by the Festival in an attempt to involve both students and faculty in the overall effort to provoke more debate and discussion around the real issues in the world, and to build a vibrant movement of resistance to fight for a better world.




Main Reports on Protest & Resistance Hawai'i Festival of Resistance


World Can't Wait mobilizes people living in the United States to stand up and stop war on the world, repression and torture carried out by the US government. We take action, regardless of which political party holds power, to expose the crimes of our government, from war crimes to systematic mass incarceration, and to put humanity and the planet first.