Tuesday, December 15, 2009
Wednesday, July 1, 2009
While Des will move to a new home in the beltway, our Pink House continues. This summer we have an excellent opportunity to gather in action during the final week that Congress is in session before the August recess (and Des's last week at the Pink House!). Join us for our Women's Leadership Intensive in DC July 26-August 1 (Sunday-Saturday): PINK the halls of Congress, meet with CODEPINK cofounders and staff for a special pink strategy session and a dance party that would make Emma Goldman proud. Here's a letter from Des:
Sisters and Brothers-in-Peace,
Believe it or not, when Rae welcomed me through the doors of the PINK HOUSE 2 1/2 years ago, I had NO idea I would be here that long or grow so much!! My initial plan was to help out during the anniversary of the war 2007 action and stay for just 1 month!
"Pinking" the Hill, working with peacemakers from all over the country and welcoming activists from Brazil, Cameroon, Ghana, Iraq, Iran, Israel, Italy, Japan, Pakistan and Vietnam to the PINK HOUSE has been a profound experience for me for which I am eternally grateful. I have learned and experienced so much in such a short a span of time thanks to the women I have worked so closely with over the last two years, dear Ann, Dana, Gael, Joan, Jodie, Leslie, Liz, Lydia, Medea, Nancy, Rae, and Sam and hundreds of others! Thank you for teaching me so much!
Opportunities to learn and contribute will continue as I will be close by the PINK HOUSE in my own apartment and as a Youth Services Librarian every day I share lessons learned as an empowered "pinker" for peace and social justice.
The PINK HOUSE lives on, albeit only as long as you want it to. Please continue supporting our work by coming to DC, especially if you've never stayed here www.codepinkalert.org/house or can help support other activists to come to the Hill.
Come see me and PINK ON!!!
CODEPINK DC / Activist House Coordinator
Tuesday, June 2, 2009
Monday, May 25, 2009
I see my friend Medea, leading the charge against injustice as she often does, with other wonderful Pinkers (is that Lori on the right?) in the background. Other folks see "wingnuts...armed with ideological certainty...addicted to...a righteous indignation that makes them unable to see any perspective other than their own."
That would be John Avlon, self-described centrist who used to work for none other than Rudy Giuliani and the New York Sun. It seems his understanding of occupying the so-called middle and finding common ground is a Solomon-esque approach grabbing whatever he can label extreme on either side of the two-dimensional political spectrum and castigate both of them. Fair and balanced!
Says he, after first addressing The Right's Wingnut of the Week:
The looney left protest group Code Pink attempted to assault former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice with bloodstained hands earlier in the year. Earlier this month, they attempted an ambush of former Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld at the White House Correspondents’ Association Dinner.John might have a bit more street cred if he actually checked his facts. Desiree was found guilty of "disorderly conduct" last May for her 2007 action. Of course there was also no attempted assault by any stretch.
Oh, and she and Medea *did* ambush Rummy.
It's funny how pundits can't seem to get even the simplest facts straight. Perhaps it's because they are unable to see any perspective other than their own as they struggle to prove some vague, chimeric point.
This is all par for the course in Code Pink-land, where a strident cluelessness accompanies street theater protests. They’ve disrupted countless congressional hearings, blocked the opening of military recruiting stations at Berkley and called our soldiers war criminals.I always enjoy the litanies such critics put together, each item without context and assumed to be damning in its own right.
Oh no, Code Pink has disrupted Congressional hearings! Because we all know protest can only occur in Free Speech Zones and never, ever should we let our elected employees and the enablers they invite to their happy little confabs that we are watching them and maybe are even a bit...displeased. For future reference, Pinkers, write a sternly worded letter and allow the matter to drop. Thanks in advance.
And please, stop harassing those nice military recruiters. They're just hard-working folks, who never lie to potential cannon fodder.
BTW, Code Pink isn't the only organization that actively works on counter-recruitment. Our friends at NNOMY do, too, amongst other groups. Why? Because some folks think that we shouldn't be raise our children to kill other parents' children. And sometimes you just have to put yourself in their way to get them to pause and consider what joining the military means.
As for the "war criminal" charge, I've never heard any Pinker actually say that, though I hear it mentioned by detractors all the time. Just like the "they spit on soldiers returning from Vietnam," however, nobody has ever been able to actually show this to be the case--extra surprising in the age of Google. But it sure sounds great when you're in high dudgeon and have an axe to grind!
They’ve been apologists for left-wing dictators like Venezuela’s Hugo ChavezThat wouldn't be the duly-elected president of a sovereign power now, would it? The one who is almost as popular as our own?
and met privately with Iran’s Holocaust-denying President Ahmadinejad and called it “a major step forward.”Indeed, if by 'privately' you mean "with 150 other peace activists" and issued a public press release. What's really puzzling is why building bridges is something to be decried by a centrist who tells us we need to find common ground. Some fairly non-pink folks think it's a good idea with regard to Iran specifically, and Howard Thurman would agree on general principle.
What's more, it is interesting that somebody like Medea would be such a self-hater that she would gleefully make peace with a Holocaust-denier. It's almost like Alvon threw that in there just to be...inflammatory.
Lately, they’ve been collecting donations for Gaza.Next scandal: Code Pink collects donations to save puppies. The horror. Of course, that self-hating, anti-Israel Medea is just doing this because she loves Hamas or something.
Or maybe Code Pink is trying to change the status quo just a bit, and make sure humanitarian aid gets into Gaza where more than half the population are children suffering from PTSD and depression, and growing up to hate Israel and America. Maybe Code Pink is once again trying to find common ground.
The US government is for them the prime enemy of peace in the world today. And apparently their feelings were not specific to the Bush administration.Correct! Finally.
We don't work against specific administrations. We work for an agenda of peace and justice. Bush was the extreme we've had to deal with in the Executive branch; Obama is more moderate and thoughtful, and closer to our side but still far from perfect. So we create the space for him to do the right thing using myriad time-tested nonviolent tactics.
You'd think a "centrist" would appreciate that we don't just resist a president just because they have an R after their name.
Code Pink is trying to speak for the folks on the far-left who feel burned by the recent $96 billion dollar funding for troop escalation in Afghanistan, despite the fact that Obama campaigned on such an increase.This person who phonebanked, canvassed and captained for Obama knows he campaigned on such an increase. What of it? Did I somehow forfeit my right to dissent because of this?
19th century Republican Senator Carl Schurz famously said: My country right or wrong. When right, to keep right; when wrong, to put right. Same goes for my president.
President Obama’s centrist course of action in Afghanistan and Iraq succeeded in depolarizing the most divisive issue of this decade within weeks of his entering office.If he depolarized this issue, how could Avlon also say, "On the same day that President Obama’s approach to the war on terror was being attacked from the right by former Vice President Dick Cheney..."?
But what's wrong with polarization, anyway? Was there some time in our nation's idyllic past wherein everybody agreed about everything and frolicked in paradise, plucking ripe fruit from the tree of liberty all year round? There's an unreasonable and haughty aspect to the "centrist" fear of disagreement and division, which I guess explains how uncomfortable it makes them when people go out full force in support of their ideals.
For Code Pink, turning over Afghanistan to the Taliban would be the best way to achieve peace and justice. For a group supposedly dedicated to women’s rights, that is naïve in the extreme.Oh, what an onion of wrongness left for us to unpeel. A false dichotomy bolstered by ignorance of facts on the ground, wrapped in a strawman erected hoping nobody ever checks into what Code Pink's actual stance on Afghanistan is. Shocking.
It’s time for a reality check: nobody is pro-abortion, just as nobody is purely pro-war.I know he's talking to Randall Terry, but I am compelled to agree that nobody is pro-abortion. We are pro-choice, pro-reproductive freedom. And the point is taken that even with such stark, seemingly binary political positions, we can still find some common ground in such a divisive environment.
Yet common ground and compromise are not the same as capitulation. While we might work together with anti-choicers on issues like access to contraception to reduce the number of unwanted pregnancies, we would not give in to the notion that a woman's body isn't her own to control.
Similarly, we certainly agree something needs to be done to protect America by reducing terrorism, but we are going to fundamentally oppose American exceptionalism and violent solutions that do nothing to secure us and only increase terrorism whilst also creating more human misery around the globe.
And while American presidents oft say they don't want war, they generally do so just before launching one. Obama isn't anti-war, by his own admission. Given how he's linked the waste of lives and treasure in Iraq to our domestic problems, we're here to see that he makes a similar connection regarding Afghanistan.
We can find common ground in America, but it requires thinking responsibly about solving problems, not rabid protests.Once again, heaven forfend if we protest and offend virgin ears. Fetch me my smelling salts as I retire to the fainting couch. And of course protesting is mutually exclusive with thinking responsibly.
Democracy depends on a faith in persuasion, not violent polarization.Democracy depends on many things, actually, not just binary choices between persuasion and something else. Perhaps Avlon would consider that it depends on people of conscience acting in defense of principles they hold dear. Samuel Adams would say so: It does not require a majority to prevail, but rather an irate, tireless minority keen to set brush fires in people's minds.
What else does democracy require? A sovereign people aware of their various choices, methinks. If the Military Industrial Complex is shoved down their throats by the media masters owned by corporations that make weapon systems, how do we make them aware of other viewpoints? We must grab their attention somehow.
It also requires diversity of action. Paul Hawken speaking at the University of Portland's graduation:
No one knows how many groups and organizations are working on the most salient issues of our day: climate change, poverty, deforestation, peace, water, hunger, conservation, human rights, and more. This is the largest movement the world has ever seen.So we're pushing for our ideals as part of a large tapestry. When we can, we make connections with other people, organizations and agendas. When we can't, we stand firm. That's not a bad thing in a democracy.
Rather than control, it seeks connection. Rather than dominance, it strives to disperse concentrations of power.
And violent polarization? I think Avlon used up his allowance of hyperbole early on.
I admit to a certain amount of frustration lately with the punditocracy. They act as though they alone are capable of receiving wisdom, casting about for solutions people have already come up with. They remind me of Plato, who valued pure thought over real experience.
It's exhausting to deal with such ignorance, but it always offers a chance for outreach and education. So even though I'd rather just say, "this dude doesn't know jack and his piece is clearly ridiculous to the casual observer," I recall that most people don't know about all the things Code Pink does, were never taught all the fine examples of nonviolent action through history, and don't realize their own power in this democracy.
So we take a deep breath, explain one more time what we're about (with or without snark), and hope that perhaps we reach another person somewhere who's willing to consider an alternative to the status quo and step beyond their own comfort.
(h/t aangus and noblejoanie)
Thursday, May 21, 2009
We tried various tactics to infiltrate the event, but didn't get very far. Security seemed to be especially heightened considering they felt the need to have three burly men "escort" me from the premiss.
The pink ladies had to satisfy themselves with making a scene on the sidewalk instead. On the bright side, being expelled from the AEI building gave us a chance to interact with the public and inform them of Cheyney's war crimes. We the people need to do everything in our power to create an awareness amongst ourselves about the actions of our leaders and to make known the message that torture is never an acceptable tactic on or off American land. Cheyney has been blatantly ignoring the values laid down by the American Constitution and the Geneva Convention without any consequences. We need to get the message out that no one is above the law, especially the American government.
Wednesday, May 20, 2009
On Tuesday the Pink interns were sent off to find Congressman, Dennis Kucinich to ask for the favor of his endorsement of CODEPINK to the Israeli embassy for our upcoming trip to Egypt and the Gaza Strip. We found him at his hearing for the Committee of Oversight and Government Reform, and were able to catch the last few minutes of his statement concerning the legalization of marijuana. We were able to chase him down as the hearing recessed for lunch. Kucinich was very amiable and supportive of CODEPINK, and agreed to put in a good word for us with the Israeli embassy, which is great because we could use all the good credit we can get with them considering their distaste with our pro-Palestine stance. The rest of the day passed quickly as the interns ran around the Hill trying to garner support from other Congressmen, which I found to be quite grueling process that involved being shuffled from this aid to that aid, leaving messages with this or that secretary, and frequently being given the amorphous reply of "Well, we will see what we can do . . ." by everyone but the Congressmen we sought. The level of commitment was astounding (insert sarcasm here).
Today, the agenda is to attend the hearing for the Committee of Foreign Relations which our dear Hillary R. Clinton is presiding over. For those of you who read this in time, be sure to check CSPAN for Pinkies at the hearing.
Monday, May 18, 2009
When we arrived at the White House we were met not only by the hoards of the pro-Israel lobby, which I will get to in a moment, but also by a large group of Tamil advocares, who had turned out in the wake of the killing of Velupillai Prabhakaran, the leader of the Tamil opposition in the 26 year Sri Lankan civil war. The members of the pro-Israel lobby met the pink ladies with mixed reactions . . . needless to say, they weren't too happy to see a pro-Palestine factions. Many were very aggressive towards us; ripping and grabbing at our banner and clothes, shoving us, yelling insulted, accusing us of being "Jew-murdering terrorists", and at one point I was even punched by an elderly, but fiesty Jewish matron, whose size was decieving of her strength. In fact, some of them became so hostile that the police had to create a barrier between the pro-Palestine and pro-Israel factions.
But there were a few among the pro-Israel lobby that were willing to talk with us peacefully, and who were open to a friendly exchange of ideas and knowledge. There was even a moment of true peace when Brian Hennessey, a friend and supporter of CODEPINK, crossed the barrier, spoke with and embraced the Israel advocates. As both sides realized that it was possible to set aside personal agendas and beliefs in the name of peace and cooperation the hostility subsided. We can only hope for the same between Israel and the PLO. Peace! Salaam! Shalom!
Brain makes peace
Friday, May 15, 2009
Naturally, I'm not a big fan of Donald Rumsfeld, or the Iraq War strategy, or the foreign policy -- if it can be called that -- that came out of the Bush White House. And, on principle, I'm sort of okay with messing around with the White House Correspondents' Dinner. Nevertheless, I find it hard to divine the value of Code Pink yelling at Rumsfeld in this setting.I recommend Jason reads Gene Sharp's 198 Methods of Nonviolent Action, especially Methods 31 and 32: haunting and taunting officials. Just a couple of the myriad tactics Code Pink uses regularly.
In the first place, there's the pointlessness: the Beltway press are fully on board with "looking forward, not backward," and preserving comity, and not troubling their pretty little minds with the hurtful thoughts of the people they cover going to jail.This is precisely why you do such things. Shake up the status quo, interrupt the cognitive dissonance, if only for a moment. Without being challenged, officials and the press who fawn over them will never feel the need to change their minds.
But more to the point, I've watched Code Pink shout at Al Gore, of all people, at Netroots Nation, of all places, as he was explaining his national environmental policy initiative, of all the things to shout down.No, you actually haven't. Really, you haven't.
When you basically go out and disrupt EVERYTHING, it's hard to know where you stand on ANYTHING.If only there were some technology wherein "computers" could be "internetworked" and you could check out a "web" of information so as to divine Code Pink's "stances." And if only Code Pink did stuff other than disrupting things.
So, yeah, I find this stuff relentlessly unimpressive, but I've also found that plenty of people object to me saying so. Just like the Tea Parties! I nevertheless believe that just as crisis demands we not abandon our principles, our response to crisis demands we at least attempt to preserve a measure of dignity.More stupid stunts, eh? Dignity above all is what's important to armchair inactivists who wring their hands when somebody stands up to murderers! It must be frustrating knowing you're so ill-informed and self-righteous when these silly people don't listen to your wisdom and concern...
Wednesday, May 13, 2009
Sunday, May 10, 2009
Monday, April 27, 2009
PEACE Diplomacy Love Truth Cooperation is the way forward they smiled ...........and one even flashed the peace sign!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Sunday, April 26, 2009
Listen, chat, e-mail email@example.com and/or call in to (347) 326-9471.
Friday, April 24, 2009
by Lisa Savage
General Petraeus testified to the House Appropriations subcomittee this morning on the supplemental war funding request of $83 billion that will come up for a vote soon. CODEPINK turned out in force: Gael, Medea, Liz, Toby, Martha, Sarah, Maggie and I lined up out in the hall early but there was really no need -- hardly anyone else showed up to listen. Still, we were barred from sitting in the empty rows of seats at the front of the audience (i.e. close behind Petraeus where we'd be visible on camera). When Petraeus said something about the need to better prepare National Guard and reserve troops to do their jobs (sic) in Afghanistan, and Liz said, "Our National Guard should be at home in their home states, not in combat," the police pounced on her and put her under arrest. She left the room willingly, but they hauled her off to processing anyway.
(Search for today's hearing on C-SPAN to see Liz hustled out and listen to the piles and heaps of b.s. the General had cooked up to conceal the fact that the supplemental allocates more than 10 to 1 military over aid or diplomacy spending. At one point he says we don't want to eat our young, and then moments later that said young might be bumping into a glass ceiling. Block that metaphor!)
As soon as the hearing ended Medea went to Rep. Chet Edwards' office to plead with his staff to have him intervene with the police. (Edwards chaired the subcommitte and also said some nice things about freedom of expression along the way). I stayed to follow up and eventually the congressman himself emerged from the back office and told me his staff had called the capitol police to say he was very much opposed to Liz's arrest for speaking out. He apologized several times, and said that in fact in the hearing the committee had been "trying to get at some of the things on your signs." (NO MILITARY SOLUTION / GOT DIPLOMACY?? / $76 b. WAR, ONLY $7b. AID?). We had a good talk. He seemed amazed that a social studies teacher would spend a beautiful Friday on spring break attending the Petraeus hearing. "Now that's dedication!" he said with a big grin. Me: "I'm going to go back and tell the students how the 1st amendment really works in Washington."
Just a few minutes ago I got to talk to Liz on Gael's phone. She was without an i.d. but had a check someone had just given her so they were running her name through the system before releasing her. I thought this meant she was not arrested, but Gael said she would probably be cited and have to appear in court. Liz sounded ok and said not to worry. She is the hardest working unpaid citizen lobbyist I have ever known (yes, I have known a few). The American people owe her. Where is everybody when Petraeus is asking for this kind of $$$ to keep killing people?? (Sure, he said all the right stuff about aid and rebuilding and diplomacy, but check the numbers in his budget to expose that particular lie.) My family jumped in and helped when I emailed an urgent plea to call Edwards' office, and soon she was released. Thank you!
What an exhilarating week. I was proud to be pink before, but my delight at being associated with this fiercely dedicated, intelligent, paying attention group is complete. I have to go home very early tomorrow morning to resume my teacherly duties, but this I vow -- I will be back!
Thursday, April 23, 2009
by Lisa Savage
Started off the day with pinksters Gael, Liz, Medea, Maggie, Lori & Sarah at the Senate Foreign Relations committee hearing "Soldiers' stories from the Afghan War," chaired by John Kerry. One great witness called was a retired Army colonel from B.U., Andrew Bacevich, who studies "war and conflict" (thank you for not pretending they mean the same thing, professor). He said without doubt there is NO MILITARY SOLUTION IN AFGHANISTAN, in fact our military presence makes the situation worse, that we are viewed as occupiers. He kept saying "the long war" meaning both Iraq and Afghanistan and Pakistan and... is parallel in key ways to Vietnam: no clear goal, no exit strategy, and unaffordable both in $$ and public opinion. Yes!!! Exactly!!! So good to hear someone credible say it loud in public.
Also heard from retired Marine Rick Reyes about being getting tips and beating up random civilians who were only guilty of bringing milk home, but had been informed upon for $$. This is not what young men think they are going to be heroically doing in foreign misadventures, apparently. He strongly felt that more of the same would be extremely counterproductive to U.S. goals in Afghanistan. Another soldier who told about his buddy dying said the buddy's last words were: "I'm sorry I let you down." Pardon the obvious but I felt so much like we;re the ones letting these young kids down by letting them get sucked into fighting for corporate profits. Sen. Corker questioned one of the soldiers about his estimation that U.S. goals were or weren't being well served, saying he himself was unable to a see a goal that the U.S. was reasonably pursuing in Afghanistan. Quelling al-Quaeda? "Al-Quadea is in many countries." A really top notch international police force was the solution that set the most heads nodding in the room.
While listening to all this we held our signs high and got away with it. Kerry is famous for having said as a young vet of Vietnam that it's hard to ask a soldier to be the last one to die for a mistake, so one sign we held was: LAST ONE TO DIE FOR THIS MISTAKE? Medea talked to the press after and I hope we got some coverage of the pink presence. After the hearing officially ended we held up signs including a neon pink sign with a drone and 687 PAKISTANIS DEAD, ?? MILITANTS MADE on it, because the cameras were still rolling as the participants were interviewed.
Tried to get into the panel where our Italian friends were testifying about U.S. military base expansion in their country, but it was over. The other girls who had tried to attend had been kept from entering the building. Obama was in the house (actually, Senate) this morning, and we stood on the sidewalk and waved at his motorcade leaving. Walked home to Pink house for an extra quick lunch, back in Gail's car to the House committee hearing where Atty. General Holder was testifying. He is the person who could prosecute war criminals, and we all know who they are -- not hard to find I had to leave early on for my appointment with legislative aides to Olympia Snowe. Lobbied them against surging in Afghanistan, a "no" vote on supplemental war funding, or at least an amendment shifting $$ into aid and diplomacy and away from military. Gave the jobs report from UMass Amherst proving peaceful production also creates more jobs and better quality jobs than building weapons. Needs to happen!!
Walked home in the gorgeous sunny spring weather with fluffy clouds in the sky and raging tulips in the gardens. Tonight should be quieter than last night, which was a big pot luck dinner for the activist community. A great and very interesting meeting after the meal about world opinion on the Israel-Palestine conflict since Gaza, and some actions related to that. I am learning so much -- this is like taking a really great seminar in organizing and political effectiveness. Thank you to everyone who has contributed to my learning here, both this week and prior to my visit!! Too many to mention, and that is exciting in itself. Thanks, too, for all the love and support from my family and friends. And xoxoxo to you know who. Having a wonderful time, wish you were here. Tomorrow is my last day. Gen. Petraeus is appearing before Congress --I think I'll go to that.
Wednesday, April 22, 2009
In the morning we hoofed it from Pink House to the House Foreign Relations committee hearing with Secretary of State Clinton. The pink early birds got into the room but I wasn't early enough, so I hung out in line scrawling signs ("$76 b. for war, $7 b. for aid + diplomacy. New direction?") and being hassled by the capitol police. What a difference from exercising my free speech rights yesterday before the panel overseeing Geithner and chaired by Harvard Law Prof Elizabeth Bennett!
Eventually I did get in and was told repeatedly I could not hold a sign, would be kicked out if I didn't hide it, and so forth. I sat about two feet behind Hillary and heard her field questions on topics from why Obama shook hands with Hugo Chavez to what she is doing about opening the border crossings into Gaza. She was a smooth operator and played a lot better in person than she does on t.v. Liz exercised her free speech rights in spite of squelching, calling out "Talk to Hamas, Hillary!" -- a good message since Hillary had just said that the U.S. had similarly tried to isolate Venezuela for the last eight years "and look where that got us."
Mid-day I stopped by to try and get an appointment with Chellie Pingree, then met with Congressman Mike Michaud as a follow up to a meeting last month where CODEPINK Maine and Waterville Area Bridges for Peace & Justice had posed the question, Why Afghanistan? Today I reminded Mike of the stunning lack of evidence that U.S. military action in Afghanistan reduces terrorism, and urged him to vote "no" on the supplemental war funding bill. He did not promise, saying he had not read the bill yet -- but I noted he has voted no on supplemental bills in the past. I expressed my dismay with the plan to allocate $76 billion for war and only $7 billion for aid and diplomacy. Mike had been to Afghanistan since our last meeting and said that he had been told Afghanis change sides depending on who pays the most. Also that it appears some U.S. funds actually end up supporting the Taliban due to corruption and lack of accountability. All the more reason to get out now!
I asked also about an earmark he had put through for research at UMO that appeared to be for military purposes. He appeared to know of my email on the topic a couple of weeks ago, and was ready with an answer: it is not for Aegis destroyer development, but for an innovative kind of fortification for tents that makes them resist mortar attacks. Hard to argue with that, so I moved on to talking about converting jobs in Maine to peaceful purposes, and the workers' initiative at Bath Iron Works to stop building Aegis destroyers and start building wind turbines. As a teacher, I begged him to create peaceful jobs in the state as an alternative to military enlistment for my students.
After that I scurried through the halls with Christiana, CODEPINK intern and a member of the recent Gaza delegation, in search of Rep. Shelley Berkley. We missed her but talked to her office staff about our concern with some of her remarks about preconditions (very biased toward Israel) for the peace process in Gaza. Then we walked home to Pink House through a spring shower, surrounded by trees flowering pinkly.
Tuesday, April 21, 2009
My favorite part about being here with CODEPINK has been the recognition and positive praise we get from a wide range of people. Today I followed Liz around the senate buildings as she greeted everyone from senators to police officers. We were often smiled at or flashed a peace sign, and someone even jokingly called us “troublemakers.” It’s amazing what wearing a little pink can do. I think we made people uneasy as we walked into the hearings. The other CODEPINK ladies said we’re well known as an unpredictable group, so the capitol police are a little leery of us. We certainly did stand out amidst the suits and pantyhose and professional looking people. But we were quiet and I didn’t get arrested, so my parents will be happy!
I’ll be writing again this week…
Maggie Whitman (Wisconsin)
by Lisa Savage
Springtime in the capital! It's so great to be here.
Yesterday I arrived at the CODEPINK House in Washington DC around noon. Welcomed warmly and immediately swept up into the swirling clouds of pink action!! I met Medea Benjamin, one of my biggest heroines, right away, and then sat in on a conference call she and the other founders of CP had to plan the days ahead. I am learning a lot, both about process and about what's really going on in the world. For instance, did you know that there are now 4 million displaced people inside Colombia? They have surpassed Sudan in numbers of internal refugees. U.S. military aid and the so-called war on drugs (spraying farmers off their fields) are responsible. Your tax dollars at work, but who knew? Practically the first thing I did (besides knitting a pink square for the Mother's Day fence cozy) was a solidarity action with Witness for Peace in Lafayette Park. They had created paper dolls representing each 1000 people driven off their land, and we helped them hold those up within sight of the White House while listening to speakers from Colombia explain our government's role in creating this tragedy. From there we hopped into the pink van (soooo cool) for a ride to Busboys and Poets Peace Cafe. This event was filled with local activists who had gathered to listen to Dr. Izzeldin Abuelaish, a Palestinian doctor in Gaza and who lost three daughters in an air strike there just a few months ago. His message: the patient in the ICU, and the treatment is dialogue between all parties to the
conflict. Forget about one state vs. two state right now --- save the patient! Only love and listening will do that. An amazing message from a father with every reason to respond to unspeakable grief with anger. He shared some beautiful photos and quotes from his children, including: VIOLENCE NEVER SOLVES ANYTHING! Amen to that.
Today Medea and Liz and I staked out the oversight hearings where Treasury Secretary Geithner testified. The early pinks got front row seats and were joined by college students Maggie and Sarah to help surround Geithner with pink signage proclaiming: We Want Our $ Back! This was the first time the Treasury had agreed to appear before the committee and there was a lot of press coverage, so the sea of pink was seen on Reuters video, C-SPAN (lead story), AP and so on. Go team! Then Liz led us neophytes on a whirlwind tour of various senator's offices -- I dropped in on both Susan Collins and Olympia Snowe, leaving my calling card as neither were home. I shook hands with Senator Burris, who got Obama's seat, and talked to lots of other folks in and around the senate building and cafeteria. Pink makes friends everywhere! Oh, did I mention that the CNN reporters we hung out with before Geithner appeared lent us their duct tape? Later a cameraman named Eddie in another hearing showed us a clip of our coverage saying, "You folks have been busy today!" That was in a hearing of the senate committee on contractor fraud, run by Senator McHaskell of Missouri, who was in red not pink but seemed happy to see us there as she worked with inspector generals on the ridiculous rules that hamper their oversight of the billions paid out to KBR, Blackwater, Halliburton, et al. Senator Collins is the ranking member and made a brief appearance but I was not quick enough to jump up and run out into the hall to speak with her when she departed before the hearing ended. Liz schooled me on that one as we walked back from the senate to CP house. She is showing us how it's done, knowing who's who and what to talk with them about and never hesitating to speak up. So inspiring.
That's all for now. The only downside of the trip so far is I lost my cell phone in the taxi on the way here, but with pink friends all around me, I can survive.
Sunday, April 19, 2009
Saturday, April 18, 2009
Friday, April 17, 2009
Saturday, April 11, 2009
This week: Aasif Shah gives us the point of view of a Pakistani-American on the war on "terror" in what is now commonly called Af-Pak, Elsa Rassbach provides perspective from the Germany No Bases Movement, Kelli Large of Military Families Speak Out relates her experiences as a military family member, and Lisa Savage CODEPINK Maine discusses local actions around the wars and their mobilizing efforts.Listen, chat, e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org and/or call in to 347.326.9471.
Saturday, April 4, 2009
And tomorrow, don't forget PINK Talk at 5EDT/2PDT:
This week: the March on Wall Street, Sheriff Arpaio & immigrant rights, upcoming local and nationwide actions. Reports from NYC, AZ, DC and more. Plus your questions and comments!Listen, chat, e-mail us at email@example.com and/or call in to 347.326.9471.
PS--there have been some attacks on the Internet causing problems with domain names, so you might also bookmark http://blogtalkradio.com/codepink as a backup in case http://pinktalkradio.org/ isn't working.
Saturday, March 28, 2009
Listen, chat, call in and/or email your questions/comments!
Sunday, March 22, 2009
Tune in today at 5pm Eastern for the inaugural PINK Talk!CODEPINK:Women for Peace kicks off their Internet radio talk show with the compelling stories of women in Gaza. We will hear from CODEPINK cofounders Medea Benjamin and Gael Murphy who along with Colonel Ann Wright recently returned from Gaza where they led a delegation of 60 peace and social justice activists to this war-torn region. Listeners are welcomed and encouraged to call in, join the online chat and/or email firstname.lastname@example.org with questions or comments for our guests.
Thursday, March 19, 2009
Why are Medea and crew taunting these poor, poor rich folks? It's so...unseemly and dare I say, rude!
NY Daily News:
Imagine that! Code Pink somehow managed to get seats at the AIG hearing. How on earth did they pull that off?
CodePink may be an anti-war group, but they’ve also got a nose for news, and five members managed to get seats in the AIG hearing today. And they managed to provide a little lighthearted news.
Founder Medea Benjamin and her partners came dressed, of course, in pink, and came bearing signs like “AIG (arrrow) JAIL” and “Fire Geithner.”
But holding them up while AIG CEO Edward Liddy testified prompted a sharp rebuke to the “lady in pink” from subcommittee chairman Paul Kanjorski (D-Pa.), who ordered them to handover their signs or leave, before the committee chairman Rep. Barney Frank asked questions.
Unable to resist a preamble aimed at the glowering, scowling Kanjorski, Frank noted, “considering your method of dealing with this, it’s a good thing no one was wearing a T-shirt.”
As far as their presence there, Benjamin said they saw the AIG mess as intimately related to the wars. “Our economic mess now is related to the war we’re still paying for,” she said.
“They’re criminals. This is criminal what they did,” said Benjamin, referring to AIG. “I can’t believe we’re talking about bonuses considering the rest of the bailout, but this was theft.”
The Capitol police know CodePink well, and Benjamin and a few officers were seen chatting and laughing with each other after the hearing took a break.
Anyway, it's a funny little story, but the larger issue it illustrates is how much myth there still is surrounding CP and really citizen engagement in democracy. I've had people ask me, "how do you get in to hearings?" Uh...we show up, wait in line with everybody else, then take a seat. It's just that simple.
Yet people don't know they have that right--the responsibility, even--to attend hearings and other government activities. This is our machinery of democracy, and we assume it's some self-oiling mechanism that will run just fine without a driver. I hope with Obama's successful use of grassroots organizing this can change.
I'll also note that somehow people think CP is "anti-war." We ran into that during Inauguration, being asked about how anti-Bush and anti-war and anti-whatever we are, and whether we have no mission with Obama in the White House. I replied that we've always been "pro-peace" and that means not just protesting Iraq and Afghanistan and Gaza, but doing positive, constructive things to foment justice here and all around the world.
Maybe if more people understood that, they'd be more willing to join us...
Tuesday, March 10, 2009
Monday, March 9, 2009
Iraqi women are suffering a ‘silent emergency’, trapped in a downward spiral of poverty, desperation and personal insecurity despite an overall decrease in violence in the country, according to a survey of 1,700 women in Iraq released today by international aid agency Oxfam.
The survey report, “In Her Own Words: Iraqi women talk about their greatest concerns and challenges,” is being released on International Women’s Day to highlight the daily hardships women are facing as a result of years of conflict.
“Women are the forgotten victims of Iraq. Despite the billions of dollars poured into rebuilding Iraq and recent security gains, a quarter of the women interviewed still do not have daily access to water, a third cannot send their children to school and since the war started, over half have been the victim of violence. And to add further insult more than three quarters of widows, many of whom lost their husbands to the conflict, get no government pension which they are entitled to,” said Oxfam International Executive Director Jeremy Hobbs.
- Income was worse for 45% of women in 2008 compared with 2007 and 2006, while roughly 30% said it had not changed in that same time period
- 33% of women had received no humanitarian assistance since 2003
- 76% of widows were not receiving a pension from the government
- Nearly 25% of women had no daily access to drinking water & half of those who did have daily access to water said it was not potable; 69% said access to water was worse or the same as it was in 2006 & 2007
- One-third of respondents had electricity 3 hours or less per day; two-thirds had 6 hours or less; 80% said access to electricity was more difficult or the same compared to 2007; 82% as compared to 2006 and 84% as compared to 2003
- Nearly half of women said access to quality healthcare was more difficult in 2008 compared with 2006 and 2007
- 40% of women with children reported that their sons and daughters were not attending school
Leslie on her 2nd day of vigil and fast for Gaza in front of the White House.
What a great time yesterday. Not so many people out and about as there were on Saturday--at least in the few hours I was there--but still wonderful interactions. Just some impressions:
- Who we met: Socialists from Chicago, IL, highschoolers from Fon du Lac, WI, bikers from IL, joggers from DC, visitors from Germany, Colombia, Japan, Sweden, Ireland, S Africa, China, Nepal, India, Netherlands
- Cop asked for our names at the outset: I provided mine and said we were with Code Pink; Leslie rightly did not, observing nobody had required this yesterday. He also asked what we were protesting and I noted to him that we weren't doing anything of the kind, but rather were promoting peace.
- We had just one person almost at the beginning of our who demanded to know what we proposed to do about "bin Laden and all these crazies" and didn't seem all that empathetic toward civilians in Palestine, Iraq, Afghanistan. 3000 killed on 9/11 were innocents, 1.2M killed in Iraq are all terrorists.
- The rest of our interactions were very positive, with lots of people asking to take pictures of us, wanting to pose with us, and accepting peace ribbons and Make Out, Not War stickers.
- One lady from the Netherlands lives in S Africa and works with the ANC; another was a psychologist who debriefed members of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.
- Leslie spoke with a "conservative humanitarian" who voted Dem for the first time casting her ballot for Obama. Very reasonable and open-minded, had been to Gaza (she felt they were anti-American on her visit, contrary to our team's experience) and Iran (very pro-American, jibing with Leslie's visits).
- I spoke with a member of the Navy who appreciated what we do and said he was working toward a peaceful world for his kids, whom he will not allow to join the military; I thanked him for his service.
- So many variations of "thank you for your convictions/ideals/doing this" from passers-by.
- Also many said "we have a peace president" in response to our banner; yes, he's more a peace president than Bush was or McCain would be, but there's still much work to be done vis Gaza, Afghanistan, Iraq and peace and justice at home.
Dorks for peace!
I hear tell some dude stole my sign after I'd wandered over to the Road to Freedom exhibition (which ends today so hurry if you haven't seen it!). He wore it well, though I think I'd look better in the boa. Hope he remembers that what he wisely said in his inaugural address holds true for us and our allies.
With that, I head home and give my heartfelt thanks to Leslie, Des and Blaine for once again creating a wonderful space at the Pink House. I'm breaking my fast tonight, but will be thinking of my dear friend as she continues her peace work in front of the White House until our Gaza delegation comes home from theirs.
Sunday, March 8, 2009
and 58 others
WHAT: D.C. activist to fast in solidarity with Alice Walker, 58 other delegates currently in
WHEN: 11 a.m. March 8 to March 14
WHERE: On the of the White House
WASHINGTON -- In solidarity with Pulitzer-Prize winning novelist Alice Walker and 58 others currently in war-torn Gaza, a D.C.-based CODEPINK activist will begin a week-long fast and vigil today outside the White House, calling for the Obama administration to urge the Israeli government to immediately end its border blockade on Gaza and halt settlement expansion in Palestinian land.
Leslie Angeline, who will sit with friends near Lafayette Park outside the White House, said her efforts will mark International Women's Day today, honor Gazan women and represent the wishes of the 60-member international delegation currently in Gaza, which returns March 14.
Egyptian authorities allowed the delegation, including Pulitzer-Prize winning novelist Alice Walker, the parents of , who was killed in Gaza in 2003, and 57 others into Gaza March 7. it will meet with UN and rights' groups officials, Gazan civilians, and witness the damage from the 22-day Israeli attacks there earlier this year.
"I voted for President Obama because he promised change and peace," Angeline said. "It's time for him to prove he'll keep his word."
The UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) invited the delegation to Gaza to celebrate International Women's Day with the women of Gaza.
For more information, please call Jean Stevens at 508-769-2138 or Leslie Angeline at 360-786-0684.
Leslie started her vigil for Gazan women and children in front of the White House yesterday morning. After a special PaxLive featuring Desiree, we took the X2 bus to join in for a lovely afternoon of visibility and outreach.
Since my handwriting has been compared to that of a serial killer, I printed out a sign with a quote from Obama's inaugural address: "Your people will judge you on what you can build, not what you destroy."
Des tied a peace ribbon to the White House fence.
After our relatively brief vigil of mere hours, we stopped by to check on Connie, who still had a foam peace hand we'd brought in January when we had a vigil to remember Thomas.
Today we're heading to the White House, then at her suggestion I'm going to the Smithsonian's Ripley Center to check out the exhibition Road to Freedom: Photographs of the Civil Rights Movement, 1956-1968. That should be a good capstone for the action, and my regular 198 Sundays post will in part feature her father, an original Freedom Rider, as our Gaza delegation continues its modern freedom ride.
(originally posted at Green Mountain Code Pink)
Friday, March 6, 2009
BTW, a Very Important Announcement: tune in tomorrow at 1230pm Eastern/930am Pacific to hear our very own Desiree talk about her *2 years* in DC and other cool things! Go to http://paxlive.net or http://www.blogtalkradio.com/PaxLive to listen and chat online, and call in to ask questions or share your thoughts at (718) 766-4126.
We now return you to your regularly scheduled pinking...
Thursday, March 5, 2009
Tuesday, March 3, 2009
Monday, March 2, 2009
[House Minority Whip Eric] Cantor listed some of the more extreme liberal forces — he mentioned Code Pink, the women’s antiwar group, and the “radical environmental movement,” which were about the most provocative examples he could come up with off the top of his head — that seemed, in his view, to hold sway among Democrats in Congress but whom Obama, with his centrist outlook, might need to defy.Extreme liberal forces? I like the sound of that...
Saturday, January 24, 2009
Brainstorming, Code Pink style:
Riding to the National Press Club to see Mitch McConnell, working
on a simple messaging chant about the stimulus. NTodd talks too much,
then Medea boils it all down brilliantly. Thanks to Katy for filming.
Yeah, I talk too much. But hey, I'm an overcaffeinated activist.
On issue after issue, members of both parties have too often fallen into the habit of asking narrow interest groups what they think should be done about something before thinking about what the average American thinks should be done.
This is how a group like CodePink could end up having so much influence in a national debate about the conduct of a war. This is why a prominent labor leader thinks he can tell a reporter that he expects 'payback' from Democrats for the support he gave them during last year's elections. And this is how vulgar insults hurled from overcaffeinated activists can suddenly pass for legitimate political discourse.
When these things happen, it's easy to see why cynicism about government persists.
We were there to applaud when he singled us out, but during dessert Medea, Katy, Anne, Deidra and I were ejected from the luncheon, despite not having done anything, not being pinked out, etc. If folks are interested, my online radio show debriefed that action and other things about this week's activities, including a few very interesting callers, so check out the archive.
Wednesday, January 21, 2009
A revolution without dancing is a revolution not worth having.
All the way from Liberia to see the Inauguration.
The action goes interactive...
...with lots of people joining in the dance.
Hugging for a peaceful world.
Notice they're sporting new Obama Peace Promises ribbons.
Who's that dashing man in the pink boa?
What an amazing time the last week has been...
Monday, January 12, 2009
Liz reporting from DC
Thursday, January 1, 2009
CODEPINK Phoenix Arizona Dec 30 2008
CODEPINK and other concerned activists were out at the new light rail station yesterday educatingvia phone-a-thon the public about the lack of leadership on behalf of our gov't toward the unrest violence,and stop the block of medical supplies in Gaza.We asked constituents to call the State Dept, Members of Congress,Israeli Consulate,Miss Condi Rice to voice opposition for all forms of violence promote a surge in diplomacy,and allow humanitarian aid into Gaza immediately.This is a crisis where people are starving,ambulances have no petrol to operate and handle emergency situations!Ask everyone you know to please call Obama's transtition team Help the people of Gaza are under seige and starving Yes they can have medicine not war!!
We say STOP the violence
Stop the Killing in Gaza