Sunday, October 28, 2007

A newcomer's first week at Code Pink D.C.



Any week with Code Pink anywhere will be a one-of-a-kind experience and a highlight in your life. My first week flew by at the D.C. House. I came from Missoula, Montana, hoping to make peace and raise hell, knowing the Code Pink women only from this Web site and our emails and phone calls to schedule the two-week stay.

These amazing women can be a bit intimidating at first exposure. They're focused peacemaking professionals, they move at light speed, communicate with telepathy, talk in shorthand and always have a task, together or individually, so it's a bit like stepping on a moving train for the first day or two. I began by just tailing along, watching and learning.

The basic Code Pink D.C. idea is speaking truth to power by gaining access to Senators, Representatives, and other decision-makers by any means available, in Capitol Hill hallways, at elevators, the Hill subway stops, scheduled hearings, press conferences and talk shows. They know these officials on sight, and keep track of which issues to raise with the different lawmakers.

These determined women demand that the people's representatives get the troops home from Iraq and prevent a war with Iran. The Pink ladies take positions on other issues as they arise, like firing Blackwater and other private, for-profit mercenaries being paid with taxpayers' money, or opposing the confirmation of Attorney General nominee Michael Mukasey, since the man can't decide whether waterboarding is torture, isn't clear on whether FISA spying violates the Constitution, or whether the President really has to obey the law.

Everyone on Capitol Hill now sees the color pink coming, and these peacemaking ladies, with their colorful costumes, make powerful folks nervous. Passersby on the street also often appear to know what we're up to, and show their approval with peace signs, smiles, and often thanks.

The D.C. House has three above-ground stories and a basement, which serves as an office, costume shop and prop shop. Everywhere you look are antiwar slogans and photos of Pink ladies' actions. My favorite shows a solitary young woman in a flowing pink dress, looking like a dress-up princess, strolling past a solid line of tac-squad police holding shields. On my first night, Sunday, the basement housed a couple dozen young folks from SDS Chicago, in town for the “No War, No Warming” protests on Monday.

Monday we walked down to the Capitol grounds, a 10-15 minute walk, and met various contingents of the coalition, composed of Code Pink, SDS, and Greenpeace. We felt that bringing together the concerns of peace and global warming in one action marked a milestone for the movement, though the turnout was somewhat disappointing. Singing protesters in polar bear suits drew a lot of attention, and several ended up in jail, along with the SDS peacemakers (and no one from Code Pink), after several of them, bears and SDSers alike, blocked a main street alongside the Capitol. This action took place at the intersection of Independence and 1st Street, where a lone man has been fasting for peace on the steps of the Cannon building since October 1.

A Code Pink contingent accompanied David Swanson to deliver Spine Awards to Congressman Pete Stark and Senator Chris Dodd. Then the “No War, No Warming” action moved to the lawn in front of the Capitol. By this time Capitol Police had blocked off the plaza and all approaches to the front steps of the Capitol, so to get to the front lawn, for which we had a rally permit, we had to climb over waist-high walls. A couple of the police carried automatic rifles. Peace seems to make some of them uncomfortable. Rev. Yearwood spoke, poets recited, Des sang, polar bears cheered, and that was that.

Back at the house, women got busy with their laptops, fielding email, blogging, writing press releases and making phone calls.





Tuesday we went to the Canadian Embassy for a press conference Code Pink called to protest the exclusion of Ann Wright and Code Pink founder Medea Benjamin from Canada. The two were refused entry because the FBI had placed their names on a criminals list intended to warn of sexual predators and other dangerous felons, though their “crimes” were misdemeanor civil disobedience in the cause of peace. The fact that they were invited as guests of the Canadian Parliament made no difference. They were not allowed inside the embassy, but the Canadians sent a representative out to talk with us briefly in the rain.

From there we headed to Capitol Hill for a Select Intelligence Committee hearing taking testimony from top FBI officials, a chance to confront the FBI about how Ann and Medea ended up on this list. We kibbutzed a bit during the testimony, but the main action was after the hearing ended, when Medea and other women confronted the FBI spokesmen in the hearing room, then kept up the dialog by walking with the men around the block to their car, where the agents were finally able to escape the questions they stonewalled.

Wednesday turned out, unexpectedly, to be the big day, and I missed the main action. I'm not sorry, since if I'd been there I'd have spent the next 30 hours in jail with Des, Liz, Laurie, Medea and Zool. I was off to lobby my own Montana Senators, appointments scheduled in advance of my trip, and the top priority for newcomers.

But first things first. If you've spent the last few days underground or in outer space or locked in solitary confinement, you may not have heard about Desiree Fairooz's “bloody-handed” confrontation with Secretary of State Condi Rice. It wasn't planned, at least not the way it happened. The House Foreign Affairs Committee was to take testimony from Rice, and the Code Pinkers had the idea the night before of dipping their hands in something resembling blood.

The times when protesters can talk with witnesses without interrupting the hearing are, obviously enough, right before and right after the hearing. The hearing hadn't been convened when Condi walked in, and Des realized to her surprise that there was no one at all and nothing but a couple of chairs between her and Condi – the Secret Service men were all behind Rice. Des seized the moment, walked up to Rice, held bloody hands in her face – but never touched her – and said “The blood of a million Iraqis is on your hands.”

A Secret Service man knocked Representative Ros-Lehtinen out of his way as he dived for Des, and a Capitol Policewomen led her away, unresisting but continuing to comment. “War criminal,” she yelled. “Take her to The Hague.”







But several Capitol Policemen came down hard on the other Code Pink women sitting in the hearing room, knocking Liz off her feet and manhandling her and Medea out of the hearing room, also arresting Lori and Zool, without giving any of them a chance to leave quietly or even to be arrested without brutality. The brutality continued out in the hallway, away from the media. After handcuffing Liz's hands behind her back, a cop knocked her down so she fell onto her face, breaking her glasses and cutting her face close to an eye. At the jail, several of the jailers took pleasure in tormenting their helpless charges, as the women suffered cold for the next 30 hours and slept on steel slabs without mattresses. A few of the jailers were kind and embarrassed by the others.




I was oblivious, off doing my duty with Senators Max Baucus and John Tester of Montana. Baucus has been in the Senate since 1978, and he's used to adulation from his constituents, so I was a bit of a shock. My only shot at him was at the weekly “constituent breakfast,” a lot of polite people from Montana sharing coffee, orange juice and muffins with the two Senators. Baucus was clearly shocked when, emulating my bold sisters, I didn't take “No can do” as an answer on getting the troops home from Iraq. I wasn't wearing pink, so he had no warning. He insisted that until the Democrats get a filibuster-breaking 60 votes, there's nothing he can do. I suggested the Senate could just keep sending Bush war-funding legislation with firm withdrawal conditions and let “The Decider” take responsibility for vetoing troop funding. Baucus raised his voice and kept repeating “60 votes!” He suggested I move to another state and replace their Republican Senators with Democrats. When I'd pushed him about as far as I thought I could, I went over to talk to Senator Tester. I like Tester. This is his first term, and I volunteered for his campaign. As soon as I walked up to Tester, Baucus materialized at his side. “Go ahead, ask him! He'll tell you the same thing!,” Baucus insisted. I told Baucus, “Senator Tester is actually going to sit down and talk with me (unlike you) – We have an appointment at 1 p.m.” “No, go ahead and ask him,” Baucus repeated. Tester did, of course, agree with his senior Senator.



But I had a better meeting with Senator Tester later in the day. My real goal, that I thought I could actually accomplish, was to give him Naomi Wolf's new book, “The End of America,” and get him to agree to read it. Wolf makes a chillingly credible case that the United States is well advanced along a stealthy transformation from democracy to totalitarianism. I got some unexpected help from Tester's mother. He told me his mother had called the preceding weekend and told him to read Naomi Wolf's new book, and he promised he would read it on the plane back to Montana, and I believe him.

“My mother's upset that even though I'm a Senator now, I haven't stopped the war,” Tester said.

When I got back to the House, Gael, Sam, Leslie, Midge and Sean were dealing with a firestorm of press reaction as well as the fact of five colleagues in jail. The story had gone international immediately, and phones were ringing off the hook. If that weren't enough, Wednesday is the weekly potluck and the Freepers (FreeRepublic.com), rightwing thugs, were out front harassing visitors and taking everyone's photo. Gael and Leslie went off to take warm clothes to the prisoners and the rest of us cooked and baked for the potluck, ignored the Freepers, and welcomed intrepid guests.

And I'm only three days into a two-week visit!

To be continued....

26 comments:

JimPreston said...

Welcome Carol!!
Don't sell yourself short, this has been a challenging week, and there aren't many folks who would even try to keep up with the Pink Ladies during this time. Congratulations for keeping a positive spirit and strong, forward-thinking outlook. Good job with your senators, too. "60 votes, 60 votes" For Pete's sake, these guys want to claim to be 'leaders'! They ought to be out there finding the 60 votes instead of telling you they 'can't do anything'.
peace,
jim

Eileen Coles said...

Wonderful and well detailed job telling your story, Carol. Thank you!

margo said...

Carol, I'm the publisher of The End of America. Bravo for getting it to Tester!! We will give you as many copies of the book to deliver to Congress as you want. Great to hear that Tester's mother told him to read it! email me at mbaldwin@chelseagreen.com for more copies. thanks so much for taking that initiative. best, margo baldwin, publisher

Anonymous said...

We are so pleased to see American women standing up and supporting the Iraqi Insurgents with the support of the people from Iran. As soon as we are able to take back Iraq from America and its terrorist occupation forces, we will be just that much to bring peace to all of the Middle East by removing Israel and the Jewish menace and giving back Palestine to the Palestianan people. Please continue the fight against all American oppressers and praise Allah.

Pinky Pinkster said...

Oh, that Anonymous, he's such a joker!!!

Anonymous said...

The only thing putting blood on your hands and shoving them in the Secretary of State's face did was make you and your organization look like a bunch of buffoons. No one with common sense will pay attention to you if you give your message in these ways.

Anonymous said...

"A couple of the police carried automatic rifles. Peace seems to make some of them uncomfortable."

Carol, you need to apologize to those police officers. One of their concerns is that terrorists would strike at any group event, even an event like the one you attend.

Those weapons were not there because to counter any peace march and had there had been a terrorist strike. You folks would have been the first to cast stones if they were needed and not there.

You can be smug, but it is their responsibility and they take your safety seriously.

dancewater said...

I think it was quite effective to put red dye on your hands and put your hands in front of one of the war criminals. It went around the world, and that in and off itself is a very valuable thing. It was a great photo-up.

It is wrong though, that the person pointing out the most hideous of crimes went to jail while condi and the rest of the criminals are still free.

Eileen Coles said...

Oh yeah, terrorists are going to attack a peace march. Right. We must all live in constant fear.

Screw you and screw ANYONE who demands that I live in constant fear, because that tells me EXACTLY who the real terrorists are. Who's protecting us from our 'protectors'?

Anonymous said...

any large public gathering is a target

they killed a "diversity" of Americans on 9/11, what makes you think they'd reward your treason and spare you?

Anonymous said...

yeah, we live is SUCH a police state

you protest and fully expect to go home afterwards unless you insist on getting arrested

and when you insist on being arrested, if you spend more than 3 hours in custody and the usps concierge doesn't put a mint on your jail pillow you guys start screaming attica, attica...

you're a sick puppy to call our troops terrorists

Sally said...

Carol, thanks for the update! I'm from Montana too, and will be coming down to the Code Pink house in December. I'll be sure to look into the constituent breakfast thing. Let me know if you have any other tips for talking to our reps.

Anonymous said...

Carol, do us a favor and get arrested! It is great when people from Code Pink get arrested and get black marks on their records. It is even better when they go to prison!

Anonymous said...

Carol, do us a favor and squeal like a pig when the police arrest you for the stupid stunts Code Pink urges you to do.... Try not to get caught setting fires in the bathrooms at the capitol because that will be a worse offense.

Anonymous said...

Anon, you are right, the do squeal like pigs when they get arrested, but that Fairooz loon didn't... She'll be crying when she gets sentenced though. Hope to see it....

Anonymous said...

Carol, you should be distributing books about Karl Marx. Actually, your new found friends at Code Pink seem to love dictators like Hugo Chavez. You don't have an ethical problem with that? Probably because you are soooooooooo stupid! Maybe I am wrong there, you are just a useful idiot.

Anonymous said...

Can someone tell me what a Freeper is? Is that someone who brings sanity to you lunatics?

Anonymous said...

Carol, congratulations! You should consider going with Media and Jodi down to see Fidel Castro and Hugo Chavez. You can suck their cocks with Media, Jodi and Cindy.....

Anonymous said...

Have you ever sucked dictator dick? That is a requirement for membership in Code Pink....

Anonymous said...

Come with us to Venezuela and Cuba and help us suck the dicks of our communist comrades!

Eileen Coles said...

It's clear anonymous coward needs to figure out why the Gods made his arms that long again. Good luck with that.

Anonymous said...

The Liars March for Tyranny and Oppression: Commie Claws are Coming to Town

Kerri Houston

The media is already characterizing the protesters as “anti-war activists” and their organization as “peace groups.”

Nothing could be further from the truth. They are communists. They are not in favor of peace; indeed, they are hell bent on inciting a communist revolution here in the United States.

Because there aren’t enough of them to occupy an entire city block, they snatch the well meaning into their grasping clutches by misrepresenting their true agenda and hoodwinking college students, grandparents, and soccer Moms with a social conscience into participating in their rallies. Afterall, a rally with only 10 people is, well, a meeting held outside.

So far the media either has not discovered the true nature of protest organizers, or it is generally unwilling to report it.

Communism is a failed political ideology spawning government sponsored terrorism responsible for the murder of over 100 million souls and the unimaginable misery of hundreds of millions more during the 20th century. Its political leaders have sanctioned genocide, giving us the killing fields of Pol Pot’s Cambodia, and the intentional starvation of 10 million Ukrainian peasants in 1933 by Josef Stalin. Millions of innocent Chinese were starved by their communist government resulting in reports of horrifying stories of villagers sacrificing children as a food source.

Modern communists recognize that most people find murderous thuggery distasteful. They wisely do not want to be associated with the brutal realities of past and present communist dictatorships of Stalin, Castro to Kim Jong Il. They have therefore hidden their real agenda behind ideals of which we all approve, such as “peace” and “justice.”

United for Peace and Justice is the chief sponsor of the Inaugural protests and it is run by Leslie Cagan, a longtime communist activist and devotee of Fidel Castro who was active in the American Communist Party commencing in the Vietnam War era. She was also a member of the Communist Party USA’s Committee for Correspondence. Her goals are the promotion of communism and the destruction of the current U.S. system of democracy.

UPF was deliberately formed as a false public and “moderate” voice to shield the American Marxist movement. Their water was originally carried by A.N.S.W.E.R., a communist front “anti-war” organization that was the brainchild of the Stalinist Workers World Party, but when A.N.S.W.E.R. showed its true colors at one too many anti-war rallies, the organized Left became nervous, prompting the formation of United for Peace and Justice with Ms. Cagan in charge.

Formal members of the Peace and Justice Coalition include state chapters of A.N.S.W.E.R., Committees for Correspondence, Communist Party USA, Communist Party of Vietnam, Ruckus Society, Not In Our Name (NION), September Eleventh Families for a Peaceful Tomorrow, MoveOn, the Communist Parties of Maryland, New York and Indiana, The Exploding Goldfish, Tennessee Guerrilla Women, Code Pink and the Marxist Feminist Lesbian Jamaican Radical Poets.

One of the leaders of A.N.S.W.E.R. is President Johnson’s former Attorney General, Ramsey Clark, an outspoken communist activist who has volunteered for the Saddam Hussein defense team. He founded an organization that supported former murderer Slobodan Milosevic and current murderer Kim Jong Il. He is a director of the post-Trotsky Workers World Party and claims that Osama bin Laden is a victim of U.S. terrorism. He believes that our government deliberately set out to make Islam its enemy so that we had a reason to build more things that go boom.

Brian Becker, another protest organizer and member of UPJ’s partner A.N.S.W.E.R was recently found in North Korea proudly denouncing the U.S. for “war crimes” against that country’s citizens while accusing our soldiers of committing mass murders. He is also a member of Clark’s organization and the anti-Semitic Workers World Party, which incidentally, is on the FBI’s terrorist watch list.

Code Pink, another “anti-war” organization hiding its ideology, is run by communist associate Medea Benjamin. Code Pink has primarily chosen women to lie to, taking advantage of the genuine concern that some homemakers and grandmas have about the Iraq war and using them to add voices at local protests.

Benjamin’s main claim to fame is organizing the violent 1999 World Trade Organization protests in Seattle in which she used the Marxist World Worker’s party to help supply bodies. The ensuing riots injured innocent bystanders, caused millions of dollars of property damage for business owners and taxpayers, and left many out of a job. A long time friend of Cagan and Central American communists, Ms. Benjamin was instrumental in the founding of Peace and Justice.

Ms. Benjamin also has formed a group in Baghdad called Occupation Watch dedicated to demoralizing U.S. troops by encouraging them to abandon the Iraqi people and obtain discharges under false pretenses. She was also behind placing in Baghdad the pre-war “human shields” whose dedication to the cause was quickly revealed when they headed for high ground just prior to shock and awe.

UPJ’s partner Not in Our Name is a group with connections to the Revolutionary Communist Party and the Maoist Revolutionary Communist Party. Communist activist Clark Kissinger was an instrumental member of the 1960’s violent Students for a Democratic Society and the Black Panthers and founded an organization dedicated to halting U.S. security interests during the cold war. He is a co-director of NION.

Parents, if your well-intentioned college student is participating in a “peace” protest on Inaugural Day, these are his or her partners.

They are not patriotic Americans who love peace and hate war. They are unpatriotic Americans who love communism and hate us. Human freedom is their enemy, and they have snared thousands of uninformed protesters into their web.

They are brilliantly deceptive as they cleverly incorporate their communist beliefs into activism that they cover in a mainstream cloaking device. But if they are so dedicated and proud of their beliefs, why do they strive to hide them?

Communism was, and continues to be, a plague on mankind. It has caused incalculable economic and ecological destruction as well as extinguishing the human spirit of millions of our global neighbors, past and present.

As today’s communist movement ironically uses the freedom of speech stripped from those under communist rule to ruthlessly and deliberately promote their agenda, we must never forget those who have suffered under its hands.

In our own act of irony, let’s commit a positive act of compassion by taking an active step to honor communism’s victims. Thank them for reminding us of the tyranny that is communism and go to www.VictimsofCommunism.org to donate some of your ill-gotten gains of evil capitalism for a monument to be built in Washington that reminds us of a brand of human suffering we must never allow again.

That’ll really hack them off.

Anonymous said...

Carol, do us a favor and get arrested and squeal like a pig. We all want to see the video footage of that!

Anonymous said...

Hey, Carol Marsh, if you support dictators like Hugo Chavez and if you like supporting terrorists and if you hate America's troops and if you like associating with communists, Code Pink is for you!

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