Enjoy our Roseroots Report for January – now coming to you monthly. CODEPINK has a new project – Women Occupy -- which includes a website, a listserv, an online forum, regular conference calls, and more. Women are playing a crucial role in the Occupy Movement, which why we are creating Women Occupy, providing women with a space to connect, share, learn, and build. On March 8th, International Women's Day, women across the globe will collectively rise up to put a spotlight on the need for social and economic justice, and we want you to be there. Email firstname.lastname@example.org if you want to be part of the organizing team. Join us at www.WomenOccupy.org!
Some highlights from recent CODEPINK local actions:
The new year got off to a rockin' start as a CODEPINK contingent of both Northern and Southern pinkers took part in Occupy the Rose Bowl on January 2 in Pasadena, CA! At the end of the traditional pre-Rose Bowl game parade, over 4000 people marched with their signs, banners, a huge vampire squid puppet (representing rapacious corporations especially Goldman Sachs) and fun costumes.
Arizona CODEPINKERs continue to stay active in Occupy Tucson and Occupy Phoenix, and in other civic events. Liz Hourican “pinked” a Democratic candidate for state office at a state committee meeting – he took the “honor” with good humor.
On the grim 10th-year anniversary of the opening of the torture/detention facility known as Gitmo, Texas CODEPINKERS protested. Local coordinator Leslie Harris reported: CODEPINK Dallas, along with allies from Occupy Dallas, the Dallas Peace Center, Veterans for Peace, North DFW 99%, Amnesty International, the Bill of Rights Defense Committee, and Pax Christi staged a demonstration, in solidarity with a broad coalition of groups across the country for "10 YEARS TOO MANY: NATIONAL DAY OF ACTION AGAINST GUANTANAMO."
The goals of the protest were to remind people that after ten long years, there are still people - some who have already been approved for release - indefinitely detained at the prison at Guantanamo Bay [without a trial] and to raise awareness about the NDAA. … Demonstrators dressed in orange jumpsuits and black hoods used street theater to draw the attention of the public. The group rode the DART train to downtown Dallas, and then marched to the Earle Cabell Federal Building and Rosa Parks Plaza, where they did mic checks, listened to speakers, chanted, and passed out 400 flyers explaining what the street theater was about. They returned via the DART train, mic-checking along the way, to the Mockingbird Bridge, in the shadow of the Bush Institute, to call for accountability of George W. Bush for authoring wars of aggression, indefinite detention, and torture.” Please watch the video.
On January 17, DC locals visited the office of NDAA proponent Senator Carl Levin, with Sgt. Shamar Thomas (of "1 Marine Vs. 30 Cops" video fame) to demand some answers. Tighe Barry performed hilariously as the Michigan Democrat; see the action here.
Following Obama's signing of the NDAA, Lisa Savage and her husband Mark Roman created a video parody of the very popular video “Shit Girls Say”, and its spinoffs: “Stuff Obama Supporters Say”. Their examples of Obama apologia include remarks on Guantanano, Bagram, Iraq, drones and other not-so-funny topics, as well as lovely cats and snowy Maine scenery. Salon.com commentator Glenn Greenwald, among others, tweeted out the link and Lisa's video has now reached over 42,000 viewers!
In Chicago, local coordinator Pat Hunt has been very busy representing CODEPINK to the Coalition Against NATO/G8 War & Poverty Agenda (CANG8) and to the Network for a NATO Free World, helping prepare for the international (and probably huge) protests planned for the joint gathering of NATO and the G8 in Chicago on May 18 -19. Pat sent in this report of actions to prevent Mayor Rahm Emanuel from making peaceable assembly virtually impossible in the Windy City. “CANG8 joined together with Occupy Chicago and several unions to unite our efforts to defend of civil liberties in Chicago. …Emanuel then moved to withdraw first one, and then another, of the most criticized pieces. Protests continued to grow; Emanuel retreated further; the protests mounted, and he retreated even further. Finally, a version was reached that the council opposition could vote for… We have the right to protest against war, austerity, and inequality. Mayor Emanuel, you'll see us in the streets of Chicago: our streets.” CODEPINK will be participating in at least 3 major actions during these joint summits for the 1% and their military enablers; see them here.
In the Bay Area, local coordinator Cynthia Papermaster organized and MC'd a powerful rally denouncing a decade of indefinite detention, torture and other abuses at Guantanamo Bay. One of the speakers in the strong lineup that included reps from Amnesty International, World Can't Wait, War Resisters League and of course CODEPINK was Marilyn Walker, the mother of John “American Taliban” Walker Lindh. Marilyn talked about how her son, now serving 20 years in a maximum security prison, would have had NO recourse to due process if he had been taken into detention under the new NDAA.
Cynthia has just been honored with the First Annual Tom Paine Courageous Spirit Award from the Berkeley Fellowship of Unitarian Universalists Social Justice Committee. Cynthia has worked for years on the issues of torture, war crimes, and bringing war criminals to justice, or at least to public infamy. As Portland, Oregon local coordinator Martha Shelley (working hard on housing/foreclosure issues) reminds us, “Tom Paine was the only working class signer of the Declaration of Independence.”
And speaking of Portland – CODEPINKers there recently had a large potluck dinner and gathering in honor of Rae Abileah's visit, her first to the City of Roses, where she attended a training conference of Jewish Voice for Peace and talked about Occupy AIPAC.
Local coordinator Meg Brookover from Bend, Oregon was quoted in a newspaper article about a court solidarity action with occupiers there, after their arrest for an 8-hour sit-in at Congressman Walden's office on December 5: “It was an honor to hear the testimonies of the Bend 8 in the courtroom yesterday. …It was a culmination of many hours of work for this action and for those of us who stand together so often, seeking a meaningful way to speak out against injustice.” Among the issues the defendants spoke to: First Amendment Rights; the Iraq War and Walden's complicity; the importance of town halls and how Walden is hiding by not doing them.
Shut Down Wall Street West on January 20, the 2nd year anniversary of the infamous “Citizens United” Supreme Court decision, was a major CODEPINK- Occupy SF day of action all over downtown San Francicso. Starting at 6 AM in the rain, a group of CODEPINKers brought a giant squid to the doors of the Bank of America tower, where Goldman Sachs (AKA Goldman Sucks) also has offices, and was part of direct action to bring attention to corporate greed. An inside action at GS's 45th floor suite ended dramatically in the lobby; see video. An hour-long rally at the Federal Courthouse, partly organized by CODEPINK stalwart Susan Harman, brought a lively crowd of about 200 to call for amending the constitution, chanting,“Corporations are not people! Money is not speech!”
Many long-running peace vigils have ended at the official conclusion of the US war/occupation of Iraq. Some continue, including the weekly one organized by Corla Coles of Redlands, CA and the famous Walk for Peace on the Golden Gate Bridge, every second Sunday. If you have a vigil in your community or other regular repeating event, please post it here.
From Elsa Rassbach in Germany: “In Berlin we're doing lots of outreach and coordination, including the protests against the NATO/G8 Summit in Chicago in May. Protests during the NATO/G8 Summit will be worldwide, including several at US/NATO headquarters, bases, and airports in military use in Germany. Much excitement about Chicago, which builds on the big anti-NATO-Summit demos in Strasbourg/Kehl in 2009 and in Lisbon in 2010. And of course every day Occupy Berlin posts the news from Occupy in Oakland, DC, Chicago and Maine. Such a breathtakingly rapid acceleration of awareness worldwide that we are all in this together, shoulder to shoulder!”
From Narumi Tomida in Japan: “Global Conference For A Nuclear Power Free World [which she attended with other Japanese codepinkers and Green Tea Party members on January 14-15 in Yokohama] was so wonderful and powerful! It gave me so big a fruit for peacemaking. Listening to many speeches, especially those from Australia, Mongolia, Jordan, and Bangladesh, etc., I realized that the development or the accident of nuclear power by one country affects other countries, especially the poor countries in many ways, so we are “the community of destiny” in this earth. So, we must abolish all nuclear power from the world for us and for all friends all over the world.”
CODEPINKers write books as well as make the news!
I've just finished reading a library copy of south Texas coordinator and CODEPINK co-founder Diane Wilson's “Diary of an Eco-Activist” – what a page-turner! Her warm, urgent, funny voice comes through authentically in every line, and her stories of fighting environmental destruction brought tears to my eyes and a fighting spirit to my heart.
Lisa Savage has contributed a book to “The Military Industrial Complex at 50,” a follow up to the conference of the same name that she also attended. Lisa has also published a young adult novel she co-wrote with Meredith Ironside, “Buggy,” which is about teens dealing with the repeated deployment of a parent with PTSD. Rae, Kristen and Starhawk are the CODEPINK contributing authors to “Beautiful Trouble: A Toolbox for Revolution.”
Melanie Butler is a contributing author to "The 99%: How the Occupy Wall Street Movement Is Changing America" from the editors of Alternet.com.
More Recommended Reading is here. Enjoy!
Updates to our national campaigns:
ACCOUNTABILITY – campaigner Nancy Mancias in the SF office.
Follow this campaign at Expose War Crimes and on twitter @ExposeWarCrimes.
STOLEN BEAUTY/Boycott Ahava – campaigner Nancy Kricorian of CP NYC. CODEPINK's campaign to boycott Ahava Cosmetics made in an illegal Israeli settlement in the occupied West Bank, continues in its fourth year in 2012. Follow this campaign at www.stolenbeauty.org and on twitter @boycottahava!
On our BDS campaign, Kristen Ess Schurr is managing the Boycott SodaStream campaign and is welcoming collaborators from far and wide. Please write her at kristen[at]codepink.org. Our holiday caroling actions at Bed, Bath & Beyond stores in LA were full of merriment with intern Dara and former staffer Sanaa, who recently moved to the Bay Area. Check out www.codepink.org/boycottsodastream and follow our new Twitter handle @stopsodastream.
To learn more about the Boycott-Divestment-Sanctions movement for justice for Palestinians, here's an excellent book by Omar Barghouti, who spoke recently in the Bay Area: "BDS: Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions: The Global Struggle for Palestinian Rights".
War Drones On – campaigner Nancy Mancias.
Concern and outrage about drones is spreading across the nation, and this campaign connects with our allies at Not 1 More Acre, Voices for Creative Nonviolence among others. Medea Benjamin, with able assistance from DC staffer Alli McCracken, has just finished a book called, “Drone Warfare: Killing by Remote Control” which will be available later this year.
Follow this campaign at Ground the Drones and on twitter @wardroneson.
Staff News: Our former social media coordinator Sanaa Bengholam has moved to the Bay Area from LA and on to a new chapter in her life; we wish her success. Two new interns Nina and Sandy, both sophomores at University of Maryland, are working in the always-busy DC office. Internship information for spring and summer at our four offices here .
For peaceful solidarity –
The Roseroots Report is a bimonthly bouquet of CODEPINK local actions and news. Why roseroots? Because we're cultivating a vibrant pink flowering garden with a hearty stemming history and strong roots, not just little “grassroots.” The 1912 Lawrence textile workers on strike had it right when they said, “We Want Bread, But Roses Too!” Our pink hearts are moved by CODEPINK‘s approach to peacemaking: we aren't just about getting out a talking point or ensuring a basic right, we're about bringing our money back to our beloved resources – schools, health, parks, libraries and more, disarming our defenses, opening our minds to new narratives and possibilities, and creating beauty. www.codepink.org