Code Pink Journals CodePINK Journals

Work 4 Peace,Hold All Life Sacred,Eliminate Violence! I am on my mobile version of the door-to-door, going town-to-town holding readings/gatherings/discussions of my book "But What Can I Do?" This is my often neglected blog mostly about my travels since 9/11 as I engage in dialogue and actions. It is froth with my opinions, insights, analyses toward that end of holding all life sacred, dismantling the empire and eliminating violence while creating the society we want all to thrive in

Wednesday, July 28, 2004

boston dnc - grand finale - thursday july 29th

thursday, july 29th

today, the progressive democrats met all day at a boston campus. I tabled again w/codepink and listened to many inspiring speakers from dean & kucinich to our very own Barbara lee & medea Benjamin!!! both wimmin gave the best speeches of the day, of course, & I wish I woulda taken notes, as you all are now familiar w/the state of my brain – could be early onslaught of alzheimer’s. Barbara lee spoke so eloquently as usual about how clearly the young African-americans in her district (that’s my district!) really get it and how they want exactly what the democratic platform should be about: universal health care, good jobs, decent housing, quality education, and a future that doesn’t threaten their lives of course. medea spoke about things no other person mentioned, if only I could remember, not to mention my poor paraphrasing! she spoke about her great sorrow learning that yesterday, more iraqi’s were killed then in any other day since the bombing stopped. she spoke about nader’s decision to run, the green party’s decision to run in uncontested states only, and our patriotic right & duty to do so with the most important goal of not only defeating bush & his regime, but of making our country a place we want to live in. they both said other wise things that maybe I’ll remember later.

leaving the progressive democrats, we headed to the convention. this is the last nite, the kerry nite. Edwards speech last nite was so great until the end, when he got on the war band-wagon. this nite, kerry’s speech would begin w/the war call, but the end was the moving inspirational part.

the codepink organizers wanted desperately to get our huge pink slip into the convention. the problem was two-fold: one - we had to make one that was appropriate for kerry: the ones we have say pink slip bush & impeach bush. the other problem was that law the democrats made saying you can’t bring your own signs into the convention. so how to sneak in a 40 foot banner when your bags & body are thoroughly checked when you go into the convention & then spot searches were also happening. we decided to cut up the banners & make smaller pink slips that read: bring our troops home now, or just troops home now. as we attempted to get close to the convention center, police lined up effectively blocking anyone from proceeding forward. I forgot to mention how they also have brought in all manner of huge dump trucks & semis & the like to block the view of the demonstrators from the delegates – now who thought of that? how come someone doesn’t want the delegates to know we’re out here? not only are we supposed to gather in a pen, but we’re supposed to out of sight & view – is this democracy?

medea & gael leap to the front of the crowd & mark off space at the foot of the policemen where we spread out blank pink banners. volunteers from the crowd provide markers (which we have inadvertently forgotten) and help making signs – it felt like feeding the crowd the fish & bread story, only this was obtaining the markers & artists story! some of us had passes into the convention hall – not the delegate’s floor, but the upper levels. we bundled ourselves in pink banners perfumed by magic marker & attempted to enter thru the long lines & security gates. we all got in. several kucinich delegates had volunteered to hold banners up on the floor – a brave womon from Massachusetts was one. I don’t know the others. the rest of us tried to get seats on the upper levels but we were so disappointed – not only were all the seats claimed, but the police & security came around & made us move first out of the stairs, and then out of the seating area all together. I couldn’t get a seat let alone unfurl my banner at the right time- tears! I was discouraged as well as pretty beat anyway so I took the t home. I caught kerry’s speech on the tv w/my friends. none of us could listen to the beginning – all the military & war lords lining up – but how he addressed domestic issues were righteous. I especially loved all the overt digs at bush & his regime, including the last: we will not claim god is on our side; but we are on the side of god – or something like that!!

so for me, this dnc has been one of extremes: extreme hope & inspiration; extreme militarism & police presence. I’m ready to head back to sunny, not to mention kool & breezy California. peace, suzanne

boston dnc - wednesday july 28th

wednesday, july 28th

I had deliveries to make today in boston, and pick-ups so it is a work day for me. I make the mistake of talking w/my sister, who is, if you can remember a raving lunatic republican bush-supporter fundamentalist Christian and still has the nerve to be related to me although it is extremely hard to fathom – I KNEW I was adopted, plucked out of my real mother’s grip and set down between 2 siblings I don’t recognize. she asked me how it’s going & I intended to help educate her re:the realities of a police state. I describe the horrendous security measures, the hundreds of thousands of police & she interrupts to tell me, to admit really, that ‘they’ are just moving faster this time because they failed to take the proper steps last time. I don’t think she realizes what she just said. I say, ‘sheree, we are attempting to express our patriotic civic duties & rights here’ to which she asks in that excrutiatingly innocent voice “but did you hear the terrorists are planning on parachuting into boston? that’s why there are so many helicopters there to search for them.”

why do I end up shaking & hanging up on my sister – thank the goddess for poor cellular connections! hopefully she doesn’t know. I’ve been waiting for my customer to come so I can unload the truck. he shows up w/two fellows just as I hang up cursing republicans. the helpers look a little taken back but my customer says he’s Canadian so he’s outta this mess. yeah, except he’s living here.

I drive next thru a little ritzy burb of boston - brookline i think. two white fellows in a delivery van scream out the window ‘blow me’. blow me? – now what is that? why do these furious guys retort with sexual obscenities (is that redundant?) we’re stopped next to each other at a lite, unfortunately & I querried them ‘what is wrong with you. you don’t know me. can you not discuss what’s on your mind, if anything?’ the driver screams again ‘blow me’ and the passenger resorts to a mere ‘fuck you’ as they tear down the street. everyone else honks & waves & is happy to see me – so many that I cannot keep track & drive at the same time.

after delivering, I go with my friends to the anti-bioterrorist laboratory demonstration and march. boston university, I believe, is scheduled to be build a high-level bioterrorism lab in the middle of Roxbury, of course, a poor neighborhood predominantly of colour. first of all, why should we develop such a lab anyway, and secondly, such labs normally exist in isolated areas not in the middle of cities. the turn out in yet another neighborhood park was exciting – from the very young to the very old, mostly people of color, some white folks, lots of tables – and I forgot my codepink bag of goodies - tears! the spinal cord is there, looking just as powerful. and of course the police, lined up on either side of the park, rows of bicycles, w/rows of police. the biking men in uniform do not have on full riot gear – those cops are lined up out front of the park.

it looks again like the police are out-numbering the participants, even tho there are a couple of hundred demonstrators, I’m guessing. a couple of helicopters circle above.there is a stage where performers, spoken word artists and community activists present the case against the laboratory. the congresswomon from that district spoke eloquently & powerfully about the community’s responsibilities & duties in defeating this awful laboratory & how close they were to success! several other community activists & leaders spoke about the continuing efforts to prohibit the building of this horrendous lab. we heard singers & poets, watched dancers & actors, and were inspired by the testimonies of young & old in their efforts to stop this lab. on the outer edges of the demonstration there were tables w/lots of organizations information as well as stickers that said “I live within _____ mile(s) of the lab & I don’t want it here!” of course, I took a bright pink one and filled in 3453 miles!

then we marched, following the loudspeaker that was actually great, unlike the obnoxious answer loudspeakers – grrrr. we marched around Roxbury, thru the neighborhood streets that were blocks away from the proposed lab site, gathering neighbors & support as we marched. when we approached this site, yet another helicopter appeared as did tons of riot police in full gear – they stood shoulder to shoulder across the driveways & sidewalks surrounding the desolate lot housing only heavy equipment & a piles of orange dirt & rubble (already contaminated?) – the site of the future lab. what were they guarding, except maybe their over-time pay checks! it was unbelievable. as we marched thru the campus, a short academic type man in a dark suit yelled out something like ‘this will bring money to your community’. we roared, of course & yelled back: ‘go bring the money to your own community why don’t you?’we returned to the park all too soon! that was rewarding & inspirational!!