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Work 4 Peace,Hold All Life Sacred,Eliminate Violence! For now, I’ve returned from my Joiyssey to participate in the "revolution":I’ve been at many Occupy sites across the country:1st in D.C. Freedom Plaza I faced & challenged racism/white supremacy, sexism/patriarchy, classism, heterosexism & eventually was kicked off the island; then I offered workshops as I drove to CA:“Anti-Racism Geared for White Occupiers”; “NO DRONES” "Successes and Pitfalls of OWS"

Monday, February 05, 2007

Occupation Project begins - to be continued

We heard over 20 cities were participating in the Occupation Project across the nation. Here in D.C., about 35 people trudged thru 17 degree weather to gather at the Methodist Building, review the action plans, and re-enter the frigid outdoors to the Russell Building and Senator McCain’s Office.

Lots of press showed up with the police in the halls of the building and we all lined either side of the hall in front of his office. The press conference began, the police mingled grabbing banners as they went up, herding people against the walls, and cautioning us to be more quiet.

Medea taught us a song that we had to practice and practice and practice – & it just flew outta my mind. Something about mccain funding war so we’re blocking his door.

The police ‘allowed’ us to enter the office, wait for the legislative aide to join us – which never happened. One of the Voices of the Wilderness folks began reading a statement and then we began singing the names of the dead – U.S. soldiers and Iraqis – and singing “we will remember”.

It was quite beautiful, solemn, and abruptly interrupted when the police decided we’d had enough time. We were ordered to leave the office and loudly told there would be no more warnings. Earlier the police had complained about how many chances we got to disperse before they finally arrested anyone. I asked them how come they want to arrest folks anyway?

Medea asked one angry officer why didn’t he get mad at those men who are sending us to war?

Everything you need (and nothing you really wanted to learn) for talking with Congresspeople

Suggestions for talking with Congressperson:

1) Speak from the heart

2) Stay on the singular message

3) Don’t allow yourself to be distracted from your message no matter what!

4) Identify one goal for the meeting and be determined to reach it

5) Ask to speak w/the Congressperson her/himself; if they are not available, ask to speak with Chief of Staff; then go down the list until you find someone to speak with –or you wait until someone is available

6) Be friendly but firm; know you are right, you are determined, you have a whole grassroots movement of awesome women behind you!

7) Do not leave until you either get what you want or make an appointment to come back and pick up what you want in an hour, 24 hours, a fortnite, whenever as soon as you are able.

Further expansion on above
1) speaking from the heart – you cannot go wrong, you can only get better at expressing yourself, your determination to end war, your resolve to remove our troops from harm’s way – both from being killed and killing another human being. Don't worry about saying the wrong thing, not knowing what to say, or what you'll look like. Learn, grow, get better - if you don't do it, it won't get done so just do your very best, know your voice needs to be heard and speak for all of us.

2) there are a multitude of important, vital issues and causes – do not muddy the waters or give your congressperson the opportunity to change the subject, no matter how important these other things are to you. Keep the message simple and clear: we’re here to end war, defund the war, bring the troops & contractors home immediately. Period.

3) Remember raising children: you ask them to clean their room – they might ignore you, point out how good they’ve been, throw a fit, call you names, etc.etc.etc. – all tactics to try to make you forget your goal, to get them to clean their room. Same with congresspeople – they might call you liberals, hippies; might want you to go harass some republican; bring up their pet project – whatever. Doesn’t matter – acknowledge their feelings and get back on message: “I see you’re busy/stressed/ upset/leaving/working/etc, there’s never a good/right/easy time to end war so we’re doing it now & need your help”.

4) we’re not leaving until you have signed on to HR508; or until you have promised to vote to de-fund war

Talking points:

1) We the people of this nation have given Congress a Mandate for Peace and we expect you (this Congressperson) to implement our Mandate for Peace. Will we be able to count on you (her/him) to represent the people?

2) We want you be a leader, to lead with/follow the women of California and sign on to HR508 – will you be a signer? HR508 1)brings our troops & contractors home safely within 6 months; 2) rescinds the blanket permission for Bush to lead us into war; 3) provides for reparations for Iraq; 4) provides quality healthcare for returning veterans

3) We want you to give us your word that you will not vote another penny for war: you must not allow Republican war mongers to define “supporting our troops” as funding war; “supporting our troops” is bringing them home promptly and safely.

4) Your funding choices are very clear: either you 1) vote money to continue war and occupation; or 2) vote money for the prompt, safe return of our troops. Period.

5) You can no longer just SAY you are against war; and then ACT to support war by voting for war. We will NOT accept just your words: you MUST sign on to HR508


Counter-arguments (not covered in talking points):

We are spreading democracy:
1) NOT. We have bombed over 25 countries since the end of WWII – not one of them has resulted in a democracy
2) The people of Iraq have to decide what kind of government they want – how dare we try to violently force them to choose democracy
3) We cannot ignore the fact that Iraq sits on the 2nd largest oil reserve in the Middle East – Bush is proposing to “give” Iraqis a share in that oil

Chaos, civil war will ensue
1) there is already chaos, civil war – we are the lighting rod for this chaos and civilwar
2) the first suicide bomb incident happened AFTER we attacked both Afghanistan and Iraq
3) no one is sure what will happen after our soldiers and contractors are withdrawn – nothing can be worse than what is happening now
4) we are totally sure of ONE thing: not one more American life will be taken when we are no longer occupying that country
5) for the first 3 ½ years we occupied Iraq, we were told we HAD to do so to prevent civil war; now that there is civil war, we are told we HAVE to stay because there is civil war. Excuses, excuses, excuses

We cannot be seen as losing this war
1) We’ve already lost this war
2) What does winning this war look like to you? 30,000 U.S. soldiers dead, ½ of the Iraq population dead, all the oil fields controlled by U.S. corporations? What?
3) Why are you attempting to allow Bush to ‘save face’ when you could be saving lives?

Benchmarks
1) it is too late (not to mention obnoxious) to establish hoops for Iraqis to jump through
2) there’s been enough ‘benchmarks’ – it is really a delaying tactic – Hussein has been captured, tried, and killed; Iraqis have had an election; Iraqis have adopted a constitution
3) ‘benchmarks’ is another diversionary tactic – we’re not buying it & neither should you.

Listen to the people
1) we already have an administration and military industrial complex that is not listening to the people of this country; don’t join them as one of our leaders who is not listening & implementing the will of the people
2) if you cannot listen to the will of the people, listen to the soldiers – over 70% of them polled last year said we should be out of Iraq by December 2006!
3) If you cannot listen to the will of our soldiers, listen to the Iraq people: many times, many polls close to 95% of the people want the US troops OUT of Iraq
4) If you cannot listen to the will of the Iraq people, listen to the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the Generals, the Iraq Study Group, the many officials in the State Department that are supporting prompt withdrawal

It’s not going to pass anyway
1) We will not get into that argument - whether it passes or not, it is YOUR position on this resolution that we are concerned with, not a defeatist attitude
2) if you really believe it is not going to pass, we suggest you identify the barriers, make a plan, and go about doing the work it will take to make it pass – as we’re sure the republicans, business people, anyone does when there are barriers to what they want
3) it is not important whether Bush will veto or Republicans won’t vote for it – it IS important what YOU stand for. Everyone else will get their due, not to worry

Intelligence or counter-arguments

Intelligence or Counter-arguments (not covered in talking points):

We are spreading democracy:
1) NOT. We have bombed over 25 countries since the end of WWII – not one of them has resulted in a democracy
2) The people of Iraq have to decide what kind of government they want – how dare we try to violently force them to choose democracy
3) We cannot ignore the fact that Iraq sits on the 2nd largest oil reserve in the Middle East – Bush is proposing to “give” Iraqis a share in that oil

Chaos, civil war will ensue
1) there is already chaos, civil war – we are the lighting rod for this chaos and civilwar
2) the first suicide bomb incident happened AFTER we attacked both Afghanistan and Iraq
3) no one is sure what will happen after our soldiers and contractors are withdrawn – nothing can be worse than what is happening now
4) we are totally sure of ONE thing: not one more American life will be taken when we are no longer occupying that country
5) for the first 3 ½ years we occupied Iraq, we were told we HAD to do so to prevent civil war; now that there is civil war, we are told we HAVE to stay because there is civil war. Excuses, excuses, excuses

We cannot be seen as losing this war
1) We’ve already lost this war
2) What does winning this war look like to you? 30,000 U.S. soldiers dead, ½ of the Iraq population dead, all the oil fields controlled by U.S. corporations? What?
3) Why are you attempting to allow Bush to ‘save face’ when you could be saving lives?

Benchmarks
1) it is too late (not to mention obnoxious) to establish hoops for Iraqis to jump through
2) there’s been enough ‘benchmarks’ – it is really a delaying tactic – Hussein has been captured, tried, and killed; Iraqis have had an election; Iraqis have adopted a constitution
3) ‘benchmarks’ is another diversionary tactic – we’re not buying it & neither should you.

Listen to the people
1) we already have an administration and military industrial complex that is not listening to the people of this country; don’t join them as one of our leaders who is not listening & implementing the will of the people
2) if you cannot listen to the will of the people, listen to the soldiers – over 70% of them polled last year said we should be out of Iraq by December 2006!
3) If you cannot listen to the will of our soldiers, listen to the Iraq people: many times, many polls close to 95% of the people want the US troops OUT of Iraq
4) If you cannot listen to the will of the Iraq people, listen to the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the Generals, the Iraq Study Group, the many officials in the State Department that are supporting prompt withdrawal

It’s not going to pass anyway
1) We will not get into that argument - whether it passes or not, it is YOUR position on this resolution that we are concerned with, not a defeatist attitude
2) if you really believe it is not going to pass, we suggest you identify the barriers, make a plan, and go about doing the work it will take to make it pass – as we’re sure the republicans, business people, anyone does when there are barriers to what they want
3) it is not important whether Bush will veto or Republicans won’t vote for it – it IS important what YOU stand for. Everyone else will get their due, not to worry

Talking Points

Talking points:

1) We the people of this nation have given Congress a Mandate for Peace and we expect you (this Congressperson) to implement our Mandate for Peace. Will we be able to count on you (her/him) to represent the people?

2) We want you be a leader, to lead with/follow the women of California and sign on to HR508 – will you be a signer? HR508 1)brings our troops & contractors home safely within 6 months; 2) rescinds the blanket permission for Bush to lead us into war; 3) provides for reparations for Iraq; 4) provides quality healthcare for returning veterans

3) We want you to give us your word that you will not vote another penny for war: you must not allow Republican war mongers to define “supporting our troops” as funding war; “supporting our troops” is bringing them home promptly and safely.

4) Your funding choices are very clear: either you 1) vote money to continue war and occupation; or 2) vote money for the prompt, safe return of our troops. Period.

5) You can no longer just SAY you are against war; and then ACT to support war by voting for war. We will NOT accept just your words: you MUST sign on to HR508

Suggestions for talking with Congresspeople

Suggestions for talking with Congressperson:

1) Speak from the heart

2) Stay on the singular message

3) Don’t allow yourself to be distracted from your message no matter what!

4) Identify one goal for the meeting and be determined to reach it

5) Ask to speak w/the Congressperson her/himself; if they are not available, ask to speak with Chief of Staff; then go down the list until you find someone to speak with –or you wait until someone is available

6) Be friendly but firm; know you are right, you are determined, you have a whole grassroots movement of awesome women behind you!

7) Do not leave until you either get what you want or make an appointment to come back and pick up what you want in an hour, 24 hours, a fortnite, whenever as soon as you are able.

Further expansion on above
1) speaking from the heart – you cannot go wrong, you can only get better at expressing yourself, your determination to end war, your resolve to remove our troops from harm’s way – both from being killed and killing another human being. Don't worry about saying the wrong thing, not knowing what to say, or what you'll look like. Learn, grow, get better - if you don't do it, it won't get done so just do your very best, know your voice needs to be heard and speak for all of us.

2) there are a multitude of important, vital issues and causes – do not muddy the waters or give your congressperson the opportunity to change the subject, no matter how important these other things are to you. Keep the message simple and clear: we’re here to end war, defund the war, bring the troops & contractors home immediately. Period.

3) Remember raising children: you ask them to clean their room – they might ignore you, point out how good they’ve been, throw a fit, call you names, etc.etc.etc. – all tactics to try to make you forget your goal, to get them to clean their room. Same with congresspeople – they might call you liberals, hippies; might want you to go harass some republican; bring up their pet project – whatever. Doesn’t matter – acknowledge their feelings and get back on message: “I see you’re busy/stressed/ upset/leaving/working/etc, there’s never a good/right/easy time to end war so we’re doing it now & need your help”.

4) we’re not leaving until you have signed on to HR508; or until you have promised to vote to de-fund war

"Peace-In" Occupation Project Begins TODAY

Today will mark the herstoric beginning of our campaign ensuring Congress implement the Mandate for Peace we handed them in November.

From today and for the next 8 weeks, or as soon as Congress votes to de-fund the war and adopts HR508, we MUST occupy their offices, their phone lines, their fax machines, their email and snail mail boxes. We must demonstrate, protest, creatively and fiercely hold them accountable.

And as we tell Congresspeople, they cannot SAY they are against war and then VOTE to fund war, so we the people cannot SAY we are against war and then not make the time and effort to ACT every day to end war.

We MUST make the room in our lives to end war. We cannot continue our lifestyles – work, school, homemaking, business, entertainment – as usual and still have the energy and resources to end war; or to expect this war to end let alone prevent another war.

As horrible, as unbelievable, as debilitating as it may seem, we Americans are fighting these wars so we can have easy, accessible, cheap access to the resources of the world – all in our name, the name of our lifestyle, the name of our comfort.

This week is CRUCIAL – as is the next 2, 3, maybe 4 weeks. If you have any little spark of desire for war to end, PLEASE make the room to devote your time and energy every day to Occupation Project.

We must not allow our newly-elected Congress to buy this war!

Declare February “Call in PINK” month: put off whatever can be put on the back-burner for the next month; ask yourself “do I really HAVE to spend my time ….?”; take a week off from work; go on half-time; unplug your TV; devote at least 3 hours everyday to ending war.

It is time. Come to D.C. We still need 10 more women to be here this week. We have 150 congresspeople most likely to sign on to HR508. We need to visit their offices every day; we need to occupy their offices daily; we need to call their constituents everyday; we need to reach out to like-minded organizations and get them on-board; we need to contact the press and force the media to report what is happening.

You can do it! We can do it! Together we WILL end war and occupation – remember whose life is on the line today. Remember whose life will be on the line tomorrow, especially if we fail to act now.

Not sure what to do, what to say? Check out the “Talking Points” at www.codepinkjournals.blogspot.com; check out the Occupation Project page on www.codepinkalert.org. Call the CodePINK House in D.C. 202-758-2795 or Zanne’s cell 404-561-1233. Call Rae 415-994-1723. Call someone and do it together!

Just come to D.C.; or if you stay home, just help occupy the offices of our Congresspeople most likely to vote to end war. Don’t waste precious time on those representatives determined to not end war: focus on those who claim to be against war yet vote to continue war.

It is up to us, we the people. Let’s do it: if not for Iraqis, if not for Iranians, if not for the world, then for our very own children.