STRIKE 9/11 Report Back
Yesterday’s STRIKE was an exciting and successful action in front of the Oakland Federal Building.
More than 100 Strikers walked out of work, left home, stopped their daily lives for a moment to gather together and demand Congress vote NO MORE FUNDING WAR.
Several TV stations, including channels 5 & 2, showed up as did many print reporters and of course KPFA and Berkeley Liberation Radio, 104.1fm.
Penny and several other womyn enlivened the crowd leading us in chants as folks were arriving. Patraeus appeared, suited and laden with war stocks & bonds, assuring us war was great!
Strikers began the action, giving two huge “shout outs”: one to the awesome and courageous womyn in D.C. who are challenging Patraeus and Congress, putting resistance on the front page, and risking arrest; the other to another awesome and courageous womyn, our own Congresswoman Barbara Lee, for her unwavering and fierce anti-war stance from the very beginning.
We followed the model put forth by the Seneca Falls Womyn’s Peace Encampment in the 1980’s. Stephania help ground us sharing her beautiful voice and heart-stirring Medicine Song. Kat led us in a gentle, moving meditation making the space for B to read the names of US soldiers killed in Iraq since our newly elected Democrats voted in May to keep them in harm’s way. We struck a bell & drum and chanted “ohm shanti” in the Hindu tradition of remembrance & blessing for these wasted lives.
Everyone was invited to introduce herself and throw her outrage down onto the ground in the middle of our broad circle. Lajuana picked up our outrage and transformed it into empowerment with her poetry presentation.
Sharon gave a rousing and empowering speech spurring us into action. She specifically sited Patraeus’ two ‘bushshit’ propaganda slogans: insurgency & destabilization – the ‘reasons’ we have to stay in Iraq. Sharon pointed out that we are the cause of both: we invaded & occupied Iraq, intentionally destabilizing it and creating ‘insurgents’ i.e. freedom fighters.
Carrie, playing her guitar and beautifully singing throughout the action, invigorated all and reinforced our camaraderie and fierce determination to end war now.
Jolie also brought her guitar and inspired us with her song and energy as did Elise who did a rousing rant with impromptu participation.
Many other womyn also participated bringing their fierce, eloquent energy and brilliance to the action – I regret I cannot recount here, for those of you who weren’t there, all of the specifics of their amazing energy & love that contributed greatly to making this action really special.
After the program, we gathered into two groups, the street theater team and the action team. The Guerrilla Street Theater Team began cooking up more Gen Betray-us skits and worked on a “Haunted White House” for October! They want help!
The action team began the planning for the next 10 days, during which time Congress is more than likely to vote again on additional funding for the occupation of Iraq.
The first action is happening TODAY, Wednesday Sept 12th. In our continuing campaign to compel those appalling Democrats to CEASE voting for war, we made an appointment to speak with Feinstein’s State Director at 2:00p.m. in her office. We’re hoping CodePINKers will banner and vigil outside her office while we are upstairs speaking with him.
The other action we began to plan is in conjunction with the Iraq Moratorium on the 21st, which is also International Peace Day and Yum Kippur at sunset. We decided to target the Oakland Docks for many reasons, the biggest being that is one of the places where war is supplied from plus SSA, the no-bid contractor running the Iraq ports, ships from there. Tentative plans include doing similar ceremonies, getting the unions and other organizations involved, picketing, purging, rituals, strike.
Several other folks came & left as the remainder of the Strikers vigiled, handed out flyers and met until about 6:30 when the cool ocean breezes wafted over the tall buildings and we called it a night!