Code Pink Journals CodePINK Journals

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"

Sunday, December 14, 2014

This is what you miss - to be continued

when you decide NOT to participate in protests: the fruition of our - and all the womyn who came before us - decades of hard work!

For it is YOUNG womyn front and center, loud and clear on the streets today! It is Black womyn, brown womyn, First Nation womyn, Asian womyn - and white womyn!

I've seen young womyn step up and lead. I've seen young womyn grab the megaphone out of men's hands & inform them they need to step back. I've seen young womyn with unamplified beautiful clear strong voices project over the shuffling, chanting, excited crowd.

And I've seen the crowds of womyn and men follow these womyn's lead: some reluctantly, some questioning, but most willingly and happily.

Furthermore to give yourself the blank check of inaction made out to "if only protestors made if comfortable and 'safe' for me", is to totally embrace your privilege and thru your lack of participation, you join the violent side that everyday proclaims Black lives do NOT matter.

To refuse to step out your door because you fear your life is in danger is indefensible to the people who's lives REALLY are in danger: Black men are 21 times more likely to be murdered by police than white men. I could not find the 

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Another Perspective on Property Values and Smashing Windows

 It is very difficult to see "property" objectively when we live in a society and country that for at least 400 years has put the ownership of property over the lives people.

We have all internalized the glorification and pursuit of property, placing a much higher value on property than any other thing on this planet from human life, to clean water, to fresh air to breathe, to trees, soil, food, plants, insects - all the things Mother Earth provides for our survival. These ALL take a back seat at best - often they're not even in the vehicle - to the quest for the holiest grail of PROPERTY.

Before you claim you're not one of those, if we didn't value property over life, we would no longer be putting gas in our cars, using plastic or any chemical, only buying organic.

Furthermore, the value of the human being is in direct correlation to the value of the property that human has stolen, 'worked' for by exploiting the labor of others, horded for himself.

So human beings are not valued in our society because they are sacred life - or if you're religious, children of the creator.

But they are valued if they have extreme amounts of property - the more property they own, the more they are valued.

So we come to the destruction of property. We need a paradigm shift here. Is the destruction of property really violence?

I think not. I think it is the destruction of property. Why do we continue, in the light of knowing police are murdering Black people - women, children, and men - EVERY DAY as well as murdering mentally ill people, poor people, autistic people, deaf people, disabled people - all the 'weaker' members of our society, why do we continue to value property over everything else?

Police don't kill the 'stronger' people - or even people equally armed. There is no equality, no fairness in an encounter or fight with police. They are armed and dangerous.

But I digress - i don't want to talk about the police but it is the destruction of property and the definition of violence I'm talking about here.

Why do we continue to buy into the valuing of property so highly? Why do we have time to even think about property when lives are at stake, AND not just human lives here but the life of the planet is at stake.

We live in a society that values PROPERTY over ALL else.

PROPERTY is NOT important: LIVES are important.LIFE is important.

Furthermore, why does society - i.e. the wealthy - get to define "violence"? 

We need to define "violence" and wells farto is VIOLENT; crate & barrel is VIOLENT; all slave & child labor, all manufacturing practices, all banking practices that defile human life and cause irreparable damage to our planet and to human lives is VIOLENCE.

Tossing stones at property is a response to capitalism, racism, injustice. Who is to say that those of us who choose not to toss stones are responding correctly to the killing forces that prevail?

Have you ever walked around union square at night & seen destitute hungry people in rags hanging out on sidewalks in front of windows sporting a $300 vase and $4000 shoes and want to toss a brick thru that window? 

I certainly have been so enraged at the cruelty of depriving humans basic needs so someone can spend thousands on what, a pair of shoes??? that I've wanted to smash windows.

I have often wondered how people who have so little can be peaceful in the face of such wonton ugly 'luxury' and blatant deprivation of their ability to survive and thrive.

And lastly, it is the power of the media that forces us to address labeling smashing windows "violence" while ignoring and even circumventing our SHUT IT DOWN message from getting out to the broader public.

It is the power 'speaking' back to our uprising that focuses us on the smashing of windows and demands we spend our energy first agreeing with them that smashing windows is violent, and second dividing us from those who choose to smash windows as their response to the real violence of murder.

I am not advocating the smashing of windows. I am advocating awareness of divide and conquer tactics of those in power - they've had centuries to hone and sharpen this tactic that helps keep them in power - and of our never allowing these powers to move us off message.


Salmon, Sacrifice or Murder

I want to share a story with you – a very important story that, for those who fully grasp the meaning, it will resolutely guide our work during these opportune times.

This story was told to us by an Indigenous person whose people live in Canada along the Pacific coast. She received the story from an elder, who told her that many many generations ago, her people were anticipating the return of the salmon – for it was that time of year.

The first day of salmon season, no fish appeared. The next day, they waited, and still no fish appeared. They waited day after day, the next week and the following week. Still no salmon.

On the very last day of salmon season, the salmon returned – but only a handful. The people got together and talked about what they would do. The group consensus was to not harvest the salmon this season so that they would have a chance to grow and return abundant the following year.

That winter, over half her people died of starvation. But the salmon returned the next season and her people survived.

These people were willing to sacrifice their very lives for the sake of the future life of the peoples.

She spoke of our present day need to find the willingness to make the short term sacrifice, to accept the present day loss, for the long term good, for the long term survival.

She told us how her people believed they MUST consider the next SEVEN generations when making any decision.

For us, living in this day, in this country, the question of “sacrifice” is not about going without salmon but is really moot: for look around us, look at our very lives. Very few of us are living a life that we love, that we are proud of, that brings honor and respect and kindness – let alone a clear conscience – to our beings and families and country.

And because of our true history of how this country was ‘cleared’ of First Nation people in order to make a country for white society, and then how Africans were stolen and enslaved to build wealth for white society, and how we’ve militarily attacked nearly every country in the world to grab even those resources, and how we destroy the Mother Earth in order to be the 2 largest consumers of fossil fuels on our Mother Earth (the u.s. military #1 consumer, our country #2) – because we are rooted and growing in these bloody, ugly truths of our nation, even if you THINK you’re happy, not hurting anyone, guilt-free, you are not.

For the life planted, nourished and grown from the amerikkkan nitemare is froth with destruction of a whole lotta someone’s lives, where valuing property and money over human life and life of the Mother Earth reigns and cannot be separated from the amerikkkan nitemare.

So when we ‘sacrifice’ that amerikkkan nitemare, we are merely gaining our humanity, liberating ourselves as we know liberation for the first time ever.

Freedom is not free to exploit or take advantage of historical exploitation of others but is the release from the clutches of the quest for amerikkkan nitemare, of extricating the internal damage of amerikkkan nitemare infused in our cells, and then we or our 7 future generations can stumble on the path to finding true meaning that is planted and grown from only one thing: the sacredness of all life.

Have you watched real footage from the Algerian Revolution when the people overthrew the French? We often say in this country there are many, many, many more individuals than police. When looking at the footage of these courageous people, hundreds of thousands of them clothed in civilian garb maybe with a stick in their hands or a stone, faced men in military gear hoisting rifles over their shoulders.

The people charged the soldiers knowing many were going to be killed. Row after row after row of civilians did fall, but the rest of the people broke thru the lines and lines of soldiers, eventually disarming them, and shouting their victorious freedom.

The willingness to sacrifice short term life for the long term good.

We know, those of us that see, we know that we are not just talking about our freedom from capitalism, racism, sexism, violence, wars, the amerikkkan nitemare but we are talking about the very survival of life on this planet.

200 species of life are eliminated EVERY DAY on our planet – not by “human beings”, not by the sheer numbers of us, but by OUR EMPIRE. We need to stop trying to “sustain” our lifestyles but work to dismantling OUR EMPIRE.

For we all know, those of us that are looking around, seeing, feeling, hearing, we all know, in our heart of hearts, if we do not make our short term sacrifices, there will be no long term life.

Right now, First Nation people, all over our planet, are putting their lives on the line to stop the exploitation by oil and mining companies that is killing the Mother Earth – so we in the U.S. can be the people of the world that have cheap gas, 24/7 electricity and 1,500 plastic water bottles a SECOND.

Right now, Black people are in leading uprising into the streets, working to SHUT IT DOWN!

I think we all need t ask ourselves, what short term ‘sacrifice’ are we willing to make to ensure the future of life on our planet? 

The other choice, which many u.s.ofa. people seem willing to choose for all life on this planet, is to be the murderers of Mother Earth.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014


I can die happy for our country now!

I feel more hopeful than ever, more energized, more deeply deeply moved to be out in the streets with such an informed, determined, passionate, outspoken activists with young womyn raising their voices to be heard - without electronic amplification - over the electric energy of hundreds of activists, leading the way! 

In fact, the other day, when I thought I was only going to march for a few blocks and ended up putting in probably 6 miles, I thought, now I can die happy for our country - the uprising has begun in earnest. 

The ones on the street now have a clear and intense understanding about the truths of our country. And they understand the vital need for short term sacrifice for the long term good. 

These people on the streets are driven by rage, yes, at murder, at injustice, at police violence, racism - but more than that, they are driven by deep abiding love and hope. 

They could be choosing to go to work, or classes, or tune out, but they are knowingly choosing to be out in the streets to SHUT IT DOWN!!!!

So much love, I'm needing like 3 or 4 hours of sleep to re-energize! And then out to SHUT IT DOWN!

Tuesday, December 09, 2014

Open letter to the cowardly Berkeley City Council!!!

I’m soooooo bitterly disappointed the Berkeley City Council cancelled their regular meeting for tonite, I want to fire them ALL!

How dare you, our formerly progressive (or is that just a right-wing rumor?) Berkeley City Council, in these times, when your police department that is accountable to YOU, when your police officers are acting so viciously and making decisions that incite violence & hurt people, when the people of Berkeley are standing up demanding to be heard, demanding change, you choose not to be accessible and available?

Berkeley City Council: you should have called an immediate emergency town hall meeting to discuss how to represent and amplify the voices of the people. The Berkeley City Council should be meeting daily with these people willing to make this a major part of their daily lives, to work out a plan for change, a plan to address the blatant and not so blatant racism that thrives here, the fuckin militarization of our little police force in this small town.

This is the time for city council to be present and involved: NOT cancelling meetings.

I am also deeply angered by the view some council people are publicly projecting when they say "a few violent outliers hijacked the protest and its message".

What? This is NOT the truth but the mantra of the police and media. Why are some council members repeating it?

The truth is it is the police that highjack protests and instigate 'violence' in this country. Didn’t council see the report that just came out today???

People! Council! These police are armed by fuckin violent fuckin surplus military paraphernalia.

Fuckin tear gas is a weapon of war. But, so shamefully, there are also militarized uniforms (they look like hollywood sci fi monsters), weapons (you should see the guns on these guys, the heft of their clubs, the grotesque helmets), and equipment - like those fuckin helicopters and other vehicles they use to attempt to intimidate & silence people.

We all know that the military has been pumping their surplus weapons of war into our communities since the late 1990's. And this past year, the Obama administration granted billions of dollars worth of military-grade weapons & military training to cities and towns across the u.s.ofa., more than any other year previously.

These are war weapons designed to conquer on foreign lands, to turn on (supposedly) other armed (but not equally) soldier men; NOT civilians for gods sakes - although we all know they are used against civilians world-wide.

But now these military-grade everything are here in Berkeley being used against us, the people.

Please do not ever, never ever ever appropriate the actions of any protestors throwing bricks or breaking windows by calling them “outliers” or “violent”.

I’ll deal with the “violent” first: how can you call someone who throws a brick ‘violent’ while someone who shoots canisters of tear gas after attempting to slam clubs into peoples' guts, you would call what? Sweet, thoughtful, level-headed, intelligent kind people?

Furthermore, there is a continuum of reasons someone might be inspired to throw a brick. Some could be protestors who think for themselves and have chosen to respond to murder in this way.

Others might be police provocateurs because how else can police, in this day and age of electronic and instant media, justify attacking unfuckinarmed civilians not to mention exponentially increase their own hazard paychecks?

Some could be the very young who still know things are fucked up and have not been conditioned yet to value especially the corporate property giants over expressing their anger, rage, frustration in ways society has deemed “violent, illegal” while society allows and even pays those very corporations to inundate young minds with products and values that turn them into uncaring, unfeeling, unimaginative, life-destroying clods in the toxic waste of those corporations.

You understand, Council, this very obsession you and your police are showing about “property” is EXACTLY what we are in the streets protesting! Some of us have woken up to see that LIVES are what should be valued – human life, plant life, animal life, life of the Mother Earth.

You are leading the police to value property over all else. I know we were all born into a system that both 1) protects, projects & upholds property to the highest value, and 2) arms macho violent men with horrific weapons and training on how to subdue, dominate, control, and kill your own people, so they can make sure property is protected at all costs of human life.

It should be the job of the police to clear the path for the voice and actions of the people.

What would it cost your police to remove obstacles and ensure that the voices of these protestors are heard? No, this seems to be too difficult for them. They could be shutting down streets, diverting traffic, stopping cars, making sure the people have the space to project this voice.

What do you care if the streets are shut down, if the freeway is shut down, the trains are shut down? This is the WHOLE POINT of protesting these racist, sexist, violent, anti-life society, institutions, corporations, and times: to SHUT IT DOWN!

And they are shut down for how fuckin long? An hour? Two hours? Four and a half hours? We can allow a young man’s swiftly cooling body to lay on pavement bleeding out for 4.5 hours but we cannot tolerate protestors standing a freeway closing it down for 20 minutes?

And who’s values are fucked up here?

Oh, but we are supposed to tolerate and accept four hundred fuckin years of genocide, violence, oppression, 400 years of military wars minus the 17 total years we were not officially at war, not to mention the wholesale destruction of our very Mother Earth but we can not tolerate a couple hours of SHUT IT DOWN!

If you were meeting tonite, I would tell you to consider something. I know you all would probably be struggling to project a very blank face and inside you’ll be saying “that’ll never happen”. Your heads might even ever so slightly shake a little “no”. You’d probably be struggling to keep your eyes pinned forward and not rolling around your heads.

But I would tell you to remember that is how rich white men in power have ALWAYS responded to deep social issues the people were demanding to change. “No, of course not, slavery will NEVER be abolished”. (Okay so it hasn’t been really, but the certain form of slavery they were protecting has been made illegal). “No ridiculous! Womyn will NEVER get the right to vote.” NO NO NO.

Well I’m warning you to put those responses on hold; to press the pause button; to lean forward and listen intently and intensely, & to prepare yourselves to be the courageous warriors our times demand of you and all of us.

WE WANT POLICE DISARMED!!! And then DEMILITARIZED at the very least, and DISMANTLED the way they are. We want a real, human, compassionate, loving force that will honor and protect the life of humans and all life on the Mother Earth, beginning with Berkeley.

We need all of YOU to stand up against this police violence, police murder, racism. Period. Our community and individuals will NEVER be safe as long as macho, violent armed men and their mimics are walking amongst us.

And lastly: NOBODY hijacked our message: it is loud and clear: BLACK LIVES MATTER! & SHUT IT DOWN!

Sunday, December 07, 2014

Police incite violence

Before you read the news this morning, I want to tell you what REALLY happened in Berkeley last nite: police INCITED violence. Period. Fuckin Berkeley police fuckin incited violence.

I arrived at Telegraph & Bancroft early and marveled at the beauty of the square filling up almost instantly like the fast-forward filming of a flower blooming. One minute there was me, then three or four folks walked over to stand close to me, then it was a complete circle of people, rows multiplying to suddenly expand to 5 or 10 deep.

We cheered & chanted, heard the protect yourself/each other NLG cautions, and then a womon alumni from UCB stepped forward to lead us, and we chanted & sang a little more before we started marching down Telegraph ave.

I was tired, after marching over 6 miles the day before – plus all the mile accumulations of marching these past 2 weeks – so I’d planned just to begin, hand out Free Marissa flyers, and then head home when we passed close to my house.

The energy was so righteous and lively, the protestors so determined, I decided to go right when the march turned off Telegraph and continuing protesting, instead of turning left the couple blocks to my home.

Although I often walk down Derby, I’d never marched down Derby to Shattuck with a zillion folks! We proceeded to take over Shattuck the same way we had just taken over Telegraph Ave.

As I marched and chanted and sang and talked with companeras/companeros, my plans of going home dissipated more and more with each step.

By the time we reached downtown Berkeley, our numbers had swelled to over 500. We gathered at the intersection of Shattuck and Allston, again for many minutes while we chanted, people spoke, made music, died-in, and decided what to do next.

We headed to the police station to SHUT IT DOWN! This is what we’re doing – yes – in the wake of racist killings of Black people and racist findings of grand juries. SHUT IT DOWN!

The police were already there, standing stiffly behind silver barricades, with their batons extended across their bodies, gripped in two upright thick gloved fists, feet spread slightly, shoulders a little forward to amplify their already aggressive image.

We filled in the street front of the station, closing MLK, and continuing chanting, singing, yelling, talking – happy, satisfied we’d shut down the police station.

Some people on one side of the protest started playing music and dancing, others laid down and died-in again, and still others just sat down talking amongst ourselves.

Suddenly everyone got up to see what was happening toward University Ave: the police had stepped out from behind their barricade and moved to try to form a line across the street. Why did the police do that? Who the fuck gave that idiotic order?

We rose up as one, refusing to be penned in, and started marching again, edging past the police, to the police yelling at us to “back up, back up” from their failed attempt to do what? Block us in? Surround us?

I surged along with everyone toward the far sidewalk and the right side of the broken retreating line of cops. Right in front of me, suddenly a tall white cop, Smith #60, fury sliding across his pale face, lunged at a fellow walking 2 paces ahead of me, thrusting his baton trying to wack this guy in the gut, as if the kid was a particularly hard piece of wood he was resolute on splitting.

We all yelled, screaming out this asshole’s name and badge number, and sprang forward to protect this young plaid shirted fellow as we simultaneously were pulling backward, while Smith wielded this baton attempting to strike again and again. Other officers moved him back behind them – to protect him or stop him, I don’t know - where he stood disappointed, bouncing his body and jiggling his stick restlessly between gloved hands, itching to be back attacking us.

A large white man with a camera scootched in front of me, crouching down, filming the cops and protestors. Suddenly Kelly #20 lunged from the cop line, swinging her baton and hit the man on his left shoulder curled over his camera.

He never stopped filming. We loudly protested as she lunged and hit him again. And again. Like an old fashioned clock’s cuckoo bird darting out to count off the hours, one blow for each hour.

Unfuckinbelievable – his camera wasn’t even facing her, he was squatted on the ground a good three feet away from the cop line.

Then she retreated with the rest of cop line. #20 Kelly.

We had succeeded to move away from the police, the station, and open the path to University Ave. The police poured into our newly abandoned space and spread across MLK behind us. I noticed at least one cop carrying some kind of machine gun looking weapon. What? Do they think they’re facing some kind of militarized enemy army?

They’re facing people. Human beings. What is wrong with them???

What is wrong with us, allowing armed killer macho men to circulate freely amongst us? (Not to mention around the world.)

We paused and paced there, edging more towards University and away from the police station, our initial shock and surprise at the police violence still very much present but ebbing with University now open to us.

Suddenly blasts! The police are firing exploding canisters towards us into the crowd! What?

We all rushed toward University Ave and away from the crazed police, taking over that intersection, closing down University Ave.

More to come, but for now, I just want to tell you about this police violence.

It’s as if they are in a video game or Hollywood movie, and not thinking and considering us their neighbors, their sisters and parents and children – and certainly not thinking about holding accountable their fellow police officers (or themselves) who are shooting and killing human beings, their brothers & sisters & children – but certainly thinking about who and how they are going to project their superior weaponry power over.

And, as we all know, they are ready to kill. The willingness, even eagerness, to kill is not just spread all over their faces and anticipatory expressions, but it is in their every movement, their every stance, their every robotic obeying of orders as they exponentially increase their threat flowing into formation as one huge violent primed death-seeking creature.

Friday, December 05, 2014

Who needs provocateurs? to be continued...

I witnessed a bitterly stunning thing tonite that deeply cut me.

We were triumphantly marching back to downtown Oakland after at least 3 hours of successful actions: we shut down Broadway and Telegraph Aves; we shut down 880 in both directions; and we shut down the West Oakland BART station!

And several people told the police exactly why we were there: to protest THEM as a fucked up, unwanted, violent entity that we are no longer going to tolerate.

Our numbers swelled to probably close to or even more than 1000. People in cars honked, people in restaurants and bars came out onto the sidewalk to cheer, people hung out apartment windows screaming “Fuck the Police” and waving signs & banners.

It was a GREAT night and the determination to stay in the streets until our nation changes pulsed knowingly thru the crowd.

A few people marching ahead of me were carrying a beautiful maybe 5’x5’ white sign with dark red letters: “BLACK LIVES MATTER”.

Suddenly, a few people shot thru the crowd, jumped up and snatched the banner out of the protestors’ hands, ripping it, stamping on it, and breaking it with as much force as if it said “I am Darren Wilson.”

I was stunned to hear that these men acted like crazed avengers because they decided the RCP – revolutionary communist party – wasn’t welcome or wanted in our march.

I couldn’t believe it. A few moments before this happened, I noticed a man loudly dissing the RCP claiming that they were endangering the lives of youth.

When I challenged him he talked about the Oct 22nd national day to stand against police brutality – that the RCP organized. He claimed they were endangering the lives of high school youth.

I couldn’t believe it. I was there. The police were the ones endangering the lives of everyone. Even though we had a permit to march, the police decided they weren’t going to allow us to march to the administration building, which was our destination after the jail.

All of the sudden the police lined up across the street & wouldn’t allow the march to go further.

For this, the RCP was being held accountable as endangering youth.

Now here I found myself defending the RCP, whose tactics I don’t necessarily agree with, but I don’t necessarily agree with many people’s ‘tactics, like signing petitions and moaning while enthusiastically maintaining their amerikkkan nitemare lives.

He slung some derogatory inflammatory name calling while muttering Bob Avakian (see, just because of them, I’ve now had to learn to spell that man’s name).

I have ‘issues’ with the RCP – mainly their single-minded worship of Bob – but I have issues with any idolizing of any man, even my heroes Cornel West and hmmm, can’t think.
Horizontal Hostility – that’s what I fuckin witnessed tonite. Horifuckinzontal hostility. These couple of men thought they could dictate for us who is allowed to march and with what message.

When he began deriding the tactics that RCP uses on the grounds that they are endangering other people, I ordered him to stop being so patronizing; that we are all adults, we think and make decisions, and he does not have the right to tell people what they are to choose to do or not do.

I then trotted out the “divide and conquer” point he was obviously missing, and told him if he was so sure which tactic was THE one to use, then all of us thinking people would be embracing and using that tactic.

I couldn’t believe the level of hostility towards the RCP and I was like “see, this is why we don’t have to worry about provocateurs – this is horizontal hostility.

I had flash backs to my early days, before I even began my journey to consciousness, being at anti-war marches or striding across campus, seeing the RCP folks. They were always intense, with loud speakers shouting rhetoric, handing out flyers, and trying to sell papers.

And they were ALWAYS there. The RCP is the one and only group I know of – besides the fuckin democratic party – that comes out, shows out, and stands on the RIGHT SIDE of every issue we have.

They might stand in a way I don’t like but I LOVE their dedication, their love, their commitment – for that is what shines thru every word they utter.

Thinking about these handful of disruptive folks tonite, I think they are jealous: the RCP got out the youth, gets out the youth – AND the RCP must be the MOST integrated group of activists I’ve ever seen.