What is CODEPINK

wisemen_crop.jpgWhat is CODEPINK?

CODEPINK is a women-led grassroots organization working to end U.S. wars and militarism, support peace and human rights initiatives, and redirect our tax dollars into healthcare, education, green jobs and other life-affirming programs. Join us!

What we do

Founded in fall 2002 as a grassroots effort to prevent the US war on Iraq, we continue to organize for justice for Iraqis and to hold war criminals accountable. We actively oppose the continuing U.S. war in Afghanistan, torture, the detention center at Guantanamo, weaponized and spy drones, the prosecution of whistleblowers, U.S. support for the Israeli occupation of Palestine and repressive regimes.

How we do it

Rooted in a network of local organizers, online supporters and generous donors, with an emphasis on joy and humor, our tactics include satire, street theatre, creative visuals, civil resistance, and directly challenging powerful decision-makers in government and corporations. And of course, wearing pink!

Why women?

CODEPINK is not exclusively women — we invite men to join us — -but we are particularly eager to see mothers, grandmothers, sisters, and daughters, female workers, students, teachers, healers, artists, writers, singers, poets and all outraged woman rise up and oppose the global militarism.

womennowar2_crop.jpgHow did we get started?

Medea Benjamin, Jodie Evans, Diane Wilson, Starhawk and about 100 other women kicked off CODEPINK on November 17, 2002. We set up for a 4-month all-day vigil in front of the White House during the cold of winter.

The vigil inspired people from all walks of life, and from all over the country, to stand for peace. Many organizations joined us, including Global Exchange, Greenpeace, WILPF, WAND, Public Citizen, NOW, Women for Women International and Neighbors for Peace and Justice. The vigil culminated on March 8, International Women's Day, when we celebrated women as global peacemakers with a week of activities, rallies and a march to encircle the White House in pink.

Over 10,000 people participated, and a group of 25 women, including Alice Walker, Maxine Hong Kingston, Susan Griffin, Starhawk, Jodie Evans and Medea Benjamin, were arrested for taking our peaceful protest right up to the White House gate.

CODEPINK thus emerged out of a deep desire by a group of American women to stop the United States from invading Iraq. The name CODEPINK plays on the former Bush Administration's color-coded homeland security alerts — yellow, orange, red — that signaled terrorist threats. While Bush's color-coded alerts were based on fear and were used to justify violence, the CODEPINK alert is a feisty call for people to "wage peace."

Since then CODEPINK has become a worldwide network of women and men committed to working for peace and social justice. We have become famous for confronting the warmongers, whether in the halls and hearing rooms of Congress, the national conventions of both the Republicans and Democrats, George Bush's fundraisers, the publicity tours of Karl Rove, Condi Rice, Donald Rumsfeld and others, and Nancy Pelosi's house.

Peace3_crop.jpgPink action principles

  • Nonviolence: We are committed to peaceful means of protest and resolving conflict when executing our actions, in coalition work, and within our internal process and relationships. 
  • Clear Goals: We will define CODEPINK's unique niche in our community (creative protest, cultivating women's voices, etc.) and set attainable goals for local projects that will further CODEPINK's peace mission. 
  • Communication Guidelines:  We write, speak and listen with respect to all.  Disagreements or disappointments are opportunities to practice peaceful and productive communication with each other. We keep our criticisms concise, specific, constructive, and focused on future improvement. We affirm a culture of appreciation, thanking and valuing all our activists and acknowledging donations, co-sponsorships, and other support.
  •  Responsibility and Teamwork:  We work in teams, sharing tasks and responsibilities, and building skills, together. We agree to be responsible for something only when we're 100% sure we are going to do it.
  • Diversity and Tolerance: We embrace feminist principals of cooperation, problem-solving, critical thinking, compassion, analysis and processing.  We will speak up against racism, sexism, homophobia, transphobia, classism, ageism, and other forms of oppression and prejudice.  We will work towards a deeper understanding of our own power and privileges, and seek to cultivate a diverse local group with connections to the array of social justice groups in our cities. We highly recommend that every activist read this piece about recognizing privilege, entitled "Unpacking the Invisible Backpack."
  •  Resource Sharing: Our logos, photos, and the downloadable resources on our website are free for local groups to use.  Central staff can help send email alerts for local organizers. Local groups can endorse or cosponsor local events without seeking permission from the central staff. Local groups are autonomous and are encouraged to take on national campaigns.
  • Messaging: We will work to make the messages on our banners, flyers, and public/ social media statements clear and potent. We aim to amplify our work through positive media coverage  -- for example, sending press releases, conducting press calls and liaising at events, providing talking points for participants, media training for local groups, etc.
  • Global Community: CODEPINK's work to end the war in Iraq was shared by 250 local groups in the US and a dozen international groups.  The solidarity between CODEPINK-ers in the US and overseas strengthens our work to end US wars and drone strikes, curtail government surveillance, bring justice to war victims, and reduce militarism worldwide. CODEPINK has taken delegations to Cuba, Iran, Israel-Palestine and other conflict zones to promote global and cultural engagement and awareness. We also participate in the Global Day of Action on Military Spending, international forums on war and peace, and other peace and diplomacy-building events.
  • Long Term Vision: We commit to working for a better world, for the long haul. We want to build what is called a “peace economy”: global community that cultivates a sense of respect for all people, and takes responsibility for the suffering we see in the world. We can begin by strengthening our relationships at home through our interactions and activism.  In the words of CODEPINK Cofounder Medea Benjamin, “Activism is good for our health and spirits—it keeps us engaged, active, upbeat, and passionate. Ending war may take a long time, and we can use that time to inspire ourselves and each other with positive, creative actions that embody the world we want to see!” 

Reactions

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  • commented 2016-06-23 16:07:13 -0400
    Dear Code Pink
    The gentleman said “Freedom’s not free.” He believes that war is necessary, and he’s right to a point. War is necessary for defense against lawless governments. Aggressive war is not necessary, and is the cause of all war crimes, because it is the cause of all war. We had to fight Hitler because he conquered Europe and was not going to stop there. His evil regime was incompatible with any civilized government, and he was intent on conquering the world.
    In a similar example, and for much the same reasons, Saddam Hussein had to fight the United States. He was attacked, and he was a strongman. He had no chance, but wasn’t going to show us his belly like a beaten dog. I use the example of Hitler because WWII was the last war we had to fight. Since then it is the United States that has led the mad drive to war. Terrorism is blowback against United States interference in other countries. In the history of post-war events, the United States is the bad guy.
    War is a last resort. We can never give up our right to defend ourselves, but we can work with others to avoid war. At least we hope so. Being the world’s policeman? They don’t want it and we can’t do it. I’m really sick of the ignorant blow-hard nationalists who think they’re defending the Constitution. They could try reading it someday. They could try reading the UN Declaration of the Rights of Man. They could try reading the Monroe Doctrine and imagine how it might apply to the other four continents. In the words of the great St. Fu, STFU. That’s all I have to say. Keep up the good work.
    Steven Bonney
    slbonney6@gmail..com
  • commented 2016-06-11 19:17:25 -0400 · Flag
    Freedom isn’t free, it’s paid for in soldiers blood. It took war for the US to gain Independence from Britain, to secure our Union in the Civil War, and to save humanity from Second and Third Reich tyranny. If not for war, the US would never have become a Superpower and global policeman. Spin-offs from war led to jet civil aviation, advanced materials, satellites, and a man on the moon. Organizations like the UN and NATO came into being. Communism was fought and defeated, the Cold War ended. There will always be a need for military power. Only the very naive believe that peace apart from Jesus Christ returning is possible. It’s not. Mankind is inherently evil-leaning and will continue conquest. War is as inevitable as death and taxes. Wake up, you ultraliberal Leftist feminists!!!
  • followed this page 2016-03-15 15:00:50 -0400
  • commented 2016-02-15 07:31:33 -0500
    Love your website and all your work. You are the change we wish to see in the world. Your analysis is so integrative, Linking healthcare, education, green jobs and life-affirming policies is exactly what the people of the world are yearning leaders to do. We must put human security above the secrecy and destruction of military security. Thank you for all your courageous work and for speaking truth to power.
  • commented 2015-12-31 00:10:11 -0500
    Oh yes, I know you want to hold war criminals in Iraq accountable. Please, send a detachment of your loyal followers over there now and arrest as many members of ISIS as you can find!. You should do it just because, just like all left-leaning organizations, you care. Not like those evil right-wing Constitutionalist meanies who view the world as it really is, oh no. They want to see the world fry from climate change, they want all women barefoot and pregnant in the kitchen (just like ISIS..ooops), and of course they want all minorities to be owned by white Christian men. But you ladies will definitely stop all injustice in this world by holding up signs, stamping your feet and singing love songs. Yes, I commend you, for the oh-so-wonderful yet totally useless effort you are putting out. At least it’s good for free publicity.
  • commented 2015-08-26 11:17:01 -0400
    Excellent. America’s fascination with military, naval and air power since 1945, has been a heavy weight on the world; backed as it is with such an enormous budget. Was in President Eisenhower who warned “Beware the military/ industrial complex” to his successor?
  • followed this page 2015-07-20 22:47:55 -0400
  • commented 2015-06-08 12:53:35 -0400
    Brilliant. It’s about the US has a proper, feminist, peace movement like this, that doesn’t just pay lip service with worthless platitudes.