This year, we are at an incredibly important juncture with the world facing twin threats of nuclear war and climate catastrophe. With President Biden’s whopping $886 billion military budget request, the continuing war in Ukraine and escalating tensions with Russia and China, peace needs our leadership now more than ever. This is why we have worked tirelessly during the past year on numerous fronts, engaging over 200 coalition partners and thousands of supporters to push for peace through the following actions:
Disrupting Business as Usual
The end of the Covid-19 pandemic and re-opening of Capitol Hill in Washington DC has allowed CODEPINK to return to the streets and halls of power and disrupt warmongers at every turn. Our bold confrontations have generated millions of views across social media, reaching new and traditional audiences, and forcing mainstream media to pay attention to the grim reality behind the U.S. war propaganda machine.
Some recent highlights include:
- Confronting Lockheed Martin's War Profiteering - On November 16, 2022, CODEPINK disrupted Lockheed Martin CEO Jim Taiclet at the Politico America’s Defense Strategy Conference by calling out his company for war profiteering. The conference happened just before Congress passed the National Defense Authorization Act which funnels billions to companies like Lockheed Martin every year. 70% of Lockheed Martin’s annual revenue comes directly from the U.S. government and American tax dollars.
- Questioning the Center for Strategic and International Studies - On January 9, 2023, the Center for Strategic and International Studies released their latest report, The First Battle of the Next War: Wargaming a Chinese Invasion of Taiwan, based on simulated war game scenarios despite admitting that “Chinese plans are unclear.” We disrupted the launch by pointing out that “War is not a game,” and that such warmongering pushes us closer to unnecessary war and a possible nuclear armageddon.
- Taking On Rep. Adam Smith on His Defense Policy on Ukraine - On January 11, 2023, CODEPINK took advantage of a Brookings Institute “defense policy” talk with Rep. Adam Smith to push for negotiations to end the conflict in Ukraine and express frustration on behalf of millions of Americans who want to see the U.S. invest more in climate justice and social programs instead of war.
- Disrupting Josh “War with China Hawk” Hawley - On February 16, 2023, a CODEPINK protester shouted “China is not our enemy, the climate crisis is!” as Senator Hawley made his case for a war with China at an event hosted by the Heritage Foundation, entitled” China and Ukraine: A Time for Truth.” Holding a sign that read, “People and Planet, Not War and Aggression,” CODEPINK reminded the Missouri Senator that half of his state lives in poverty and that our real enemy is the climate crisis.
- Disrupting China-Hating House Select Committee - On February 28, 2023, when the House Select Committee on the Strategic Competition Between the United States and the Chinese Communist Party held its very first hearing titled: “The Chinese Communist Party’s Threat to America,” CODEPINK was there to say that “the American people need cooperation, not competition with China” as well as “committees on justice and peace, not endless war.”
- Urging Blinken to be a Real Diplomat - On March 22, 2023, CODEPINK activists interrupted Anthony Blinken at the Foreign Relations Committee Senate Hearing on “American Diplomacy and Global Leadership: Review of the FY24 State Department Budget Request.” We reminded committee members that Blinken should actually start practicing diplomacy before discussing how to fund it.
CODEPINK CONGRESS Gains Momentum as the Leading Voice for Peace in Ukraine
- This past year CODEPINK Congress has worked to shift public opinion to support a diplomatic resolution to the war in Ukraine, encourage international leaders to mediate peace negotiations, and build an international antiwar movement through participation in our Peace in Ukraine Coalition. The Coalition, launched by CODEPINK and co-chaired by Marcy Winograd, advocates for a ceasefire, peace negotiations and an end to weapons shipments that risk further escalation.
- CODEPINK Congress programs this year have highlighted voices for diplomacy in Ukraine: former diplomat Chas Freeman, economist Jeffrey Sachs, journalist Helena Cobban, RootsAction Executive Director Norman Soloman, Europe’s International Peace Bureau leaders Reiner Braun and Lisa Clark.
- Our work has been amplified by the release of CODEPINK co-founder Medea Benjamin’s co-authored book, War In Ukraine: Making Sense of a Senseless Conflict. CODEPINK Congress’s listserv helped organize Medea’s 8-month book tour that included 100+ stops across the U.S. Over 1,500 supporters attended her events, as well as hundreds of students at dozens of community centers and colleges. The tour, supplemented by an educational video produced by in-house staff, along with over 20 media interviews has brought an important counter-narrative to new audiences across the country.
- The latest polls indicate our efforts, along with those of others, have been successful, with the most recent Associated Press poll (Feb. 2023) revealing less than half of those polled (48%) want to continue arming Ukraine to prolong the war, while 29% oppose sending more weapons and 22% say they are unsure. This contrasts with results in May 2022, when 60% of U.S. adults favored sending weapons to Ukraine. Our CODEPINK Congress calls to oppose establishment of a no-fly zone over Ukraine–a trigger for World War III–added to a national chorus in opposition to the no-fly zone.
- Marcy Winograd and Medea Benjamin, co-hosts of CODEPINK Congress, have engaged activists across the country in lobbying on Capitol Hill and in home districts, in protesting in front of the White House, the Washington Post and CNN, in writing OpEds and Letters to the Editor, in conducting street vigils with resources to flyer and banner. We have also developed a Speakers Bureau to oppose endless war that risks nuclear annihilation, either through accident or intention.
- To support the Pope’s call for diplomacy, CODEPINK Congress and the Peace in Ukraine Coalition worked in bringing together over 1,500 faith leaders in the United States–representing a massive number of believers from every major tradition–as signatories on a Christmas Truce statement demanding a temporary ceasefire in the War in Ukraine in December 2022.
- Currently, we are working on similar letters from environmental leaders and anti-nuclear experts to not only strengthen voices for diplomacy in Ukraine but also bridge the divide between climate activists and peace activists to further strengthen the antiwar movement.
- We initiated a nationwide Week of Action in September 2022 to demand a ceasefire in Ukraine, direct talks between the U.S. and Russia and a freeze on weapons shipments. The week included actions in Rockville, MD; Milwaukie, WI; Nashville, TN; Philadelphia, PA, Newton, Quincy and Maiden, MA, as well five cities in California: San Francisco, San Pedro, Los Angeles, San Mateo and Santa Barbara.
- In March 2023, CODEPINK and the Peace in Ukraine coalition co-sponsored a mass rally and march in Washington DC. Coinciding with the 20th anniversary weekend of the criminal U.S. Invasion of Iraq, major actions took place including a demonstration at the White House demanding "Peace in Ukraine – Say NO to Endless U.S. Wars” and “Fund People's Needs, Not the War Machine.”
- To build the movement we need to reach more people. At the end of May, the Peace in Ukraine Coalition will center a ceasefire petition to Biden, Putin and Zelensky in a supporter-funded full-page ad in The Hill, a widely read newspaper on Capitol Hill. Shortly after, coalition members, including Medea Benjamin, will travel to Vienna to participate in a June 10-11th international peace conference.
Raising Awareness About Sinophobia
- This year, we’ve successfully turned a corner in our efforts to raise awareness about Sinophobia in the Biden administration’s drumbeat for war against China. Thousands of supporters have continued to sign our petitions, tune into our educational webinars, and read our articles and blogs.
- Our disruption of the very first hearing held in Congress by the House Select Committee on the Strategic Competition Between the United States and the Chinese Communist Party received engagement by 375,300 people on Twitter and 19,000 Instagram followers. Our disruption videos also received 9,000 views on TikTok and another 1,600 views on YouTube!
War Is Not Green: Educating the Climate Justice Movement
During the past year, we have successfully raised awareness about the Pentagon’s role in accelerating the climate crisis. The US military alone is the world's largest institutional consumer of oil, emitting even more greenhouse gasses than most countries. Working at the intersection of anti-militarism and climate justice, we’ve led community-led actions and teach-ins in the following arenas:
- In October 2022, CODEPINK joined an international coalition committed to “disrupting business as usual” at the annual IMF/World Bank meetings. Among calls for climate-change denier and World Bank president David Malpass to step down, we also demanded that these institutions stop investing in fossil fuels, cancel the debt they claim Global South countries owe, and pay climate reparations.
- In November 2022, we were at the COP UN Climate Conference in Egypt to ensure that the environment movement joins our call for climate accountability from the U.S. military by insisting on climate reparations and the inclusion of military emissions at every future COP UN Climate Conference. Thanks to our combined efforts, COP27 has reached a breakthrough agreement on a new “Loss and Damage” fund for vulnerable countries.
- We have also launched a campaign calling for military emissions coverage in major news outlets and are pressuring Politico to consistently and accurately cover the environmental costs of war and private military contractors, with the goal of using this win to make other outlets follow suit.
- At a side event at the UN Water Conference in New York City in March 2023, our campaigner spoke on corporate infringement of water rights and access by providing an anti-war analysis, situating water privatization within the same extractive system that grants an ecocidal carte blanche to our military.
- CODEPINK also joined other climate justice organizations at the annual PowerShift convening in April 2023. Power Shift centers collective youth power in the climate movement to create a just future for all. We co-led a session to untangle the inseparable links between militarism and the climate crisis.
- CODEPINK brought anti-militarism activism to Earth Day activities across the country. We demanded an end to the war economy, the Willow Project in Alaska and Cop City, and advocated for adopting Genuine Progress Indicator (GPI) as opposed to GDP as our primary economic metric!
- Our biggest win this year was getting a resolution included in the BlackRock annual shareholders meeting, which calls on the asset manager to research and publish an impact report on the human cost of weapons and aerospace companies’ climate-killing operations. The “War Profiteers Climate Report” resolution will, for the first time, hold BlackRock accountable for its contribution to climate change.
Embedding Anti-Militarism Messaging in Coalition Work
- CODEPINK’s anti-militarism contingent at the Mass Poor People’s and Low Wage Workers’ Assembly on June 18, 2022 was a huge step forward in providing coalition partners an entire weekend of teach-ins on how the trade-off between spending on war versus peace has devastating consequences on both people and planet. As a result, we are now better positioned to continue collaborating with partners on connected issues while utilizing Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion strategies.
- On December 7, 2022, CODEPINK joined over 100 national organizations in calling on Congress to support the Yemen War Powers Resolution and end U.S. complicity in this war.
- In January 2023, we honored Dr. Martin Luther King Jr and remembered his anti-militarism vision through a series of events starting January 12 in Washington DC and ending on January 16 in Los Angeles. Events included marches, rallies, and a webinar on “Reimagining King’s Vision - The Fierce Urgency of Now” with the Fellowship of Reconciliation, Highlander Center, The National Council of Elders and the King and Breaking Silence Coalitions, and other partner organizations.
- This March, we celebrated International Women’s Day by hosting events across the country to educate how war disproportionately affects women and children across the globe, and how the path to peace and diplomacy must be paved by women.
DisArming and Divesting Go Hand in Hand
- Our campaign to ground the F-35 took off with great success this past year. Over 220 organizations have joined an international campaign to end the United State’s F-35 program. Citing “harm caused abroad, cost of the program to the taxpayer, inefficiencies and failures, the environmental impact of F-35s, and the effects training has on local communities,'' Ben Cohen, Roger Waters, Noam Chomsky and others joined us in signing a letter to President Joe Biden and members of Congress. The letter delivery took place in October 2022, followed by a week of action in May 2023.
- Our Call to Disarm campaign has also been involved in disseminating a new report published on August 23, 2022, that highlights civilian victims of Turkey's cross-border attacks in Iraq Kurdistan. The report, calling for the end of arms sales to Turkey, was released by End Cross Border Bombing, an international coalition that includes CODEPINK.
- The Divest from the War Machine campaign also caught a win this year in Oregon. In November 2022, the Corvallis, OR city council unanimously passed a Divest from the War Machine resolution due to the hard work of the Corvallis Divest from War coalition, composed of 19 different organizations focused on climate, racial justice, and peace. Recent victories like this are inspiring young peace activists to join the movement to divest from war and start a campaign locally – including a high school student currently building a divestment campaign in West Palm Beach, FL.
Continuing Against Drone Warfare
- CODEPINK has been leading the charge against drone warfare for over a decade, and we continue to drive awareness through ongoing protests. When Medea Benjamin published her book, Drone Warfare: Killing by Remote Control ten years ago, she described how the Pentagon had grown its drone warfare business from 2000 to 2013 to the tune of $5 billion. Twenty-three years later, the global military drone market is now expected to reach $22.4 billion by 2028, with the war in Ukraine the latest battleground for conducting drone warfare with deadly precision.
- To highlight the perils of escalating killer drone warfare, nearly 4 dozen activists participated in the first ever weeklong anti-drone peace convergence in April 2023 at the Holloman Air Force Base in southern New Mexico, where over 700 drone pilots and operators graduate every year. The peaceful protest and blockade of the base resulted in several arrests. Two commercial ads ran locally throughout our week of action https://youtu.be/VEnXCOY-hso https://youtu.be/4ca-j39wBjI and coverage in the Alamogordo Daily News garnered considerable awareness about the killer drone industry.
Educating the U.S. to be a Good Neighbor
- Latin America is having a big year and so is our Latin America campaign. As part of CODEPINK's campaign to end the U.S. blockade of Cuba, over 10,000 people and 100 organizations signed an open letter calling on President Biden to abandon Trump’s failed policies towards Cuba.
- After delivering this letter to members of Congress, CODEPINK also helped organize another letter to President Biden signed by prominent lawyers nationwide expressing concern over the continued placement of Cuba on the State Sponsors of Terrorism (SSOT) list, especially in light of the fact that it had been removed from this list just a few years prior by the Obama-Biden administration.
- CODEPINK, alongside Cuban-led organization Puentes de Amor, have raised and delivered thousands of dollars in aid for the Cuban people. After hurricane Ian devastated parts of the country, CODEPINK supporters raised over $70,000 to aid the Cuban people. After the Matanzas fire that devastated Cuba’s oil storage facilities, we raised over $60,000 for hospitals, with thousands of pounds of milk for Matanzas and the pediatric hospital in Holguin.
- On April 28-29, 2023, our Latin America organizers hosted the first annual Latin Americas and Caribbean Policy Forum in Washington DC, entitled, “In Search of a New U.S. Policy For A New Latin America and the Caribbean: Burying 200 Years of the Monroe Doctrine.” Together with a coalition of over 50 organizations, the forum attracted over 1200 activists and intellectuals including some of the foremost leaders and experts in this area. The event was followed by an advocacy day on Capitol Hill, where dozens of activists met with Congress to express their concerns.
Amplifying Our Media Presence
Over the past year, CODEPINK hired a full-time Media Relations Manager to increase our capacity for earned media coverage and persuasive op-ed writing across all our various campaigns and issues. Since then, we have been mentioned multiple times in The Washington Post, Politico, The Hill, The Guardian, Newsweek, YahooNews, Fox News, Democracy Now, Salon, The Intercept, New York Post, NBC News, ABC News, Common Dreams, and Daily Mail. With help from our Media Relations manager, CODEPINK staff have also succeeded in getting over a dozen op-eds published on a wide range of advocacy topics. To expand outreach, we have also focused on curating educational content on our official Substack and Medium accounts.
We are especially proud of our growth on social media. Some key statistics include the following:
- In October 2022 we had an audience of 3,400 followers on TikTok. In a little over 6 months, we’ve grown that audience to over 40,000 people as of May 2023, with some of our videos reaching as many as 2,000,000 views. Our account showcases our confrontations of some of the world’s most powerful people, educational content about war and peace, updates on our work, and videos from our actions.
- Six months ago, we had about 21,000 followers on Instagram. Since then, we’ve added about 6,000 people to our audience, and reached about a quarter of a million people.
- In the last six months, we’ve garnered 75,000 views on YouTube and expanded our audience by about 900 subscribers. We hope to reach the 10,000 subscriber mark soon this year. Our most popular video is a short educational film about the war in Ukraine, and many of our YouTube shorts featuring our actions, members, and other updates also regularly receive several thousand views.
- On Twitter, we’ve added about 5,000 people to our community over the last 6 months and regularly see well over a million views on our tweets each month.
As a result of our successful expansion on social media during the past year, for the first time in our history, we’ve succeeded in bringing our website to a younger audience! 18-44 year olds now frequent our website far more than 45+ year old people! Our disruptions and confrontations with war mongers have been a huge win – for a small organization to pull in thousands of views, likes and comments has been a truly positive outcome.
Our staff and their work also continues to be mentioned in hundreds of publications around the nation and the world, showcasing impact, reach, and influence. (https://www.codepink.org/in_the_news).
Our high-quality educational webinars, radio show and podcasts are also reaching new audiences. Our recent webinar commemorating “Daniel Ellsberg Week” to celebrate Daniel Ellsberg’s lifelong support of whistleblowers and peacemakers, as well as popular webinars such as “How War Mongering Now Includes a Nuclear War,” “Inside China 2023: A Conversation with Tings Chak,” “Building a Visionary Antiwar Movement'' continue to draw new audiences. Our weekly CODEPINK radio program has expanded to include new stations, including WBAI (NYC), WPFW (DC), KPFT (Houston), KPFK 90.7 FM (Los Angeles, CA), KSOW-LP, 106.7 FM, KCEI Cultural Energy 90.1 FM (New Mexico), WOOL 91.5 FM, “Black Sheep Radio” (Bellows Falls, Vermont), Community Growth Radio (CGR) NWAIS (Vancouver Washington), Greenfield Community Television, Inc. (GCTV), KAOS Olympia 89.3FM, Eugene-Springfield, OR, KYAQ Radio 91.7 FM, Newport, Oregon, KKRN 88.5 FM (Round Mountain, CA), KBOO - Portland Radio Station 90.7 FM, Columbus’s Progressive Radio | WGRN.org 94.1FM, WRFN-LP Radio Free Nashville, Radio Esperanza 96.5 KEPJ-LPFM - San Antonio, KHOI, 89.1 FM, Des Moines, IA, as well as Spotify, Google Podcasts, Overcast, Pocket Casts, Radio Public and Apple iTunes.
CODEPINK continues leading forward with bold actions to counter the drive towards more war. We continue to be a reliable partner providing over 200 coalitions with key educational tools and organizing resources that have enabled large scale events, rallies, action weeks, teach-ins and more. And our staff continue to expand the breadth and depth of our work both offline and online.
Our Plans for CODEPINK’s 21st Year Include...
- Demanding diplomacy with Russia and China, not further escalation to the war in Ukraine
- Building more educational tools and materials, including a book on “China is Not Our Enemy”
- Pressuring weapons giants like Lockheed Martin to end the F-35 warplane program with a coalition of 200+ members
- Calling out politicians who take money from weapons companies and vote for increased Pentagon budgets against the interests of the people
- Exposing the Pentagon for being the biggest polluter on earth, holding it accountable for the staggering cost of war we and our planet have experienced these last 20 years
- Building our movement through volunteers, community canvasses and local peace economy projects that nourish our communities
- Advocating justice for Palestine, end to sanctions on countries like Iran, Venezuela, and of course, Cuba, and demanding freedom for whistleblowers like Assange