CODEPINK staged a peaceful sit-in in Senator Bernie Sanders’s office on October 4, 2023, leading to the arrest of 11 peace activists.
By Danaka Katovich, CODEPINK National Co-Director
Today, CODEPINK walked the halls of Congress with over 60 people who came from all over the world to call for negotiations, not escalation in Ukraine following an anti-war rally yesterday evening with Dr. Cornel West as the keynote speaker. The purpose of the last two days has been to point out the hypocrisy of progressives who fund endless wars, even progressive champion: Bernie Sanders.
Our action in the morning began with a sit-in in Senator Bernie Sanders’s office that resulted in the arrest of 11 of us—including a peace movement elder named Joan, who is 89 years old.
CODEPINK activists arrested for holding peace signs including a quote by Bernie Sanders.
Throughout the day, we had lively debates with Hill staffers that all sounded the same. “Do you really think negotiations will work?” some of the staffers asked condescendingly, conveniently forgetting that it’s their policy of sending weapons that hasn’t worked for the last year and a half.
I sat across the table from an older peace activist after he got out of jail—a Vermonter and constituent of Bernie Sanders—as he told me about how he had done a sit-in at Bernie’s office when he voted for funding the Iraq war back in 2003. It became clear to me that foreign policy “experts” on the hill can’t condescend to us: the wars that are popular today won’t be in a few years, once you’ve drained all the resources and talking points that keep lining the pockets of politicians and executives at Lockheed Martin.
CODEPINK Co-Founder Medea Benjamin visiting various Congressional member offices to protest endless Ukraine war funding.
Ukraine is losing negotiating power every day. More Ukrainians are dying, and $140 billion later, Members of Congress insist that $24 billion more will end the war for good. They sent cluster bombs and depleted uranium that will prolong the harmful effects of the war for decades after its over. Cluster bombs killed or injured tens of thousands of people in Laos after the war in Vietnam ended, and the people that voted for these weapons insist that they are the ones who care about the lives of civilians. They do not or they are seemingly misguided. Fueling this war endlessly will only kill more people—that’s how wars of attrition go.
Dr. Cornel West addressed a jam-packed audience in Washington D.C. as well as thousands who joined us via livestream.
At yesterday’s event, Dr. Cornel West reflected on the need to be morally consistent in his speech. Why do we protest in Bernie’s office as opposed to warhawk republicans or moderate democrats? Because we believe in what Bernie says; everyone should have healthcare, education, and housing. No one should starve in the wealthiest country in the world. We deserve all of those things, but we can’t demand justice in just one place while our government causes so much turmoil elsewhere. We live in the belly of the beast— we have the most sacred responsibility of standing up for the lives of people everywhere: in Chicago, Jenin, Moscow, Kiev, Kabul, Havana, Baghdad, Caracas, and everywhere else imperialism and greed by the United States government causes human suffering.
See photos and videos from our rally and advocacy day here or swipe the photo gallery below!
Watch our October 3, 2023 Rally with Dr. Cornel West here!