Posts tagged “Code Pink

Code Pink: “We want to be loved as Americans”

Around 30 members of Code Pink and Veterans for Peace traveled to Pakistan to  allegedly protest drone use by the US in the area. They were trying to join locals in a protest in South Waziristan.

Anyone see Jane Fonda analogies when you look at this? If you can’t make it through the whole going to a foreign country and speaking against our government thing, skip ahead to Medea Benjamin at around 2:50 where she says, “We want to be loved as Americans”.   Because all that is needed for everyone to love us is for us just to love everyone.

Unfortunately (or fortunately for them) the government wouldn’t let them into South Waziristan.

The Taliban were there hoping to show them lots of love, threatening to bomb the protest:

On Saturday, a statement from a Taliban faction said to be based in Pakistan’s eastern Punjab province warned that militants would welcome the protesters with suicide bombings.

“We ask the brave people of Waziristan not to side with the gang of Jews and Christians – otherwise their fate will be terrible,” the Punjabi Taliban said in the statement.

My guess is that Medea Benjamin’s expressions of love really wouldn’t have stopped the Taliban from blowing her up.


Oops, at least one Occupier DID meet with Ahmadinejad.

Citizen Journalist ran a piece three days ago on Mahmoud Ahmadinejad allegedly planning a meeting with Occupy members during the time he is in NYC to speak at the United Nations.

The announcement, which was met by revulsion, even from some supporters of OWS, pushed some in OWS to take to the media to denounce it.  ”Nobody in their right mind would meet with a fascist dictator like Ahmadenijad,” said Shawn Carrié, a longtime Occupy activist, in a direct message to Rosie Gray at Buzz Feed.

According to NY Magazine,  another spokesperson also denied it.  ”No, none,” said Occupy Wall Street spokesperson Dana Balicki when asked by Daily Intel if there was any truth to the report. However, Ms. Balicki noted Code Pink members had previously met with Ahmadinejad. Code Pink is one of the founding groups of Occupy.

I was working with the group CODEPINK several years ago when Ahmadinejad came to [New York] and held a meeting to discuss global issues. I imagine this is the same. We have no idea who is organizing the meeting and how they came up with this story.

I’ve been trying to reach someone from Fars to ask them who they are talking about. Anyone going is doing so as an individual,” Balicki said. “There is no organized effort on behalf of OWS to meet with Ahmadinejad. This smells like a propaganda effort to me.

Except now we know at least one of the people that actually met with him was in fact an Occupier from Occupy DC, again according to Fars.  Occupier Leah Bolger is also president of Veterans for Peace, one of the groups in the left anti-war coalition which also includes Code Pink. When queried for confirmation of the meeting, Ms. Bolger failed to respond.

Here is Leah with Occupy DC on Day 4 of their occupation

Fars printed a long statement from Ms. Bolger, speaking on behalf of Veterans for Peace, which basically translates to Israel and US want war, Iran is just an innocent.  Of course, meeting with these people only serves Ahmadinejad. It is too bad they fail to realize they are just propaganda bait.

Apparently Mr. Carrié will have to have a conversation with Leah Bolger about the state of her mind.


Mr. Carrie may have to wait before talking with Leah Bolger. She is off to Pakistan with others of Veterans for Peace and Code Pink to protest drones.  If one protests US use of drones, the logical place to protest would be here, as both groups have done.  There is no reason to go to Pakistan other than being a propaganda puppet.


Welcome to our site, Iranian state media- “Press TV”

Please steal this picture, Press TV. Credit NYDN.

Looks like we have some interesting readers.
Citizen Journalist ran a piece three days ago. Our piece referenced a Fars News report that Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was set to meet with members of the Occupy Wall Street (OWS) movement during his current New York City visit for the UN General Assembly gathering.   See our piece here.
The announcement, which was met by revulsion, even from some supporters of OWS, pushed some in OWS to take to the media to denounce it.  “Nobody in their right mind would meet with a fascist dictator like Ahmadenijad,” said Shawn Carrié, a longtime Occupy activist, in a direct message.
According to NY Magazine,  another spokesperson also denied it.  “No, none,” said Occupy Wall Street spokesperson Dana Balicki when asked by Daily Intel if there was any truth to the report.

Except that in response, Dana Balicki then notes that she, as part of Code Pink (which is one of the groups involved with Occupy), did meet with Ahmadinejad ‘several years ago” (actually 2008). 

“I was working with the group CODEPINK several years ago when Ahmadinejad came to [New York] and held a meeting to discuss global issues. I imagine this is the same. We have no idea who is organizing the meeting and how they came up with this story.”

“I’ve been trying to reach someone from Fars to ask them who they are talking about. Anyone going is doing so as an individual,” Balicki said. “There is no organized effort on behalf of OWS to meet with Ahmadinejad. This smells like a propaganda effort to me.”

As we noted in our prior report, Occupy members, most notably, Imam Musa, went to Iran for an Occupy conference over the winter.

They have also had a cosy relationship with Press TV, Iranian government TV, which has promoted them in its media. Press TV is state run, by the Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting (IRIB). Its headquarters are located in Tehran, Iran.

Yesterday, Press TV ran an interesting report talking about the alleged visit and alleged meeting with Ahmadinejad. We wouldn’t be linking to it, because we don’t like to link to propaganda, so if you’d like to see it, be our guest, we will quote the relevant parts.

They noted:

Analysts see Iran as “just one example of the connection between OWS movement and the Middle East, which is based on a common enemy, the governments of the United States and Israel”.

This quoted part was taken straight out of our prior article, of course, excerpted and used for their own purposes.

Press TV then goes on:

Occupy protesters stormed an Israeli consulate in Boston on November 2011, waving Palestinian flags and shouting “Long Live the Intifadah!” and “not another nickel, not another dime! No more money for Israel’s crimes”.

Taken from our story, but adding the line “No more money for Israel’s crimes” (which Occupiers did in fact chant).


Participants made clear that they are not anti-Semites, but anti-Zionists, critical of the Israeli government’s current policies.

Well, now, no they didn’t. They never said any such thing. so we’re curious as to how Press TV came to this conclusion. But it makes them sound nicer, so I guess rewriting truth is Press TV’s inclination.

But it’s nice to know that Ahmadinejad can have “journalist” propagandists to help his agenda.

Press TV’s report was then picked up by another propaganda arm, RT (Russia Today) the Kremlin run media outfit. They ran the following, in pertinent part:

Iran’s Press-TV have also picked up the story and quotes unnamed analysts who say Iran is “just one example of the connection between OWS movement and the Middle East, which is based on a common enemy, the governments of the United States and Israel.”

We want to welcome Press TV to our readership. But when you steal our stuff, try to get it right. You may actually learn something.

Take your vaginas to the RNC

There isn’t much that one can say about this one.

RNC -discussion of economy, foreign affairs, Obamacare, jobs.  Code Pink – vaginas.

Dancing in the middle is head of the organization, Medea Benjamin. Looks like a CEO, right?

It’s a creepy catchy little ditty.

“Calling all Socialists!”

Daily Kos has published a post entitled:

May Day: Socialists of America, Unite!


I was  was asked to post this here, in case there are any socialists lurking in these parts. This is an attempt for socialists to put aside the sectarianism that has for too long divided the left, and to show a united front on May Day.Socialists of America, Unite! on May 1, 2012


Occupy spread like wildfire, setting America ablaze. From large cities like New York City and Los Angeles to small towns like Martinsburg, Virginia and Mobile, Alabama, occupiers are consistently organizing, planning, discussing, and taking direct action for the 99%.

Not since the 1960s and 1930s have so many people taken militant action against the state and capital.

No matter what we think of Occupy’s calls for a general strike on May 1, the important thing is that those calls are resonating on a scale not seen since the days of the free speech fights and the call for “One Big Union” by the Industrial Workers of the World.

and a listing of the signatories to the post:

Ben Campbell, Occupy Wall Street

Bhaskar Sunkara, Editor, Jacobin magazine

Billy Wharton, Socialist Party USA

Bob Turansky, Solidarity

Clay Claiborne, Venice filmmaker and The North Star

Chris Cutrone, Platypus Society

Chris Maisano, Democratic Socialists of America

Carl Davidson, Committees of Correspondence for Democracy and Socialism

Dan La Botz, Solidarity

Jason Schulman, New Politics magazine, Democratic Socialists of America

Fernando Gapasin, Freedom Road Socialist Organization

Manuel Barrera, independent revolutionary socialist

Michael Hirsch, New Politics magazine

Steve Early, Labor journalist, organizer, and member of Newspaper Guild/CWA

Zak, Occupy Wall Street Class War Camp

*Organizations listed for identification purposes only.

Organizational endorsements: John Reed Society; Platypus Affiliated Society

In this post we see people starting to drop the mask and call Occupy what it truly is-“a militant action against the state and capital”.  It is not about reform. It is not about getting money out of politics or bailouts. It is against this present form of government, revolutionary and anti-capitalist at its core.  That is the nature of the people driving it, and where they intend to go is not to a happy place. They define themselves by terms we think of as belonging to other countries-“class war”, “communist” “anarchist” “police state”. They can’t define their purpose, not because they don’t have one. They can’t define their purpose, because bringing down the government is their purpose, and that stated so boldly, would not be acceptable to the general public.

Here’s a short video of Occupy highlights from their NYE highlights in NYC to bring home the point (remember, this is their video, not mine; their things they wanted to remember):

As we noted in our prior post, “Occupy: Anti-capitalist, Shh, But Don’t tell”, ,  one Occupier urges others of the need to cloak their terms in more acceptable vernacular:

But it is not enough.  After Occupy’s initial splash last year,  participation has not been growing.  Hopefully it was just the winter and the heat will bring everyone out again, but I fear that we are not doing a good enough job communicating with the American people.

First we need to communicate in a language that they understand.  Speaking to middle America in the same way that you would talk to your activist friends is not effective.  Don’t use movement, socialist, anarchist, liberal… buzzwords that only some people know the definition of (and others have been trained to fear by decades of propaganda). Translate words like horizontalism, commodification, socialism, anarchy, anti-captitalist, revolution, into explanatory phrases that people without education in revolutionary thought can understand and see as moving their lives forward.

For years, the organized far Left has been scattered, separated by their various differences.  They look to Occupy as their last chance

There have been reformers in Occupy, the people who truly joined because of money in politics or economic concerns.   But they are shouted down and shut out by the revolutionaries. The revolutionists have held sway from the beginning, even before the initial boots on the ground which included anarchists, communists and reformers.   The “99% Spring” is attempting to make Occupy more acceptable, more Liberal and less Left to make it more palatable to the public as a whole.

But if you inherently define yourself as being against the state and in a war with the police, it is hard to play at being acceptable. Clearly provoked confrontations with police don’t go over well with the American public. Nor does treating sleeping in a park as a hair shirt borne for all.

On May 1, with the aid of unions, and students who want off from school, they will have more numbers out than they could get on their own(in NY, their normal numbers on a weekday are around 30, weekend day 100).  They have been working for months to get numbers for Mayday, so there may be some thousands  for example in NY. Yet they will need much more to have their revolution of the proletariat, with massive sustained tens of thousands in the streets, a la Spain or Greece, for much more than one day, sharing the same thought.

And then, on May 2, so?

Occupy: Anti Israel, Anti semitism?

A Facebook post on the Occupy Tampa Facebook page has been burning up the social media lines.

According to Haaretz:

The cartoon, shown below, depicted a Jewish man with a big nose and large beard driving a car with the symbol of the United Nations as the wheel and U.S. President Barack Obama’s head as the stick shift.

On Holocaust Remembrance day, this cartoon was particularly offensive and engendered 400 comments in protest.  “Putting this on Holocaust day just makes it even more sickening than it already is,” one user said.  “This is an outrage. All OWS sympathizers must be disgusted by this vile act of hatred,” said another user.  Despite the fact that most of the commentors were furious over the cartoon, 54 people “liked” the image.

Haaretz noted users who claimed the Occupy Tampa page was “not affiliated with the Occupy Wall Street movement”, that the movement has no official leadership so anyone can post under the “occupy” name.   However, the Occupy Tampa Facebook page has more than 25,000 followers, and has been active since September 25, the beginning of the Occupy Wall Street protests.

All the occupations are technically “autonomous”, so each could disavow the other.  Invariably, when there is a crime or something unpleasant done by an Occupier, the “official” word is that the actor is “not really an Occupier” or one cannot ascribe his actions to everyone else.

Much has been said about anti semitism in OWS already; it is usually met with “we cannot control what individual people say” or as with Occupy Tampa, it is not “official” part of OWS.

It is however important to understand there is a large anti-Israel component to OWS.  For example, some of the founding boots on the ground for OWS – Code Pink, Worker’s World Party and Anonymous-all have made pro Palestinian, anti Israel pronouncements. While there is certainly a distinction that one can make between objecting to actions of a country-Israel-and being anti-semitic, these statements have sometimes crossed the line, and make one wonder.

In October in Melbourne, Occupy had a large protest, part of which marched on a mall against a chocolate shop owned by Jews, which Occupy said had somehow supported Israel. In the process of the march, one member ripped an Israeli flag out of the hands of a man silently protesting them on the side of the road.

In November,  Occupy Boston, led by Code Pink and Communications Workers of America VP Dennis Trainor, led an “invasion” of the Israeli consulate in Boston. While short, the invasion chanted slogans such as, “Viva la Intifadah” and waved Palestinian flags.

Occupy DC protested the alleged influence of Israel by “Occupying AIPAC” during the AIPAC conference in March. This was posted in support by @Anon_Central, an anonymous twitter account that has also declared war on the US:

See this cartoon and think about it. Just think this time. Is it true? #USA #Zionist #Israel #AIPAC!/Anon_Central/status/176365514011066368/photo/1

Historically, of course, pogroms against Jews would begin with cries against the evil “bankers” and their ability to control the world (translation: Jews controlling the world). So when the rhetoric is of the “evil banksters” controlling the world, it understandably makes some nervous.

Anonymous has actually declared war on Israel in the following video in quite virulent terms, vowing to destroy Israel in three steps:

When we asked @OccupyWallSt (as much of an “official” twitter account as you probably will get) about the above cartoon, they denounced it as hate speech, but did not respond when we asked if they would denounce Anonymous for declaring war in such terms on Israel.  This declaration has taken the very real shape of online hacks against the Israeli government as well as hitting a variety of other Israeli websites, some with no relation to the government. However, that is just the “first step”.  Anonymous promises two more steps,  “suprises” for Israel.

Anonymous has also computer attacked various law enforcement agencies in defense of Occupy for alleged police brutality against them.  The FBI has arrested several Anonymous members recently for some of these actions.

When you demonize a group of people, to the point of making up names about them-the 1%, “banksters”, “vampire squids”-you create an environment in which such sentiments can flourish. Why do you not succeed? Nazis told the people it was the evil money grubbing Jews, Occupy Wall Street tells you it’s the evil “banksters”.

Occupy appears to believe in collective guilt of the imagined evil 1%, yet not in collective responsiblity of their members who commit offensive acts.  In so doing they engage in dangerous, divisive and harmful rhetoric.  People need to call it out for what it is, to put a stop to it.

“99% Spring” Democratic operation?

We heard from Sage about the “socializers” (anti capitalists) taking over(sage comment, that).

But while the “anti capitalists” have held sway over Occupy Wall St, others have since the beginning been trying to co-opt it.

The drama behind the scenes with all this would make old 80s soap operas look sophisticated by comparison.

Charles Young, who has been involved with Occupy, tells of attending the “99% Spring” training session organized by Move and having the sudden revelation that it was run by the Democrats:

With hindsight gained by googling “MoveOn” and “co-opt” after the fact, I can’t claim that nobody tried to warn me. Many websites with left and even liberal politics had said in so many words, “Be wary of this organization called The 99% Spring. It is a Trojan horse for the Democrats.” I just didn’t read that anywhere in a timely fashion. I’ve had a lot of stuff on my plate lately. That’s my excuse. And in my ignorance, I responded to some spam about “nonviolent direct action training” organized by MoveOn and got invited to this 99% Spring thing on April 10 at the Goddard Riverside Community Center in Manhattan. Somebody even called me all the way from San Francisco to make sure I was a sincere seeker on the left and would be attending, along with 120,000 others in training sessions around the country.

Which I did. The meeting was a few blocks from where I live. The spam said it was “inspired by Occupy Wall Street.” I wasn’t sure what that meant, but I was vaguely hoping that whatever The 99% Spring was, it would start a chapter of Occupy Wall Street on the Upper West Side, conveniently near my abode, and agitate for the Democrats and MoveOn to move left.

The first clue that my evening might go otherwise was the sign-up table, where there were a bunch of Obama buttons for sale and one sign-up sheet for the oddly named Community Free Democrats (are they free of community?), which is the local Democratic clubhouse. That killed the “inspired by Occupy Wall Street” vibe right there. No piles of literature from a zillion different groups, as there had been in Zuccotti Park. No animated arguments among Marxists, anarchists, progressives, punks, engaged Buddhists, anti-war libertarians and what have you. Just Obama buttons, which didn’t appear to be selling.

A large man with long wavy hair combed back started the presentation with a stirring call for…the meeting to be off the record. He didn’t want any stories that would violate anyone’s privacy, and if there were any lurking journalists, they weren’t allowed to use any names and they must see him afterwards for further instruction on the ground rules. This struck an even more dysphoric note with the crowd than the Obama buttons.

WTF thought #1:  This was a public event ostensibly to convince members of the public to engage in behavior that challenged the legitimacy of government authority in public and might cause angry police to beat the public crap out of them. Why would anyone risk that without trying to get publicity for their cause? Nonviolent direct action that no one knows about is like jerking off. It might make you feel better, but you’re not changing the world.

Notice Charles in his disturbance, says something quite striking here.  The purpose of Occupy is not bailouts, money in politics or whatever was the initial “get” used to draw people. The purpose is to challenge the legitimacy of government authority.  Get people in the streets, whatever the issue. Wall St, war, racism, Trayvon, autism, mental illness. Plumb the ranks of people who have an issue and try to bring them to the cause.  Once you get them, then you can shape them through training: by marching and chanting together, you build a contingent that will do things that would not have done before.

But I digress, Charles was just discovering that someone else was working him:

WTF thought #5: The name of the large man with the wavy hair was Marc Landis. He is a District Leader for the Democrats, who were paying for use of the meeting room. He is running for City Council. According to his law firm’s website his areas of experience are: “Real Estate, Banking & Finance, Corporate & Business Law, Securities & Private Placement, Fund Formation & Investment Management Group…” His Facebook page, which is geared for his City Council campaign, makes it sound like his specialty is pro bono community work. I don’t know. He might be a nice guy, but it doesn’t take a lot of intuition to wonder if he’s really been finding a lot of inspiration in Occupy Wall Street. He’s a corporate lawyer. I can think of no reason for him to demand that the meeting be off the record other than he and his party don’t want to be publicly associated with anything radical, even it’s a pseudo-radical front group meant to steer people away from the truly radical Occupy Wall Street and into pointless activities that don’t embarrass Obama.

Next they showed a video that invited us “to tell our story” so that The 99% Spring could post us online along with hundreds of other people who had been foreclosed, bankrupted, lost their medical insurance or whatever. It appeared they all wanted to raise taxes, so that the rich would “pay their fair share.”

It was sanctimonious. It was supplicating before power. The audience looked like it wanted to puke.

And I said that the other thing I liked was that it was to the left of the Democratic Party and was pushing it from outside. There had been some mention of “the repeal of the Glass Steagall Act during the 90s” and I pointed out that it was Bill Clinton, a Democrat, who deregulated Wall Street.

“Excuse me,” said Landis. “We have a limited amount of time and a lot to discuss. We need to let everyone speak.”

I’ve thought about that a lot. I don’t believe I spoke for more than a minute, but I habitually obey the rules in a group, so I shut up. In retrospect, I was censored. I should have demanded a discussion of the true purpose of The 99% Spring and why Obama’s Department of Homeland Security orchestrated the violent destruction of hundreds of nonviolent Occupy camps around the country last fall.

As it was, we finished going around the circle. Everyone was a teacher or writer or connected with the labor movement. Wisconsin came up a few times. Landis asked what kind of a world we wanted to see. Someone said, “Socialism” and Landis said the topic for discussion was now how to plan for a “hypothetical direct action.” Every time somebody brought up something that was actually happening, Landis insisted that our agenda was set and we were only discussing hypothetical situations. So we talked about hypothetically withdrawing money from a hypothetical evil bank, or hypothetically stopping the hypothetical fracking in the Catskills that is going to poison New York City’s hypothetical drinking water.

“I heard that Occupy Wall Street was calling for a general strike. They’re planning actions all around midtown and they’re saying that nobody should go to work that day.”

“I don’t know anything about that,” said Landis. “We’re talking about hypothetical situations here.”

And so it went from 6:30 to 9:30 last Tuesday night. Over half the crowd left early. Most of those who stayed appeared to be angry and mystified that they had received no training whatever in nonviolent direct action.

Charles got a lesson, but not exactly the lesson he was expecting. Had he been more aware he would have recognized it in the nature of the organizations and people that were already running actions at Occupy Wall Street.  New York Communities for Change and the Working Families Party have been and are actively involved in Occupy. They are the reconstituted ACORN which has close ties to Obama. . MoveOn and Code Pink have also been involved, Code Pink since the beginning as one of the founding groups of Occupy, along with the Workers World Party and Anonymous.

As much as Charles believes he fled the co-option upon recognizing it, he still hasn’t quite figured it all out.

(The rest of Charles Young’s post may be read here: