Reconsidering Code Pink

I’ve been meaning for awhile to check out Britt Peterson‘s TNR profile of Code Pink, which was published while I was in Europe. The activist group’s confrontational tactics have annoyed me in the past, even as they’ve been crudely effective. At the Democratic National Committee’s Winter Meeting in February, Code Pink hecklers briefly drowned out Hillary Clinton, but they also succeeded in forcing her to address the Iraq war more directly. Clinton ended up reiterating that she would not apologize for her war authorization vote, but urged the audience ot look into her detailed Senate proposal for beginning to withdraw troops now.

While Code Pink practices equal opportunity harassment of male and female politicians, their rhetoric often implies — or directly states — a special reponsibility for peace on the part of women. That bothers me. I don’t think women are inherently more pacifist than men. But after reading Britt’s piece and trolling around on the Code Pink website, I think I’ve been too harsh. The war is fucked up, hot pink clothing attracts attention, and the call to "be outrageous for peace" is certainly compelling. My concern remains that outrageous spectacles don’t win American hearts and minds over to the antiwar cause, but rather radicalize mainstream, sensible ideas like beginning troop redeployment now.

In any case, the article is full of fascinating tidbits. Did you know the Code Pinkers have a group house in D.C. filled with pink stuff? And that they exchange gifts with the Capitol Police?

2 thoughts on “Reconsidering Code Pink

  1. Eli

    Yeah, I also have an ambivalent relationship with groups (IMHO, that would be PETA) that propose good ideas in radical ways supposedly in an effort to convert the public. I think at heart they just really want to have a good time – which is fine of course, so long as they don’t scare people away from the cause.

    I’m enjoying checkin’ in on your blog, Dana!

  2. Dana

    Hey Eli, thank you for stopping by! I agree, the theatricality is what makes protest appealing to a lot of people (in addition to believing in the cause, of course). I’ll never forget a few people I knew at Brown who studied civil disobedience intently and decided they wanted to get arrested — not for any particular cause, but whichever one they felt would best lend itself to a confrontation with the Providence authorities.


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