At the height of last October’s California recall election,
political rallies began to sport a pinkish hue as activists from
local CodePink groups
‘Think Pink,’ Utne March/April 2003) protested
Arnold’s alleged habit of fondling women. In San Rafael, about 30
pink-clad protesters set up a ‘grope-free zone’ near a transit
stop, and at a Schwarzenegger campaign rally, dozens more CodePink
activists clashed with security officials, who tried to deny them
entry to the event.
Less than a year after first splashing pink all over the
sidewalk in front of the White House during the run-up to the U.S.
invasion of Iraq, CodePink Women for Peace has taken root in spots
far beyond Washington, D.C. and expanded its agenda far beyond the
CodePink chapters have sprouted in nearly a hundred U.S. cities
as well as in seven countries, including China and India. And while
much of the movement’s activity has centered on anti-war issues
(they’ve even drafted a peace platform), local activists are also
raising funds for Iraqi children, creating peace-oriented
bookmobile tours, organizing against FCC policies and the PATRIOT
Act, working to shut down a New York nuclear power plant, and
campaigning to give George W. Bush a big pink slip. The group has
also been an active force in the fight against the FCC’s attempts
to increase media consolidation.
‘The idea was definitely to motivate folks at the grassroots
level,’ says Victoria Cunningham, CodePink’s national coordinator.
Indeed, the decentralized movement has generated a veritable
cottage industry of entrepreneurial initiatives, including pink
clothing, posters, and flags, which encourage women to spread the
message of peace by whatever means they choose.
Cunningham notes that the gradual shifting from anti-war actions
to other issues is simply an ‘elaboration’ of the year-old
movement. She says she’s not concerned about how such a shift might
effect the generally positive media attention the group has
received since its anti-war protest at the White House a year ago.
‘If worse comes to worse, we end up reaching new audiences,’ she
Besides, if the past year is any indication, there’s no real way
to contain or define CodePink, which by its nature is diffuse,
leaderless, and contagious. It is bound to show up in many other
forms in the months ahead.