We're Back from the DNC/RNC!
Six CODEPINK Florida members traveled to the national conventions this summer. Leslie attended the Democratic National Convention in Denver along with Lydia from Tallahassee and Hillary [Not Clinton] from Boca Raton. Kathryn from UCF and Sam from Orlando attended the Republican National Convention. Deidra went to both conventions and served as CODEPINK DNC/RNC activist coordinator through out the summer helping to get over 250 women and men in the streets and bringing the peace message to the convention floors.

What does Peace look like? That's what we were there for!

The parade was one of the only things pretty in St Paul.

As we left the LoTo bar in downtown St. Paul at about midnight Thursday
(Sept. 4), a crowd of us CODEPINK women and a few men gathered in the street,
exuberant and full of victorious emotions. It was the end of a two-week journey,
our last night of spreading the peace message, brimming with lawsuits, planning
sessions, enormous peace puppets, concrete roadblocks, bloggers, banners, early
morning raids, T-shirts, tear gas, stickers and riot
cops. more:

The 'Police state' mentality reigned at RNC was published in the Capitol Report on September 11, 2008 as a post commentary to "Partying with CodePINK" by Bill Clements:
So, Thursday evening about 9:15, as John McCain was starting his acceptance
speech, my brother-in-law, Randy, and I headed into the LoTo bar in St. Paul’s
Lowertown neighborhood just off downtown, about eight blocks from the Xcel. And a bunch of crazy-seeming women were screaming and cheering and jumping up and down on their seats on one side of the oblong bar. more: http//

This letter from Leslie Cagan of UFPJ [United for Peace and Justice] sent on Wednesday, Sept 3, 2008 describes the week most accurately:

The massive police presence and the uncalled-for actions by the police on the streets has not been the only problem. The police raided a convergence center and several locations where people are staying over the weekend and they have stopped and searched vehicles for no clear reason. For background on the activities of the police in St. Paul, check out Marjorie Cohn's article here.

On Tuesday afternoon, they literally pulled the plug and turned off the electricity at a permitted outdoor concert. The timing of this led to a situation where hundreds of understandably angry people ended up joining a march being led by the Poor Peoples Campaign for Economic Human Rights, a march that organizers were insisting be nonviolent. In other words, the police set up a dynamic that could have turned ugly, but the skill of the organizers kept things calm and focused.

All of this - and much more - needs to be understood in the context of the overwhelming presence of police. Police from all around the Twin Cities have been put to work, and they have also brought in police units from around Minnesota and from as far away as Philadelphia, PA. The National Guard and state troopers are in the mix, to say nothing of the Secret Service, Homeland Security and who knows who else from the federal government! We are very concerned about what this all means about the right to protest, the right to assemble, and the right to have one's dissenting voice heard. We are worried about what it means about the growing militarization of our nation and the ongoing assault on the Constitution.

We shudder to think about how the influx of new weapons and armed vehicles and everything else will be used in the neighborhoods of St. Paul and Denver: both communities each received $50 million from Homeland Security to purchase the equipment and pay for the policing during the conventions.

There are still two more days of the Republican Convention in St. Paul -- two more days of protest and possibilities of police mis-conduct, over-reaction, and excessive use of force. We urge you to call the Mayor of St. Paul right now! Let him know that people around the country know what's happening! Urge him to stand up for the Constitution and to take action to end the militarization of the downtown areas of his city! Urge him to reign in the police and help bring civility to the streets of St. Paul! Mayor Chris Coleman: 651-266-8510

And call your local media outlets to demand that they tell the real story of what's happening in St. Paul this week. Peace, Leslie Cagan, UFPJ National Coordinator


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