“Welcome Home Dianne, Now Bring the Troops Home Fast!”

Posted by on July 5th, 2006

Frances Anderson, of CODEPINK LA, and her mom. Frances worked for Winnograd's campaign against Jane Harman and shared the success of that campaign with us—the way that it influenced Harman to take on a stronger peace platform after the primaries.
To view entire slide show, click here!

San Francisco Weeklong Rolling Fast Kicks Off Outside Senator's House

CODEPINK Bay Area started a weeklong relay fast asking Senator Dianne Feinstein to bring our troops home Fast. We started our fast at the site of our senator's new home in the richest neighborhood in SF. The house's front door faces a public park, where we pitched tents and camped overnight. Our opening press conference garnered a lot of media attention, over 100 people, and included the following speakers: Iraq war veteran Eli Painted Crow; Iraqi activist Sureya Sayadi; Samina Faheem Sundas, founder of American Muslim Voice; San Francisco City Supervisors Chris Daly and Ross Mirkarimi; Patricia Ellsberg; Vivian Fiere, who spoke about a recent death of an Iraqi friend; Patricia St. Onge, a Native American activist. Before the press conference, fasters ate a “fast supper” generously donated by the Catholic Worker, and sung with musicians from Queers for Peace and Justice. As nighttime commenced, fasters set up “Camp DiFi” with tents, banners, and lanterns. Police stayed watching the fasters all night long, just to make sure we didn't try to sleep in Feinstein's new abode, perhaps. Or, maybe they were trying to protect us from angry neighbors... Actually, residents were a mixed bag in terms of their political views. One man paused in his morning jog to swear at us and scorn our being there, and when he was later interviewed by the press, who were eager to get an opposition view, he didn't say anything bad about our politics or implying that he was pro-war, he was more appalled that Feinstein had moved into the community, uprooted a public garden, and was now attracting the attention of protesters. In the morning, we circled around a peace sign that had been lit with candles the night before, and we restated our reasons for fasting. We hope to feature some of these reasons in upcoming blogs. We were interviewed by more news stations in the morning. Then we caravaned to Feinstein's office to set up our weeklong vigil outside her building.

The following is a report back from Celeste, who is an active Bay Area CODEPINK woman from Petaluma, CA and participated in Mother's Day Month actions in Washington, DC, with comments added in from Rae:

July 5 Rally at Dianne Feinstein's Home in S. F. (DiFi Action)

About 100 people gathered at Dianne Feinstein's new mansion in Pacific Heights in S. F. on Wednesday, July 5, to kick off the DiFi Action planned in solidarity with our national fast to bring the "troops home fast".

Rae of Code Pink national, the co-ordinator, oriented us by answering 3 questions: 1) Why protest Dianne Feinstein; 2) why protest at this site; 3) and why protest by fasting.

Answers:
Why fast? Fasting has long been used in protests to show seriousness and make sacrifice for causes. As examples, Gandhi fasted and many fasted for women's rights and to end the Vietnam War.

Why Dianne? While she has done some good things for citizens, Senator Feinstein did not sign on to the Kerry bill to withdraw the troops (or any other proposal). As senior and respected senator from California, the 6th largest economy in the world, she can wield powerful influence to stop the war and she's not doing it. And, she's a woman and a Democrat from a state where the majority of the people, like elsewhere in the country, want the troops to come home! Dianne voted for the invasion of Iraq and continues to fund the war; she is one of the top 10 Democrats in the US Congress who take significant sums of money from big oil corporations to finance their campaigns; and her husband has profited from the Iraq war with multi-million dollar reconstruction grants. Feinstein stated two weeks ago: “The time has come for a phased redeployment to finally begin. In my view, an open-ended commitment is no longer sustainable in Iraq.” All this considered, we are appealing to Dianne's heart and asking her to follow her recent words of wisdom and bring the troops home... Fast!

Why here? Dianne's new mansion is adjacent to a small public park that runs up the hill, including a lovely small square that was once a beautiful public garden. This adjoins her home like a side yard, and she took out the garden to replant to her taste. This caused controversy. We assert our rights as citizens to this small piece of land amidst the extraordinary affluence of Pacific Heights. Rae said, “Diane Feinstein seems more concerned about rebuilding this leveled garden than rebuilding the country we leveled—Iraq!”

We decorated the square with banners and most notably the large and majestic puppet of Gandhi, brought by the Gandhi Peace Brigade and the puppet creator, Jes. After songs and a few speeches and introductions, we shared a delicious meal donated by the Catholic Worker.

Then Eli Painted Crow, an Iraqi war veteran and spiritual leader, led us in sanctifying the ground and opening our hearts in prayer for our cause and the people opposing it. Notable speakers were: Samina Faheem Sundas of Muslim Voices; Dr. Sureya Sayadi, Iraq activist; two S. F. Supervisors: Chris Daly and Ross Mirkarimi; and Patricia Ellsberg, wife of Daniel Ellsberg, who is fasting in front of the White House in Washington with Medea Benjamin, Dick Gregory, and other leaders and citizens. Susan Sarandon, Diane Wilson, and others, a total of about 3,000 persons are fasting. The event included a press conference with several outlets present.

Celeste left as a sharing circle to close the vigil was taking place before vigilers prepared for their sleepover at the site. During the next few days, fasters wearing "Troops Out Fast" buttons and signs will be protesting daily at Senator Feinstein's office at 1 Post Street in S F.

Actions We are asking People to Take:

  1. Come to the daily vigil at Feinsteins's Office, Post & Market
    8:00a.m. until 8:00p.m. from now until the 12th - see the calendar at www.bayareacodepink.org for latest info.
  2. Call Senator Feinstein at her local office at 415.393.0707 and ask for her to do what she can to bring the troops home, specifically to sign on to Senator Harkin's bill.
  3. Sign the Voters Peace Pledge—we aim to collect 1,000 signatures on the Voters Pledge by the end of the vigil.
  4. Wear a button or sign to let the world know you are part of the "Troops Out Fast" sponsored by Code Pink. We made “Fasting for Peace” square pink satin banners to pin to our shirts and wear every day. If fasting is not right for you, participate in the event by supporting the fasters with your presence, signage, and donations.