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LOCAL Announcement :: Protest Activity

Q.s for Oct. 27 Rally Organizers

Questions and Concerns from
an Oct. 27 Endorser about
Speaker Selection Process
Dear Organizers of the October 27 Rally:

I am a Chicago Area CodePINK co-coordinator and a member of Chicago Progressive Alliance. I have a some questions and concerns about the Oct. 27 Rally.

1) What is your endorsement process? I ask this
because Chicago Area CodePINK is listed on your website as an endorser of the Oct. 27 Rally. We were not asked to endorse, indeed you have our name posted incorrectly as: Code Pink – Chicago. We noticed the mystery endorsement a couple of weeks ago, but decided that it was a non-issue because we agree with the stated goals of the rally so would have endorsed if asked.

However – it has come to our attention that you have invited Mayor Daley, Senator Durbin and Senator Obama to speak. Rather a shock, considering the stated UFPJ objective: Troops Home Now! I do not understand how inviting them to speak promotes this. I think the general perception will be that inviting these politicians is giving them a stamp of approval.

I went to the website for an explanation: “Acknowledging that two city council resolutions and the antiwar ballot referendum in the last election put both this City and State solidly in the 'Out Now' camp, and they will be asked to speak to and represent the views of the antiwar majority.”

The explanation makes no sense to me. Daley opposed the City Council Resolution. Senators Durbin and Obama do not represent the views of the antiwar majority: the antiwar majority wants the troops home NOW. Both senators have funded the occupation and are not initiating policies or strategies to bring the troops home now.
Yes, this spring Senator Obama finally voted against the supplemental - AFTER passage was ensured. So how will they “speak to and represent the views of the antiwar majority”?

Another concern for me – as an activist and member of CodePINK I think it’s hypocritical for me to support and participate in a rally that gives a platform for Daley, Durbin and Obama. I have spoken to activists in many groups who are also conflicted. Here’s why I am:

Mayor Daley: The short list: Chief architect of militarization of of Chicago Public Schools.
Implicated in police torture.Suppressor of peaceful anti-war demonstrations.

Per Daley: Chicago Area CodePINK is actively involved in counter-recruitment, works to further social justice and civil liberties.

Senator Durbin: The short-list: Has always voted
to fund the occupation. Voted for Kyl-Lieberman amendment.

Per Durbin: Chicago Area CodePINK members have lobbied Durbin’s office here and in D.C., have occupied his Chicago office, have been arrested for civil disobedience at his Chicago office.

Senator Obama: The short-list: Has voted to fund
the occupation. Not present for vote on Kyl-Lieberman amendment.

Another concern: Inviting Obama may appear to be an endorsement of him as the "anti-war" candidate.

Per Obama: Chicago Area CodePINK members have lobbied Obama’s office here and in D.C., and have occupied his Chicago office. CodePINK is nonpartisan and does not endorse political candidates.

2) Why are you inviting Mayor Daley, Senator Durbin and Senator Obama to speak?

3) Who selects the speakers? Were “endorsers” involved in the selection process? (We were not contacted.)

4) Who else has been invited to speak?

5) What is your deadline for inviting speakers and when will we know who is confirmed?

6) Are all Senators and Representatives within the Midwest invited? The stated rationale for inviting Senator Obama to speak is that he is our Senator. We’re mobilizing the Midwest, right? I see that Senator Feingold of Wisconsin is on the list of potential speakers. Is Ohio in the Midwest? Representative Kucinich is not listed as a potential speaker despite his stellar anti-war position. Presidential politics here?

7) Are you inviting all Presidential candidates? And how can the rally be “non-partisan” but give a platform to one Presidential candidate? It is irresponsible and unacceptable not to address the implication of inviting just one Presidential candidate to speak under the cover of “he’s our Senator.” I believe that the general public will assume that the invitation is our endorsement of Obama as the “anti-war candidate”. Have all Presidential candidates – of all parties – been invited?

Please address these concerns as soon as possible. Thank-you.

Rachel Herbener
Chicago Area CodePINK



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