Peace Movement Rejuvenated by Successfully Avoiding War on Syria;

Will build on momentum to change policy on drone warfare and Guantanamo


September 12, 2013

Contact: Medea Benjamin, CODEPINK Co-founder, 415.235.6517,

    Alli McCracken, CODEPINK Organizer, 860.575.5692,

Peace Movement Rejuvenated by Successfully Avoiding War on Syria;

Will build on momentum to change policy on drone warfare and Guantanamo

Washington, DC-- CODEPINK and other peace groups across the nation are thankful and buoyed by their successful campaign to stop a U.S. military attack on Syria. While concerned about the ongoing fighting in Syria and the intricacies of the Russian proposal to eliminate Syria's chemical weapons, they are thrilled that a further escalation of the violence at the hands of the US has been avoided.

Faced with the imminent threat of US military intervention, the peace movement moved into high gear. Dozens of groups, some dormant since the election of President Obama, quickly mobilized their members to flood the offices of their elected representatives with calls and emails, or to visit local offices or attend Town Hall meetings. The phones in Congressional offices were ringing off the hook, mostly 9-to-1 against intervention.

There were daily rallies outside the White House and CODEPINK set up a round-the-clock “Peace Insurrection” encampment outside the Capitol, incessantly birddogging Congresspeople as they walked to work and attending every Congressional hearing with protest messages. They kept a constant tally of the votes, and visited over 100 offices of Congresspeople in the “undecided” category. The camp stayed active for an entire week while Congress discussed voting on the President's proposal.

CODEPINK also teamed up CREDO, MoveOn, and Progressive Change Campaign Committee to host candlelight vigils for peace across the nation. At the DC vigil, Congressman Alan Grayson thanked the crowd for slowing the rush to war and encouraged people to keep mobilizing. Rep. Jackie Speier said that it was public opposition that pushed President Obama to seek Congressional approval, which paved the way for an alternative proposal from the Russians.

“This is a victory for middle America, for it was Americans of all political persuasions who picked up the phone or attended a Town Hall meeting or in some way voiced their opposition to another war,” said CODEPINK co-founder Medea Benjamin, who was arrested during a Congressional hearing for asking John Kerry to use diplomacy instead of military intervention in Syria. “If not for the uprising from the heartland of this country, President Obama would have started bombing and Congress would have given its approval. I am so proud that the American people stood up and stopped a war.”

CODEPINK intends to focus on the UN, pressuring US Ambassador Samantha Power to embrace the Russian proposal. It will also increase its fundraising to support Syrian women in the refugee camps. CODEPINK  also plans to use its renewed energy and momentum to push for other policy changes. “With our new allies, new  supporters, and new enthusiasm, we will address other foreign policy issues that are unjust and have a negative impact on our national security, like the use of killer drones overseas and the continued indefinite detentions in Guantanamo,” said retired Colonel Ann Wright, who is a leader in the peace movement.”