WSW: Code Pink Co-Founder's Voice "Worth Paying Attention Too"

Oct 1, 2015

Medea Benjamin
Credit Thomas Good/Wikimedia Commons

The co-founder of the anti-war group Code Pink says they often turn to more confrontational tactics out of desperation. Medea Benjamin says “If we were successful in other ways we wouldn’t do it.” 


Benjamin famously interrupted a speech by President Obama in 2013, and questioned the administration’s use of drones and why Guantanamo Bay was still being used to hold so-called “enemy combatants.” After Benjamin was escorted out, the President said

“The voice of that woman is worth paying attention too.”

Benjamin says she believes that the things she said resonated with President Obama.

Benjamin will be the keynote speaker to kick off the Global Prize for Transformative Justice Leadership Weekend sponsored Kalamazoo College’s Arcus Center. Benjamin will deliver her address at 7:30 on Friday October 9th in Dalton Theater in the Light Fine Arts Building.

Code Pink was launched in 2002 to advocate against going to war in Iraq. The group chose their name as a play on the color-coded system used by the Homeland Security Department to warn of possible terrorist attacks. Benjamin says military interventions since then have been disastrous. She is major supporter of the Iran nuclear deal. Benjamin says it’s the best way to avoid another way in the Middle East.

Critics of the Iran agreement say it doesn’t guarantee that Iran won’t get a nuclear weapon. But Benjamin says the International Nuclear Agency has given its stamp of approval. She says other countries have signed on because they believe that the agreement is strong enough to prevent Iran from getting a nuclear weapon.

Benjamin’s most recent book warns about the use of drones. She says the unmanned aircraft have been responsible for killing civilians, and created more resentment against the United States. Benjamin says a broader discussion is needed on the use of military force. She says the military should defend the nation. But Benjamin says the war in Iraq and other military action have created more enemies.

Asked about influencing the political system, Benjamin says many of the people involved in the anti-war movement “disappeared” after President Obama’s election in 2008. She says many of them were more committed to the Democratic Party, while Benjamin says she was committed to the issues. She says no matter who is in power the peace movement has to be independent. Benjamin says she credits President Obama for the Iran nuclear deal and opening relations Cuba. But she says Obama became the “drone president” and continued many of the same policies from the administration of President George W. Bush.

Image from Wikimedia Commons