Peace Activists Silenced At Hillary SpeechThe pseudo-progressive organization " Campaign for America's Future" became a joke when it had war monger Hillary speak at its recent "Take Back America conference" conference and suppressed all dissent from supporters.
Trouble was brewing at a progressive conference this week when Campaign for America’s Future chose Senator Hillary Clinton as a keynote speaker to open up Day 3 of the Take Back America conference. Numerous groups and people were buzzing about the choice, since Hillary isn’t exactly what anyone would call “progressive” — especially when it comes to Iraq.
Peace group CODEPINK took CAF to task for choosing Hillary to speak. Their efforts were met with a willingness to negotiate the terms of dissent… at first. From Medea Benjamin:
Fearing that CODEPINK would openly confront Clinton on her pro-war policy, the organizers of Take Back America entered into negotiations with CODEPINK a few days before the conference. “We had lengthy discussions where they pleaded with us not to protest during her keynote breakfast address,” explained Gael Murphy, one of the cofounders of CODEPINK. “Instead, we were told that we could distribute flyers explaining Hillary’s pro-war position to the crowd inside and outside the hotel, and we would be called on to ask her the first question after the speech. We agreed.”
That’s not how it went down, though. The morning of the speech, the activists were met by security guards who told them they were not allowed inside, and that the speech was a closed, private event. A few of the women had tickets and managed to get inside, but found that Clinton wouldn’t be taking any questions at all. More from Medea:
“We were really upset that we had been lied to by Take Back America, and that there would be no space at this ‘progressive conference’ to have a dialogue with Hillary Clinton about the most critical issue of our time—the war in Iraq,” said Katie Heald, DC coordinator for CODEPINK. “We got up on our chairs holding up our hands with the peace sign, and were pulled down from the chairs. We tried to take out our banner that said “Listen Hillary: Stop Supporting the War” and it was grabbed from us. And when Hillary started talking about her Iraq strategy, criticizing Bush but not posing a solution, we shouted ‘What are YOU going to do to get us out of Iraq,’ but she ignored us.”
Ann Wright, the army colonel and diplomat who resigned over the war, was appalled by the actions of the conference organizers. “They took away leaflets supporting Jonathan Tasini, the anti-war Democrat who is running against Clinton in New York. They searched people’s bags for banners; they even took away an ‘Impeach Bush’ banner from Veterans for Peace. Free speech needs to be upheld by progressives and trying to curtail dissent undercuts the whole purpose of this conference,” said Wright.
“We were amazed to discover that the organizers of Take Back America treat dissent the same way that the organizers at a Bush rally do,” said Ms. Murphy. “Most progressives do not support Hillary Clinton, and stifling our legitimate, heartfelt opposition to her pro-war position is an outrage. I guess we have to take back ‘Take Back America.’”
Deanna Zandt, Alternet