ABSTRACT

It will already be clear from my descriptions of anti-war actions that Code Pink and IVAW embrace very different protest genres, which might broadly be placed into the categories of comedy and tragedy. This arises to a certain extent from the subject identities and attitudes that the groups use as a basis of their organizing, and their historical forerunners who have passed on tactics relevant to women- and soldier-activists, as discussed in Chapter 2. The context of post-9/11 protest cannot be fully articulated without regard to the genre of dominant political performance during this era. In the aftermath of 9/11, and continuing throughout the years of the Bush Administration, political narratives were largely melodramatic and hyperbolic. Indeed, conceptions of American national identity and foreign policy demands were situated inflexibly between the 9/11 tragedy on one side and the timeless soldier-sacrifice story on the other. To effectively counter domestic support for foreign policy, anti-war groups therefore needed to engage with the dominant genres at hand. The story of their protests would not be complete without some attention to the effect of tragedy and comedy on political audiences.