Re: ALERT: LA Food Not Bombs ARRESTED [DiPasquo reply to Sailor]

Tom Boland (
Tue, 21 Dec 1999 18:40:38 -0800 (PST)

[Please NOTE that Dan DiPasquo, arrested LA FNB food server, replies to
Sailor - not to me, Tom Boland; I forwarded to both FNB and HPN lists
Sailor's "bounced" reply to Dan's alert.]

FWD 21 Dec 1999 Non-member submission to HPN from Dan DiPasquo

Subject: Re: ALERT: LA Food Not Bombs ARRESTED - 2 press releases - please
repost  FWD

Thank you, Tom for forwarding this to the lists so that someone from the
Los Angeles chapter of Food Not Bombs could respond to this.  Unfortunately
all of us are very busy right now. Interestingly enough, I forwarded this
to a bunch of the homeless people who have email, as well as some other
activists in LA.  I will post any responses I get.

2 quick responses that get around the more in depth arguments (i have been
writing and talking on the phone for about 36 hours as have other members):

First let me mention, that first of all, this is completely off base in
that after I was arrested, about half the group kept protesting in the
front of the park, and the other half brought the food down to the other
end of the park and kept serving.  But even if they had confiscated the
food, I would still disagree, as would most of the people not affiliated
with our group. Even as i was getting arrested, they were yelling to let us
stay there.  By your logic, would you fault a union organizer if a company
fired all the pro-union workers...they lost their jobs, is that putting
political agenda ahead of those worker's needs?  If you feel that organizer
is to blame, then we have nothing more to talk about, because you and I
have fundamental differences in opinion. that i'm writing:

"If the goal of FNB is to truly feed the hungry,...."

alright, if that were our goal, we would do a lot of things
differently.  Our goal is to end hunger and homelessness, and poverty for
those with places to live.  To do this, you have to do a lot more than feed
people.  While we acknowledge there are a lot of incredible groups in LA
with the goal of feeding and housing the poor, that has never been our
stated goal.  And in LA Food Not Bombs, we try to pick struggles and
tactics that we feel have the most affect.  In this current campaign we are
fighting for free speech: we have the support of many local unions who are
concerned with the shrinking amount of public space and its effect on their
ability to organize - if we could structurally affect the laws in Los
Angeles to expand the definition of public space and allow for more
organizing, would that be putting our political agenda above the needs of
the poor?

  Oh wait, did I mention a good percentage  of LA Food Not Bombs is poor
themselves, at least 2 of our members were homeless and we met them through
our servings, 2 are mexican immigrants, most of us do a lot of grassroots
organizing with other groups in LA. We are in effect fighting for our own
rights.  What's next, after they tell us we can't be in the park?  The MTA
is pretty upset with the Bus Rider's Union, could they ban us from
organizing on the Buses?   When the democratic national convention comes to
town in August, they are talking about creating a giant no-protest zone
(read Seattle)... We need to push against this sort of repression now, and
link it into all of our organizing (because without speech, it would be
pretty tough to organize)

We are pushing back against repression against the poor in downtown LA: by
taking a stand here, we get a chance to raise issues and public support
against particularly regressive measures in LA.  And if you think there
hasn't been harassment in Pershing Square, and in downtown in general, talk
to the ACLU, they recently filed a 12 person class action against the
private security guards downtown.  Talk to the Coalition to End Hunger and
Homelessness, they have been helping a man who was arrested in Pershing
Square for washing his hands in the water fountain.  Talk to a lot of the
folks who come eat with us regularly, they have told numerous stories about
being told to leave the park, with out a legal reason.  Does that sound
familiar, being told to leave the park without a legal reason? That's
what's been happening to us for the past month.

At 02:31 PM 12/21/99 -0800, Tom Boland wrote:
>FWD  Non-member submission to HPN & FNB lists from "Sailor" <>
>[Sailor is a frequent poster to the Rainbow Family list.]
>"Because a prime objective of Food Not Bombs'
>community meals is to raise consciousness and to counter Los Angeles's "out
>of sight, out of mind" policy towards the poor, the group deemed it
>unacceptable to be pushed to the back of the park and continued to serve at
>their normal location."
>---- It is particularly disturbing, especially during this holiday season, to
>see that FNB is putting its own political agenda ahead of the real needs of
>the hungry.  Hopefully someone with a little common sense will realize it is
>not as important where you feed as it is that you do feed.

>Not Bombs member Phillip Salcido likened the current struggle to historic
>civil rights struggles, "Just as Rosa Parks refused to move to the back of
>the bus, the poor in Los Angeles are now refusing to move to the back of
>the park!"
>------ I'm afraid that FNB has missed this bus completely.  Since the ice
>rink was built in Pershing Square, the homeless and hungry no longer
>congregate there.  The reality is that it has less to do with private
>security and park police than it does with the simple fact that the hungry
>and homeless don't feel comfortable hanging out with the large numbers of
>"normal" citizens who now dominate park usage.  If the goal of FNB is to
>truly feed the hungry, they need to be flexible enough to follow the patterns
>of the poor.  Again, it is sad to see political agenda displace a needed
>service. Hopefully someone will get their head out of their butt, dis their
>ego and feed the folks who need food where those folks are most comfortable
>congregating ---------- sailor
>   vegetarian, nonviolence, consensus
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