*Re: ALERT: LA Food Not Bombs ARRESTED - 2 press releases -

Tom Boland (wgcp@earthlink.net)
Fri, 24 Dec 1999 00:35:25 -0800 (PST)


FWD to HPN with permission Thu, 23 Dec 1999 14:43:10 PST
CC Replies to author: "david grace" <dpgrace@hotmail.com>

[Sailor wrote on LA FNB's refusal to move it's food service to a more
remote section of a park:]
>---- 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.

[David replies:]
I disagree with Sailor. I have never been to the site, but the strategies we
put together in the past in San Francisco still have weight.

There are two aspects of FNB in this case that need to added to the
discussion.

1. Public distribution vs hidden.
The homeless should know they should not feel ashamed to eat or in any other
aspect of their natural lives. What those with homes do in the quiet of
walls; talking to selves, picking noses, eating, scratching their ass,
drinking, dancing, cleaning their toes, folding their shirts, etc. are along
the lines of birthright and not to be renounced or revoked. When FnB moved
to quiet, shady areas they found the public was even quicker to set the dogs
on us. It is safer to be public and active than herded and complacent.

2. Distribution as public gathering rather than solely food hand-out.
The politics of food in almost every totalitarian regime has been on the
model of Bread and Circuses, a technique designed for the conquest of Roman
territories. The method is to give food with low nutritional content but
plenty of mass, so the eater will have a full belly but a slow mind and weak
body. FnB provides the best quality food in order to promote clear-thinking,
healthy citizens. We do not need to preach a party line to people who can
think clearly; they can think or study for themselves. Those who dine with
us on a regular basis are proud to show their faces and take part in social
or political discourse, or sit alone and enjoy in peace. Public gatherings
are a Constitutional right and the disenfranchised need to be reminded they
are still citizens and retain all their rights. If it is illegal to eat now,
what will come later? Hold fast to a standard.

FnB does not serve in San Francisco on most feast holidays. On occasion the
group may decide to do one, but as a rule we don't want to waste food while
the poverty-pimps are getting all the donations, credit and TV coverage. We
do the hard work the other 360 days of the year.

As to the logistic of Pershing Park and the demographics of the homeless
there avoiding "normal" people, is so insulting and callous as to be
degrading. The homeless are far more normal than people who spend 8 or 16
hours a day in 'jobs' they can't stand, which pollute, con, insult and
degrade the standards and ideals of any civilization. Most of the homeless
origionate from the Savings and Loans scam of the '80's, either directly or
indirectly. Those criminals robbed the U.S. and other nations blind, and we
are still paying off that national debt with thirty-year bond-notes. The
cuts to social services are due to the bond frauds cities, counties and the
nation are stuck with. The prosecutors in government let these rats walk
with two trillion dollars, and they still demand more.

The homeless are so normal that they once had respect for this country, and
once believed in it's principals. They did what it took to save their homes
from foreclosure by crooked banks, they fought like mad to keep two and
three jobs to pay mortgages. They strived to save family breakups, and
watching their kids lose respect for them because they were never home.
Fifteen years ago the major magazines had plenty of articles on "latch-key
kids." They don't write about them much any more, now they have gotten to be
so big and the problem's so ugly. There was no money to help them then and
there is no money now; all gone to pay off the S&L con artists.

To say "... the homeless and hungry no longer congregate there." ignores the
reality of homelessness. The homeless look just like you and me. I am
noticable by the good quality of clothes I wear; usually from yard sales.
When I worked in the Financial District I was always surprised at the high
number of faces I recognised in other offices who dined with us. Elderly
women living in their cars or in cheap hotel rooms but keeping the
appearance of upper-class style. When I was in the insurance field five
years ago about half of the insurance agents were in debt to the "company
store." They had to pay rent to the lead agent; paying for their desk,
phone, paper supplies, kitchen privileges, the lobby secretary, etc. There
were fewer and fewer of the public who could afford to buy insurance or pay
their premiums, and most of the agents lost money every month rather than
earning any. I would come in every week and find another face gone and a new
sucker jumping in. While there a hot new Banking Law in the U.S. Congress
passed, allowing banks to merge with insurance companies. It was widely
expected to cause the layoff of 1/3 of the employees of banking and
insurance. Think that was bad? The Congress and Clinton just passed another
improved version last month, anticipated to fire another high percentage.
Those were considered to be high paying, dignified jobs, but many of the
agents were homeless or in crappy hotels around town; keeping clean every
day in case they got that good lead.

Who are the homeless? Who are the normal? You and me. Take your position
with your eyes open.

My Best,
David Grace

>Subject: Re: ALERT: LA Food Not Bombs ARRESTED - 2 press releases -
>Date: Tue, 21 Dec 1999 14:31:29 -0800 (PST)
>
>FWD  Non-member submission to HPN & FNB lists from "Sailor" <X989@aol.com>
>[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.
>
>"Food 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

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