Breakfast Not Bombs vs. The City Of Cambridge, MA 12 Feb 1998

Tom Boland (
Tue, 17 Feb 1998 21:25:41 -0800 (PST)


Subject: Breakfast Not Bombs vs. The City Of Cambridge
From: (Lucy Parsons)
Date: Thu, 12 Feb 1998 12:45:13 EST


  My name is Mark and I work with both the Lucy Parsons Center and
Breakfast Not Bombs. I'm currently writing this message from the back of
Lucy Parsons as the police are closing down our table for the day. We have
been repeatedly harassed by city officials (health inspectors, police, the
public works, etc.) for our Thursday breakfast meal.

  Considering that we have done 5 meals a week in the Boston/Cambridge area
for years and have received little to no harassment from police, I have a
sneaking suspicion that this new wave of  antagonism from city officials is
related to the gentrification process that we have experienced in the

   Todays events unfolded right as we were ready to pack up the table, when
a health inspector angrily approached us, insisting that we could not serve
our rather tasty breakfast spread of oatmeal (w/ strawberries, bananas and
sunflower seeds --yum!), bagels, and coffee, at which time we
unpacked our stuff and re-set up the meal and offered him  a cup of coffee
with a smile. He apparently was not a strong fan of coffee (nor did he seem
to appreciate our defiantly playful tone) because he stormed off to get
police back-up.

  The police are currently trying (unsuccessfully) to shut down our table,
saying that we would not be allowed back without a permit. We gave them
flyers with our meal schedule on them and said that we have had no problems
with our other locations and that we stand in full resistance to their
unjust orders to make us leave, and that if they wished to remove us they
would have to physically
do so. At this time a few passer-bys gathered around us. We have told them
that if the city of Cambridge is looking for a fight, that we are fully
prepared to give them exactly that!

   I am told that the police have just left the table to consult with
officials at city hall as to what to do about us. They have threatened us
by saying that they will be waiting for us next Thursday. (We'll be sure to
bring doughnuts next week!) Some of us have decided that later today we
will make the token gesture to look into the ever elusive "permit" that we
need. We assume that this "permit" most likely does not exist or will cost
some outrageous amount that we will not pay.

   The community of Central Square has developed into a bit of a warzone
between developers and community activists within the past 9 months. Lucy
Parsons is one of the last remaining businesses in the block slated to be
demolished here in Central Sq., and together with the community based
"Save Central Square" group we have continuously fought the recent
evictions and efforts to destroy our building.

  A new Starbucks coffee shop has opened across the street which has
stirred up even more reactions from the community, resulting in the
formation of the "Local Flavor League", who has picketed the store nearly
everyday since its doors opened. They focus on both Starbucks previous
anti-labor ethics and how they are notorious for creating "coffee
monopolies" within communities. There is also the groups "Eviction Free
Zone" and the "Campaign To Save 2000 Houses" which have continuously fought
against the destruction of rent control in the city of Cambridge.

  All of us from Breakfast Not Bombs stand in full solidarity with these
groups, and if the city is planning to open a legal can of worms against
us, we are confident that the support from all of these groups will create
many headaches for city officials.

The War At The Breakfast Table Rages On...
(expect to hear from us next Thursday!)


If you wish to write to the city of Cambridge and demand that they stop the
continuing harassment of Food Not Bombs you can write the Cambridge city
mayor at :

Mayor Francis H.Duehay
795 Massachusetts Ave.
Cambridge, MA 02139


ARCHIVES  <>  read posts to HPN
TO JOIN  <> or email Tom <>