The name Food Not Bombs states our most fundamental principle: That our society needs things that give life
not things that give death. Our society is dominated by violence and the threat of violence. This affects us both in our daily
lives through the constant threat of crime and police abuse and less directly but just as seriously through the threat of
total annihilation from nuclear war. The authority and power of our government are predicated on the threat and use of violence.
They continue to spend more time and resources developing, using, and threatening to use weapons of massive human and planetary
destruction than on nurturing and celebrating life. Food Not Bombs has chosen to take a stand against violence. As a group
of individuals we are committed to non-violent social change through the celebration and nurturing of life by giving out free
Poverty is violence. By spending money on bombs instead of addressing human needs, our government perpetuates
and exacerbates the violence of poverty in our society. One of the most direct physical expressions of the violence of poverty
is hunger. Millions of Americans go hungry every day and childhood malnutrition contributes heavily to infant mortality rates,
which are higher in parts of the U.S. than in some Third World nations. Inadequate or non-existant health care, police brutality,
and class discrimination are also forms of systemic violence against poor people. Poverty is also a key factor in the level
of interpersonal violence. It can drive down people's self-esteem, causing people to lash out in the form of domestic violence
and violent street crime. The violence of poverty also becomes internalized which can result in addictive behaviour and suicide.
Food Not Bombs responds to the problems of poverty and self-esteem in two ways. First, we provide food to whomever
wants it in an open respectful way. We don't make people jump through any bureaucratic hoops that are designed to control
and often punish people for being poor. Secondly, we invite people who eat with us to be involved in providing the food themselves.
This helps people to regain a feeling of their own power and their ability to change their situation.
The food we serve also expresses our commitment to non-violence. Mainstream food production is an inherently
violent process involving the slaughtering of millions of animals, the death of an estimated 10,000 field workers annually,
and the poisoning of the air, water, soil, and our bodies with chemical fertilizers and pesticides.
Food Not Bombs is providing a service to people that attempts to address some very serious problems at no cost
to the city. For some reason, the City, as headed by the mayor, has chosen to use violence to try and stop us. The police
are routinely used in large numbers to take our food and equipment; arrest, threaten, and/or beat-up our members. In this
way they reinforce the violence of the State in the face of ever growing human needs. It is extremely important that we respond
to these attacks in a non-violent manner which is consistent with our views of human value. It is never in our interest to
use violence against the state, or other humans. In practical terms the state is capable of mustering significantly more violent
force than we are so we risk our own safety from further, more intense police violence. More philosophically, we don't want
to be in the position of recreating the power of the state in our own efforts for social change. We want to create a society
based on human rights and human needs; not on the threat and use of violence.
Food Not Bombs works hard to prevent violence within our own community by ensuring that food is never used as
a weapon against anyone. At demonstrations and our daily servings we concentrate on serving food in a peaceful and respectful
manner, thereby creating a safe environment for people to eat in. The food we serve embodies our commitment to non-violence
in so many ways. It is a humane response to poverty, a means of empowering people and is ecologically safe.