Radical political analysis, commentary and discussion in Wales
Dadansoddiad a thrafodaeth radicalaidd o wleidyddiaeth yng Nghymru
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Food is a right not a privilege

You can go on a march, sign a petition or fight the police but my favorite form of protest against capitalism is to hand out hot homemade soup on the streets for free to anyone and everyone.

Food Not Bombs is an all-volunteer global movement that was born out of the anti war movement in the USA in the 1980s. By now it has groups all over the world and these loose-knit group of independent collectives serve free vegan and vegetarian food as a protest against war and poverty.

If governments and global corporations around the world spent as much time and energy feeding people as they do on wars, no one would be hungry. Food Not Bombs' ideology is that corporate and government priorities are biased towards allowing hunger to persist, even though there is more than plenty of food being produced. To demonstrate and highlight this issue, a large amount of the food served is surplus food from shops, bakeries and markets that would otherwise go to waste.

In the summer of 2010 activists and anti-capitalist decided to re-start Food Not Bombs Cardiff. Like every other Food Not bombs group, we follows three central principles - to all ways serve vegan or vegetarian food for free to everyone; to make decisions using consensus; and to be dedicated to nonviolence.

Me and my friends got involved with the group after we attended one of their meetings and we started to help by collecting donated food. We then all met up in a kitchen and prepared and cooked veggie burgers. Armed with a homemade banner, table and gas cooker we set up a stall on Queen Street and within an hour gave away a hundred burgers. The response by the public was very positive and many wanted to know why we were giving away food for free - what was the catch? There is no catch was our response. We told them that we believed that a massive change was needed, where human needs came first and that these needs should not be compromised for the sake of corporate greed for profit and for unjust and illegal wars.

Cardiff Food Not Bombs has persisted to served free food on the streets of the city. These are often in solidarity with other campaigns, such as Free Bradley Manning and Cardiff Homelessness Solidarity. When a group of activists occupied and squatted a building that used to be an office for the Inland Revenue on Westgate Street in 2011 we served hot food for free to supporters outside as the occupiers dropped huge banners from the building to declare it was squatted.

Occasionally we are harassed by the police, who usually untruthfully inform us that what we are doing is illegal. There is no law against giving away food for free! On one occasion, an officer who obviously did not like the idea of people sharing food for free told us to stop and pack up, and falsely informed us it was because we needed a special licence to use a gas cilinder on the street. Obviously giving away free food is a danger to capitalist business. On other occassions we have been harrassed by Enviromental Health officials looking for an excuse to stop our activites - usually when we serve free vegan food outside McDonalds - We show them our risk assement and that gets rid of them! But most of the time we meet decent people who are supportive and greatful for a free meal. It is a fun form of protest where you get to meet and chat with all sorts of different folk and you get to hear their stories and opinions.

Food Not Bombs Cardiff are now hoping to serve food on the streets of Cardiff on a regular weekly basis on every Friday at 12.30pm, outside the back of central market until the new year. But in order to achieve and sustain this we need more volunteers to help with collecting food, cooking and serving. If you can help, please get in touch.