Statement from Food Not Bombs
April 29, 2011 by IPB
Issued on April 12:
Food Not Bombs cofounder Keith McHenry
FEDERAL COURT RESTRICTS FOOD NOT BOMBS RIGHT TO CALL FOR REDUCTION IN MILITARY SPENDING AS THE GOVERNMENT CUTS VITAL SOCIAL SERVICES
The Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta Rules City Of Orlando can restrict Food Not Bombs Free Speech to twice a year per public park.
Volunteers to defy order and urge global resistance by sharing food and literature in public spaces.
In an outrages decision during the debate on federal spending priorities the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the City of Orlando can restrict Food Not Bombs from seeking to build public support for the funding of social services using savings from reductions in the military. The need to have as much impact as possible on the issue of redirecting military spending towards healthcare, education, food and other social services has never been greater. To restrict Food Not Bombs to expressing their message to two days a year per city park not only deprives the cities hungry of desperately needed food and reduces the ability of the all volunteer group to communicate with the community. The Citizens United court ruling allows military contractors unlimited “free speech” while this ruling restricts the publics attempt to counter the devastating message of Citizen United to twice a year in each location. Food Not Bombs is an all volunteer project that shares free vegan meals and literature at regular times in high visibility public location to inspire community discussion about ending poverty and hunger. The impact of experiencing volunteers sharing food with the hungry under the banner Food Not Bombs with literature about changing our national priorities is very powerful. Restricting this powerful expressive message to twice a year and force the hungry and public to search for the meal and message is a violation of our basic right to free expression. Nearly half the federal budget is spent on the military while 17 percent of American’s go hungry each month and teachers are being laid off. The United States is spending over $700 billion this year which is nearly half of the world’s total military budget. Military contractors and their supporters are free to spend as much as they want to influence the public and Congress to increase their profits while Food Not Bombs is being restricted to sharing its message.
The Obama administration and Congress just agreed to cut vital social programs, increase military spending at a time when millions of people are facing hunger, homelessness and extreme poverty. Food Not Bombs is likely to defy this ruling and urge the public to join them in increasing the groups visibility and distribution of food and information.