The January 1, 1994 uprising in Mexico against the North American Free Trade Agreement marked a change in the resistance to so called free trade. In the years before the Zapatista uprising American political resistance was dominated by Pat Buchanan, the John Birch Society and other right wing America first types. While many Food Not Bombs volunteers and a number of other left activists and authors were opposed to NAPTA and the policies of the World Bank, International Monetary Fund and the World Trade Organization corporate media focused on the right wing capitalist"s critique of these trade agreements.
San Francisco and East Bay Food Not Bombs started to organize against these trade agreements when they first supported the Zapatista uprising by working with Free Radio Berkeley and San Francisco Liberation Radio. On the evening of January 1, 1994, San Francisco Liberation Radio broadcast the Zapatista"s communique from the top of Twin Peaks , while Free radio Berkeley read the manifesto from the Oakland Hills. Food Not Bombs volunteers also displayed Viva Zapatista No NAFTA signs during their meals and helped organize local support committees.
In June of 1995, San Francisco hosted the 50th anniversary celebration of the founding of the United Nations. A second Food Not Bombs international gathering was held with nearly 600 people registering at the " Convergence Center." Every day, Food Not Bombs volunteers were arrested serving food at UN Plaza, under the shadow of the obelisk honoring the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which reads, in part: " Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself and of his family, including food, clothing, housing and medical care and necessary social services." Several Food Not Bombs activists set up the first Indymedia at the convergence center. The gathering started with dozens of Food Not Bombs activists arrested when they built a colorful "shantytown" on UN Plaza, to show that there are homeless people even in the wealthiest nation on earth, while highlighting that the city had removed San Francisco's homes from sight. Still others were arrested on felony arson charges, for a nighttime march with torches, against the death penalty, and in support of Mumia Abu-Jamal. During the ten-day gathering, Food Not Bombs activists from all over the world cooked together, protested together and were jailed together. They attended workshops on consensus decision-making, banner painting, bio-diesel (lard-cars), building micro-FM radio transmitters, sexism and racism, compost making and cooking. In 1997, three activists from the Spanish group Baladre, Sara, Manolo, Salva, joined Keith and Seth, a musician from southern California, on the " UnFree Trade Tour." They talked about organizing against the globalization of the economy, and the need to protest North American Free Trade Agreement and the World Trade Organization. They visited 59 cities in the United States and Canada, and encouraged people to shut down the WTO whenever and where ever it meets in North America. A 300 page book about the tour, " Viaje Al Corazn de La Bestia" was published in Spanish. When it was announced that the WTO would meet in Seattle in November of 1999, Food Not Bombs chapters around North America started to mobilize, posting fliers, hosting events, and urging their communities to head for the North West. Seattle Food Not Bombs secured a convergence center, prepared meals for the protesters, helped set up an Indymedia office and welcomed thousands of activists that came to Seattle to #34;shut it down.#34; The WTO in the now famous #34; Battle of Seattle.#34; Since the Battle of Seattle Food Not Bombs has helped organize and provided food and logistical support for many anti-globalizatoin actions. Food Not Bombs fed protesters in Quebec City at the Free Trade of the America's summit in April of 2001 later that summer nineteen-year-old Swedish Food Not Bombs founder Hannes Westberg was shot by police in Gothenburg, Sweden during the June European Union summit. The Food Not Bombs kitchen was attacked during the Free Trade Agreement of the America's protest in Miami where FBI infiltrator "Anna" first started to become disruptive. West Philadelphia Food not Bombs volunteer Eric McDavid was pursued by "Anna" until he was framed and convicted of an FBI created plot to bomb a dam in California. He is doing 19 years in state prison. Nine Food Not Bombs volunteers were arrested during the May 2004 demonstration protesting the Third Summit of Latin America, the Caribbean and the European Union in Guadalajara. Food Not Bombs activist Liliana Galaviz Lopez, was hospitalized with serious cranial injuries. Amnesty International worked to free the nine Food Not Bombs volunteers after they disappeared into Mexico"s prison system. The volunteers were tortured and the women were sexually assaulted Food Not Bombs not only provided food in Cancun, Mexico to the protesters they set up a table of food and literature outside the Ritz Carton and welcomed the trade delegates to Mexico.
We hope you will join us in taking direct action towards creating a world
free from domination, coercion and violence. Food is a right, not a
The schedule of the UnFree Trade Tour(click to see full size)
The first flyer for the UnFree Trade Tour(Click to see full size)