The Food Not Bombs Kitchen yesterday was a great action. Significantly, the heavy rain that had been forecast did not happen! More significantly everyone involved was amazing at doing their bit to make the action work. The whole event was smooth, relaxed and fun.
The day started early with cooks in the kitchen from 8:30. There were some amazing culinary feats achieved that morning. I have never seen anyone get in and out of the West End markets as quickly as Ko. There and back in 20 minutes. On fire! And the food was absolutely delicious.
Pulling up at Brisbane Square, we found Falun Dafa had grabbed the spot we wanted to set-up, and were doing their own protest demonstration. So we set-up beside them in the middle of the Square with the banner up between two trees, and stayed for a bit over 2 hours.
A lot of people passing by showed interest and support for what we were doing, lot of good conversations were had, and plenty of flyers taken. This was one of the strengths of the day, not everyone completely agreed with our statements, but my experience was that the discussions were still rationally, open and on the issue. This is one of the cornerstones of real democracy; open, free and informed public debate. When the issue is militarism, war and the Australian army, open informed discussion is a rare thing.
Often peace or protest actions almost inevitable have a couple of inbred goons yelling abuse, and the oh so cleverly regurgitated line “Why don’t you do go get a job!” Yesterday, no one even gave us dirty looks. People appreciated the free food, smiling faces, easy, approachable atmosphere, and the professional looking banners.
The most common critical responses I heard during the day were “Our government decided this, and we voted for them so it is democratic” and “Australia needs the military and the USA to defend us against invasion from China”.
In short, my reply would generally be “The people are still excluded from making these decisions; these are made against popular opinion. That past polls have shown most people want the military budget cut and the funds spent on social services. Events like the massive anti-war marches in 2001 demonstrate most people want peace and peaceful resolutions to conflict. That China wants business and trade not war with Australia. The USA is using Australian military for their own agendas. War is now bad for business unless you are an arms dealer.”
A discussion circle during the kitchen decided to get together again at 1pm Wednesday at the same spot to do another action.
Check out the photos below.