Wes (left) of Food Not Bombs (FoodNotBombs.net) stopped by to let us know about the Burrito Project (getting food donated to be cooked up and handed out to the city’s poor). Wes agreed to speak about the life of a revolutionary.
Why use only a first name?
Our current revolutionary potential depends greatly on our anonymity. Despite any personal longings for recognition, it’s our message and unity that holds real power. Revealing too much of our identities could possibly compromise our ability to continue to be effective as activists, especially considering the current level of government repression. Please don’t use my full name or mention anything that could jeopardize our security.
Isn’t Food Not Bombs a radical organization?
Of course it is. Whenever you have poor and disenfranchised people taking back control of their own lives, that’s revolution. If this government won’t address basic needs then it becomes necessary for us to organize and do it ourselves!
Locally, what are Food Not Bombs’ noteworthy accomplishments?
Providing single mothers with boxes of food every week is what I’m most proud of.
How is what you do for the homeless and the hungry different from what local charitable organizations do?
We don’t deal with bureaucracy. This is direct action. Poverty exists, and we’re not going to delegate the solution to an inept system when we can just tackle it hands on right now.
Have you ever been prosecuted for your activism?
Many of us, myself included, have been chronically involved with court cases and regular police harassment. Honestly, who do the courts and the police “really” protect? People or power? However, I think we all have a clear understanding that in an unjust society, it’s impossible to do the right thing and not end up in chains from time to time.
Do you consider yourself an anarchist?
I have strong sympathies towards a lot of anarchist ideals. Freedom, equality, and self-determination are very important values to me. Our government and capitalism are working to our and the earth’s detriment. I want one person in control of my life, and that’s me!
What do Salt Lake anarchists want?
A big part of the anarchist ideal is that we are all equal individuals. And I can’t speak for anyone but myself. However, freedom, equality and liberation from any system or hierarchies that stifles us. But that’s just one part of one opinion. That question’s just a bit too broad for me.
Even radicals have guilty pleasures. What is one of yours? An occasional strip of bacon? Fantasizing over a high-performance car?
More like jumping freight trains through scenic wilderness; Dumpster-dived corporate goodies; creating beautiful graffiti; and making love on a rooftop beneath shooting stars. If that’s guilty, I don’t want to be innocent
Do you have a day job? How do you get by?
Revolution is a full-time occupation. If we only made it real on the weekend, that would be a joke. People starving because of American policies, children who die because of American war-making: They don’t get a break, so why should we? We get by because we live collectively, and it’s amazing what we get done for free. No job doesn’t equal no work; we just work for what we truly want. We’re styling!
Why should people get behind Food Not Bombs?
Why not? I know why I do it and that’s enough for me. I could be shooting people in Iraq right now, but I just rather hand out food.
What’s coming up?
Basically, upcoming events include giving away food followed by giving away some more food. If you want to get involved, then grab some buddies, some beans and a hungry mouth. This is so grassroots, it would be just as easy to start another Salt Lake chapter as it would be to join this one.
If readers were to take away one message from FNB, what would that be?
Do something! This is about action. We are fighting for our lives. We are fighting for justice, equality and the ability to make our dreams real outside of TV screens. Resistance is fertile!
Where do you see yourself in 10 years? Playing golf?
I don’t see a utopia. In order to create change, we have to make long-term commitments and stick with them until our desires are actualized. The problems will change when we do. Hopefully, I’ll be continuing revolutionary struggle. Marriage is not for me. Mortgages and debt coerce us into serfdom, so that’s out at the moment. And hopefully, golf courses will be community gardens in 10 years.