The People’s Climate March

People are gathering all over the globe on Sept 21, 2014! The call has gone out to make this the largest climate mobilization in history, with people flooding the streets of thousands of cities and towns around the globe, just as world leaders arrive in New York City for an Emergency Climate Summit at the U.N. Let’s make this a massive action!!

We are gathering on the corner of North Palm Canyon Drive & East Alejo Road, Palm Springs, CA 92262 at 1 p.m.

More info, here:

https://secure.avaaz.org/en/event/climate/Peoples_Climate_March_1331

Our Air Quality is Not Improving!

Check out this opinion piece in the Desert Sun Valley Voice by Robert Terry of People Over Pollution about the air quality in the Coachella Valley due to the pollution of the Sentinel Power Plant.

As long as corporate interests exert a corrupting influence on government, the needs and health of people will be put in jeopardy.

http://www.mydesert.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/201402272012/OPINION04/302270010

Martin Luther King Day Honors Mr. Joseph Beaver

Sunday – January 19, 2014 – 2 pm

Church of St. Paul’s of the Desert-Episcopal

125 W El Alameda-Palm Springs will host A Birthday Celebration (91st) for Joe Beaver, Chairman MLK Commemoration Committee

There will be speakers, music and refreshments and the public is invited!

Mr. Joseph Beaver

Energy Summit 2013 Palm Springs: An Occupy Perspective

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In what looked to be an obvious subterfuge to appear eco-friendly and whitewash the image of polluters like the Sentinel, the Summit promoters had invited Daryl Hannah to be a keynote speaker as she is a known environmental activist opposing the Keystone XL Pipeline, a member of the World Future Council, the founder of the Sustainable Biodiesel Alliance, and sits on the boards of Mission Blue, Environmental Media Association, and Action Sports Environmental Coalition. Her activism is nothing new to those of us concerned about environmental and social issues.  An interesting side note is that one of our occupiers marched with her in 1992 to try to stop the war in El Salvador.  The march took place in Los Angeles from Pershing Square to City Hall and Hannah took his young daughter backstage to meet Jackson Browne and Kris Kristofferson who were performing at the protest rally.

The Palm Springs Life magazine article/interview prior to the event stated that the conference was about “the future of energy policy, advances in green building, innovative technologies, and the role of natural gas and bio fuels,” and quoted Hannah as saying that “we need to focus on sustainable energy sources,” that she remarked that agriculture has “the potential to be as big a part of the solution as energy does,” and that she stated that tends to focus much of her work now on energy issues as “energy is something that touches everybody,” explaining that we are “poisoning our life-support systems – water, air and soil – through our inefficient energy-sourcing methods.”  See:  http://www.palmspringslife.com/Palm-Springs-Life/October-2013/Daryls-Web/

The Summit was reported by the Desert Sun as about “renewable energy” (See:  http://www.mydesert.com/article/20131004/BUSINESS0302/309300041/Southern-California-Energy-Summit-focuses-valley-s-role-renewable-energy?nclick_check=1 and there was some information about solar, etc. but there was also prominent presence of big polluters like Southern California Edison and CPV Sentinel, sponsors of the event. 

OCV and People Over Pollution protest the fossil fuel industry in general and specifically CPV Sentinel Power Plant as it is a major polluter and poses a grave threat to health in our local area. The plant is NOT within state guidelines for emissions and is NOT being overseen and monitored by the CEC & SCAQMD.  In addition, the Mission Springs Water District Board of Directors has been unwilling to press the Sentinel to install modern technology to cool the turbines & clean the smokestacks.  In an effort to protect their investors rather than the public, Sentinel’s owners have not revealed the truth regarding the hazard it poses to people’s health.

The newly constructed 850 MW natural gas peaker plant, CPV Sentinel, is a platinum sponsor of the Energy Summit. This plant is the largest of its kind in the world and will dump ONE MILLION TONS of CO2 a year for 30 years in our mountain-ringed valley!  It will spew 112,000 pounds of PM2.5, a deadly metallic particle formed by combining ammonia and water (our drinking water) to the burnt fuel.  This material (1/30 the size of human hair) has been proven to cause cancer, heart disease, and lung disease, according to the EPA.

photo 1In stark contrast to Hannah, other Keynote speakers at the Summit were from the California Energy Commission (who licensed the plant and excused it from an Environmental Impact Report) and the California Independent Systems Operator who purchases the power from Sentinel and will not tell us how many hours the plant is operating. Last year we presented the Energy Summit keynote speaker, Lt. Governor Gavin Newsom, with 2,000 signatures of valley residents against the plant going on line but never heard back from him.  We at OCV and POP had planned to protest the pollution of the Coachella Valley by the Sentinel plant again this year at the Summit, and knowing Hannah to be an ally, contacted her in order to make her aware of why we would be demonstrating at the Palm Springs Energy Summit.  She responded positively to our overture.

During her talk, occupiers inside the convention center reported that Hannah referred several times to the “dedicated people out front” (meaning Occupy and POP) who are concerned about the environment, that she said that we should try to make the world a place where we could all live, not pollute, and that if it turns out that the Sentinel plant is not living up to the EPA standards that it should be shut down.  It was observed that 6 or 8 people would applaud when she made these remarks, but that many in the audience were unenthusiastic, likely disconcerted by her unwillingness to go along with the sponsors’/promoters’ attempts to mislead the public/whitewash the image of the polluters in question.  One person in fact was overheard to sarcastically comment, “I wonder when her plane leaves!”  Kids were seen wearing Sentinel shirts in the various booths and when informed by Occupiers about the Sentinel, were shocked to learn that it is a big polluter, as they had clearly been led to believe it was environmentally friendly.

Specifically, Daryl Hannah covered the following points we had asked her to mention:

  • People have a right to clean air and water.
  • Communities have a right to be involved in the decision process when their air and water are at stake.
  • Representatives should listen to the people they represent.  Newly elected Congressman Raul Ruiz was also scheduled to be a Keynote speaker but cancelled due to the government shutdown.
  • Residential Rooftop Solar (DG) is far superior and should have first consideration vs. Big Solar and fossil fuel plants.
  • The regulatory agency charged with protecting our air, South Coast Air Quality Management District (also a sponsor of this Summit) should respond to the will of the people and place high quality air quality monitors where they are needed: one in Desert Hot Springs, one near the Salton Sea, and one in between.  They have been repeatedly asked to do so, and have not responded.  These monitors would show the air quality on an hourly basis and be accessible by the public.

photo (2)The protest was filmed by mainstream media who interviewed some of the protesters, but reports were predictably lacking in any critical assessment of the Sentinel’s impact, appearing to buy into the corporate public relations tactics.  It was a success regardless, largely due to Hannah’s integrity.  It is clear that she not only cares about the environment but is a down-to-earth and warmly personable woman as well, even hugging one of our members when he identified himself as the person who called her about the Summit action. We are very thankful to Daryl Hannah for standing up for the people of the Coachella Valley alongside People Over Pollution and Occupy Coachella Valley, instead of being a tool of the corporate polluters, and helping us make this protest a success!

DRAW the LINE on CPV SENTINEL: JOIN THE FIGHT TO END THE WAR ON MOTHER NATURE

This Saturday, 09.21.13, is the International Day of Peace as well as the national day of action called “Draw the Line on Keystone XL Pipeline” organized by 350.org and Friends of the Earth.  Our local event focuses on our ongoing battle with the mega-multinational corporate war-mongers who are determined to make huge profits with their CPV Sentinel fossil fuel-/natural gas-burning power plant.  Sentinel is the delivery system of weapons of mass destruction as lethal as any the US military still hopes to use against Syria, but they are in the form of chemical pollutants, tons of them, aimed insidiously, relentlessly at us, here in the Coachella Valley, every day.  Presenters will speak on CPV Sentinel’s deadly impact on the air we breathe, the water we drink, our farmland, thus the food we eat. 

 RSVP @:

http://civic.moveon.org/event/moveonaction/139953 and/or

http://act.350.org/event/draw_the_line/6225/signup/?akid=&zip=92253

WHAT:  DRAW the LINE on CPV SENTINEL – JOIN the FIGHT to END the   WAR on MOTHER NATURE

WHEN:  SATURDAY, 09.21.13

TIME:    12:00 NOON

WHERE:   The Marilyn Statue Park, Palm Canyon @ Tahquitz Canyon, downtown Palm Springs 92262

BRING:  Signs, Banners, Costumes, Props, Parasols, Water, Friends, Energy, Camaraderie

No War in Syria Action a Success!

Peace Activists and Occupy Coachella Valley gathered in Palm Springs to make a statement in opposition to any military strike on Syria, occupying all four street corners at Tahquitz and Palm Canyon Drive with the message “NO WAR IN SYRIA!,” displaying peace signs, and urging Congressman Ruiz to vote for peace and jobs, not bombs.

Peace Vigil - No War in SyriaPeace Vigil2

Peace Vigil3

Peace Vigil4

We are very heartened by the pullback from war by the White House and the decision to allow Congress to vote on any military strike, due only to public outcry and the urging of other countries such as Russia. Like him or hate him, Putin’s eloquent op ed on the situation in Syria hits home because it truthfully sums the situation up so well (see http://www.cnn.com/2013/09/12/politics/syria-putin-analysis/index.html)

Obama’s statement that he is going to pursue diplomacy first is a win for peace, though his reserving military intervention as a fallback plan, particularly whether or not Congress approves, is cause for grave concern.  This is especially true in light of Obama’s continued executive overreach.  We are, as they say, not out of the woods yet, but rejoice that sanity and good sense have won out for now over foolhardy plans to use force in an area that needs a peaceful solution so desperately as war-torn Syria.  Hopefully Americans’ war weariness will eventually lead to a dismantling of the war machine and an end to empire. http://www.popularresistance.org/can-peace-movement-end-us-empire/

50th Year Anniversary of the March on Washington Rally a Success

OCV joined with other local groups in a rally to honor the 50th anniversary of the 1963 Civil Rights March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom.  There were over 60 attendees at Frances Stevens Park at the corner of Alejo and Palm Canyon Drive in Palm Springs.

Civil Rights March Rally  8.25.13 - #1

Civil Rights March Rally  8.25.13 - #2

Rally for Peace and Justice

Please join Occupy Palm Springs this Saturday, August 24th, at Frances Stevens Park, by the fountain at Alejo and Palm Canyon, 10:00am-11:00am to celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the MARCH ON WASHINGTON FOR PEACE AND JUSTICE, led by Martin Luther King, Jr. in 1963.  We will gather in solidarity with those who will participate in another MARCH ON WASHINGTON, 50 years after the turning point demonstration of the Civil Rights Movement, led by: Martin L. King, III & National Action Network, in partnership w/APRI, NAACP, SCLC, NUL, NCNW, NCBCP, and the King Center and the opening of a four-day Global Freedom Festival.

Dr Martin Luther King believed that human needs, racial equality, and justice would never be attained unless we challenged militarism and its impact on the peoples of the world and in our communities.

Please bring drinking water and wear a hat or bring a parasol.  And don’t forget your SIGNS, based on messages as outlined above or MLK quotes.

For more information on all the activities scheduled to commemorate this historic event, go to:

http://www.thekingcenter.org/news/2013-08-excitement-builds-commemoration-50th-anniversary-march-washington-mlk-s-i-have-dream

Repeal the Monsanto Protection Act!! Join the International Day of Protest May 25!!

There will be worldwide protests this Saturday, May 25th, and right here in the desert against Monsanto Corporation and GMO’s. These events are a response to Monsanto’s hand in Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO’s), AKA Frankenfood, and other horrific practices they perpetrate. Join in to take part of the Occupy Monsanto/March Against Monsanto actions, right here in Coachella Valley, as we show our international solidarity!

It begins this Sat May 25th, in Indio at 7am on the corner of Madison and Hwy 111 (outside Stater Bros.) Then at 8am walk together to Food 4 less Monroe and Hwy 111 and lastly at 9am Rubidoux and 111 (outside Cardenas).  This is a chance to let the public know about Monsanto’s many dirty tactics, such as forcing farmers to use Monsanto’s “Roundup Ready”, which is a line of designer genetically-modified seeds … farmers are thus forced to continually line Monsanto’s pockets.

To get energized the night before, come see the film “The Future of Food” at Crystal Fantasy in downtown Palm Springs on Friday at 6pm.

Corporate corruption in Congress has led to legislation that allows Monsanto to evade any legal consequences for harm that may result from their GMO’s.  Please sign on at the link below in support of Senator Jeff Merkley’s effort to repeal what has been dubbed the “Monsanto Protection Act”!

http://www.jeffmerkley.com/petition/monsanto-reverse/

Tour de Peace Palm Springs Visit a Success

Cindy Sheehan embodies the Occupy spirit of principle over party and holding power accountable regardless of political affiliation.  As such, she has been equally critical of Obama as she was of George W. Bush as a perpetuator of war and indefinite detention, and how Obama is even worse than Bush in prosecuting (and persecuting) whistleblowers such as Bradley Manning, the “kill list,” and drone warfare.

Like Cindy Sheehan, Occupy demands a peaceful society, a realignment of basic values, and an end to war for profit.  In order to achieve this, more people need to follow her example, reclaim their principles, realize how corrupt the two-party system has become, and demand a level playing field for all political parties, such as the Peace and Freedom Party on whose ticket Cindy ran in 2012 with Roseanne Barr, by insisting that the debates be opened to all third-party and independent candidates, that they be moderated again by a neutral party such as the League of Women Voters, and that all political parties be granted ballot access and proportional representation.

We wish Cindy all success in raising the public’s awareness of the important issues of peace and non-violence vs. war and a shift from a fossil-fuel-based war economy to a peaceful and sustainable green economy, on her bicycle trek across the country to Washington D.C. to speak truth to power!  Next stop 29 Palms!

For more information on this event, see: http://www.mydesert.com/article/20130409/LIFESTYLES/304090046/Cindy-Sheehan-brings-Tour-de-Peace-valley

Cindy Sheehan Comes to Palm Springs in Tour de Peace

 LOCAL RESIDENTS HOPE CINDY’S VISIT WILL NOT SPARK CONTROVERSY AND PROTESTS LIKE HAPPENED IN APRIL 2007

by Tom Swann, VFP

Cindy Sheehan’s bicycle tour known as “Tour de Peace” will stop in Palm  Springs on Tuesday April 9.  The event is free and open to the public.  It will be held at 6:00 PM at Crystal Fantasy 268 N. Palm Canyon Drive.

I first met Cindy Sheehan in the spring of 2005 when she spoke at the “Eyes Wide Open” exhibit in Palm Springs.  This was an exhibit of shoes from deceased Iraqi civilians and combat boots of our deceased soldiers.  Cindy donated her son’s boots (Casey Sheehan) an Army Specialist who was killed in Iraq on April 4, 2004. Cindy’s appearance in Palm Springs was a few months before she began the “Camp Casey” protests near the President George W. Bush ranch outside of Crawford Texas.  The bike tour begins on April 4 at Casey Sheehan’s grave at Vacaville, California.

During Easter week in 2006 Tracy Turner of Palm Springs and I went to Camp Casey,Texas in solidarity with Cindy Sheehan.  I spoke onstage with other peace activists like Ann Wright and Daniel Ellsberg.  Later that year I became the founding Commander of the Casey Sheehan American Veterans (AMVETS) Post 19 in Rancho Mirage.  Many of the state AMVETS officials were unhappy we were naming a post after Cindy Sheehan’s son. I received five obscene and harassing phone calls from people who disagreed with Cindy Sheehan.   Former Palm Springs radio talk show host Marshall Gilbert added to the controversy by calling Sheehan “anti-Semitic.”  Cindy Sheehan’s sister Dede Miller of Los Angeles visited the desert in May 2006 and did a KMIR TV-6 interview about the formation of the Casey Sheehan AMVETS Post.  The Desert Sun reported on this controversy.

In 2007 the Casey Sheehan AMVETS Post and Veterans For Peace planned to hold two events with Cindy Sheehan.  One event was to be held at the Episcopal Church in Palm Springs. Father Andrew Green approved the event but when the story appeared in the Desert Sun members of the church’s parish council objected to hosting Cindy.  Father Green issued a press release to the Desert Sun indicating the church had changed its mind and would not host the Sheehan speech.

Cathedral City council member Greg Pettis arranged that Cindy would speak in the Cathedral City council chambers.  Mayor Kathy De Rosa and other council members became upset and this was reported in the Desert Sun. A reception to raise funds for an educational scholarship was planned for a private home in Palm Desert. Andy Grow, a Navy Vietnam Veteran who supported the Iraq War felt that Cindy’s anti-war activities were harming the morale of U.S. troops.  Grow organized a pro-war motorcycle veterans club known as “Gathering of Eagles” to park near the private home in protest.  The day before this event Cindy became sick from food poisoning and had to cancel her visit to the Coachella Valley. The reception was held anyway and the motorcycle protesters were present but did not cause a disturbance since Sheriff deputies were at the scene.  The Casey Sheehan AMVETS Post lasted three years but disbanded because of the lack of support from the AMVETS state officers.

Now we are preparing for Cindy Sheehan to come to Palm Springs.  We hope this visit on April 9 will not be as controversial as her planned visit in 2007. Recently I mentioned that Cindy was coming to Palm Springs at a Christian men’s retreat in Palm Desert.  One of the participants remarked that Cindy was “evil.”  I have attended Good Friday and Easter services with Cindy at Camp Casey.  Cindy was a Catholic church youth minister for eight years.  Casey was an altar server at the Palm Sunday Catholic Mass at his Army base on the same day he was killed in an ambush.  I feel Cindy is very spiritual.  Recently she wrote to me about the U.S. drone attacks overseas and asked “Who would Jesus bomb”?

Ten years after the start of the Iraq War we are learning that the Bush administration lied about Iraq having Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD).  Sheehan believes the Iraq War was immoral and illegal.  She has spoken truth to power. In polls the majority of Americans believe the Iraq War was a mistake so Cindy has been vindicated.   I feel Cindy is a very important person that is serving God who is Love.  I agree with Cindy and I invite her supporters to attend our program on April 9.  For more information you can call me at (760) 324-5670 or write to me at tomswann@earthlink.net

Cindy Sheehan explains the “Tour de Peace” in the following article.

Why We’re Bicycling Through Palm Springs on Our Way From Coast to Coast by Cindy Sheehan

We often hear that those who protested abuses of power by President George W. Bush censor such criticisms of Obama.  And with many people that’s true; some of them openly admit as much.

But those who have not compromised their activism, those who oppose wars and civil liberties violations today, just as they did several years ago, do exist even if they don’t always have a microphone.  A cross-country event this spring is aimed at amplifying their voices.

The Tour de Peace is a bicycle ride from the Vacaville, California, grave of Casey Sheehan (killed in Iraq in 2004) to Washington, D.C.  Much of the ride follows the historic Route 66, a road that John Steinbeck called the Mother Road in his novel The Grapes of Wrath.

We’re riding because, while we may have a Nobel peace prize laureate in the White House, we do not have peace.  We have expanded presidential war powers, a new type of war fought with flying robots, and biweekly meetings in the White House to check names off a “kill list.”  We have expanded powers of warrantless spying, imprisonment without trial, and retribution against whistleblowers.

We objected to these practices when George W. Bush was president; why shouldn’t we object now?

The U.S. military presence abroad is expanding into new nations with troops and drones.  Military spending is draining our economy dry, as every dollar spent on it could have produced more jobs if spent more wisely, such as on education, infrastructure, or green energy.  Is $170 billion a year for foreign bases among the priorities of people in Palm Springs and across the country?

We talk about a war in Afghanistan as if it’s ending, while planning to lengthen its duration from 11 years to 13.  Most wars didn’t take 2 years from start to finish.  Our new Secretary of State once asked how you could ask a man to be the last man to die in Vietnam.  We don’t hear enough people asking such questions about Afghanistan.

We’re riding because, while we have a president who admits that climate change exists, we still have a president and a Congress that work to exacerbate rather than to alleviate it.  Fossil fuel corporations are given massive subsidies, and carbon is still not taxed.  We’re riding for serious sustainable policies, and for government accountability to the people.

We hope to meet many new and old friends along the way, to talk to them about their concerns, and to carry those concerns with us to Washington.  “This is the beginning,” Steinbeck wrote, “from ‘I’ to ‘we’. If you who own the things people must have could understand this, you might preserve yourself. If you could separate causes from results, if you could know that Paine, Marx, Jefferson, Lenin were results, not causes, you might survive. But that you cannot know. For the quality of owning freezes you forever into ‘I’, and cuts you off forever from the ‘we’.”

That pessimistic analysis looks ever more accurate, as wealth and power grow ever more concentrated.  But we who care about our future together will work to build a broad nonviolent movement among those who do understand the fundamental injustice of a government that does not answer to its people, even while assaulting other people abroad in the name of democracy.

We are extending an open invitation to those who would like to join the Tour de Peace (TourDePeace.org) for all or part of the route.  We plan to arrive at Arlington National Cemetery on July 3rd and to proceed from there to the White House.

Admirable bike rides are often held to oppose terrible diseases.  We believe that war, plutocracy, and environmental destruction are diseases with the potential to turn fatal.  Ride with us, or talk with us when we stop for a breather in Palm Springs.

Cindy Sheehan’s son Casey was killed in Iraq in 2004.  In 2005 she began a widely-reported protest at then President Bush’s home in Crawford, Texas.

 http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19771950

V-Day: 1 Billion Rising!

V-Day a Success!

Supporters of V-Day gathered at Ruth Hardy Park in Palm Springs on Valentine’s Day to speak out about the global oppression of women and its effects, joining together to express our grief and outrage.  Dr. Debra led us off with a blessing and a smudging, creating a sacred space, followed by a reading of Eve Ensler’s powerful poem, “RISING, written in Kerala for the women of India who lead the way,” and a speak-out.

Then we marched to Frances Stevens Park where there was a reading and signing of the Women’s Declaration of Independence, aka The Declaration of, by, and for Women, hand-printed on a huge parchment.

The Declaration of, by, and for Women

After the signing of the Declaration, we rang bells, blew whistles, and played drums, tambourines, and shook rattles in a dancing march through Village Fest, chanting “End Violence Against Women!” on our way, with support of people in the crowd, particularly one woman who wanted her picture taken with us as she had come out in support of 1 Billion Rising! to Crystal Fantasy, where we danced and drummed in a rhythmic finish into the night.

Food, Not Bombs Co-Founder Keith McHenry to Speak

 Elect to End Hunger & Poverty

You can change our world!

THE ELECT TO END HUNGER AND POVERTY TOUR

with Food Not Bombs co-founder Keith McHenry

Food Not Bombs, more than a meal, we are a movement with a message. A presentation sure to inspire your community to take action and change lives.

Thursday January 31, 2013 7pm

Crystal Fantasy

268 N. Palm Canyon Drive
Palm Springs, CA  92262

Food Not Bombs co-founder Keith McHenry will share the story, principles and current activities of the movement including the participation by volunteers in the occupations. Keith will also invite the audience to participate with their local activist groups. This is a great way to inspire participation in your local social justice community.

Most people would elect to end hunger and poverty but many of those elected to political office have another agenda, cutting social services while transferring our tax dollars to wealthy military contractors and their corporate friends. Food prices are increasing as crops fail because of the climate crisis. Oxfam and the UN are reporting that hunger will be on the increase leading to civil unrest and violent police repression. The industrial food system is not only causing millions of animals to suffer but is directly responsible for an increase in hunger and climate change gasses.

Food Not Bombs is responding to the economic, ecological and political crisis by recovering, preparing and sharing vegan meals and groceries with the hungry in nearly 1,000 communities. Many have expressed that the presentation was an inspiration saying that they were moved to participate in efforts like Food Not Bombs, Food Not Lawns, Homes Not Jails, the Food Not Bombs Free Skool and other exciting projects.

Editor’s Note: What follows is an interview with Keith McHenry

 “An Interview with an American Visionary” from the August 2012 People’s Tribune, By Chuck Parker

People’s Tribune: How did Food Not Bombs get started?

Keith McHenry: Back in 1980, when I started to collect the discarded produce from my job at Bread and Circus in Cambridge, Massachusetts, I looked for people that might enjoy free food. I found a cluster of dilapidated public housing buildings a few blocks east of the grocery. Groups of skinny children and their mothers huddled in the cold on the steps of these broken buildings in the shadow of a group of modern glass towers where scientists were busy designing guidance systems for intercontinental nuclear missiles. This sure made it clear that what people really needed was food not bombs.

PT: How do you get your message out?

Keith: By sharing free food without restrictions, we illustrate the fact that there is an abundance of the things we need, and that scarcity is a fiction that benefits a small minority. By always sharing our literature with the free meals under our banner of Food Not Bombs, we seek to educate the public with a message about the national priorities of the U.S., pointing out that half the Federal budget is spent on the military while millions go hungry every day.

PT: What about the new laws against sharing food in public?

Keith: Yes, it’s gotten so much worse than it was in the 90’s. For example, why do you think cities like Philadelphia and Houston have passed laws against sharing food outdoors? These are cities with huge homeless populations and terrible poverty. They are trying to make you go inside so no one will see you. We have really active Food Not Bombs chapters in these cities, and we expect to be arrested, but we are getting prepared. We can’t change things if we don’t risk arrest.

PT: How are you preparing?

Keith: You build lots of super, super support by being well organized and staying committed to non-violence. With more outreach which illustrates that the government and the corporations don’t have your interests at heart, it will make the movement bigger every time they attack you.

PT: What will be going on at your World Gathering outside the Republican Convention in Tampa August 20-26?

Keith: Besides feeding the protesters, we will have entertainment such as puppet shows and street theater and music. We will be evaluating problems that have come up in the Occupations, and how to regroup. One of our most important workshops will be on improving intergroup communication.

PT: How can people find out about the gathering and what can they look forward to?

Keith: The occupations of 2011 could be the initial step in the journey towards a post capitalist society based on compassion and mutual aid. Instead of acting as a charity, we are feeding the movement to end the policies that cause poverty and hunger. The next thirty years could be crucial to building a free and sustainable future. Help us make the changes we need. For more information go to: www.foodnotbombs.net/gatherings

Please go to www.peoplestribune.org  to read the complete interview.

Read Keith McHenry’s new book: “Hungry for Peace: How you Can Help End Poverty and War with Food Not Bombs.” www.foodnotbombs.net