Tag Archives: solidarity

This Is What Solidarity Looks Like: How Long Island Food Not Bombs’ Hunger Relief Efforts are Eclipsing That of NGO’s With Multi-Million Dollar Annual Budgets

[HEMPSTEAD, NY]  The hunger relief efforts of a small group of dedicated and caring Long Islanders operating on a near-zero budget is eclipsing that of the relief efforts of many well-funded 501-c3 organizations, both in number of people served and in the volume of food distributed. The group, a Long Island chapter of the decentralized, grassroots, hunger relief group, Food Not Bombs, is serving to both inspire the local community and simultaneously raise questions as to how an autonomous group with a shoestring budget can outmatch non-profits of similar purpose whose operating budget exceeds millions of dollars annually.

Long Island Food Not Bombs (LIFNB), who facilitates community food shares 5 days a week, and organizes distributions of recovered food 7 days a week, distributed nearly 30,000lbs of produce yesterday alone (12/22/2013). These large numbers have become more common for the group in recent years, and is credited in-part to the group’s sister non-profit Community Solidarity Inc., whose 501-c3 status has allowed greater access to recovery points such as grocers and local cafes. The exponential increase in attendance at LIFNB’s food shares can also be attributed to the radical increase in income inequality and it’s creation of a growing constituency of hungry, working, poor families. LIFNB’s savvy use of social media, and community-driven organizing model has also contributed to its explosive growth. Moreover, the food served is delicious.

An 8min video published today by The Sparrow Project titled This Is What Solidarity Looks Like: 24hrs With Long Island Food Not Bombs provides a cross-sectional view into the group’s daily operations, specifically the 24 hour period surrounding the group’s annual Thanksgiving food share which took place this year on November 24th at the Long Island Rail Road Station in Hempstead, NY.

Between 3pm and 4pm on November 24th, 2013 over 2,500 people visited the share and left with groceries, plates of hot food, or both.

Between 3pm and 4pm on November 24th, 2013 approximately 50,078.75lbs of food was distributed. This consisted of fresh produce, cereals, soy milks, cooking amenities like oils and flours, as well as non essentials like spices and sweeteners. This abundance, if distributed evenly, could provide a week worth of nutrition for all 2,500 attendees.

Between 3pm and 4pm on November 24th, 2013 approximately 1,850 people enjoyed hot vegan meals. Long Island Food Not Bombs extends their foundational message of non-violence to embrace non-human animals and therefore only recovers and distributes vegetarian grocery items and only prepares hot meals that are strictly vegan. The group’s plant-based entrées (often celebrated by vegans and carnivores alike) is not only more sustainable and safe for distribution but directly challenges the Turkey fundraisers of other soup kitchens. The Hempstead meal alone spared ~180 turkeys.

On average Long Island Food Not Bombs saves a family who attends their food shares ~ $100 every week*. These savings add up for families who regularly attend the shares and can exceed $4,000 in savings per-family annually*. [ calculations based on fair market value of food donated*]

The creation of the group’s sister non-profit Community Solidarity has increased the group’s access to food and the groups ability to help an exponentially larger amount of people, all while allowing the autonomy, DIY ethos, and radical politics of Food Not Bombs to remain intact. The two-tier system however has not resulted in an infusion of capital. Unlike 501-c3 organizations with similar purposes, LIFNB and Community Solidarity Inc., have no paid employees and continue to operate on a shoestring. If you want to help change that you can do so by donating to Community Solidarity HERE.

The video published today by The Sparrow Project, is intended to inspire others to pursue similar endeavors in their own communities. LIFNB places emphasis on solidarity over charity and community engagement over hierarchical charitable models that can inadvertently patronize the communities they intend to help. Through the use of social media, a dedicated core of volunteers, and countless community members that make up the foundation of their food share distributions, Long Island Food Not Bombs was able to serve over 1,000,000lbs of food to tens of thousand of Long Islander’s in 2013.

For more information on Long Island Food Not Bombs visit http://lifnb.com or email longislandfoodnotbombs@gmail.com Tax deductible donations can be made to support LIFNB’s tireless efforts online at this LINK. To schedule an interview with a LIFNB member or for similar media requests please email jonsteps@communitysolidarity.org. Media request can also be directed to andy@sparrowmedia.net

Projection Artists Light up Walls of Brooklyn Detention Center with Visually Arresting Messages of Solidarity for Imprisoned Activist, Jeremy Hammond

[NEW YORK, NY]  A collective of projection artists and activists lit up the bleak walls of The Brooklyn Metropolitan Detention Center (MDC Brooklyn) last night with visually arresting images and messages proclaiming solidarity with jailed political activist Jeremy Hammond. The artists’ stunning action, which captured the attention of prisoners and administrators alike, comes two weeks after the 28 year old activist was sentenced to 10 years in federal prison for violating the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA) of 1984.  Hammond’s sentence, handed down on November 15th, follows his May 28, 2013 plea of guilty to participating in the Anonymous hack into the computers of the private intelligence firm Strategic Forecasting (Stratfor).  The hack and the subsequent publishing of millions of exfiltrated Stratfor emails has sparked a global conversation into the unregulated operations of private intelligence firms and their frequent extralegal activities.

» Demonstrators from the In our Hearts Collective brought instruments, pots and pans, and their voices to make noise loud enough to be heard within the walls of the detention center. The Illuminator projected messages of solidarity on the bleak walls of the prison. “Free Jeremy Hammond!”, “Solidarity with all Hacktivists!” and images of the infamous Anonymous Guy Fawkes mask lit up the night.  Additional images are posted below.

Shortly after his sentencing at the Federal Court for the Southern District of New York, Jeremy Hammond was transferred from the Metropolitan Corrections Center (MCC) on Park Row in Manhattan to the Metropolitan Detention Center in Sunset Park, Brooklyn where he awaits designation by the Federal Bureau of Prisons to an institution where he will serve the majority of his sentence.

Hammond’s actions, while maligned by the Department of Justice as criminal in nature, have been celebrated by activists and journalists alike as a contemporary form of civil disobedience, motivated by a desire to protest and expose the secret activities of private intelligence corporations.

In the lead up to sentencing Hammond’s attorneys submitted a memorandum asking for a sentence of time served, supported by 5,000 people in petitions hosted by Change.org and Demand Progress. Additionally, over 250 letters addressed to the Judge from friends, family, journalists, academics, the tech community, and prominent whistleblowers were included with the memorandum. Among them was a letter cosigned by 17 editors and journalists representing international media outlets in fifteen countries with a combined audience of 500 million people.


“There are many – like our adversaries in the United States Attorney’s office – who do not accept Jeremy Hammond’s actions as acts of civil disobedience; many who see what he did as one dimensional, criminal and malicious,” said Jeremy Hammond’s counsel, Sarah Kunstler, in her sentencing argument on November 15th. “In its sentencing submission, the government argues that Jeremy Hammond ‘was motivated by a malicious and callous contempt for those with whom he disagreed,’ and that his goal, demonstrated by statements that he made in chat rooms, ‘was to cause ‘mass mayhem’ by destroying the websites of entities he disliked.’ Contrary to the government’s representations, this wasn’t a malicious and unfocused act against an entity with whom Jeremy had a disagreement – it was an act of protest against the private intelligence industry and its ability to do what the United States, in theory, is prohibited from doing – targeting American citizens and other populations worldwide.”

Print quality images of last nights action are available for download HERE. To schedule interviews with Jeremy Hammond’s attorneys and supporters please contact Andy Stepanian, 631.291.3010, andy@sparrowmedia.net.

» Print quality versions of these images are available for download HERE.

The Jeremy Hammond Defense Committee is a coalition of family members, activists, lawyers, and other supporters who are working together to protect free speech and to support Jeremy http://freejeremy.net

Loud Words call for Even Louder Actions: Activists to March From Left Forum to Metropolitan Correctional Center in Solidarity with Imprisoned Activists Jeremy Hammond & Jerry Koch

Loud Words call for Even Louder Actions: Activists to March From Left Forum to Metropolitan Correctional Center in Solidarity with Imprisoned Activists Jeremy Hammond & Jerry Koch

[New York, NY]  As Friday night’s plenary at the Left Forum hosted by NYC’s Pace University comes to a close activists will gather outside (1 Pace Plaza, NYC [MAP]) at 9:15pm for a march to the Metropolitan Correctional Center (MCC) to protest the unjust and politically motivated detentions of activists Jeremy Hammond & Gerald Koch, and to create a boisterous show solidarity for all political prisoners housed at the MCC.

This action is part of three days of events to run in conjunction with the annual Left Forum. Speakers at this years forum include Oliver Stone, Jill Stein and Noam Chomsky. A list of forum events supporting Jeremy Hammond is posted below.

9:15 PM (meet outside right after plenary)
Gathering and short march to Metropolitan Correctional Center in solidarity with Jeremy & all political prisoners housed at the MCC. Bring your musical instruments or anything else that makes noise.

Visit the Jeremy Hammond Defense Committee in the Left Forum exhibition hall.

12:00 PM (Session 6, Room W605)
See a Left Forum panel on the issue of Hacktivism, Information Activism, “The 5th Estate: Hacking, Leaking, & Investigative Journalism in the Age of Secrecy”. Panelist include: Gabriella Coleman (anthropologist & “Anonymous” expert), Will Potter (journalist & author of Green is the New Red), Grainne O’Neill (defense attorney for Jeremy Hammond)

Jeremy’s twin brother, Jason, launched an online petition calling for the judge to grant Jeremy a sentence of time served. Jeremy has already spent 15 months in prison, including weeks in solitary confinement. Three of his Irish and British co-defendants are walking free today and none of the remaining three will spend more time in prison than Jeremy already has pre-sentencing.

Jason is pushing against the entire weight of the federal criminal justice system—the same system that drove Aaron Swartz to suicide—and he can’t do it alone. If you haven’t already, please join Jason in saying that Jeremy has spent enough time in jail by signing the petition at Change.org. If you have already signed, please tell your friends, family members, and co-workers to sign.

You can sign the petition to release Jeremy on a sentence of “time served” HERE

Jerry’s support commitee has also just announced an online petition and open letter that they are encouraging Jerry’s supporters to sign and share widely. Their open letter has already been joined by luminaries like Noam Chomsky, Simon Critchley, Frances Fox Piven, Jeremy Varon, Paul Mattick, Thomas Drake, Jesselyn Raddack, Doug Henwood, and Jodi Dean.

Jerry Koch’s support committee has circulated the following letter calling others to join in resisting the draconian grand jury that is holding him captive…

New York legal activist and anarchist, Jerry Koch, is currently being held in a Manhattan federal detention having been neither charged nor convicted of any crime. He is being coercively held for refusing to speak to a federal grand jury — those black boxes of the judicial system, historically used to intimidate and harass radical communities. With his silence, Jerry is standing against this tool of government repression.

As part of Jerry’s support committee, we have penned an open letter, link below, explaining Jerry’s situation in the context of federal activist persecutions. We hope you might lend your signatures to the letter and help highlight the abuses perpetuated by shrouded grand jury procedures. And, of course, help us free our brave friend from the cage he now calls home,

Academics, artists and writers including Noam Chomsky, Simon Critchley, Frances Fox Piven, Jeremy Varon, Paul Mattick, Thomas Drake, Jesselyn Raddack, Doug Henwood, Jodi Dean, Molly Crabapple, Natasha Lennard and others have already signed on. I hope you will consider joining them.

You can sign the petition to free Jerry at change.org HERE

Occupy Wall Street & the Legacy of Martin Luther King

Occupy Wall Street & the Legacy of Martin Luther King


I’ve been pondering a lot about Martin Luther King, lately; more than usual. Every day, down at Liberty Plaza, I can’t help but think that, had he not been murdered, he would be with us. This was especially salient on Tuesday night, October 18, when I did the People’s Mic with Jesse Jackson. Whatever one thinks of Rev. Jackson’s politics, the man was an associate of the late, great Dr. King. The image of a young Jackson, standing to the right of Dr. King, on that fateful Memphis balcony, is emblazoned on the collective conscious of all who revere justice.

I’ve long been awash in indignation at the co-opting of King’s legacy. Much as the capitalist war-makers have done with other historical figures who devoted themselves to peace and justice, Dr. King has been hijacked and bowdlerized; molded into a neat little figure who fits nicely into Americana.  The egregiousness of this was never clearer or more infuriating than in the recent dedication of the National Memorial to this great person.  Here were Republicans and Democrats (as if there is a difference), marionettes of Wall Street and the Military/Prison Industrial Complex, sanctimoniously celebrating a man whom they would incarcerate, were he still alive. They wish to portray King, selectively, as a Civil Rights leader, and nothing else. They ignore the fact that, for the last three years of his short life, King identified himself as a “Democratic Socialist.” This is the man who characterized capitalism as economic violence and exhorted us to ask, “’Why are there forty million poor people [He would be horrified by today’s total] in America?’” And when you begin to ask that question, you are raising questions about the economic system, about a broader distribution of wealth. When you ask that question, you begin to question the capitalistic economy.”
» [related content] Jesse Jackson speaks about OWS & the 1968 Poor Peoples March organized by he and Dr. King on Countdown w/ Keith Olbermann «

Barack Obama spews platitudes of reverence to King, yet enacts policies that would have the latter in fits of apoplexy. This president has received more money for his re-election campaign from Wall Street than any other candidate, in history, and the election is still more than a year away.

This president has deported more than one million people, since taking office, in January, 2009.

This president has expanded the murder machine of war, so that the US is killing innocent people, en masse, in Iraq; Afghanistan; Pakistan; Yemen; Libya, et al. The sabers of iniquity are rattling against Iran, now. Wall Street’s lackey must ensure that everyone join the IMF.

This president has abrogated further the Constitution, vis a vis the First Amendment rights of the nation’s citizenry.

This president has aided and abetted the capitalist class’s assault on labor. While he stole millions from the unions, promising to enact EFCA, he has appointed Goldman alumna to his cabinet. His big mouth was conspicuously silent, when Wisconsin begged for support, earlier this year.

Let us remember that Dr. King, after being harassed for years by the very government which now seeks to siphon off of his legacy by dedicating a memorial to a fraction of the person, was murdered just hours after addressing striking sanitation workers, in Memphis.

 So, as I stand/sit/march/scream at Liberty Plaza, I cannot help but think that, if indeed there is another plain of existence to which we go, after our corpora expire, Dr. King is smiling down in solidarity on us, at Liberty Plaza, and shaking his head, in shame, at the Wall Street-Washington cabal that tries to usurp his great legacy.

Arthur Smilios is an unapologetic anti-capitalist, musician rabble rouser.   Arthur was the co-founder of the seminal New York punk band the Gorilla Biscuits. Since his days of performing “Cats & Dogs” (a song that encouraged thousands to adopt a vegetarian lifestyle)  Arthur has strived to braid his art with his passion for social justice.  The Sparrow Project has invited Arthur to continue to sound off on the issues he holds most dear through their blog on https://sparrowmedia.net .  Arthur’s articles are written exclusively in his own voice, and may not reflect the views of The Sparrow Project.

Friday Declared a Day of Solidarity with Arrested Spanish Animal Rights Activists the #Spanish12

Friday Declared a Day of Solidarity with Arrested Spanish Animal Rights Activists the #Spanish12

12 animal rights activists with the group Igualdad Animal were arrested in Spain on Wednesday and charged by officials as “ecoterrorists.”  Although all of the details of the Spanish government’s allegations have not been revealed, it has been confirmed that the charges stem from non-violent, non-sabotage, actions related to the open rescue and liberation of animals in deplorable conditions and the video documentation of cruelty on factory farms (as captured in the groups video above.)

These charges present a new chapter in an increasingly diluted industry-driven narrative that abolitionists who oppose animal cruelty are in some manner on par with “terrorists.”

An international day of solidarity and action has been planned for tomorrow, Friday June 24th, 2011.  Events will be happening from Spain to New York to Toronto to Berlin.   Will Potter, author of Green is the New Red: An Insider’s Account of a Movement Under Siege has compiled an up-to-date roundup of all the solidarity events being planned world-wide on his blog http://greenisthenewred.com …if you don’t see an event in your country PLAN YOUR OWN!

A list of all the Spanish embassies can be found HERE!

These updates are reposted from Will Potter’s http://greenisthenewred.com

UPDATE: No prisoner support page yet, but you can donate to their legal support here (in English)

UPDATE 2: Official statement from Animal Equality. The Spanish government is saying the arrests are related to the recent release of mink from fur farms. Above-ground activists respond:

These two organisations, which define their activism as being non-violent, dedicate their efforts to raising public awareness of animal rights, by informing society of the consequences of the consumption of animal products and the promotion of alternatives. On the other hand, even though the organisations were not involved in the mink liberations, neither condemns these types of actions, to the extent that they defend the interests of all animals regardless of species, as none of the minks exploited by the fur industry deserves to live and die on a Spanish fur farm….

The animal exploitation lobbies and powerful multinationals wish to put the brakes on the animal rights movement in Spain, and now we are seeing the arrival of repression.

UPDATE 3: International day of protest and solidarity called for FRIDAY, JUNE 24th, 2011.Here’s a list of Spanish embassies.

Update 4: Protests planned for San FranciscoTorontoNew York CityWashington DCand more. Post a link in the comments and I’ll add them. Also, a quick thing you can do is update your social media profile photos with the banner above.

UPDATE 5: Protest in Munich, Germany, Friday 6/24 from 9 am – 1 pm in front of the Spanish embassy (Oberföhriger Str. 45).

UPDATE 6: Protest in Brussels, Belgium, Friday, 6/24 at 2 pm in front of the Spanish embassy (Wetenschapsstraat 19).

UPDATE 7: Animal Equality lawyers report:

“…the treatment of those detained is currently adequate, although they are not being given a vegan diet. Some of the activists have declared themselves on hunger strike until they receive vegan food…They are calm, but strong and determined, and many people are currently working on this situation. Many thanks for all the support that has been received so far.

“You can make your support for the detained activists reach further by calling the police stations in Santiago de Compostela and A Coruña where they are currently being held and inquiring about the health of the activists..

The following is a suggested text to read:

“Hello. I am calling because I am concerned about the health of the activists who were arrested yesterday and who are currently being held in the police station. I would like to request that they be given a vegan diet.. I wish to express my concern for the health of those detained, and in particular, Sharon Nunez Gough, who has certain health problems.”

Telephone numbers:

– Comandancia de la Guardia Civil A Coruña, 0034 981 16 78 00, where the following activists are being held:

Sara, Olaia, Eneko, José Ramon, Eladio, Rafael, Jennifer y Borja

– Comandancia de la Guardia Civil Santiago de Compostela, 0034 981 581 611, where the following activists are being held:

Jose, Sharon y David.

UPDATE 8: Leaflets and posters are available for download for the solidarity events.

UPDATE 9: Protest in Vienna, Austria, Friday, 6/24 at 11 am in front of the Spanish embassy (Argentinierstraße 34, A-1040 Wien)

Protest in Berlin, Germany, Friday, 6/24, at noon in front of the Spanish embassy (Lichtensteinallee 1)