Friday, March 07, 2008

Reclaim Your Food in Brixton

Last Sunday a group of people turned up in Brixton to give out free food. The police response to this act of generosity? A Dispersal Order under the Anti-Social Behaviour Act and two people arrested.

The weekly Reclaim Your Food open picnics have been running in Brixton Town Square for a few weeks now. As well as offering free vegan food there is a free Bicycle Repair Workshop. Last Sunday two police vans, a mobile surveillance vans and 2 police cars were waiting when they arrived. A Dispersal Order was placed on the group, supposedly in response to an alleged Section 5 Public Order offence - defined as causing harassment, distress or alarm.

The police case seems to have been that by giving out free food, a climate was being created that enabled drug-dealing - which in itself could promote harassment, distress and/or alarm. The legal basis of this is highly dubious - case Law contradicts the use of this Public Order law 'by proxy' (as it were) and it has previously been ruled that if a Section 5 offence is being comitted, it is unlawful to arrest anyone other than the alleged perpetrator of the offence. But leaving this aside, everyone knows that Brixton town centre is full of drug dealers all year round and the police don't close down MacDonalds or KFC because dealers and users frequent them.

Still at least Brixton residents can sleep sound in their beds knowing that these dangerous food-distributing criminals have been reprimanded for their anti-social behaviour! Reclaim Your Food are planning to back in Brixton this forthcoming weekend, why not show your support by getting down to Brixton Town Square (outside the Ritzy) at 3 pm.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Walter Ayles produced a booklet in 1923 for the Indepedent Labour Party


"What a Socialist Council would do ?"

I think thought the following section may be of intrest


With reasonable facilities for obtaining capital, the Socialist Town Council would provide not only houses, water, gas, electricity and tramways, but other common necessities. Three things may be specially mentioned: bread, milk and meat. At present, owing to our wasteful competitive system, the cost of these necessities has increased enormously, and especially to the poorer consumer. The reports of Government committees have recently shown how all classes are fleeced by our present arrangements. The Socialist Town Council would either itself undertake the supply of these things in the interest of the whole body of citizens, or would encourage their provision through the Co-operative movement. Two benefits would follow :

(1) the cost to the consumer would be lessened, and
(2) the workers would be better paid and would have better conditions of labour.

It also called for Councils to run markets for food produce to be sold

I believe this is common in France

Maybe we should be pressing our councils to make space available for such markets