On Food 4 Solidarity's Contradictions

Statement by Mar Loutre, Immigration Justice Committee Coordinator
Position: Opposed

As someone who was involved in the initial stages of this proposal, I have real concerns about its contradictions and cannot endorse it.

As someone who was involved in the initial stages of this proposal, I have real concerns about its contradictions and cannot endorse it.

F4S fails to be a recruitment tool and an effective base building strategy as it does not aim to directly recruit. In the words of the proposal, they “won’t directly recruit on-site because that’d be perceived as mercenary...but the goal of the campaign is recruitment.” This contradiction calls into question the ability of this proposal to deliver on one of its stated goals. Moreover, the amount of money that is being proposed, at lowest $11,654, cannot possibly deliver new recruits in proportion to the amount of time, energy, and money spent on this campaign.

However, F4S admits that this is not the true goal of the proposal, instead it aims to be a publicity stunt in hopes of garnering goodwill and support. “Some within the chapter have expressed doubts about the ability of Direct-Service programs to radicalize people, or have mischaracterized our efforts as non-political. The truth is, we don’t believe giving people food while wearing a hammer and sickle t-shirt radicalizes people either. The food has never been meant to radicalize anyone. The service is simply a way of getting people’s attention. Attention and good will.” If this is truly its goal then $11,654 is a high price tag for such an effort, and one that the membership will be responsible for. According to the proposal, “given DSA-LA’s extensive mailing list and strong social media presence, we will organize an email donor drive and a phone-banking drive to meet the Initial Donations Goal.” Those avenues of communication are comprised of, in large part, our own membership. Even if amended to only fundraise through events put on by the campaign, invitations to fundraisers will ostensibly be sent out through these very channels, and thus directly to membership, in an effort to garner donations.

This campaign also seeks “to make each food bank in each neighborhood self-sustaining and self-run by its residents after prolonged training by F4S members, including helping to establish long-term funding ties with local businesses.” This is contrary to the current membership driven and funded model that now sustains our chapter. This contradiction would make this venture not accountable to the membership or even the communities but rather to the businesses who donate and become the source of funding for this project. This does not, to me, make a project sustainable but instead creates cyclical and dependent relationship on capitalist enterprises. As a chapter we have declared ourselves to be anticapitalist and yet endorsing this project would necessarily make us reliant on its continued existence. This campaign does not further anticapitalist efforts and instead perpetuates this system of exploitation by making it integral to its infrastructure.