RECLAIM THE STREETS! TWO DAY FESTIVAL OF RESISTANCE!
"With the increasingly meaningless ritual of the general election drawing near and with the main political parties committed to 'more of the same' or 'tinkering with the details' at best, what can be done by those with a vision of a liberated, green society? 'Vote for the lesser evil?' Work for change 'inside the system?'
Reclaim The Streets believe there is another way: take direct action in the streets, in the fields and in the workplace, to halt the destruction and create a direct democracy in a free and ecological society."
Remember last years big RTS in London? Let us remind you.
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Below is some hopefully helpful background on the sort of actions that are happening already.
The actions were very simple, both to organise and carry out. The response from consumers was excellent and supermarket staff were caught off guard and quite rightly worried about possible loss of custom. An added bonus was that there was little chance of arrest.
THIS IS HOW IT WORKED
A group of about 10-12 people got together and went shopping. We stacked our baskets high with any food containing ingredients that could possibly have been genetically manipulated. We avoided piling in frozen or easily damaged food as the supermarket staff may not have put it back on shelves later and the thought of it getting chucked out because of our action didn't sit too well.
At a pre-arranged time we joined different queues at checkouts, staying as close together as possible. When deciding where on the row of checkouts to group together it would be good to have window access to the outside for anyone videoing the action, as they are sometimes removed very quickly, and not very gently, if they are on the inside. When protesters got through the checkout and were asked for payment they asked the cashier to tell them if the products contained any genetically manipulated ingredients. Of course the cashier was unable to do so. Explaining that this was exactly the reason for the protest we refused to pay and requested to see the manager.
At this point others that had been waiting outside saw their cue and came in with banners and music, while the rest of the group joined in by either asking their cashiers the same questions or leafleting the people in queues and around the supermarket. Meanwhile someone else started a very loud rant to explain to anyone who could hear, the reason for the action and the issue of GM food in general.
People explained to each cashier about the action and why it was taking place as well as giving them a leaflet. The vast majority of both shoppers and staff were interested in what was being said and even when protesters were being forced out of the store by security and management customers were still grabbing leaflets from their hands. Shoppers did not seem annoyed at the delay, many in fact seemed disgusted by the way we were forced out of the store for attempting to inform them about products that were on sale in the store.
The protest continued outside the supermarket with the drummers, banners and more leafleting as well as friendly warnings from policemen not to go back on the premises.
This action will be repeated each Saturday at supermarkets around London. Start actions in your area as soon as possible and as regularly as possible. Hopefully it will spread very quickly around the country - until we see results. All you need is about ten people, including at least one confident ranter, a good photocopied leaflet and a few hours out of your Saturday (or any other day). It is great fun and effective! Photographers/press would be useful also.
THE ACTIONS WERE TAKEN TO:
a) make more consumers aware that at least 60% of foods on the shelves may contain genetically engineered ingredients,
b) show that consumers can demand choice from the supermarkets by calling for the labelling of all products containing genetically manipulated ingredients - or even better, to demand that supermarkets no longer sell any product that may be genetically manipulated.
c) demand that supermarkets put pressure on the food producers to segregate genetically engineered foods such as soya.
d) send a message to growers and the multi-national biotech companies that GM crops are not wanted. If there is no market, farmers will not buy or plant GM seeds.
If you do start these actions in your area please let people know that they are happening especially local press and the head offices of the various supermarkets as well as any other groups or individuals that you think may be inspired by your actions.
The most important thing to remember is that they have a section for customers to fill in and hand to supermarket managers demanding that they at least have the choice whether or not to buy GM food. It is also essential to have contact numbers for more information as well as contacts to get more involved in the campaign.
Women's Environmental Network (WEN) have leaflets available if you would prefer them to making up your own. You can call them on: 0171 247 3327. Text from leaflets used previously are also available from this email address if you would like to read it and then possibly adapt your own from it.
If you want to join the London actions or set up your own, call: 0171 561
9146 or the WEN number above or email