“The criminal charges filed against three individuals associated with the Rawesome Food Club in Venice, CA, have gotten me thinking much about the trial of the Chicago Seven.
It’s been a while since we’ve had a good old-fashioned political trial. The last important one that comes to mind was probably that of the Chicago Seven, back in 1969. The defendants included such anti-Vietnam-War and black rights luminaries Abbie Hoffman, Jerry Rubin, David Dellinger, and Bobby Seale. They were indicted for violating the Civil Rights law by crossing state lines to incite the riots outside the Democratic National Convention in August 1968. (Of course, the riot was by Chicago police, who beat mostly peaceful demonstrators.)
I (gulp) remember it well, for it helped take (more of) the wind out of the government’s pursuit of the Vietnam War and the crackdown on dissidents. Yes, there was still more to come (the murders of demonstrators at Kent State), but we were already well on our way to, at least psychologically, abandoning the Vietnam War
The trial went on for months at the end of 1969, into the beginning of 1970, and it’s funny to read about some of the things that happened there. This from Wikipedia: “One day, defendants Hoffman and Rubin appeared in court dressed in judicial robes. When the judge ordered them to remove the robes, they complied, to reveal that they were wearing Chicago police uniforms underneath. Hoffman blew kisses at the jury.”
Five of the defendants were found guilty, and sentenced to five years in jail, and fined $5,000; at the sentencing, Jerry Rubin offered the judge LSD. Talk about a three-ring circus. But those guys were committed, and fearless. (The guilty verdict was eventually overturned on appeal, and the U.S. Justice Department at that point decided not to re-try.) …”
“….The heart of the matter for a judge and jury is whether consumers can enter into such private leasing or herdshare arrangements that are similar to arrangements commonly used on a daily basis by all kinds of businesses in the U.S., to obtain their food.
Similarly, it’s up to members to decide if they want to deal with a farmer like Sharon Palmer amid allegations she has outsourced food. If she’s charged by the state with fraudulently outsourcing food at farmers markets, then that’s a matter between her and the state.
Rawesome volunteers overseeing the club are asking members to stay focused on the real issues. “We are a test case for the new powers given the FDA by the Food Safety Modernization Act which we believe are unconstitutional and whose jurisdiction does not apply to us as a private members food club.”
The Rawesome club is encouraging its members to not be distracted by the government’s shell game. “Our situation is one in which we members have to be highly organized, direct serious efforts toward fundraising, continue protesting and staying in the media, and stay positive. In-fighting is inappropriate. We need to close ranks.”….”