Monday, August 09, 2010


The following call to action may be somewhat dated as the latest news from the Oregonian is that the local government there has backed down, and , yes, the little girl can set up her lemonade stand without a "temporary restaurant licence". Her family has even received an apology. Still I reprint the following Facebook call for a "lemonade revolt" because the whole thing is quite instructive.

What do incidents like this say ? To sum it up it's the old adage of "give them an inch and they'll take a mile". By that I mean the supposed "service" agencies of government and their "help". Now it is doubtlessly true that institutions such as health departments do indeed do some useful work though it is possible that what they accomplish could be better done by voluntary non-governmental organizations. Yet it is in the nature of the bureaucratic beast to constantly expand its range of action regardless of whether it is doing its previous job well or not. In other words such organizations are too often quite lax in their original mandate, but you can be assured that they will always be on the prowl for new things to control.

We had a recent incidence of this here in Winnipeg with the sad death of the late lamented "beer snake" (more on this later I hope). The inevitable tendency of any governmental agency to continually expand its range of action is the reason why I am very reluctant to support any new initiative of this sort no matter what the purported benefits and why I am generally not too upset on those rare occasions when the octopus of state control loses its grip on one of its tentacles.

A case in point is the recent abandonment of the compulsory long form census here in Canada. This is one of those rare occasions where I actually approve of an action of our federal government. This change has generated all sorts of opposition ranging from linguistic minorities , academics who will lose their data mines and unions all the way "up" to all those lovely folks that send you junk mail. Approving of this change can easily make you quite unpopular because so many groups have an axe to grind over this, and I'm sure that the data is quite convenient or even necessary for many of those who wish to keep the form. On the other hand the majority of the population who aren't making money or gaining power from using such data are quite thrilled to see this compulsion go. It is a laudable change as it is one less compulsion that the average citizen has to undergo. In the end it speaks volumes about the lack of grassroots democracy in our country that the 'social planners' are so unacquainted with those the rule (excuse me "serve") that they have to have the government as a data gatherer.

All that, however, is aside from the matter at hand. The basic story of what follows is that in Portland Oregon a 7 year old girl was setting up a lemonade stand at a neighbourhood fair. Within 20 minutes the county health inspector descended on her demanding that she produce a $120 "temporary restaurant license". Huh ? The inspector then demanded that she pack up and leave despite loud support from the crowd. You can read the full story here. This little act of petty tyranny was seen by one Michael Franklin who was at a booth next to the girl's. Even when the first inspector called in another to help intimidate the girl and her mother the crowd surrounding them was quite hostile, and the inspectors "felt intimidated". Tsk, tsk ! Franklin later publicized the incident on his Bottom Up Radio Network and called for the 'Lemonade Revolt'. We'll see what happens on the last Thursday of this month.
The Lemonade Revolt!
Location EVERYWHERE! ALL THE TIME! EVERYTHING FOR EVERYONE! if you are in Cascadia...Last Thursday on Alberta St. between 25th and 26th street. BUT, make it happen where you live!

Created By Michael Franklin


More Info

On last thursday in July, on Alberta and 26th, a young girl was cheerfully setting up her lemonade stand. This was her first time doing this, and with her mother, she planned on selling lemonade for 50 cents a cup. No more than 20 minutes later, two state employees with badges informed her that if she did not desist, she would face a $500 fine.

We, as anarchists and community members, informed the mother that if she stayed the wishes of the state, we would defend her. We suggested a donation based stand. They tried that and the state workers, two women with clipboards and badges, returned and demanded they stop. We surrounded these workers and informed them of our sovereignty, that this is an autonomous zone, and they not only have no authority here, but they must leave the area. They went to the police.

The mother, who feared for losing her new job and out of heartbreak of seeing her daughter crushed and in tears, decided it was time to go. We made appeals to the crowd, but to no real avail, as people just kept walking by. This is bullshit and must be met with creative action.

We are proposing a lemonade bloc next last Thursday(the last Thursday of August- Molly ). Get together with your friends and family and come up with a creative lemonade. Rosemary, lavender, mint, honey, agave, mate, carob, what the fuck ever you can come up with, show up early on alberta and 25th to 26th streets around 11 or 12 in the daytime, set up a table and offer lemonade for donation, or free. We should fill the entire bloc with lemonade stands! The state will come, but we will NOT leave. We will fill the streets with dance and revelry in the spirit of last Thursday's origins, an autonomous, anarchistic freak show that reclaims the streets, the neighborhoods and our lives.

This is symbolic in one sense, but absurd and beautiful direct action in another. Please do not blow this off! Let's make a horrible mess for the state! When the state gives you lemons....GIVE THE STATE HELL!

You can choose to donate money made from lemonade to throwing a block party for families, or anything else you want to do with it, the point is to do it!

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