This November Mark Brand, the Downtown Eastside gentrifying restaurateur, entrepreneur and enfant terrible behind the Save On Meats cultural engine celebrated on the western Canada lecture circuit, launched $2.25 breakfast sandwich tokens to “provide nutritious food to those in need.”
Brand is marketing his breakfast tokens as charity. But charity is when relatively well-off individuals or social groups give money, food, and other resources to low-income people at only the cost of gratitude and swallow the cost themselves. On December 7 low-income people and groups critical of charity will march on CBC during their annual food bank day to demand social justice not individual charity. The philosophy of social justice says that the state should compensate low-income people for the poverty they suffer because of social and economic inequality and not be dependent on the whims, conditions, and humiliations of lining up for charity. But Mark Brand’s breakfast sandwich tokens are not a matter of charity, they are a business marketing tool like coupons or gift cards.