Archive for May, 2011

Huge thanks to everyone who came out to our 2nd annual Memorial Day Party. There was a ton of food, swarms of kids, and 5 different musical acts. The party went on all day in the heat, and towards the end included an Anti-Police Brutality March around Southern Barton Heights.

Wingnuts and holy!holy!holy!

holy!holy!holy! from Oregon rolled into Richmond 13 deep and helped us with the Really Really Free Market, Food not Bombs, Copwatch, and the cookout! They played 2 shows- an acoustic set on Saturday and electric on Monday. Everyone at the Wingnut was really excited to get to hang out with awesome anarchists. They will be missed but we really hope they will come back to spend some more time at the Wingnut.

A lot of people helped us throughout the day, bringing food, washing dishes, entertaining the kids with water guns and balloons, and entertaining everyone with music. We feel really loved and supported by our friends and neighbors (aka family). Definitely looking forward to this annual tradition next year.

Last minute awesome show! holy!holy!holy! from Oregon, travelling by bus!
7pm at the Wingnut!
Sober, All Ages!
No door charge but bring money to donate if you can!
They can’t make the Memorial Day party, but we are super excited that they are squeezing us in after playing Firestorm in Ashville


we are holy!holy!holy!. We have been forged in the primal war of domestication. We defy these ways. We despise these streets, these schools, these occupations called work. We are wildness, and will dismantle the civilized destructive forces that have controlled our world. There are many worlds, with many languages. They will tell their children, that despite how hard they looked, they never saw us coming…

Influences:
We have suffered the indignity of domestication for far too long. From our births in stale hospitals, surrounded by false light and sound, wrapped in sterile blankets of “security” (remember smallpox) and hooked up to machines, fed chemicals and taught not to trust….anything, until we have taken back our lives, we have been processed. We are the outcrop of generations of control, and we have seen how that system is cancer in our worlds. Little more than a breath of fresh air, surrounded by life of rocks, trees, and animal kin, swayed by the dying cries of a river abused, has been enough to remind us that we are alive. ALIVE! Taking our days and nights back, by casting off schools and work, we have begun the journey through layers of distraction and city grime, and this journey is one with no end, but many fulfillments. A journey with no goal, but a thousand victories. Our children have taught us much, and we have seen the burning fires inside, they are growing.

Sounds Like:
The fall of a million empires.

For Immediate Release:

Richmond Copwatch filed petition in general district court today May 25th, 2011 for mandamus against the Richmond Police Department in regards to the Freedom of Information Act.
Jeremy Hawthorne, a member of the Wingnut Anarchist Collective and Richmond Copwatch made a Freedom of Information Act request (FOIA) on behalf of Richmond Copwatch originally on January 11th. The request is for the remainder of the protocols and manuals that  RPD has, but which Copwatch did not request with the documents they received in December of 2010. Only individuals, not organizations may make requests under VA FOIA.

The Virginia Freedom of Information Act gives  the public body  five days to respond to the FOIA request. If the public body is unable to respond within that five days they are required to notify the petitioner that they are requsting an extension. The extension may be for a maximum seven days.  The public body may continue to extend the time period, but most notify the petitioner and have a legal reason for the extension.

Due to failure of the RPD to respond within those five business days, we enlisted the aid of an attorney from the ACLU. On February 4, the RPD notified our attorney and Mr. Hawthorne of their request of a seven day extension.

According to VA FOIA, the public body may charge for the requested records. They are also allowed to request a deposit of two hundred dollars if they believe the costs of duplication will exceed that. In this case on the last week of March Jeremy Hawthorne made a deposit of two hundred dollars with the Richmond Police Department. Despite this deposit, they continued  to not respond to his calls or e-mails.

In fact, on April 21 when Mr. Hawthorne went to the Police Station to request the records agian, in person, they told him they had no record of his two hundred dollar deposit.  Fortunately, Mr. Hawthorne had requested and received a receipt for his deposit. He was eventually able to prove to them that he had indeed paid his deposit to their department for these records. The excuse given was that the person who took the money from Mr. Hawthorne was not authorized to do so.

To date, Mr. Hawthorne has not received the requested records or any notification from the Richmond Police Department in 34 days. They do not answer or return his phone calls or emails.

As Richmond Copwatch we believe that the failure of the Richmond Police Department to respond to Mr. Hawthorne’s FOIA request in a timely and legal manner constitutes a knowing and willful violation of the Virginia Freedom of Information Act.

The Richmond Police Department’s attempt at a suit in January against Mo Karn, also of Richmond Copwatch, on the grounds that they had given the information to a “known and admitted anarchist”, turned into an utter embarassment for the Richmond Police Department. We believe the Richmond Police Department is now refusing to honor FOIA requests made by anarchists or members of Copwatch.
In our opinion this constitutes a violation of VA FOIA and also of the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.

Background:
FOIA law, for reference

http://www.opengovva.org/virginias-foia-the-law

Richmond Copwatch is a non-heirarchical network of groups (more…)

What to Expect When You Are Expecting… To Be Arrested
Richmond Legal Process Guideline for Anarchists and Others

This is an outline for some important things to keep in mind when embarking on any enterprise which may lead to police detainment or arrest.

This guideline is specifically aimed at folks who might be at risk for arrest due to the political nature of their activities – from protests to civil disobedience to other forms of direct action.

Even when it is no one’s intention to be arrested, the police state will do what it do.

Preparing ahead of time, mentally and logistically can make both those incarcerated and their support network a lot less stressed out.

This guideline is a work in progress and we encourage any suggestions or additions – let us know at wingnut_collective@yahoo.com

This text is available online at: http://www.wingnutrva.org

The Wingnut Anarchist Collective house on the Northside of Richmond. The Wingnut is a sober space- no booze, no drugs, no macho bullshit. The Wingnut has resources such as free zines and literature, tools, and comfy couches to offer the community. We are down with hosting meetings or events for other groups. We will likely host workshops in the future on using certain tools. If there are workshops you want to do but you need a location feel free to contact us. You can bring donations for the Really Really Free Market or Food Not Bombs by anytime. We are also willing to host acoustic shows and events like benefit dinners if they are sober. Just talk to us! Every 2nd and 4th Wednesday at 7 is Craft Night, bring projects you are working on, projects you want to be working on, random supplies, sewing projects, collaborative art ideas etc. Every Sunday is Food Not Bombs- come by around 1 to help decide on a meal, wash and cut produce, cook food, wash dishes, and then take it to Monroe Park to share with the community!

Before the event/action/whateverweliveinapolicestateforgoodnessake

Know Your Rights Training (Richmond Copwatch offers this training for free!)

Security Culture Training (Wingnut Anarchist Collective offers this training for free!)

Group discussion with participants if possible- to discuss goals of event, response to police, etc. ie. if its civil disobedience then maybe a goal is for people to be arrested. But if you are not trying to get arrested what is the plan? Where should people meet up? etc.

Action briefings combined with a kind of pep rally can be really important. Get everyone together to talk about their experiences getting arrested and going through the legal system. This is especially helpful for people who have never been arrested before who are really pumped and scared at the same time. (more…)

A reminder that although VCU has finally closed the parking lot on the Richmond African Burial Ground, 4 people still have court this Wednesday over their act of civil disobedience protesting the use of the Burial Ground as a parking lot.  Please come out this Wednesday to support them! Details below.

From the Richmond Defenders:

As the subject header suggests, the battle to reclaim the Richmond African Burial Ground is finally over!  You may recall at the last COC meeting, five individuals volunteered to become members of the Coordinating Committee (CC).  The CC members are:  Autumn Barrett, David Boothe, Donnell Brantley, Rolandah “Cleopattrah” McMillan, and Janet “Queen Nzinga” Taylor.  The charge of the CC is to keep you informed and we will endeavor to do just that.

While we can relish this victory, we must still remain ever vigilant until this Sacred Ground is properly memorialized.  Below is the statement released by the Defenders on behalf of the COC, and important dates for you to remember.  We would also like to thank you, the community, for taking a stand and helping to bring this reclamation to fruition.

We look forward ever, backward NEVER!

Janet B. Taylor
Coordinating Committee
Celebrate the Reclamation of the Burial Ground/Support the Four Advocates
The VCU parking lot which for years desecrated the Richmond African Burial Ground was finally closed, Saturday, May 21 and is scheduled to be removed starting, Tuesday, May 24.  The African Burial Ground, formerly the Burial Ground for Negroes, is the city’s oldest known municipal cemetery for enslaved Africans and free people of African descent.

After years of community agitation, the Virginia General Assembly earlier this year passed a bill authorizing the transfer of the 3.4 acre site from VCU to the City of Richmond.  The City has placed a marker on the site explaining its historical and cultural significance as well as detailing Richmond’s leading role in the internal U.S. slave trade.

Part of the activism that eventually led to the closing of the parking lot occurred, Tuesday, April 12, the 150th anniversary of the start of the Civil War.  Eight community activists were successful in closing down the parking lot for an hour and a half.  Four of the eight -Donnell Brantley, Rolandah “Cleopattrah” McMillan, Autumn Barrett and Phil Wilayto – were subsequently arrested and charged with trespassing.  They are being represented pro bono by the law firm of Benjamin & DesPortes, a leading criminal defense firm.  As McMillan explained, “We decided to close the parking lot ourselves…We wanted the whole world to see that this state institution has no respect for the community that surrounds it.”

For more information, please contact Janet “Queen Nzinga” Taylor, 804-347-3598 or OneRastaQueen@hotmail.com.

IMPORTANT DATES TO REMEMBER:

Monday, May 23, 6 pm
Public Hearing, Richmond City Council Chambers, 2nd floor/City Hall, 900 W. Broad St. The City will vote to accept the land transfer from VCU.

Tuesday, May 24, 10:30 am
Groundbreaking Ceremony, Richmond African Burial Ground, 15th & Broad streets.

Wednesday, May 25, 9 am
Support vigil outside the Manchester Courthouse, 920 Hull Street, followed by the 10 am trial of the four African Burial Ground advocates who shut down the VCU parking lot, April 12.  Please wear a white shirt or blouse as a show of solidarity.

Sunday, June 5, 4-6 pm
Community Organizing Committee meeting, location TBA. (Note:  Meetings are always the first Sunday of the month, 4-6pm; you will be notified of the location.)

——————————————- Defenders for Freedom, Justice and Equality A group of Richmond area residents working to improving the lives of people in our community. Phone & Fax 804.644.5834 . PO Box 23202, Richmond VA 23223 . DefendersFJE@hotmail.com

Folks at Richmond Food Not Bombs this past  Sunday talked about what is going on in Florida with Orlando Food Not Bombs. We wanted to figure out a way to provide some sort of solidarity with them.

Folks seem to want to send some money to Orlando Food Not Bombs to support their legal needs- ie any
tickets or arrests that they have to deal with b/c of the bogus court ruling down there.

We also are going to make some cards of support to send to them. Anyone who wants to sign/make the cards should come out
to Food Not Bombs next Sunday (either cooking or in the park) to include their message.

We decided spending 100 dollars to support them from our funds was reasonable, but if anyone has any extra money they would like to send to Orlando FNB from Richmond FNB that would be rad.

We will mail them a big ol package next Tuesday, May 31st – so any notes, cards, sillyness, or money should be dropped off before then. : )

There is a previous post on the Wingnut site about the situation in Florida and the recent court ruling against Food Not Bombs.

We keep adding books to the Wingnut Radical Lending Library- a resource for Southern Barton Heights and the rest of Richmond. We are excited about lots of different books, and some of our recent additions include queer books and books by people of color. Our library is searchable on  librarything.com/thewingnutrva or you can come over during Open Hours on Wednesdays and Fridays from 4pm to 9pm to browse, read, and check out books!

We also accept donations of books or money for books at any time!

Rock My Soul : Black People and Self-Esteem by bell hooks

Six of One by Rita Mae Brown

J.Baldwin’s(The Fire Next Time [Paperback])(1992) by J.Baldwin

Bingo by Rita Mae Brown

Marshall Law: The Life & Times of a Baltimore Black Panther by Marshall “Eddie” Conway

The Right to Be Lazy: Essays by Paul Lafargue by Paul Lafargue

Possible Side Effects by Augusten Burroughs

Black Mask & Up Against the Wall Motherfucker: The Incomplete Works of Ron Hahne… by Ron Hahne

Richmond Receipts (Regional Cookbook Series) by Jan Carlton

Dykescapes by Tina Portillo

Odd Girls and Twilight Lovers: A History of Lesbian Life in Twentieth-Century Am… by Lillian Faderman

The Ways of White Folks: Stories by Langston Hughes

Our numbers for the May 2011 Southern Barton Heights Mobile Food Pantry have been counted.

On Saturday, May 14th, we gave out individual food portions to 191 people!

They represented the households of 346 adults, 366 children, and 111 seniors!

We also made deliveries to six households in our area for people who are elderly, disabled, or otherwise unable to attend the food pantry or carry all the food home with them.

We’re getting our system down to a science, increasing our ability to reach out to and fulfill this basic necessity for families in our area. However, there is a clear need for similar programs in different areas of the city as well; every month we meet people from throughout Richmond and beyond who come to the mobile food pantry in Southern Barton Heights.

Fortunately, setting up a Mobile Food Pantry in your area is really easy! To start one in your area, contact Warren Hammonds (whammonds@feedmore.org) of the Central VA Food Bank. It’s very easy to start one! All you need are a location, a handful of volunteers to hand out the food, and a method for voucher distribution: here we deliver them by bicycle, but other groups distribute them via faith centers, community service and neighborhood associations, or other means.

To get a voucher for the Southern Barton Heights Mobile Food Pantry, just give us a call at (804) 303-5449 and we’ll put you on our delivery list!

After a lengthy judicial process, Orlando Food Not Bombs has had their right to serve free food and literature restricted to twice a year per park. This outrageous classist court ruling is now spreading to other places in Florida. Attacks on Food Not Bombs in Orlando are attacks on Food Not Bombs everywhere. It is vital that people around the world take action in support of Orlando and other Food Not Bombs groups.

You know it...

There is a Food Not Bombs gathering in Florida this coming weekend. For folks who can’t make it to that gathering, please come to Monroe Park Food Not Bombs to talk about how Richmonders can support Floridians. We will hopefully be receiving specific information from Florida Food Not Bombs groups between now and then regarding what they would find useful in terms of support and solidarity. Come to help cook from 12:30 to 3:45 at 2005 Barton Avenue, or come to talk about what we can do during the meal at 4pm in Monroe Park at the Corner of Main and Belvidere.

This court ruling and the situation in Florida is particularly important in a City like Richmond, where the park where we have been serving a meal for over 17 years is being threatened with a gentrification renovation plan and homelessness is constantly harassed and criminalized.  This could be us. So lets stand up now, with Florida to fight unjust, classist, and oppressive laws.

Anyone who wants to get involved can email rvafoodnotbombs@gmail.com and find out more information about helping with Richmond Food Not Bombs meals at http://www.richmondfoodnotbombs.wordpress.com

More information from Keith McHenry and Florida Groups:

Please participate in this important effort to defend our right to share food and information by reclaiming public space in Florida.

The Eleventh Circuit Federal Court of Appeal ruled against Food Not Bombs on April 12, 2011 claiming that the city of Orlando had the right to limit Food Not Bombs to the sharing of food with its literature to twice a year per park. Other cities in Florida are now passing laws limiting Food Not Bombs to twice a year as a result of the Orlando ruling.

Food Not Bombs volunteers from all over Florida are coming to Orlando to resist this unjust law.  A number of strategies are proposed in regards to opposition to the Orlando law. Some community groups are flooding City Hall with requests for permits while Food Not Bombs groups are defying the law and sharing food regardless of the Eleventh Circuit Federal Court of Appeals ruling since the Orlando case has such dire implications for Food Not Bombs groups all across the United States. Successful resistance in Orlando this May can have an impact across the state and the country.  Food Not Bombs groups from all across the world have announced solidarity actions this week!

Everyone is welcome to attend. Please let everyone know about this important event.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011 – NONVIOLENCE WORKSHOP 6:00 PM Lake Eola Park Orlando, Florida – Based on the Nonviolence Trainings before Food Not Bombs actions in San Francisco this workshop will include role playing and discussion of tactics and strategies of nonviolent resistance to the disruption of the sharing of food.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Orlando Food Not Bombs City Hall Action – Risk arrest sharing vegan meals and literature under the banner Food Not Bombs at 400 South Orange Avenue and the corner of South Street in downtown Orlando, Florida (more…)

The Denver Anarchist Black Cross is one of the best organized and awesome ABCs that we have come across. Their website is a great resource for anyone trying to stay on top of ABC, prisoners support, and prison abolition news.  You can check out all of their articles at: http://www.denverabc.wordpress.com

A May 6th March Against Police Terror in Denver resulted in one arrest. Now, the charges against that person, including attempted murder, inciting a riot,  and more, have the  20 year old Amelia Nicol with a 50,000 dollar bond and a 90 year sentence hanging over their head. This attempt at intimidation of anti-police movements and silencing in general should not be met with fear or infighting. Amelia Nicol has court this morning, and we will update with the results from that.

Solidarity with all victims of police violence and oppression! As an anarchist community we need to support each other in general, and especially in stressful legal situations.  Beyond that, we can all stand to learn from similar movements in different places. Denver has a strong anti-police terror movement and they have a lot to say about it as well.

So far we have not seen any calls for specific acts of solidarity, but if anyone is interested in potentially organizing fundraisers or doing other support please get in touch with the Wingnut Anarchist Collective or the Richmond Anarchist Black Cross. wingnut_collective@yahoo.com and rvaabc@gmail.com respectively.  The next Anarchist Black Cross meeting will be on the 2nd Tuesday of June at 7pm at the Wingnut. Before that will be the annual Wingnut Memorial Day Party in Memory of People Murdered by the State on May 30th from noon until 7pm. At 7pm on the 30th there will be an Anti-Police Brutality March starting at the Wingnut as well. One of the most important ways that we can show solidarity with our comrades in other places is through continuing to work on issues, in this case standing up to police violence/terror/brutality.

*UPDATE* Denver ABC updated the info and is asking for solidarity in the following ways: 1)Attend Amelia’s public hearing on Monday May 16th at 9:30 am in Courtroom 2100 of the Denver County Courthouse at 490 West Colfax in downtown Denver.

2)Donate to Amelia’s legal defense. Denver ABC will be accepting donations on behalf of Amelia’s family and friends. You can mail donations to Denver ABC, 2727 W. 27th Ave Unit D, Denver CO 80211. Checks should be made payable to P&L Printing. A paypal account where donations can be made is available through the username plpress@riseup.net

3)Sign up for updates on Denver ABC’s twitter account. Our username is DenverABC.

4)Send a letter to the Denver DA demanding that the charges against Amelia be immediately dropped. All letters or postcards can be mailed to: Denver DA Mitch Morrissey, 201 W. Colfax Ave #801, Denver CO 80202-5328

5)Keep checking the Denver ABC blog at denverabc.wordpress.com for all news, announcements, and other ways to show support for Amelia and other political prisoners.

Here are a couple articles we have pulled from the Denver Anarchist Black Cross site, but please go and check it out their website yourself for lots of important information and updates. The report back from the Queen City Antifa is especially good!

Even With Our Backs Against a Wall: A reportback from the Denver May 6th March Against Police Terror

Posted on May 9, 2011 by denverabc

from Queen City Antifa

(Disclaimer: This reportback is authored by several participants and members of Queen City Antifa. However, it should not be assumed or insinuated that the comments, conclusions, or descriptions of events in anyway represent the feelings or experiences of anyone else, including other organizers, collectives, or participants. So, let’s just be clear: This reportback does not represent the opinions of West Denver Copwatch, Denver Anarchist Black Cross, or any other supporting groups or individuals other than the authors. Clear? Cool.)

Since the nearly year old murder of Marvin Booker at the hands of Denver Sheriff’s Deputies in the Van Cise-Simonet Detention Center, a movement against police and policing has grown in the Denver metro area. Between July 2010 and May 2011, at least 3 militant and unpermitted street marches have been organized. Press conferences, vigils, rallies, panel discussions, and other protests and events have also been held to protest not only the murder of Marvin at the hands of his jailers, but also others who have been murdered, beaten, attacked, raped, and assaulted by police in the greater metro area.

Buildup

In early April, an announcement started appearing on the internet and through handbills and posters calling for another march to be held on May 6th. This would mark the 4th march in a series of increasingly militant and larger street actions challenging police terror in the metro area.

The call was the first that explicitly intended to link foreign occupations by militaries with local occupations by police forces, as well as make connections between local police terror to the ongoing class and social conflicts raging in the U.S. and countries all over the world. (http://queencityantifa.wordpress.com/2011/04/22/march-against-police-terror-march-for-marvin-oleg-and-all-the-victims/)

The callout would not be the only aspect that clearly set apart this march from the events preceding it.

As the momentum from the previous protests fueled organizers and supporters, the increasing militancy of the previous protests alarmed and frightened others. At least one anonymous comment appeared on Colorado Indymedia, “warning” people of the many dangers they faced if they attended the demonstration.

The logic presented seemed to rely on the idea that the past marches had gotten lucky, but this time the cop response would be much worse. Since the militancy of the previous protests had upped the ante, the cops would respond in full this time around.

As an indication that this logic had basis in reality, a representative of the Department of Justice Office of Civil Rights attempted on seemingly multiple occasions to contact protest organizers to set up “negotiations” between the organizers and local police. The local movement responded to this in a variety of ways. Queen City Antifa released a communique denouncing the attempts to negotiate, while other organizations simply took down the initial callout for the march to avoid being pegged as organizers. The latter response, coupled with the anonymous comment on Indymedia, illustrated the fear present within the local movement. These early responses to the march would also serve to keep some people away from the protest. Fear was already crippling the march, before it had even begun.

The cops would also take the pre-march repression to an even higher level. Stories were related to us by several supporters and participants in past marches, that they and other homeless youth had been receiving threats from the cops in the week before the march. The police threatened that they would just identify march participants and later arrest or “find them”.

The impacts of the culture of fear permeating throughout the movement would definitely be felt on May 6th. (more…)