Archive for June, 2011

The Wingnut is using a blogspot website to host our  calendar of events – you can find a comprehensive calendar of all Wingnut events at http://wingnutcalendar.blogspot.com/

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Richmond Copwatch will be facilitating a Know Your Rights Workshop at the July Really Really Free Market at 1pm. The Really Really Free Market is at the corner of Main and Laurel streets in Monroe Park. It is always on the last Saturday of every month, so this event will be on July 30th.

This workshop will help participants learn the basics of asserting their rights when dealing with the police. We highly recommend this workshop for EVERYONE. But especially anyone who engages in any level of political protest or demonstrations.This workshop consists of skits that are performed by Copwatch members and then edited by participants from the audience. We encourage participation, questions, and dialogue around the topics covered in the skit. We are not lawyers, but we are able to provide useful information about a lot of legal questions.

For more information about this workshop or Richmond Copwatch you can call 804 303 5449 or email sbhcopwatch@gmail.com

The monthly really Really Free Market happens on the last Saturday of each month from noon until 3pm.  It is an alternative to the capitalist “free market” where everything actually is free. People come to share things they no longer need or want, share skills, share music, etc. You can find out more about the RRFM at rvaradicalendar.blogspot.com

Ever wonder what the FBI might have on file about you? Wonder even more after seeing part of the file they have on Richmond Food Not Bombs? Well it is free to request your own FBI file, and in the spirit of NOT being patriotic, Richmond Copwatch is sponsoring a Get Your FBI File Week.

All next week, come by the Wingnut for any of our events or Open Hours (We have something almost every day) and we will provide you with the forms and know how to request your very own FBI file. See how hard Amerikkka has been working for you! Find out how free you have really been!

We will upload the forms on this website later this week for folks who can’t make it by the Wingnut between the 4th of July and the 11th of July. That way you can participate in Spirit. Here are the events that we will be hosting throughout that week though:

July 4th – Di Nigunim and Barons of Tang show at 5pm (post Critical Mass)

July 5th- Maybe a show, flakey band though so we aren’t sure (ha)

July 6th- Open Hours from 4- 9pm AND the Mysterious Rabbit Puppet Army show at 7pm!

July 7th- Anarchist Black Cross Field Trip to the Gun Store at 6pm

July 8th- Open Hours from 4-9pm AND 24 Hour Zine Challenge from 6pm on

July 9th- 24 Hour Zine Challenge until 6pm

July 10th- Food Not Bombs from 12:30pm until 6pm

July 11th- Xtramedium, State of Nature and Mitch the Champion show at 7pm

Come on by the Wingnut this Friday at 9pm to watch the Copwatch movie These Streets are Watching in our outdoor theater.This movie is only about 50 minutes long and shows how Copwatch groups in 3 different areas operate and are responded to. The movie is a good introduction to Copwatch for folks who have never done it before.

This is a sober, all ages event. Feel free to bring snacks to share.

Richmond Copwatch has had an ongoing FOIA request with the Richmond Police Department since January. We were requesting the 2nd half of the documents of police protocols that we did not get the first time we made a request. Since that time the Richmond Police Department has violated the Virginia Freedom of Information Act numerous times. They have a 200 dollar deposit from us, and they are also saying that so far the costs are over 900 dollars. Their lack of communication and compliance make it clear that they are giving us the run around.

You might remember our FOIA Fun back in January- which you can read about here: http://wingnutrva.org/2011/01/04/foiad-again/

We clearly have reason to believe that the police department is refusing to follow the law with this FOIA request because of who we are. We have filed a complaint in court, but VA FOIA law is very limited in its ability to hold government agencies accountable, even if they wanted to.

Since it is taking so long, we were wondering if anyone out there had already used FOIA to get these files. The list of titles we are interested in are below. If you have the time, it would also be awesome if people wanted to submit their own FOIA requests to the Richmond Police Department for these files.  However, we would love to take a look at any files people have FOIA’d from the Richmond Police Department. If you have them online, please email them to wingnut_collective@yahoo.com or you can mail a hard copy to Richmond Copwatch 2005 Barton Avenue Richmond, VA 23222 If you have a copy of any of these files that we can borrow that would be great so we can copy and scan them.

These are all sections from the General Orders Index of the Richmond Police Department. We only need the sections listed here, as we have previously received all of the other sections.
1-08
1-09
1-10
1-11
1-12
2-01
2-02
2-03
2-04
2-05
2-06
2-07

More of the documents we need after the break…

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This Friday, July 1st, marks the start of a hunger strike by prisoners at the Pelican Bay Prison in California.

“Therefore we have decided to put our fate in our own hands. Some of us have already suffered a slow, agonizing death in which the state has shown no compassion toward these dying prisoners. Rather than compassion they turn up their ruthlessness. No one wants to die. Yet under this current system of what amounts to intense torture, what choice do we have? If one is to die, it will be on our own terms.
Power concedes nothing without demand.” -  James Crowford, Mutop DuGuya (a/k/a Bow Low)

Specifically, the prisoners of the Security Housing Unit (SHU) are the ones calling for this strike.  An estimated 50-100 prisoners on Corridor D, are going on an indefinite hunger strike.  The D corridor (also known as the “short” corridor) has the highest level of restricted incarceration in the state of California and among the most severe conditions in the united states.  The rules of their confinement are extremely harsh in order to force them to “debrief” or offer up information about criminal or prison gang activity of other prisoners.  Most inmates in the SHU are not members or associates of prison gangs, as the PBSP staff claims, and even those who are put their lives and the lives of their families and other prisoners at risk if they debrief.

Back in California, the prisoners going on Hunger Strike need support from the outside. They are fighting for very, very basic rights. They are struggling against conditions that should NEVER have been allowed in the first place. If you are interested in supporting this hunger strike, or learning more about similar issues in Virginia, please get in touch with the Richmond Anarchist Black Cross – a local prisoner support and prison abolition organization. rvaabc@gmail.com or 804 303 5449

These are the five core demands of the hunger-striking prisoners:

  1. Eliminate group punishments. Instead, practice individual accountability. When an individual prisoner breaks a rule, the prison often punishes a whole group of prisoners of the same race. This policy has been applied to keep prisoners in the SHU indefinitely and to make conditions increasingly harsh.
  2. Abolish the debriefing policy and modify active/inactive gang status criteria. Prisoners are accused of being active or inactive participants of prison gangs using false or highly dubious evidence, and are then sent to longterm isolation (SHU). They can escape these tortuous conditions only if they “debrief,” that is, provide information on gang activity. Debriefing produces false information (wrongly landing other prisoners in SHU, in an endless cycle) and can endanger the lives of debriefing prisoners and their families.
  3. Comply with the recommendations of the US Commission on Safety and Abuse in Prisons (2006) regarding an end to longterm solitary confinement. This bipartisan commission specifically recommended to “make segregation a last resort” and “end conditions of isolation.” Yet as of May 18, 2011, California kept 3,259 prisoners in SHUs and hundreds more in Administrative Segregation waiting for a SHU cell to open up. Some prisoners have been kept in isolation for more than thirty years.
  4. Provide adequate food. Prisoners report unsanitary conditions and small quantities of food that do not conform to prison regulations. There is no accountability or independent quality control of meals.
  5. Expand and provide constructive programs and privileges for indefinite SHU inmates. The hunger strikers are pressing for opportunities “to engage in self-help treatment, education, religious and other productive activities…” Currently these opportunities are routinely denied, even if the prisoners want to pay for correspondence courses themselves. Examples of privileges the prisoners want are: one phone call per week, and permission to have sweatsuits and watch caps. (Often warm clothing is denied, though the cells and exercise cage can be bitterly cold.) All of the privileges mentioned in the demands are already allowed at other SuperMax prisons (in the federal prison system and other states).

There is a petition online supporting these demands, which you can sign here: http://www.change.org/petitions/support-prisoners-on-hunger-strike-at-pelican-bay-state-prison

Signing a petition is the least that one can do, and we would encourage people to take other actions in solidarity with these striking prisoners. Solitary confinement already makes humans very invisible, and the interests of the state in this case will be to make these prisoners and their struggle even less visible. These prisoners are offering up their lives in opposition the conditions they face on a daily basis, they deserve our attention.

More about this Hunger Strike is online here: https://prisonerhungerstrikesolidarity.wordpress.com/

And a good explanation of the reasons for this Hunger Strike from one of the inmates is here: https://prisonerhungerstrikesolidarity.wordpress.com/voices-from-inside/why-prisoners-are-protesting/

If you don’t know about Security Housing Units, you can look a lot closer than California for examples. Virginia had 2 Super Max prisons, Wallen’s Ridge is now down graded to Maximum Security Prison. The remaining Super Max prison, Red Onion, has many practices similar to those of the SHU in California. (more…)

8 new books today in the Library!

The Creation of Patriarchy by Gerda Lerner

The Monster Stick and Other Appalachian Tall Tales by Paul and Bil Lepp

Tales of the Badia Bedouin folk tales from Lebanon by Rami Zurayk

The Living Dead by John Joseph Adams

Bayou City Secrets by Deborah Powell

Classics in Lesbian Studies by Esther D. Rothblum

Midlife Queer by Martin Duberman

and

Instead of Prisons by the Prison Research Education Action Project

Come by and check these books out! Browse our whole collection online at http://www.librarything.com/home/thewingnutrva

Come join the Wingnut for a great show on a Monday night! July 11th at 7pm at the Wingnut Anarchist Collective, 2005 Barton Avenue.
Xtramedium which is folk punk from France, State of Nature (spokane, wa) and Mitch the Champion (of pop punk’ band harpo – bloomington, in) are travelling to Richmond to perform for you!

Take a listen here: http://www.archive.org/details/AdventureAdventure-SplitWXtramedium

No door cover, but please bring some money to help out the travelling bands and buy some of their cds!

As always, this is a sober all ages show!

Richmond Anarchist Black Cross

On the Richmond City Jail

In the context the possibility of a new Richmond City Jail, the Anarchist Black Cross must make it clear that we are against the existence of all jails and prisons. We believe that no new jails or prisons should ever be constructed, and that the old ones should be emptied and dismantled.

Jails and prisons are tools used to oppress people largely based on their race and class. They exist to intimidate and coerce into passivity all who are not incarcerated. Jails and prisons exist to perpetuate slavery (see the Thirteenth amendment which allows for the slavery of incarcerated individuals) and to make profit for the capitalists who have created industries around incarceration.

The Richmond City Jail has a long history of being overcrowded, inhumane, dangerous, and unhealthy. The new Sheriff prides himself on not providing inmates with the medical care that they need. Bails are set too high to be accessible to many of Richmond’s most destitute. As a result, Richmond City Jail has killed many inmates over the years. Five inmates of Richmond City Jail died in 2010 alone.

The solution to the overcrowded, inhumane, hot as hell jail is NOT the construction of a new larger jail. A new facility with more beds will only encourage more arrests to fill the space.

Richmond City Jail should never have been allowed to become overcrowded. Inmates over its capacity should be released immediately, which is what the Richmond Anarchist Black Cross called for in July of 2010 when Kerry Wayne Bennett and Grant R. Sleeper died from the heat. The Sheriff’s department is clearly too callous and incapable to keep people alive. They should not be entrusted with a larger population and they should never be allowed to exceed the official capacity of any facility. A new jail facility will not solve the problems of the old facility. (more…)

Friday, July 8th at 6 PM thru Saturday, July 9th at 6 PM please join the Richmond Zine Fest at The Wingnut (2005 Barton Ave.) as we present the 24 Hour Zine Challenge of 2011!

From the 24 Hour Zine Thing website (http://24hourzines.com): “The 24 Hour Zine Challenge asks zinesters to create a 24-page zine from conception to final product in 24 hours straight. Zines should be of suitable size and technical difficulty so that this truly is a challenge for individual zinesters.”

Never made a zine before? Having a serious case of writer’s block? No problem! The great thing about getting together to take on the challenge is to have lots of folks to bounce ideas off of or help share different techniques and styles. Show up at the Wingnut any time in that 24 hour period to work on your new zine.

We’d love for people to bring supplies and snacks to share! Please label food items in case folks have dietary restrictions. Items that are great for zine making are Sharpies, black pens, scissors, gluesticks, rubber cement, typewriters, and old magazines or books for collaging, etc. If you intend on using the printer or copier at the Wingnut we ask that you please bring a small cash donation so they can replace the ink and toner when needed. Donations of printer paper will also be happily accepted!

The organizers of the Richmond Zine Fest hope that this challenge will help spark new zines in Richmond and empower folks to create something that they can share in October at the 2011 Richmond Zine Fest! 24 hours. 24 pages. 1 month. 1 zine. Create a 24-page zine from conception to final product within 24 consecutive hours during the month of July.

http://richmondzinefest.org/