Archive for May, 2012

Come on out to the Wingnut on Monday June 4th at 7pm to eat Red Beans and Rice and indulge in watching Rambo First Blood on the projector screen. If you want to bring some food that’d be awesome, it’s not a sober event so BYOB if that’s your thing. People who want to be drunk assholes will be composted.

Rambo First Blood is a movie about a Vietnam War Vet, who when abused by a small town police force, starts a war against them.

The Wingnut is located at 2005 Barton Avenue. You can call 804 303 5449 or email wingnut_collective@yahoo.com if you have more questions.

Trigger warnings- this movie looks to be fairly darn triggering. Details from IMDB are below. But there is violence, torture, violence to animals, cursing, and nudity. (more…)

Terror Incognita- a group reading and discussion of current anarchist and queer theory. This course is being made available through the People’s School of Richmond, and is a free school course.

Terror Incognita is a recently published zine (homemade magazine) featuring discussion, analysis and questioning of current trends in the North American anarchist  scenes. The text also heavily features current queer practice and theory as well as discussion of terrorism.

You don’t have to be an anarchist or agree with anarchism to participate in this class.

The basic format of the class will be group discussions of the text. Ideally people will read the texts before coming to each meeting, but we might also read the texts outloud to each other at the meetings, as this is a method that has worked well for us during previous courses.

Classes will meet at 8pm on Wednesday nights starting the 2nd half of July at the Wingnut Anarchist Collective. (2005 Barton Avenue)

We will make pdf versions of texts available online, and have some photocopies available as well. Folks will need to bring the printed texts to the class.

July 18, July 25, August 1st, August 15th


Take Action Today
Make four phone calls today. Send four emails today.

Governor Bob McDonnell
Robert.F.McDonnell@Governor.Virginia.Gov
(804) 786-4273

VA DOC Director Harold W Clarke
Email: Harold.Clarke@VADOC.Virginia.Gov
Business Phone: 804 674 3118

ROSP Chief Warden Randall Mathena
Email: Randall.Mathena@VADOC.Virginia.Gov
Business Phone: 276 796 7510

Regional Operations Chief, Western Region Corrections Operations G.K. Washington
Email: GK.Washington@VADOC.Virginia.Gov
Business Phone: 804 674 3612

Sample phone call:

Hello,

I’m calling to express my support for the hunger strikers in Red Onion State Prison. These several dozen men are on hunger strike to call attention to inhumane conditions at Red Onion, demanding basic rights from fully cooked meals and medical attention to sanitary living conditions and an end to solitary confinement. We demand that (the Governor/Director/Warden/Operations Chief) take action immediately to respond to their demands. Red Onion has a long history of public scrutiny for conditions, and we, the broad movement to support the Red Onion hunger strikers, won’t let up until their demands are met, and that Red Onion guarantees that there will be zero retaliation on the hunger strikers.

Sample email.

I’m writing to express my support for the hunger strikers in Red Onion State Prison. These several dozen men are on hunger strike to call attention to inhumane conditions at Red Onion, from fully cooked meals and medical attention to sanitary living conditions and an end to solitary confinement. I have included the prisoners’ demands below. We demand an immediate response the strikers’ demands. Red Onion has a long history of public scrutiny for conditions, and we, the broad movement to support the Red Onion hunger strikers, won’t let up until their demands are met, and that Red Onion guarantees that there will be zero retaliation on the hunger strikers.

Ten Demands of ROSP Hunger Strikers

We (Prisoners at Red Onion State Prison) demand the right to an adequate standard of living while in the custody of the state!

1. We demand fully cooked food, and access to a better quality of fresh fruit and vegetables. (more…)

Tuesday May 29th at 8pm at 1300 Bainbridge Road on Richmond’s southside. Facilitated by Jeff Winder.

On Tuesday May 22 as many as 45 prisoners at Red Onion State Prison, comprising at least 2 segregation pods, will enter the first day of a hunger strike protesting deplorable conditions in the prison and ongoing abuses by prison staff. For the men participating in the strike this is their only recourse to get Red Onion warden Randy Mathena to officially recognize their grievances and make immediate changes to food, sanitation and basic living conditions at the prison.

Gather with us in Richmond and show solidarity for the struggle of these courageous men by writing letters to state officials in support of the Hunger Strikers and their demands. We’ll provide all of the materials – paper and envelopes, stamps, talking points, sample letters and addresses. We’ll also put out some refreshments and look forward to talking with you about what else we might do in Richmond to offer support.

These men are organizing at great personal risk to themselves and and it’s vitally important that prison officials know we are watching!

For more information including a list of the demands visit the website of SPARC (Supporting Prisoners and Acting for Radical Change), the group that is in direct contact with the Hunger Strikers and is coordinating the support on the outside. this group includes former prisoners in VA supermax prisons, families members of current prisoners and allies.

http://virginiaprisonstrike.blogspot.com/

The letter-writing party is timed to coincide with the end of the Richmond People’s School event in the same location that night. We encourage people to come at 6:30 and learn more about the American Legislative Exchange Council and corporate influence in crafting and passing conservative laws. Check their page as the day gets closer for more details.https://www.facebook.com/PeoplesSchoolRva

7:15pm until 9:00pm

Ginter Park Presbyterian Church, 3601 Seminary Ave., Richmond, 23227

* David Swanson, Peace Activist and Author
* Majid Amini, Professor of Philosophy at Virginia State University
* Michael Fischbach, Professor of History at Randolph-Macon College

The discussion will be moderated by Richmond Peace Education Center director Adria Scharf. Free and open to the public.

Ginter Park Presbyterian Church, 3601 Seminary Ave., Richmond, 23227, on Thursday, May 24, 7:15 p.m.

Questions? Contact rpec@rpec.org or 232-1002.

On Thursday May 17th, folks from the Wingnut Anarchist Collective encountered, yet again, members of the Richmond Police Department racially profiling and harassing members of the Southern Barton Heights community.

Here is a video of the first interaction we recorded:

A group of us were on the porch of the Wingnut when we saw a RPD cruiser stop to pull over a young man of color who was walking down Barton Avenue. They stopped him with the excuse that he was walking in the street, but this was a very clear use of racial profiling and “stop and frisk” type policing. We grabbed our Copwatch video camera, and walked down the block to film the incident. We did not have the camera recording our full approach, and were unable to get video of the police frisking the man, though some of us did witness it.

One officer, M. Godwin, was fairly aggressive about not allowing Copwatcher Mo to stand on the public sidewalk. A car pulled up Home St. while the RPD cops had their cruiser parked in the middle of Barton Avenue, completely obstructing the road. The folks in the car asked very politely if the police could move the cruiser so they could get by, since Barton is a one way street and they couldn’t turn the other way. The police ignored them.

Luckily the police let our neighbor go. Unfortunately, they continued down the street detaining another young man of color and eventually giving Copwatcher Mo a ticket for standing on the public sidewalk. More on that encounter is available on another post.

Here is a video of the press conference that was held outside of the Virginia Department of Corrections Office on Tuesday May 22nd at 11am. Folks from a variety of endorsing and supporting organizations showed up for the presentation of the information and demands.

Represented were SPARC Richmond (Supporting Prisoners and Acting for Radical Change), SPARC DC (Supporting Prisoners and Acting for Radical Change), ABC (Anarchist Black Cross), Wingnut Anarchist Collective, Virginia Defender, the Wayside Center, Occupy RVA and SONG (Southerners on New Ground).

http://virginiaprisonstrike.blogspot.com

ALERT! Solidarity with Virginia Prisoners needed!

Tuesday May 22nd  at 11AM there will be a press conference held at the VADOC Headquaters in front of the Department of Corrections sign to let the public know that prisoners at Red Onion State Prison are going to begin a hunger strike in order to have their list of 10 demands met. At the conclusion of the press conference a delegation of supporters and family members will march into the building to issue this list of demands to VADOC Director Harold Clarke. Stay posted…

Ten Demands of ROSP Hunger Strikers
We (Prisoners at Red Onion State Prison) demand the right to an adequate standard of living while in the custody of the state!

1. We demand fully cooked food, and access to a better quality of fresh fruit and vegetables.  In addition, we demand increased portions on our trays, which allows us to meet our basic nutritional needs as defined by VDOC regulations.

2. We demand that every prisoner at ROSP have unrestricted access to complaint and grievance forms and other paperwork we may request.

3. We demand better communication between prisoners and higher- ranking guards. Presently higher-ranking guards invariably take the lower-ranking guards’ side in disputes between guards and prisoners, forcing the prisoner to act out in order to be heard. We demand that higher- ranking guards take prisoner complaints and grievances into consideration without prejudice.

4. We demand an end to torture in the form of indefinite segregation through the implementation of a fair and transparent process whereby prisoners can earn the right to be released from segregation. We demand that prison officials completely adhere to the security point system, insuring that prisoners are transferred to institutions that correspond with their particular security level.

5. We demand the right to an adequate standard of living, including access to quality materials that we may use to clean our own cells.  Presently, we are forced to clean our entire cell, including the inside of our toilets, with a single sponge and our bare hands.  This is unsanitary and promotes the spread of disease-carrying bacteria.

6. We demand the right to have 3rd party neutral observers visit and document the condition of the prisons to ensure an end to the corruption amongst prison officials and widespread human rights abuses of prisoners. Internal Affairs and Prison Administrator’s monitoring of prison conditions have not alleviated the dangerous circumstances we are living under while in custody of the state which include, but are not limited to: the threat of undue physical aggression by guards, sexual abuse and retaliatory measures, which violate prison policies and our human rights.

7. We demand to be informed of any and all changes to VDOC/IOP policies as soon as these changes are made.

8.  We demand the right to adequate medical care. Our right to medical care is guaranteed under the eight amendment of the constitution, and thus the deliberate indifference of prison officials to our medical needs constitutes a violation of our constitutional rights.  In particular, the toothpaste we are forced to purchase in the prison is a danger to our dental health and causes widespread gum disease and associated illnesses.

9.  We demand our right as enumerated through VDOC policy, to a monthly haircut. Presently, we have been denied haircuts for nearly three months.  We also demand to have our razors changed out on a weekly basis. The current practice of changing out the razors every three weeks leaves prisoners exposed to the risk of dangerous infections and injury.

10. We demand that there be no reprisals for any of the participants in the Hunger Strike. We are simply organizing in the interest of more humane living conditions.

More info can be found on this website:

http://virginiaprisonstrike.blogspot.com/

A group of us were on the porch of the Wingnut when we saw a RPD cruiser stop to pull over a young man of color who was walking down Barton Avenue. They stopped him with the excuse that he was walking in the street, but this was a very clear use of racial profiling and “stop and frisk” type policing. We grabbed our Copwatch video camera, and walked down the block to film the incident. We did not have the camera recording our full approach, and were unable to get video of the police frisking the man, though some of us did witness it.

One officer, M Godwin, was fairly aggressive about not allowing Copwatcher Mo to stand on the public sidewalk. A car pulled up Home St. while the RPD cops had their cruiser parked in the middle of Barton Avenue, completely obstructing the road. The folks in the car asked very politely if the police could move the cruiser so they could get by, since Barton is a one way street and they couldn’t turn the other way. The police ignored them.

When the police were done harassing our neighbor, they drove off. We started to head back to the house, when someone noticed they had gone down a few blocks and stopped another young man of color. We did not witness the initial stop, so can’t say for sure what excuse they used for detaining him while they ran his ID.

The person they detained said this was the 3rd time he has been randomly stopped by the cops this week. If you listen carefully you can hear him say this in the video. The amount of police and police harassment in Southern Barton Heights is why we started Copwatch 2 years ago. Unfortunately the cops still engage in racial profiling, harassment, brutality, and many other behaviors which hurt the community.

Again, we approached the scene to film and observe. Both times we were not asked to leave the scene, or even to step back from the scene. During the second incident, Officer Godwin again approached Mo and told her that she couldn’t stand on the sidewalk. He did not say anything about people standing on the grass just as close, or anything about his scene, officer safety etc. He was very clearly just trying to harass Mo.

At one point Mo tried to walk past the RPD Cops who were very clearly blocking the sidewalk. The cops stopped Mo and refused to let her go by. Later, a woman and a child walked up the sidewalk, easily past Mo who was allegedly obstructing the sidewalk, and through the scene without a problem.

Officer Godwin told Mo to move off of the sidewalk repeatedly. Mo told him repeatedly that she was legally allowed to be on the public sidewalk. He eventually demanded Mo’s ID and stomped off to write a citation. Officer Godwin was not stopping anyone from standing in the grass next to the sidewalk, or just as close to the scene as Mo was. After he wrote Mo the citation she walked back to where they had been standing before on the sidewalk. (The young man the RPD had detained was STILL at this point being held by the police, so there was more copwatching to do).

Officer Godwin then threatened to give Mo 5 seconds to get off the sidewalk or else he would take Mo to lockup. However, when Mo answered a phone call he walked off.

Mo’s summons says it is for violation of Law Section 18.2-404 102.2 and the charge is described as “Obstructing Free Passage”. This is a criminal charge- a first degree misdemeanor.

Mo’s court date is Thursday May 31st at 9am at the Manchester general district court at 920 Hull St. on Richmond’s southside. Supporters are encouraged to come out on the 31st to support Mo, and Richmond Copwatch, as well as the right of people to stand on the sidewalk.

If you are interested in learning how to do Copwatch, we can teach you! We also do Know Your Rights trainings, which we recomend to eveyone. Fortunately the majority of the time Copwatchers do not get threatened with arrest, and risk levels to be taken are up to every individual copwatcher and copwatching group.  Feel free to get in touch if you are interested in learning how to copwatch, know your rights trainings, our copwatch First Fridays Patrols, or anything else copwatch related. sbhcopwatch@gmail.com or 804  303 5449 or come by 2005 Barton Avenue on the 4th Tuesday of each month at 7pm for the Copwatch Meeting!