Posts Tagged ‘syria’

U.S. Hands Off Syria – Because Attacking People in Syria is Unacceptable; Because Genocide is Unacceptable
Members of the Wingnut Anarchist Collective participated and endorsed Friday’s “U.S. Hands Off Syria, We Need Jobs Not War” protest. The event was initiated and organized by our friends at the Bainbridge Collective and the Defenders of Freedom, Justice, and Peace.
We were glad to see a response to the recent aggression from the Obama Administration towards Syria. We were glad to see everyone there who came out to show resistance to the Military Industrial Complex and blood-hungry US Imperialist government.
However, some aspects of this protest were troubling to us and deserve thoughtful, respectful critique. The rhetoric of “We Need Jobs Not War” seems to aim to appeal to the unemployed or underemployed people living in Amerikkka with the hopes to draw them into the anti-war movement. The problem with that rhetoric however, is that it is US-centric and ultimately misleading as to the intentions of the US government to legitimately provide basic needs for people living within Amerikkkan borders. The reasons we shouldn’t go to war with Syria are numerous and ultimately should have more to do with our compassion for and solidarity with the people of Syria than our desires for jobs at home. And really, how can we make demands of a government that exists off the daily exploitation and genocide of peoples within the US and around the world and the destruction of the earth? Why would we believe that the funds used in Amerikkkan wars would ever be used in an alternative, positive way when consistently, across Amerikkka, as schools are shut down in poor, People of Color neighborhoods, cities are spending millions building new jails for the school-to-prison pipeline.
An inherently oppressive government will never grant the right to dignified work to workers of Amerikkka, who they label illegal and criminal, and whose communities are attacked with chemical warfare through environmentally racist plants and landfills. How can we demand jobs from a government where labor unions are consistently busted with the iron fist of Amerikkkan corporations? How can we demand fair jobs from a government that uses prisoner slave labor as a means of production and uses chemical warfare against them when they rebel?
The United States of Amerikkka is not interested in mutual aid where our work is respected and is inherent to our collective survival. Though we cannot make these demands of the US government, we can challenge ourselves to show solidarity with strikers on the picket lines; with truckers shutting down ports; with undocumented workers creating community gardens to feed their families as the food they pick in the fields is hauled thousands of miles away; with prison hunger strikers. We can challenge ourselves to produce what we need in our communities because a government hell bent on imperialism and transnational domination will never meet our needs. And we can never show solidarity with people being killed by the Amerikkkan police and military if we dichotomously denounce and ask for the help of the government.
We want to support the Syrian people in their revolutionary struggle for their own liberation; perhaps one way to do this is by creating mutual-aid in our own communities, and thereby rejecting reliance on the US war machine, attacking poverty drafting into the military. In acknowledging the struggle for liberation in Syria, we recognize US intervention would not be the beginning of but a bloody addition to the conflict in Syria. We acknowledge people living in Syria are the only people who can legitimately create self-determination, and decide what that looks like, for themselves. It is so important to stand against US imperialism; though we also challenge ourselves and others to stand in solidarity with peoples struggling against oppressive states regardless of/before US involvement and to strive for a broader scope of understanding to the complexities of struggle outside a Western lens. We also recognize that we do not currently have communication with folks in Syria or from Syria with the exception of a few anarchist articles on Syria or by people living in Syria. Showing solidarity with the people of Syria means demanding nothing less than absolute autonomy, within all the constructed borders of the world. And that is a demand that no government will ever grant but must be created; it must be built upon the ashes of a government that can exist and has only existed off the blood of the exploited.
We should continue to hold protests and actions against US Imperialism, all genocidal states, and in fierce solidarity with those who struggle for liberation; and our critique is not meant to attack organizers or participants of Friday’s protest. We hope that this will promote more conversation and awareness of the multitude of intersectional issues that come into play every time the US Government decides to use force to interfere in other countries. Our desires and needs will not be fulfilled by Amerikkka’s creation of more exploitative jobs. We don’t think yours will be either. Next time we meet on the streets we hope to hear rallying cries for autonomy and self-determination in the spirit of mutual-aid and collective freedom for the people in Syria as well all those around the world struggling for liberation. We deserve it.
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From the Defenders:

  Defenders Updates & Announcements    –  Aug. 29, 2013

5 pm, Friday, Aug. 30 – “U.S. HANDS OFF SYRIA! WE NEED JOBS, NOT WAR!” PROTEST
It looks like the Obama administration is having some problems lining up its allies to attack Syria. But all signs still point to a cruise missile strike, maybe over the Labor Day weekend when people here are distracted. So we’ve decided to go ahead with a protest now, before the bombs fall.
The I3ainbridge Collective and the Defenders are asking people to gather at 5 p.m. on Friday, Aug. 30, in front of the Richmond Federal Courthouse, 701 E. Broad St. in downtown Richmond. We’ll have signs that say “U.S. hands off Syria! We need jobs, not war!” And please bring your own signs as well. At 5:30 we’ll start walking west on Broad toward Belvidere, then back to the courthouse for a 6 pm speak-out – an open mic for anyone who’s against the attack and wants to share their thoughts.
IF THERE IS AN ACTUAL ATTACK, we will also go ahead with the previous plan to meet the day of the attack at 5 pm, again at the courthouse, which is a main symbol of federal power in the city. Please share this event and invite your friends.
On Facebook, see “U.S. hands off Syria! We need Jobs, not War!”
This call was initiated by the I3ainbridge Collective and the Defenders for Freedom, Justice & Equality and has been endorsed by the Richmond Peace Education Center, Wayside Center for Popular Education and the Wingnut Anarchist Collective.
Note: We all condemn chemical or any other kinds of attacks on civilians, no matter who does it. But, without a shred of evidence, the Obama administration is accusing the Syrian government of being responsible for the chemical attack that reportedly took place in a suburb of the capital, Damascus. Meanwhile, the Syrian opposition, which is dominated by groups affiliated with al-Qaeda, is losing its war against the government and is desperate for the U.S. to intervene. So who would benefit from using chemical weapons, at the very time that U.N. inspectors are in the country looking into previous claims of chemical attacks? And why is the U.S. so desperate to attack BEFORE those inspectors release their findings? It sure looks like the decision to intervene came first, followed by finding an excuse. Just like in Iraq.
By the way – Aug. 30 is the 213th anniversary of Gabriel’s Rebellion, right here in Richmond. It’s a very fitting day to take to the streets.

9-noon, Sat., Aug. 31 – MARCH ON RICHMOND FOR JOBS & FREEDOM
Join the Defenders at this march and rally, called by the Richmond Branch NAACP, Urban League of Greater Richmond, A. Philip Randolph Institute and Living the Dream, Inc.
9 am – Assemble at Festival Park, behind the Coliseum
10 am – March begins
11 am – noon – Rally at the Bell Tower at Capital Square
For more information: http://www.marchonrichmond.webs.com or email march@rvanaacp.org

Thurs., Sept. 5 – NEW ISSUE OF THE VIRGINIA DEFENDER HITS THE STREETS!
The (Late) Summer edition of The Virginia Defender will be out Thursday, Sept. 5. We could use some help in bringing the paper to stores, barber shops, beauty parlors and more. If you have an hour or two to spare, please call 804-644-5834 or email DefendersFJE@hotmail.com.

4 pm, Thurs., Sept. 5 – “SLAVE TRAIL” COMMISSION MEETING – Maybe
Richmond City Council’s “Slave Trail” Commission is charged with protecting Richmond’s slavery-related sites. Yet it hasn’t spoken out against putting a baseball stadium in in Shockoe Bottom, once the site of the second-largest slave-trading district in the country. It’s also supposed to hold monthly public meetings, but it hasn’t met since June. Its next scheduled meeting is at 4 pm Thursday, Sept. 5, East District Initiative, 700 N. 25th St. in Church Hill. We want to be there to ask the Commission members to take a stand against the stadium. Be prepared for the meeting to be postponed or canceled.

9:45 am, Mon., Sept. 9 – ATTEND JORDAN ROMEO’S COP-WATCHING TRIAL
Richmond activist Jordan Romeo reports that she was “briefly detained on the night of July 3rd while Cop Watching on my way home from work. I was charged with ‘Obstructing Free Passage’ while recording on the sidewalk.” Jordan is scheduled to go to trial at 9:45 am on Monday, Sept. 9, at Manchester Courthouse. It is NOT ILLEGAL to watch, photograph or video police officers, so long as it is done from a distance and does not interfere with their “duties.” Some cops don’t believe this is true. We need to convince them otherwise – or we’ll lose the right to monitor their actions. Jordan is asking for public support and WE WANT TO PACK THE COURTROOM. The cops need to know that we will stand with those who are trying to defend victims of police harassment and abuse. Please do your best to be there and show your solidarity with this brave young woman. On Facebook, see: Court Support – Jordan’s Hearing

Sat., Sept. 28 – RACIST FLAG TO BE UNVEILED AT ENTRANCE TO RICHMOND – Maybe
The Sandston-based neo-Confederate group Virginia Flaggers has announce plans to unveil a 10′ x 15′ Confederate flag (battle flag of the Army of Northern Virginia – the one preferred by the KKK and other white supremacists) on a 50′ pole overlooking I-95 just south of Richmond. Stay tuned.

NO STADIUM IN SHOCKOE BOTTOM!
The campaign to stop Mayor Jones and a small group of rich developers from desecrating historic Shockoe Bottom with a baseball stadium is gathering some serious momentum. More than 1,300 people have now signed the anti-stadium petition. Street petitioning is taking place across Richmond. The African Ancestral Chamber has designed a stunning poster. The Defenders have produced a two-page leaflet “Questions & Answers about putting a baseball stadium in Richmond’s Shockoe Bottom.” Collective X has held two successful outreach efforts to fans at the Diamond. The campaign website is being constantly updated and meetings are taking place with various local organizations asking them to take a stand. YOU CAN HELP! We need people to collect signatures and distribute literature. To volunteer for these and other tasks, contact DefendersFJE@hotmail.com. Background information and frequent updates can be found at http://www.shockoebottom.blogspot.com

HAS YOUR ORGANIZATION TAKEN A STAND AGAINST THE STADIUM?
If not, please ask them to sign the Online Petition and also to consider releasing a formal statement. Either way, please let us know so we can publicize their stand on the website.

Aug. 6-October: MOBILE JUSTICE TOUR
A coalition of civil rights groups is sponsoring a 15-city tour of Virginia to raise awareness on and provide direct services for justice issues that affect people with criminal records. Launched off on Aug. 6, the Mobile Justice Tour is focusing on three key issues: civil rights restoration for those with felony convictions, removing questions about an applicant’s criminal background from initial employment forms, and programs for successful prisoner re-entry. Host organizations include Resource Information Help for the Disadvantaged (RIHD); Bridging the Gap in Virginia; Good Seed, Good Ground; Virginia Organizing; and the Advancement Project. Upcoming tour stops listed below. For more information: Lillie B. Kennedy, Moderator. Phone: 804.426.4426; Email: rihd23075@aol.com; Host Website: http://www.restorationcampaign.org
Sat., Sept. 7 – Lawrenceville – 11 am – 1 pm, Brunswick County Library, 133 West Hicks St., Lawrenceville, VA 23868
Tues., Sept. 10 – Petersburg – 4-7 pm, William R. McKinney Branch Library, 137 S. Sycamore St., Petersburg, VA 23803
Thurs., Sept. 12 – Staunton – Noon-2 pm, Valley Mission, 1513 West Beverly St., Staunton, VA 24401
Thurs., Sept. 12 – Waynesboro – 6-8 pm, Roseenward Community Center, 413 Port Republic, Waynesboro, VA 22980
Tues., Sept. 17 – Richmond – 6:30-9 pm, Wesley Memorial UMC, 1720 Mechanicsville Turnpike, Richmond, VA 23223
Tues., Sept. 24 – Lynchburg – 3-5 pm, Main MLK, 2315 Memorial Ave., Lynchburg, VA 24501

And don’t forget to tune in to DefendersLIVE! with your host Ana Edwards every Monday from noon to 12:30 pm on Richmond’s WRIR community radio station – 97.3 FM and online at http://www.wrir.org.