Posts Tagged ‘white privilege’

Last night was the 2nd public meeting of people working to organize Occupy Richmond. This movement has no leaders, no organizers, no hierarchy. The meeting yesterday was not perfect, as could have been expected. There were over 250 people there, many new to organizing, consensus process, facilitating and more.

The main decisions being made yesterday were regarding the time, date, and location of the beginning of the Occupation. A large group started off the discussion, going through some bare bones facilitation and decision making basics. Then folks split into smaller groups to talk about the date and location.

In smaller groups and in smaller conversations throughout the night, there were many discussion about the economy, politics, rights and more. The types of discussions that do not happen on a very regular basis among strangers in Virginia. Just having these discussions, no matter how imperfect, is significant.

Ultimately, what was decided was to avoid conflicting with the TRAP protest already scheduled for October 15th from 1-3pm in Monroe Park. TRAP is the recent Virginia legislation aimed at forcing abortion clinics to meet hospital standards, which would have the chilling effect of shutting down 17 of the state’s 21 abortion clinics. This new rule, wrapped up in the word safety and health, is really about limiting women’s rights to abortion and the health care they need.

The Occupy Richmond group is encouraging people to participate in the TRAP protest. Occupy Richmond will then meet at 4pm on October 15th in Monroe Park. At that time a location will be chosen for the Occupation. Repeat, location TBD.

On the issue of location, there were many ideas thrown around. Kanawah Plaza, Monroe Park, Capitol Hill, FedEx Plaza, locations around VCU, and more were all discussed. There were some folks fixated on Kanawah Plaze for its proximity to the Federal Reserve Bank. Others pointed out that the Federal Reserve Bank is not necessarily the main target of this event. Also that the consequences of trespassing/making mistakes at the Federal Reserve are a lot higher than other places. And that Occupying Kanawaha Plaza would displace homeless persons who sleep there on a regular basis.

This meeting was not perfect, by any means. Folks from marginalized groups swiftly felt marginalized by the process, which is not a good place to start. More white men spoke than other people. Issues of privilege were not really addressed, or understood by many folks in the crowd. Instead of actual consensus “modified consensus” was used, which basically makes it a direct democracy with a limit on how large the majority must be to silence the minority.Hopefully folks (not from marginalized groups) can step up as the Occupy Richmond idea continues to do some education and discussion regarding issues of privilege, among other things.

However, there were a lot of new faces, and a lot of good conversations that did occur. The creation of an autonomous space, in and of itself, can be an empowering positive thing. When this space is created, hopefully radical and anarchist and awesome people in Richmond can find inspiring ways to use this space. Workshops, discussions, and more are all possible once a space has been established.

Here is a video of part of the meeting:

Again- in the time between now and the 15th there is a lot of preparation and education that can be done. From Know Your Rights workshops, to getting new batteries for a flashlight, to taking a few minutes to read about privilege, anyone planning on participating in this occupation owes it to themselves and there fellow occupiers to do some preparing if they can.

http://www.monroeparkoccupation.wordpress.com has information about an occupation of Monroe Park that happened earlier in 2011.

Please read this article and sign the petition about the parking of cars on Richmond’s African Burial Ground by VCU. This is a dramatic example of institutionalized white privilege and racism. Imagine the public outcry if VCU built a parking lot on Hollywood Cemetery. Parking on sacred ground is not acceptable, and it has only gone on for so long due to historical and current white supremacy and racism which infect most institutions and capitalist ventures. The Wingnut Anarchist Collective stands in solidarity with everyone fighting to end this disrespectful and oppressive treatment of a historical and spiritual site.

End VCU/MCV Parking on Richmond’s African Burial Ground

by: Kenneth Yates x370724

A place called Shockoe Bottom in Richmond, Virginia was once the center of the African slave trade in North America. However if you were to visit this area you would never know it. Beneath the night clubs, condominiums, office buildings, and streets lies a history grossly repressed by capitalist appetites for commercial development.

One hidden piece of history in particular lies beneath a parking lot publicly owned and utilized by the Virginia Commonwealth University & Medical College of Virginia staff and students.



Photo by: Kenneth Yates

 In 1992 local historian and author Elizabeth Cann Kambourian, while researching for a book about a local slave rebellion leader named Gabriel, discovered something. Around 1800, inspired by the Haitian Revolution which was in full swing at the time, Gabriel plotted one of the most organized slave revolts in United States history. The plan was for hundreds of enslaved Africans, free Blacks and a few whites to to enter the city of Richmond, take the governor hostage and demand the abolition of slavery in Virginia. The revolt, however, was crushed after an intense 100 year storm flooded the area, making it impossible for Gabriel and his army to enter the city.

With information given by one of Gabriel’s collaborators, the then Richmond Governor James Monroe formed a militia to hunt down Gabriel and his co-conspirators. Gabriel was eventually captured, tried and, on Oct. 10, 1800, executed at the town gallows, located in what was then called the Burial Ground for Negroes. At least 25 of his comrades met the same fate, either at the same site or in surrounding areas.

The burial ground was retired sometime around 1810, after hundreds, perhaps thousands of enslaved Africans had been buried there. The exact number is unknown. Before long the burial ground itself fell into obscurity, eventually buried beneath 10-20 feet of filler as the land took on many other uses over the years.

Kambourian discovered an old Richmond City map placing the African Burial Ground just north of 15th & Broad Street. That area is now partially covered by Interstate 95, with the remaining portion of the Burial Ground buried beneath a parking lot utilized by both VCU & MCV staff and students. The exact boundaries are yet to be determined.

The Virginia Defenders for Freedom, Justice & Equality have been fighting to reclaim this sacred ground from its present desecration. (more…)

This is the letter we delivered to all of our neighbors, since it is too snowy right now to do proper in person introductions

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Hey Yall

We are your new neighbors, at 2005 Barton Avenue aka The Wingnut. We bought the house in July, and have spent the past months getting the house fixed up so it is no longer condemned. Usually we are better about getting to know the neighbors, but between the huge amount of work we have been doing and now the cold, we have not been able to get to know everyone. We hope to remedy this soon, but in the meantime wanted to tell you a little about ourselves and get you some contact information.

(more…)