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Richmond IndyMedia Live! Every Tuesday, 12:30 - 1PM on 97.3 WRIR LP-FM, and streaming online from wrir.org!

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Featured news by and for the local community

 

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BEAT BACK THE BUSH ATTACK!: Hit the streets and demand an end to occupation

Food Not Bombs is calling for people to come out to Monroe Park on August 23 at 4 p.m. to protest the occupations of Iraq and Palestine. Bush lied and you are seething as you read more about the administration's search for every outlet to cover up its deceit.

You have plenty of reasons to come out and display your anger and few reasons to stay at home on August 23. The occupation of Iraq continues to kill innocent Iraqis and U.S. service people. At least 6,000 innocent Iraqi civilians have been killed since the onset of war as U.S. companies like Bechtel and Halliburton pursue lucrative contracts in the post war deconstruction of Iraq.

Let's not forget about the domestic situation at home. The Bush administration is sending the country into its worst deficits ever of $450 billion (Bush no.1 set the previous record), the war so far has cost $48 billion with a monthly price tag close to $4 billion. With recent passage of a tax cut that we all know benefits few people, the administration is driving the country into bankruptcy with plans to privatize all social services.

There's tons of reasons to be angry: increased nuclear proliferation in the U.S., environmental cut-backs, lack of library funding, no money for AIDS or public housing, the PATRIOT Act, no jobs, increased lay-offs and a tanking economy.

We face an ominous future if this administration keeps its hold on power. If we learned anything from the massive worldwide protests earlier this year it is that there is another superpower in this world against the U.S. and that is the power of global public opinion. Richmond's anti-war movement did not end on March 23. We are part of a larger movement abroad and that is for global justice. La lucha sigue!

 
 

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THE BLEAK FUTURE OF BROAD STREET: City plans for redevelopment, ignoring the needs of small businesses and the working class


As Richmond's African American population grew in the early 20th century, their numbers replaced those of whites as African Americans became the majority by the middle of the century. The city experienced white flight when many white people moved to the city's surrounding suburbs. The downtown Broad Street corridor, which was once occupied with department stores like Thalheimer's and Miller & Rhoads, became hubs for small businesses and a thriving center for African American life.

The importance of downtown Broad Street to African Africans today is clear as hundreds of people line the streets daily, awaiting buses to take to work. Dozens of small businesses have survived providing services to people without cars throughout the years even as the city government turned its back on the area.

Now the future of Broad Street is at a crossroads. With development of a convention center and plans for new hotels and parking decks, the city has signaled that it has no intention of revitalizing the area for the people who have used Broad Street for many years. Instead, the city wants to use the area as a backdrop for high-dollar business gatherings and conventions.

In order to get the job done, the city has given over the land and responsibility of government to developers and private investors. Scant public debate has occured over the future of downtown and few are questioning the motives of these plans. Richmond Indymedia is publishing a series of articles focusing on the development of Broad Street and what it means to the people who are affected by this process.

Community researcher Greg Will has contributed three articles to be published from months of information gathering. The first article concentrates on the creation of the private government that city council has bestowed the responsibility of redeveloping downtown. Will's second article highlights the social history of Broad Street as a vital public space and the third article focuses on the growth of private governments on a local and national level. The final article of the series describes the people affected by this "revitalization," many of them bus riders and small business owners who are being forced to shut down. Read on for the first article, the second article will be published later this week.

 
 

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POLICE BRUTALITY: Critical mass gets sprayed


Critical mass bike lovers faced a police crackdown Friday as many participants were sprayed with mace or pepper spray by two cops who were riding in a police cruiser. The history of the monthly bike ride has rarely faced such repression.

Between 20 to 30 riders began the Friday jaunt up the usual route of Main Street when they were appraoched by two flippant cops wielding canisters of spray. The riders were riding peacefully, using the day's trip to spread the message of transportation alternatives. Read on...

 

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NOT IN OUR BACKYARD!: Protesters denounce Cheney appearance


Vice president Dick Cheney, a symbol of corporate greed and government corruption, visited Richmond Monday for a $1,000 a plate fundraiser to keep the Bush oil junta in power as part of the administration's reelection drive.

Never a group to miss out on a protest, Richmond Food Not Bombs mobilized a demonstration outside of the hotel where the fundraiser luncheon was held. Calling the government out for its lies, inhumane wars on defenseless countries and close ties to the military and energy industry, demonstrators did their best to make those entering the Jefferson hotel feel uncomfortable about what they were doing. Read on...

As the administration drives the government into bankruptcy with tax cuts and increased military spending, social services that people fought so hard for dangle on a precarious thread. Plans for more empire expansion loom on the horizon while our environment and independent media face ominous futures. We can't take another four years, we know it and its time to mobilize.

 
 

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COVERING ALL THE BASES: Fighting the Good Fight, Abroad and at Home

On Saturday, June 28, Richmond’s gonna raise its hands up in the air ‘cause we know we care, all in the name of freedom for Palestine. Arab-American MCs the Iron Sheik and Tarik the Eccentric have embarked on the Palestine Truth Tour and are trekking across the country all the way out from California just to bring a little hip-hop to our humble town. So mark your calendars and come on out to the Pace Center at 8 p.m. to hear poetry about the plight of Palestine and what it means to be of Palestinian descent in the U.S. today.

Moving from the ruckus endeavor of celebrating and educating to the serious business of organizing: On Friday, June 13, Richmond Jews for a Free Palestine celebrated its rebirth as the local chapter of Jews Against the Occupation, an internationally active group that gives voice to the countless Jewish folks who support of the Palestinian’s people struggle against Israel’s brutal, illegal and ongoing occupation. Just two days later RJATO, together with Free Palestine Now!, issued a strong condemnation of recent anti-Jewish vandalism, as well as anti-Palestinian creeds. Another local activist was quick to put out the call for written responses to racist and ignorant articles published last week in the Richmond Times-Dispatch and its online partner Richmond.com. While you anxiously await the arrival of the Palestinian Truth Tour, why not whittle away the hours by making our local major media press a somewhat less evil enterprise, simply by writing a quick letter to the editors of these publications?

While vigilance in responding to what the major media publishes is crucial, we must also be ever alert of local developments that go unreported or unanalyzed by the for-profit press. A recent poster exemplifies this with his brief summary of the building of a new Biosafety Level 4 (BSL-4) biocontainment lab at the Virginia Biotechnology Research Park. In short, these labs are capable of testing and producing biological weapons, and now that we’ve got one in the neighborhood, it’s our responsibility to ensure that this one doesn’t.

Richmond’s got good company when it comes to organizing around progressive issues -- Fredericksburg and Virginia Beach have both recently announced exciting projects in their towns. Fredericksburg’s looking to launch a comprehensive education campaign dealing with everything from queer liberation to social justice globalization, while Virginia Beach is trying to start a Food Not Bombs chapter down in the heart of the Tidewater region. Both of these invaluable undertakings need your help. Join the struggle, follow the links and volunteer to lend a hand.

 
 

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WE GOT THE HOOK UP! HOLLER IF YOU HEAR US!: Global Justice Movement Picks Up Where Anti-War Movement Left Off


Anti-capitalist forces exploded back on the scene last weekend, facing brutal repression from police forces during G8 Summit protests in France and Switzerland. Colorful displays of resistance along with Black Bloc barricades hindered talks between delegations from the eight ruling global oligarchies – France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Russia, the United Kingdom, the United States and Canada. Check out UK Indymedia for full reports.

The intensity of G8 protests, which have occurred for longer than a decade as part of the global justice movement, signal the continuation of the demand by people everywhere for fair economic, environmental and social policies. The strength of the worldwide anti-war movement largely drew from the infrastructure of the global justice movement and we now see the two combining to simultaneously fight for just domestic and international policy.

A key place where the convergence of these struggles is occurring is in the Occupied Territories of Palestine. One of Richmond’s own, Free Palestine Now! activist Chris Lucas, has traveled to the West Bank as part of Christian Peacemaking Team efforts. He has published two accounts [ 1 , 2 ] on our newswire, describing his encounters with Palestinians whose homes have been summarily demolished by the Israeli government, and conversations with Zionist settlers who justify their illegal presence on stolen land. Stayed tuned to your Richmond IMC for more report backs from our intrepid activist in the field.

While anti-capitalists represent in Europe and Chris Lucas bears witness in the Mideast, folks here at home have been acutely focused on the situation in Iraq and the draconian decrees of the Bush administration. Independent reports from the Middle East combat the mainstream media blackout of news that no longer serves profiteering purposes. The availability of diverse viewpoints faces a bleak future as media moguls celebrate the destruction of FCC regulations that protect the public against media monopolization. Despite fierce and extremely widespread resistance from the public and private sector, the government once again proved it’s in the pocket of corporate interests.

Last weekend, thousands turned out at the United For Peace Teach-In to hear respected voices from both the anti-war and global justice movements give comprehensive rundowns on what the Bush administration has wrought upon people at home and abroad. The weekend also saw the highly venerated Noam Chomsky speak in D.C. for the first time in a decade to support the SUSTAIN campaign to stop U.S. tax aid to Israel. Two thousand people flocked to the event, including IMC reporter Jason Guard who offers an insightful account of the straight talk delivered by Chomsky.

Please heed the calls for solidarity with Virginian anti-war activists who face court dates in June. Eight people arrested in Norfolk as a result of Mother’s Day actions will appear before a judge on June 25 and four people arrested at Sen. John Warner’s office in Richmond have their trial on June 18. Support these people of conscience by keeping up-to-date on their cases and remembering them in your hearts.

 
 

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News :: [none]

MOTHER'S DAY FOR PEACE: Norfolk calls for continued resistance to war


Seven activists and one reporter were arrested Monday morning for peacefully protesting U.S. militarism in Norfolk. The action came after Sunday's Mother's Day celebration for peace where people of conscience continued resisting the U.S.’s endless war on defenseless countries for corporate profit and geographic domination.

Despite threatening clouds overhead, a crowd numbering at times of 75 people assembled at Norfolk's Lafayette Park to relax on soft grass and enjoy the line-up of inspiring women speakers and performers. After lunching on a Food Not Bombs meal, people marched to the city's naval museum, challenging the world's only superpower and its military structure.

Many people at the event made the connections between the government’s declared victory in Iraq and the ongoing violence and danger the Iraqi people and U.S. soldiers are experiencing. As plans for U.S. control over Iraq oilfields are unveiled, the Bush administration unscrupulously carries out its right-wing capitalist agenda on the Middle East. Calls for remaining in the streets and opposing the inhumane greed of the U.S. while practicing non-violence and teaching peaceful lessons were heard at Sunday’s rally.

The U.S. war on Iraq has also allowed for increased violence on the Palestinian people as a result of Israel’s genocidal occupation. The increased violence has also been delivered upon the International Solidarity Movement, which in the past week has seen one of its offices raided, many activists arrested and an Israeli vow to remove these non-violent human rights activists removed from the occupied territories. Richmond was privileged to hear from one of the ISM’s own, George Qassis, as he related the struggle for Palestinian liberation and encouraged people to continue to travel to Palestine in solidarity for their fight for survival.

 
 

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CONFRONT THE MILITARY MACHINE: May 11 Mother's Day Action in Norfolk


Although the government and media says all is quiet on the Eastern front in Iraq, the country simply regains its space on the long list of countries the U.S. continues to exact inhumane and unjust war upon. A brutal occupation is underway as hatred for America festers throughout the world and countries scramble for ways to defend themselves while increasing worldwide nuclear proliferation.

The question remains: who’s next? Syria, Iran, North Korea, Colombia -- the U.S. government has a laundry list of potential targets. The Richmond Independent Media Center has created its own inventory of suggested regime changes and the Bush administration tops the list.

Virginia’s Tidewater region is taking the lead on aiming its weapons of mass dissension of puppets, chants, signs and mothers at the U.S. military. On Sunday May 11, Virginians will celebrate the true meaning of Mother’s Day in a protest for peace in Norfolk, home of the world’s largest naval base. The battle for peace and justice in the world didn’t end with the U.S. “victory” in Iraq; in fact now is the most important time to ensure the people of Iraq are not forgotten as U.S. interests salivate over potential economic and strategic gains in the Middle East. The oil and land of Iraq belong to its people! It’s up to us to continue the outrage demanding their needs and concerns are heeded.

Carry on the tradition of women’s opposition to war, travel to Norfolk on Mother’s Day to confront the U.S. military machine directly and demand our troops come home to Mom. The day begins with a rally at Lafayette Park at 2 p.m. and a march starting at 5 p.m.; the following day will involve civil disobedience during rush hour. Richmond ANSWER is organizing a bus from Richmond, to reserve a seat please call 358. 5427 or e-mail RichActCtr@aol.com
[ Mother's Day for Peace | Help with the Mobilization ]

 
 

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News :: [none]

STRIKE THE EMPIRE BACK!: Viriginia senators' offices taken over, nine arrested


Before noon Thursday, nine anti-war activists entered the separate Richmond offices of senators John Warner and George Allen and refused to leave in protest to the war on Iraq.

Five filed into Allen's Franklin Street office as the remaining four traveled to Warner's high-rise suite shortly before 11:30 a.m. A banner reading "War is terrorism" was hung in Allen's office window as supporters outside chanted, "Hey George, we know you, you killed Virginians too."

The posse that arrived at Warner's office unveiled a banner that read "Occupation is terrorism," as they claimed the office was a weapon of mass destruction and demanded that Warner practice diplomacy before bombing other countries. The group remained in the office for more than an hour before police arrested them.

The nine arrested were charged with trespassing and released shortly after. See pictures [1] [2] from April 10's action, please ignore the x's, the photos are still viewable. Read the IMC account.

Don't believe what the maintstream media and the government tell you. As reporters clamored for shots of the destruction of a Saddam Hussein statue in Baghdad, evidence has been published to show the event was staged as small numbers of people participated. But as the government and media made the week's events sound like a victory, people of conscience know what horror the people of Iraq are experiencing. Please visit these independent Web sites for eyewitness coverage of the atrocities occuring against the Iraqi people: Robert-fisk.com, electronic iraq and iraq journal.

The weekend of April 12 in D.C. is host to the Latin America Solidarity Conference and an anti-war convergence on Saturday. Richmond AMSWER is organizing a car pool up north that day. Please come to the Pace Center (700 W. Franklin St.) at 8:30 a.m. to find a ride or offer space in your car.

 
 

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STUCK IN THE SOUTH NEVER TO RISE AGAIN: People march in support of confederate history month


"Fuck you, Rob!" was the closing remark of Charles Tipton as he left the monument of Robert E. Lee. Tipton had just witnessed a procession of pro-confederate marchers pass on Monument Avenue. Many people watched the march in disbelief, disgusted that people openly displayed allegiance and pride of a legacy that thrived off the enslavement of millions of people who are still opressed today. Read on...
 
 

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News :: [none]

FEARLESS FRIDAY: Relentless defiance shows commitment to stop war


Not a single day of war passes without fierce disobedience from the world populace; people aren’t backing down from resisting the war on Iraq and are turning the tide against the Bush administration’s conquest of the Middle East.

Friday’s daybreak awoke to several activists in Charlottesville holding a military firm on lockdown, making the company’s compound inaccessible for more than two hours while interrupting traffic on route 29. Bound together by a lock box, the protest managed to be effective for hours. Seven demonstrators were arrested, including freedom fighters from the Little Flower Catholic Worker and Charlottesville Food Not Bombs.

Road obstructionists in D.C. managed to snarl the district’s early morning commute by closing a bridge between D.C. and Virginia and demobilizing an intersection. In an amazing feat of acrobatic activism, ladders were slung over giant statues while huge banners stretched across lanes of traffic and a street theater performance of “Cirque de Deceit” dramatized the sham of the government’s authority to conduct war.

In Richmond, bike lovers and concerned cyclists coasted together on the city’s streets for the year’s first Critical Mass. Many of the ride participants used the bike ride as an opportunity to couple together the need for two wheel sufficiency and independence from war-attracting natural resources like oil. Friday’s late afternoon critical mass was three times its normal attendance level because of the anti-war element to this month’s ride, said mainstream media resources.

Northern Virginia is contributing to anti-war momentum as this weekend is abuzz with protests. Demonstrations have been organized in northern Virginia and Fredericksburg. Be a part of the revolutionary moment that will stop a war on Iraq. For people still with questions about opposing the war, come to the Richmond’s Pace Center on April 1 and hear firsthand stories from a peace delegate who returned from Iraq in February. Also check out this article that argues why direct action is an effective tool for working class resistance.

 
 

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RICHMOND RECLAIMED: Over 2,000 People Proclaim: Virginia is Against the War!


As reports from different people are published here on Richmond Indymedia, it’s necessary for us to revise our initial inaccurately low crowd estimate of 1,800 and put the estimated amount of people in the streets of Richmond Sunday March 23 at well over 2,000 if not 3,000. However, some witnesses argue the march was larger still, consisting of about 4,000 people [ 1, 2 ], including a Richmond Times-Dispatch reporter days later on Friday, March 28th, in a related story about the upcoming Critical Mass. Either way, even the lowest estimates are unprecedented protest figures for this sleepy southern town, comprising a huge victory for all those who attended.

Along with official counts, news from March 23 also includes the somewhat controversial snake march that occurred after the permitted one ended. Virginia residents have expressed a wide spectrum of views on this event [ 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10 ] including an article by one person involved in smashing the windows of the national guard recruiting office on Broad Street explaining their actions. In an excellent indictment of corporate media’s biased portrayal of Sunday's events, one Richmond participant put out the call for all those involved and concerned to respond to such manipulative and inaccurate news-mongering.
Several grassroots accounts of Sunday’s events have been published [ 1, 2, 3 ] , including a debriefing by the organizers of the RECLAIM conference, as well as tons of photos [ 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 ], though in regards to the photo articles, we must point out that for some reason our thumbnail feature is not working properly, so even though you may see red x's where small versions of linked photos should be, there are indeed -- we promise -- actually photos there, so click away and enjoy.

One of the most comprehensive reports is by IMC reporter Luther Blissett, which included the following account of the end of the permitted march and the beginning of the snake march:

...the 4,000-strong march proceeded back down Monument Ave to Monroe Park, chanting "Good for the rich, bad for the poor, we don't want your racist war" and more. The mood was festive and defiant, with many in the crowd vowing to each other to begin organizing an even bigger march and more disruptive actions in the future. Drums were beating, Christians and Jews were marching in solidarity with Muslims, anarchists and communists chanted with union members, homeless folks and soccer moms; "this is a HUGE success," beamed longtime Catholic Worker Sue Frankle-Streit.

As many of the marchers filtered back into Monroe Park for a candlelit vigil led by the Women In Black, a large chunk of the crowd refused to leave the streets. As the legal protest permit expired, 700 were still milling about in confusion on Franklin Street, when individuals began shouting "disruption stops wars!" and "stay in the streets!" The shouts and chants rose to a fevered pitch, and suddenly the crowd surged and began running towards downtown.

"Everything went up a notch, basically," says IMC reporter Jen Lawhorne about the splinter march, where enthusiasm and defiance rose markedly higher. Young and old, all races and backgrounds were united in disobedience together, shutting down the streets of Richmond for over two hours. Shouts of "this is what stops wars!" and "don't let them have business as usual!" were heard between booming chants of "We *will* stop this war!" while the crowd attempted to evade riot police and make it's way to the Richmond Time Dispatch....

We hope your stories, pictures, and opinions will continue to pour in, providing what it is Richmond Indymedia exists for – your views and your news. Even though our comments feature does not work, don't let that stop you from publishing your story yourself, and contributing to us all having a better understanding of this war and our opposition to it.

 
 

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