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DFJE: International Forum on Zimbabwe with Netfa Freeman

The Virginia Defenders held a public forum on what the U.S. is doing in Zimbabwe. ​Our guest presenter was​ Netfa Freeman, former program coordinator of an agricultural project in Zimbabwe. He works for the Institute for Policy Studies in Washington, D.C. but was not speaking on their behalf. He also produces Voices With Vision: Not for the Politically Faint of Heart, a radio program on WPFW 89.3 FM and podcast via iTunes and Google Play Music.

The forum took place Monday, April 2, 6:30-8 pm at Wesley Memorial United Methodist Church, 1720 Mechanicsville Turnpike in Richmond’s East End.

​As Che once put it, we here in the U.S. live in the Belly of the Beast. That being so, we have a responsibility to know about and oppose what the 1% and its government is doing in Asia, Africa, Latin America, the Caribbean, the Middle East and Europe. It’s not enough to only work on bettering our own lives, if we  ignore what our tax dollars and our young people in uniform are forced to do in other c…

Hundreds rally at State Capitol for prisoner rights

The Virginia Defender Staff Report

RICHMOND, VA -- In the largest show of support for Virginia prisoners in memory, more than 300 people turned out Jan. 20 for the Virginia Rally for Prison Reform on Richmond’s Capitol Square.

They came by chartered buses and carpools from Blacksburg and Roanoke, Prince William County and Fredericksburg, Suffolk and Hampton Roads, as well as from the Richmond area. One of the largest contingents was from the NAACP chapter at Norfolk State University.

Many were former prisoners or relatives of prisoners. Some represented prisoner advocacy groups. Others were individuals drawn to the event by the crying need for reform in the Virginia prison system. Several newly seated state legislators were in attendance.

One especially unique feature was that the rally was initiated by a prisoner organization, Virginia Prisoner of Conscience (VAPOC), whose members spread the word among their relatives and friends on the outside. Logistics were handled by the Coalitio…

Latest issue of THE VIRGINIA DEFENDER!

CLICK HERE for the Autumn 2017 issue
INSIDE THIS ISSUE:Does RVA have a Master Plan to Push out the Poor?
Special 4-page section: Shockoe Bottom, Confederate Statues & the Demand for Accountability
Property owner says East End post office to reopen very soon
Did Stoney & Durham hype the danger of the neo-Confederate "rally"?
plus Labor, Immigrant, Prisoner & Antiwar News
& much more!

Oct. 10: MARCH for ACCOUNTABILITY

The newly formed Coalition for Accountability held a MARCH FOR ACCOUNTABILITY on Tuesday, Oct. 10, the 217th anniversary of the execution of the great slave rebellion leader Gabriel at the Town Gallows in Shockoe Bottom.

We multiply our individual strengths by supporting each other in our various struggles and call for ACTION and ACCOUNTABILITY from our city leaders!

The march began at 6 p.m. at the Robert E. Lee statue on Monument Avenue and headed to the Devil’s Half Acre in Shockoe Bottom, where community leaders addressed the current issues facing our people today:

Take Down the Confederate Statues       & Build the Shockoe Bottom Memorial Park!
Fix the Schools!
Expand Public Transit!
Hands Off Public Housing!
Fight for $15!
Hands Off Immigrants!
LGBTQ Rights!
No Pipelines!
Serve the People!

For a full report, see the Autumn 2017 issue of The Virginia Defender.

Join the Defenders Sept. 16 in Richmond to protest white supremacy!

NO to White Supremacy!

Confederate Heritage IS Hate!

Take down all the Confederate statues NOW!

On Saturday, Sept. 16, a Tennessee-based organization called the New Confederate States of America (CSA II) plans to hold some kind of gathering at or near the Lee statue on Richmond’s Monument Avenue. The group’s stated purpose is “standing up to protect the General Robert E. Lee Monument in Richmond, Virginia from being taken down or destroyed.”

The organizers claim that “This rally is a Heritage ~ Not Hate Rally.” Right. Waving Confederate flags near a Lee statue so soon after Charlottesville in a city that is half-Black is clearly meant to be a declaration of white supremacy and must be opposed.

Many Richmond progressive groups have called for protests, some on Monument Avenue, some in other parts of the city. We support all expressions of anti-racism.

For our part, we will be as near to the Lee statue as possible, with signs, banners and chants denouncing white supremacy and calling for the…

Report on Charlottesville & Richmond

Report on Charlottesville & Richmond From The Virginia Defender
On Aug. 12, some 500 fascists gathered at Charlottesville's Emancipation Park. Many came prepared for battle, with helmets, shields, body padding and visible weapons, including guns. Thousands of defiant protesters massed in the surrounding streets. Shouted insults morphed into throwing water bottles, then more dangerous projectiles, then fistfights. Pepper spray and some kind of tear gas left many people choking and gasping for air, but the protesters kept up their presence mere feet from the fascists. READ THE FULL REPORT HERE


NOTE: Since this report was written, the organizers of the planned Sept. 13 rally at Richmond’s Lee monument have withdrawn their permit request; Gov. McAuliffe has suspended the granting of any permits for rallies at the statue; and Richmond Mayor Stoney has said that removing the five Confederate statues on Monument Avenue will now be considered. The struggle continues.


Defender VIDEOS …
DEMAND RICHMOND TAKE DOWN THE CONFEDERATE STATUES ON MONUMENT AVENUE!

On Aug. 9, the Defenders attended the first public hearing of Mayor Stoney’s Monument Avenue Commission, which is supposed to come up with recommendations about what to do with the five Confederate statues on Monument Avenue. But Mayor Stoney has already ruled out taking down the statues! On July 29 we sent anOpen Letter to the commission members, asking that they publicly state that removing the statues will be on the table; that they invite opponents of the statues to join the commission; and that they invite New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu to speak at the second commission hearing, now scheduled for Sept. 13. Mayor Landrieu has issued a wonderful statement explaining why his city took down their monuments. The commission members did not respond, but our letter was published in the Richmond Free Press, which is also calling for the statues to be removed. ANd ye, even after the events in Charlottesville, including …

UNAC's 2017 National Conference

Stop the Wars at Home and AbroadBuilding a Movement Against War, Injustice & Repression!
A National Conference hosted by the
United National Antiwar Coalition (UNAC)
June 16-18, 2017 at the Greater Richmond Convention Center in Richmond, Virginia
Thank you for joining 300+ activists in the struggle to "Stop the Wars at Home & Abroad!" through shared knowledge and a unified front. People who attended were from the many domestic and international struggles that must unify against the Trump Regime and the underlying system responsible for imperialist wars, poverty, racism, sexism, the oppression of LGBTQ people, attacks on Muslims and undocumented immigrants, environmental destruction and all forms of injustice.

Click here to read the 2017 UNAC Conference Report.
Click here to view all live-streamed Conference Sessions.
Or visit the Program Schedule page to select the specific session you'd like to watch.







As we build toward the June UNAC Conference ...

... it is our responsibility to understand how the US acts on its foreign policy just as we need to do with its domestic policy. That's why the theme of the conference this year is STOP THE WARS at HOME and ABROAD!

Today's topic is the Crisis in the Congo.
Excerpt from Friends of the Congo's
Congo PrimerQuestions and Answers: Congo Conflict

What is the source of the conflict in the Congo? The source of the conflict in the Congo is the scramble to control Congo’s vast natural wealth of gold, diamonds, coltan, copper, cobalt, uranium, tin and many other precious and strategic minerals. Nobel Laureate Wangari Mathaai says “these wars when you look at them, they are all about resources and who is going to control them.”

Is this an ethnic conflict between so-called Hutus and Tutsis? No. It is a resource war. Ethnicity is being used as a pretext to access and control Congo’s natural resources. Former Chief of the UNHCR famously warned in an interview he gave to the Financial Times …