05 November 2017


CLICK HERE for the Autumn 2017 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!

03 October 2017


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.

13 September 2017

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 Confederate statues to be taken down.

(For more details, see the Facebook event page "Join the Defenders Sept. 16 to protest White Supremacy!"

Richmond today is facing many daunting problems, from the sorry state of our public school buildings to plans to demolish public housing to the shrinking of public transit to a 25% poverty rate to the epidemic of street violence. And in one way or another they all are the result of the culture and institutions of white supremacy. If we are going to be able to address these challenges, we should at least be able to remove the city’s most offensive symbols of racism.

Please join us this Saturday!

14 August 2017

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 of the events:

Fascists gather for rally inside Emancipation Park
Facists use tear gas outside Emancipation Park
Defenders rally the crowd to “Hold the Line!"
State Police Officer admits they are not protecting the people

03 August 2017


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 an Open 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 the murder of Heather Healy, Mayor Stoney is still saying he wants the statues to stay put. The Defenders are urging all people who oppose honoring these shrines to white supremacy to attend the next commission meeting, scheduled for
We are asking you to please join us at the Sept. 13 hearing, 6:30 pm at the Virginia Historical Society, 428 N. Boulevard, and voice your opposition to the statues that honor the generals, admirals and president who fought to defend the system of slavery. https://www.nytimes.com/2017/05/23/opinion/mitch-landrieus-speech-transcript.html

We are asking you to please join us at the Aug. 9 hearing, 6:30 pm at the Virginia Historical Society, 428 N. Boulevard, and voice your opposition to the statues that honor the generals, admirals and president who fought to defend the system of slavery.


The Defenders will be heading out to Charlottesville Aug. 12. to join a massive protest against a right-wing rally called to support that city’s Confederate monuments. The so-called “Unite the Right” rally will bring together Klansmen, Nazis and other white-supremacist groups. Local Charlottesville organizations like Black Lives Matter, Solidarity-C’ville, SURJ (Standing Up for Racial Justice) and local religious leaders are appealing for anti-racists to come to Charlottesville and stand with them against these reactionaries.

The Defenders are working with SURJ-Richmond to bring people to the protest. We’ll be leaving Richmond early Saturday and coming home that evening. We’ll be going as an organized group, fully aware that this may be a difficult day and relying on our ability to carefully plan our participation to maximize our solidarity while minimizing the potential for problems.

If you would like to come with us, let us know at: DefendersFJE@hotmail.com


The Defenders are working on many different fronts: the campaign to win the nine-acre Shockoe Bottom Memorial Park; demanding Richmond take down its offending Confederate monuments; follow-up from the June 16-19 national conference of the United National Antiwar Coalition, which we organized here in Richmond; supporting Virginia prisoners in three state prisons; publicizing news about the heroic anti-fascist struggle in Odessa, Ukraine; publishing and distributing The Virginia Defender newspaper; hosting the monthly radio program “Talk to the Editors” and more. But we need more members if we’re going to continue with our current campaigns and expand our work in the way we need to do in this difficult political time.

What does it mean to join?

  1. Support the Statement of Principles that appears on page 2 of every issue of the Defender newspaper.
  2. Attend a monthly membership meeting.
  3. Do some work with the organization.
  4. Pay a monthly dues; each member decides how much their own dues will be.

Difficult times require serious organizations. For 15 years the Defenders have shown just how serious we are. If that’s the kind of organization you’re looking for, we invite you to join us in the struggle for Freedom, Justice and Equality. We cannot do this alone - but with you, we can do a great deal more.

01 June 2017

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.

13 March 2017

Join us at City Council on March 27

Mon. March 27, 2017, at City Hall, 6-7 pm – Please join the Defenders' Sacred Ground Project as we present a statement on the Community Proposal for a Nine-Acre Shockoe Bottom Memorial Park to Richmond's City Council during the Public Comment Period.

Let us know you're coming: https://www.facebook.com/events/1198728803567961/

12 February 2017

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 Primer Questions 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 of London, that “we must not forget that the international community has systematically looted the Congo.”

Has the United States or other Western powers been involved in this conflict in any way? Yes! Rwanda and Uganda are allies of the United States, some would even say they are client states to US and British interests. Both countries receive financial and military aid from the United States, World Bank and other Western institutions. This aid has continued unabated even during the invasions of the Congo. During a Congressional Hearing in 2001 held by Congresspersons Tom Tancredo and Cynthia McKinney, it was documented by experts under oath that the US provided military aid to Rwanda during its first invasion of Congo in 1996. Click here to read minutes from the hearing. Also, read the 2006 London Telegraph article “British Ally Behind World’s Bloodiest Conflict”.

United Nations Mapping Report (2010) - Report of the Mapping Exercise documenting the most serious violations of human rights and international humanitarian law committed within the territory of the Democratic Republic of the Congo between March 1993 and June 2003

Please read the rest of the Congo Primer at http://friendsofthecongo.org. 

Look for registration updates on the 2017 UNAC conference at UNACpeace.org and on Facebook. Meanwhile, Save June 16-18, 2017 on your calendar.