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NOTE: Since this report was written, the organizers of the planned Sept. 13 rally at Richmond’s Lee monument have withdrawn their permit request; Gov.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.