Category Archives: Occupy Richmond

Fists of Our Fathers

Those who weep for America today understand the loss of “liberty and justice for all”. What’s happening is a travesty, abhorred by our forefathers and guarded against to the best of their abilities. While I believe they would have pitched tents in our parks long ago, they would surely be defending them now. Their warnings are clear; it’s our torch to carry.

“A generous parent would have said, ‘if there must be trouble, let it be in my day, that my child may have peace.”

“It is the duty of the patriot to protect his country from its government.”

“He that would make his own liberty secure, must guard even his enemy from oppression; for if he violates this duty, he establishes a precedent that will reach to himself.”

– Thomas Paine

“If ye love wealth greater than liberty, the tranquility of servitude greater than the animating contest for freedom, go home from us in peace. We seek not your counsel, nor your arms. Crouch down and lick the land that feeds you; and may posterity forget that ye were our countrymen.” 

“If ever time should come, when vain and aspiring men shall possess the highest seats in Government, our country will stand in need of its experienced patriots to prevent its ruin.”

– Samuel Adams

“The Constitution is not an instrument for the government to restrain the people, it is an instrument for the people to restrain the government.”

“If we wish to be free, if we mean to preserve inviolate those inestimable privileges for which we have been so long contending, if we mean not basely to abandon the noble struggle in which we have been so long engaged, and which we have pledged ourselves never to abandon until the glorious object of our contest shall be obtained — we must fight!”

“The liberties of a people never were, nor ever will be, secure, when the transactions of their rulers may be concealed from them.” 

– Patrick Henry

“Let us therefore animate and encourage each other, and show the world that a free man, contending for his liberty on his own ground, is superior to any slavish mercenary on earth.”

“My anxious recollections, my sympathetic feeling, and my best wishes are irresistibly excited whensoever, in any country, I see an oppressed nation unfurl the banners of freedom.”

“The basis of our political systems is the right of the people to make and to alter their Constitutions of Government. But the Constitution which at any time exists, ’till changed by an explicit and authentic act of the whole People is sacredly obligatory upon all.”

“The best means of forming a manly, virtuous, and happy people will be found in the right education of youth. Without this foundation, every other means, in my opinion, must fail.”

– George Washington

“The ordaining of laws in favor of one part of the nation, to the prejudice and oppression of another, is certainly the most erroneous and mistaken policy. An equal dispensation of protection, rights, privileges, and advantages, is what every part is entitled to, and ought to enjoy.”

“Without Freedom of Thought there can be no such Thing as Wisdom; and no such Thing as Public Liberty, without Freedom of Speech.”

“It is a common observation here that our cause is the cause of all mankind, and that we are fighting for their liberty in defending our own.”

– Benjamin Franklin

“And I sincerely believe… that banking establishments are more dangerous than standing armies; and that the principle of spending money to be paid by posterity, under the name of funding, is but swindling futurity on a large scale.”

“We must not let our rulers load us with perpetual debt. We must make our selection between economy and liberty or profusion and servitude. If we run into such debts as that we must be taxed in our meat in our drink, in our necessities and comforts, in our labors and in our amusements, for our callings and our creeds…our people.. must come to labor sixteen hours in the twenty-four, give earnings of fifteen of these to the government for their debts and daily expenses; and the sixteenth being insufficient to afford us bread...” 

“The man who reads nothing at all is better educated than the man who reads nothing but newspapers.”

 – Thomas Jefferson

APV supports the nonviolent Occupy movement and we appreciate everything you’re doing to help.

Occupy the Big Picture

Like a lot of people, I see the Occupy movement growing and naturally morphing into a more powerful entity, and I hope that their tactical choices nationwide will allow for a more powerful base, while still maintaining popular support.

That doesn’t always happen, as seen in Social Movements and Strategic Nonviolence, an opinion by G. William Domhoff, Research Professor at the University of California, Santa Cruz. It’s a well sourced article based on lots of research and recent history, focusing mostly on the long-term negative effects that violent episodes and destruction of property cause, and the ultimate damage they do to popular support.

A lack of patience shown by those in the trenches, and an inability to see the big picture have failed some of the strongest movements, and are probably, at this point, a necessary consideration for Occupiers. Of course, there are varying opinions, but this one seems like a strong overview. It was written in 2005 before biased thoughts for or against the movement were possible.

A resolute and consistent peaceful effort will undoubtedly be more successful and more likely with popular support and an appreciation of the challenges of resistance Occupiers are facing, both inward and outward.


In a more recent opinion, activist and author Rebecca Solnit wrote Throwing Out the Master’s Tools and Building a Better House: Thoughts on the Importance of Nonviolence in the Occupy Revolution – a great article from beginning to end. In explaining her lack of tolerance for less than nonviolent activity, she speaks from experience differentiating between types of property destruction:

So when episodes of violence break out as part of our side in a demonstration, an uprising, a movement, I think of it as a sabotage, a corruption, a coercion, a misunderstanding, or a mistake, whether it’s a paid infiltrator or a clueless dude. Here I want to be clear that property damage is not necessarily violence. The firefighter breaks the door to get the people out of the building. But the husband breaks the dishes to demonstrate to his wife that he can and may also break her. It’s violence displaced onto the inanimate as a threat to the animate.

Quietly eradicating experimental GMO crops or pulling up mining claim stakes is generally like the firefighter. Breaking windows during a big demonstration is more like the husband. I saw the windows of a Starbucks and a Niketown broken in downtown Seattle after nonviolent direct action had shut the central city and the World Trade Organization ministerial down. I saw scared-looking workers and knew that the CEOs and shareholders were not going to face that turbulence and they sure were not going to be the ones to clean it up. Economically it meant nothing to them.

Solnit, a contributing editor to Harper’s Magazine, concludes her article, which has been reprinted in countless publications, with this observation and request: “The powerful and effective movements of the past sixty years have used the strategy of people power. It works. It changes the world. It’s changing the world now. Join us. Or don’t join us. But please don’t try to have it both ways.”


The Occupy movement is still young, diverse, inclusive and unfolding into what we all hope will be a lasting and powerful voice for positive and moral changes to come. It will no doubt cross many of the bridges of movements past, and experience the inevitable trials inherent to struggles for liberty and justice throughout history.

In less than two months, they had already changed our national and political dialog with the support they garnered almost immediately. If we all just give them the benefit of the doubt, imagine what could be accomplished with a full complement of our support and encouragement.

I believe they will need more of our support every day – more praise and appreciation for the changes they’ve already brought about, more positive sharing and attention to their individual needs in our communities, more money donations, water, tents, blankets … whatever they need.

Phone calls to representatives and politicians, local, state and federal, with clear, insistent and unconditional demands for their support can make a big difference, and could sway or end the violent nature of the attacks against them. How they are treated during the coming holidays will reflect on us all. “The whole world is watching.”

Actually, it would help if they were on all our lists – the grocery list, the errands list, the to-do list, the gift list, as well as our wish lists. The Occupiers deserve the kind of support we show other Americans struggling with disasters. They’ve set out to peacefully absorb whatever unpleasantness comes their way, and they’re doing that for us. History is very clear about non-violent resistance. Its success rate in overcoming government overreach is undeniable. But it’s not for sissies – it takes great fortitude. They’re a peaceful blessing, earnest and unselfish, and we can all do something to help them.

Revolving around each other’s needs inclusively, providing for each other to provide for ourselves, that’s the revolution. Together, we can transform this early period, the “beginning of the beginning”, into the means for a peaceful recovery of the American values we cherish, and then pass them on to our children with reasonable expectations and the tools they need to guard against future abuses. Please join or adopt an Occupy group and help them as much as you can.

Pepper spray is not a vegetable.

Occupy Richmond Leads City on a Merry Chase

By Jack Johnson, Thursday, November 10, 2011 at 4:15am

It’s always hard to overestimate the witlessness of city officials, but last night, The Richmond City Police, and Richmond City Mayor, Dwight Jones, exceeded all expectations.

Here’s a quick rundown of events. Occupy Richmond made it clear in a general assembly that there were three places that were favored for occupation—or re-occupation—after their encampment at Kanawha Plaza was destroyed in the dead of night by city officials on October 30th. Those three places were Monroe Park, Festival Park and Monument Avenue.

Shortly after a General Assembly last week it was announced that Occupy Richmond would make their encampment in Monroe Park after gathering for an excellent documentary film presentation on Occupy Richmond entitled “All Night, All Day”. The turnout tripled the numbers for the original Occupation at Kanawha Plaza. About 350 activists took to the streets after the showing. But these occupiers were split into three groups. One group went by Monroe Park and the other two groups converged on Festival Park. The folks that marched by Monroe Park (but not IN Monroe Park) were harassed for wearing bandanas across their faces, and 2 were arrested for this petty offense (they will be arraigned at 9 am tomorrow in Manchester Court at Hull and 10th, if you want to show your support).

The others, undeterred, marched onto Festival Park.

Now, the nice thing about Festival Park, if you happened to be set on occupying Richmond, is that it doesn’t follow the so-called sunset provision of Monroe Park. You can assembly legally there until 3:00 in the morning.

Hundreds of officers showed up at Monroe Park, but the activists did not stay there, but rather marched onto Festival Park. The police eventually caught on and within an hour or so, another sortie of state and city police lined the park, apparently waiting to carry out mass arrests. At around One o’clock in the morning, after a rousing round of the Star Spangled Banner and Woody Guthrie’s This Land, the Occupiers simply walked out of the park and headed toward the Canal Walk, moving by –but not into — Kanawha Plaza. Our fine city officials, with apparently limitless tax money at their disposal took it upon themselves to assume the marchers would descend onto Kanawha Plaza–and encamp there illegally once again. So, at about 2:00 in the morning there were another 100+ Richmond Police Officers and Virginia State Police and dozens of vehicles cooling their heels in front of Kanawha Plaza, waiting to make arrests…. But the Occupiers were nowhere in sight.

The Occupy Richmond crew were at The Canal Walk which just happens to be open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week—and is perfectly legal.

So let’s tally this up. Richmond Police and State Police burn probably close to $20,000 in sparse City resources chasing the Occupy Marchers through the city, staking out where they THINK they might unlawfully assemble until well past 3 in the morning. Meanwhile, of course, Occupy Richmond is perfectly legal and is not going away.

Cost to the city for useless police activity to squelch free speech and the right of assembly? Nearly $20,000 (and probably more when you count the cost of circling helicopter and airplane)

Cost to Occupy Richmond activists for an evening stroll on Public Streets? 0

Expression on Mayor Dwight Jones’ face when he realizes his effort to destroy free speech and assembly with a ludicrous show of force has failed miserably?


Note: GA tomorrow at 1:30 PM in Monroe Park.