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Jan 5, 17

Richmond, VA: Reportback from our first Autonomous Assembly

Submitted to It’s Going Down

Almost 100 people turned out to Richmond’s first autonomous assembly this past Monday. The assembly was called specifically to plan for actions around #DisruptJ20, both here in the river city, and just 2 1/2 hours north in D.C. People who came seemed excited, and while many didn’t seem to identify with a particular anti-authoritarian tendency, most in the room seemed eager to find out what was up and get plugged in. There was little to know conflict around ideas of action and militancy, which is a relatively new development on the Richmond scene. Some anarchists even tabled with literature, shirts, stickers, balaclavas, and pepper spray, and folks fucking ate it all up!

Channel 8 circled the block, hoping to get a peak at what folks were planning, but they were politely told to kick rocks, while a local friendly paper was allowed to stay. The VA Defender has been a friendly ear to radicals for 12 years in Richmond, and folks easily trusted them more to give a fair and discreet report on the night’s events over the local ABC affiliate.

Folks who had called for the assembly presented information to attendees for about an hour, briefly going over the call for a bold mobilization put out by the D.C. Welcoming Committee, and what folks might look to expect from large mobilizations. Big points that were stressed were the importance of wearing black, rolling with a trusted affinity group, avoiding pushy “militants” you barely know that attempt to pressure you into uncomfortable situations, and secure communication. Trainings have already been happening for the last month or so, including a two day combined wilderness first-aid and street medic training a few days after Christmas. More action trainings were announced and are in the works, trying to make sure everyone has the tools they need to do whatever they desire to make happen on J20 and beyond.

Participants then broke out into two discussion groups: folks who wanted to head up interstate 95 to join the ruckus in D.C., and folks who wanted to stay and bring the ruckus here at home. Many ideas were tossed around in the RVA discussion group, and folks were encouraged to talk to each other after the meeting to solidify plans. People that had similar ideas and interests were put in touch and more meetings will be called of those groups to hammer out their plans. The D.C. discussion was largely based on logistics, and fielding questions of more experienced people of what can be expected in a large mobilization with an intensely militarized terrain. Peace police and liberals were discussed at length, touching on why so much tension exists between them and more militant folks, and how to deal with them in the moment in the street. The vast majority of people seemed down with militancy, even if they weren’t necessarily planning on being a part of more confrontational actions themselves.

The assembly ran a little long, but overall people seemed to not want to leave immediately after and stuck around and chatted enthusiastically. Folks seemed stoked to continue discussions and plan further, and there seemed to be a lot of energy around coming back together in an assembly again soon.

Whether in D.C., Richmond, or elsewhere, see you in the streets!

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It's Going Down

It’s Going Down is a digital community center from anarchist, anti-fascist, autonomous anti-capitalist and anti-colonial movements. Our mission is to provide a resilient platform to publicize and promote revolutionary theory and action.

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