There has been a lot going on in Richmond for the past months. 2014 is turning out to be a pivotal year for this City. A year where everything is on the line. Right now, on the precipice of multiple changes, I’m taking a look into my crystal ball to see what the future may hold. Like any prediction, this is no static vision. Things don’t have to turn out like what I’m seeing.
What happens if a development in Shockoe Bottom is created using 80 million of public funds to build a ball park in a historic site? What happens if Monroe Park is privatized and attempts are made to kick Food Not Bombs and the homeless out? What happens if our schools and children continue to suffer because Vulture Richmond gets tax breaks they don’t deserve?
Well, what I’m seeing is:
The Resistance is what will happen.
The Resistance won’t be a formal organization, but a banner taken up by dozens, hundreds, thousands, who are so sick of living in a place where the few rule the many, where money speaks louder than our voices, and where there is more oppression daily.
The Resistance won’t stick to one set of tactics, but will embrace a true diversity of tactics to liberate Richmond from the oppressive bad decisions brought about by Mayor Jones, City Council, Vulture Richmond, and the Monroe Park Advisory Council – among others.
I’m seeing members of the Resistance outside of the houses of members of City Council, Monroe Park Advisory Council, Vulture Richmond, Looting RVA, local Developers and more, holding up boom boxes John Cusack style, blasting “No where to run to baby, no where to hide” by Martha and the Vandellas . Because, as we all know from campaigns like Stop Huntington Animal Cruelty – the enemies have faces, names, and addresses. Any good resistance will be sure to gather this intel, and use it appropriately, to bring to the protests to the people responsible for the decisions privatizing our City.
Critical Mass bike rides will take a new tone, following a route between the homes and businesses of individuals involved in the privatization of Richmond. Moped and Motorcycle gangs will take the time to circle the block where Alice Massie lives, rev their engines in front of Mayor Jones’ house, and do donuts in the parking lots of Vulture Richmond and others. A Resistance play list will develop, the songs will haunt supporters of privatization throughout their daily lives.
Banners will be dropped from high way overpasses with messages promoting liberation and an end to corruption in Richmond. A generation of youth will discover the joys of street art, wheatpasting and spray painting their way from one end of town to the other, spreading messages of the Resistance, of freedom, of public spaces. And don’t tell me the youth aren’t hungry for action, we’ve seen them, you’ve seen them, they are itching for something to do.
You may put up fences, they will come down. Your bulldozers will be lucky to have an unblocked day. There will be treesits, crane sits, people perched at the Redskins training camp between the field goal uprights. There will be lockdowns, there will be glue in locks, there will be glitter, there will be cream pies in faces. There will be heckling, I hope you can put up with it.
There will be parties in the streets, uncontrollable crowds, meet ups in the most unlikely of places, flashmobs that break into song and dance in really inconvenient places. There will be boycotts of restaurants, bars, retail, and sports teams involved in these schemes. There will be a continued push for a $15 dollar minimum wage, and strikes across the City until that comes to be. There will be queers protesting for more than the right to marry. There will be sit ins for change, office occupations, there will be unruly musical performances.
All these developments and privatizations meant to bring prestige and pride to Richmond will simply become sights of protest and problems. The legacy left behind by Jones will be one of embarrassment and excruciating public failure.
We will feed each other, teach each other, hold copwatch and know your rights workshops, trade herbal medicine ideas, exchange massages, have support groups, hold consent workshops, create visions of a better world. We will drink a lot of coffee. We will support eachother mentally, physically and emotionally. We will fundraise bail money for our comrades.
It may seem unlikely for such a vision of the future to come about, but you are forgetting that the regime is boring, privatization is boring, rules are boring. Resistance is fun. Resistance speaks to people who have no interest in attending City Council meetings, or of the nuts and bolts of whatever oppressive plan is on the table.
In the future the Resistance disrupts every single City meeting. Resistance has enough participants that you could never ban them all. A new face at every meeting, ready to shout down your white lies, your assertions of a false reality, your Orwellian double speak. No meeting goes unscathed, disruptions at meetings and press releases reflect the disruptive effect your decisions have on the people.
Maybe you think the issues in Richmond are too small to spark the Resistance. But you forget about endless war, increasing poverty, bad schools, dying capitalism, unemployment, public transit, police brutality, noise ordinances, dance ordinances and more. You forget the larger context of suffering and oppression and racism and sexism and homophobia and transphobia and classism. People are worn out. People are worn out. People are worn out. And at some point, the last straw goes on the camel, and the back breaks.
When we break, we rise.
When we break, we rise.
When we break, we rise.
This isn’t a threat, not even a warning this is a prediction a vision out of passion. Founded in the history of Monroe Park the development of it as a sacred ground. Yes, sacred ground. Not the same sacred ground that you find in Shockoe Bottom. But a place of great sacredness none the less. Where protests and passion are deep in the roots of the trees. The land there is drenched in the power of the people, and the power of the people don’t stop, say what. There ain’t no power like the power of the people and the power of the people don’t stop, say what.
Privatize Monroe Park and the entirety of the East Coast Occupy movements will descend on Richmond, to occupy not only Monroe Park, but the medians of Monument avenue too. You can bring all the storm troopers at your disposal, but you won’t dispose of us, you won’t dispose of the Resistance. There are more where we come from. More desperate people, more tired people, more bored people. More people with broken backs who are ready to rise.
Everyone knows it is wrong to privatize a public park. Everyone knows only true cowards prey on the hungry, prey on those without homes, prey on those who need the most solidarity in our society. Only true cowards like the 1%, who could go to any park they wanted to, would try to force the homeless out of Monroe Park.
Maybe it is cheesy, but I think it holds true, that the generation at hand is Catching Fire, full of Mocking Birds, and ready to hunt Zombies. Unfortunately for you, you are the Zombies, you are the Capital, you are boring, and we are Divergent. More people understand what fascism looks like, know the sacrifices required in a resistance, and know that true honor lies in taking action to reduce suffering. Popular culture has given those of us who didn’t know examples of what fighting back can start to look like, and people are ready to start fighting back. The Resistance has far more potential for capturing the popular imagination than all those ordinances and resolutions do.
You see, there has to be a line somewhere. A line in the sand if you will. And yall are in the process of crossing that line a couple different ways. Maybe you don’t see it as a line yet, maybe you won’t until it is too late. Understand that you simply can not keep taking and taking and pushing and pushing and expect no push back. You will get pushback. Pushed back.
Don’t get it twisted, this isn’t a declaration of war, its a declaration of weather, and a storm is coming. Weather above and under ground gonna hit this city. I don’t think you will be ready for this storm. I don’t think you want to try to get through this storm. I don’t think you want this storm. But hey, this is just a vision. Who knows what the future holds.
Just keep an eye out for those Stormclouds of Resistance.