Launching Forward on the School Front!

We, as communists and anti-capitalists, are in partnership with Richmond Struggle, who were the only active presence on campus in the final week of last semester agitating against the tuition hikes. There are other Unity Struggle Unity student groups starting up at local high schools. Our purpose is to unite students and workers across the city in order to advance the struggle in Richmond – and everywhere.

Editor’s Note: We are happy to announce the launch of our comrades’ new student organization at VCU, USU, which stands for Unity-Struggle-Unity. The process of unity-struggle-unity is a necessary condition for the internal life of miltant, fighting organizations. If there is no struggle, then there is no need for organization, principled unity can only ever be built through a process of struggle. Ideas have to clash and debate has to occur, so the air can be cleared and decisions made. This is why our comrades have chosen USU as their organizational name to reflect this crucial principle. We, as RSCI, welcome this development and look forward to the collaboration between students and workers as we unite for the purpose of building autonomous working class power in Richmond.


USU Points of Unity

  1. We, the members of VCU’s Unity Struggle Unity, want you to know our University is bankrupt – both financially, and morally. We are tired of having our tuition increased yearly; we are sick of being harassed by campus cops; we hate how pervasive sexual assault is on campus; we want to fight fascism in Richmond; we want better wages for workers. Everything is fucked up, and we know we can’t click our heels and make it go away. That is why we must unite and struggle.
  2. We, as communists and anti-capitalists, are in partnership with Richmond Struggle, who were the only active presence on campus in the final week of last semester agitating against the tuition hikes. There are other Unity Struggle Unity student groups starting up at local high schools. Our purpose is to unite students and workers across the city in order to advance the struggle in Richmond – and everywhere.
  3. Even if you aren’t a communist, but you are sympathetic to our goals, we want you on our side. However, we are not a platform for electoral politics and we never will be. We aren’t gonna help you collect signatures to beg the wealthy for more scraps – we are here to antagonize the rich as much as possible. We are an outlet for anyone who has been fucked over by VCU, the frat bros, and the campus cops.
  4. To be more explicit, we are fighting for an end to tuition, to get police off campus and out of Richmond, to put an end to white fraternities, to disband the Board of Visitors, and to force President Rao to resign. Actually, we want everything. We want a new world and a new school. And this is possible. You can feel VCU spreading with tentacular force down Broad Street – taking over every black home, displacing every black family. What happened to Jackson Ward? What happened to our country
  5. Every year, our tuition rises. Every year, more new luxury cars full of wealthy students pull up to the dorms and unpack new white faces. Every year, we lose our favorite exhausted adjunct professors to different universities. Every year, we sink deeper and deeper into debt. Every year, we take out another predatory loan that is hocked to us by not just our banks, but by our school. Every year, the Starbucks creeps outward and gorges on new parts of the library. Every year, our student fees increase by at least 2.5%. Every year, we are presented with statistics on race that are already a decade old. Every year, we are promised humanities initiatives but are forced to fumble with non-functioning sinks while the business school glows in the dark. Every year, President Rao stays a millionaire. Every year, our economy tanks deeper into darkness. Every year, our university dies with our future. Every year, we work and we borrow in order to work and to borrow. Every year, our university produces the compliant, indebted workers that our present job market so desires. Every year, our tuition rises.
  6. Let’s make this the year that all the aforementioned shit stops – on our campus, in our neighborhoods – in our city – in our state – in our country. That’s all.

March to Destroy White Supremacy!

Join us August 13th as we march alongside thousands of workers against the shrines to white supremacy that litter Monument Avenue. We are gonna turn up to end the reign of these despicable idols so we can transform Richmond into a center for Black, working class power, opposed to both the white ruling elite and to their Black establishment lackeys. No Black liberation without revolution, no revolution without Black liberation.

Report from Richmond Alternative School

This whole process is quite peculiar when you consider the fact that RPS took CCP back under city control to create RAS only a few years ago. Why would the city, which was obviously disappointed in the way SESI ran CCP, return its most vulnerable students to a parasitic company that profits off their education or lack thereof?

Editor’s Note: The following is a brief report sent by an anonymous insider, highlighting the situation at Richmond Alternative School, one of the initial schools slated for closure by the RPS School Board due to budget shortfalls. The RSCI feels it important to begin providing coverage that is otherwise missing from local media regarding the continued degradation of working class resources in the city while also providing a voice for the working class and poor people who otherwise are censored, mis-characterized, or shut out from the media in the city:

What you are about to read does not scratch the surface of what I know due to my experience at Richmond Alternative School. This report is extremely limited due to a deadline that needs to be met. Maybe one day I will transcribe a more complete version of my tenure at RAS but for now I will focus on some of the institutional politics that goes on in the Richmond Public Schools system.

Upon signing my contract with Richmond Public Schools to work at Richmond Alternative School I was promised many things that did not come to fruition, including a teacher coach. A teacher coach’s job is to help teachers with their lesson planning, observe classes, and provide feedback and constructive criticism. As a new teacher you can imagine my disappointment to not receive this very important and necessary resource. Although I did not get a teacher coach, my English and math-teaching counterparts did. My feelings of resentment quickly turned to relief when I discovered the ways my colleagues were being treated by the teacher coaches. Instead of receiving constructive criticism the math and English teachers were often berated in front of their students and given busy work that did not benefit anyone, or so I thought.

These teacher coaches worked for a company called Catapult Learning, a company that merged with Specialized Education Services, Inc. in July 2015 to create the nation’s largest provider of contracted instructional services according to Catapult Learning, Inc., the new official name of the merged companies. These companies may sound familiar because SESI was given the Richmond Alternative School contract in 2004 in order to establish the Capital City Program, better known as CCP. I must admit this is where some of the information gets a little hazy because the information I am about to disclose was received from a principal at CCP during a casual conversation a few years after CCP became RAS. SESI either subcontracted or received the subcontract from another company after whichever company that received the contract from RPS realized they could make a larger profit by subcontracting it to a third party. Mind you, the students that attend RAS and attended CCP are among the poorest residents in Richmond.

This is all significant because the same year that Catapult Learning and SESI merged to create Catapult Learning, Inc. was the year that another alternative school, Aspire, was established at the Richmond Technical Center. So, just to give you a little recap to help you connect the dots, before the 2015-2016 school year SESI and Catapult Learning merged to create Catapult Learning, Inc. That same school year RPS provided RAS with teacher coaches that work for Catapult Learning, Inc. and a new alternative school, Aspire, was created. The writing was on the wall. Richmond Alternative School was to be privatized by a company that was collecting data way before anything was official or finalized. These teacher coaches were not there to help the teachers better educate the students, they had a vested interest to see the teachers and therefore the students fail so the city could rid itself of its school to prison gateway. To make matters worse, RPS put out a request for proposal that had a turnaround time of less than a month, hardly anytime for a competitor to propose an alternative to Catapult Learning, Inc.

This whole process is quite peculiar when you consider the fact that RPS took CCP back under city control to create RAS only a few years ago. Why would the city, which was obviously disappointed in the way SESI ran CCP, return its most vulnerable students to a parasitic company that profits off their education or lack thereof?

Lines on the Left

The dominant conception of “politics” is of something civil, devoid of violence. We propose the opposite: real politics are inherently violent. This violence is required to either enforce social relations under capitalism or to destroy those relations. This fact is inseparable from the question of the state.


The Left is commonly understood as a homogeneous grouping that stands for ideas of “progress,” but there are crucial political and ideological divisions within it. These divisions emerge from the following questions:

1) What is “politics”?

2) What is the conception of the state and its agents (police, etc.)? And how does this question express the antagonistic opposition between our group— based in working class politics— and liberal groups—based in middle/ruling class politics, albeit sometimes with a “Marxist” or “anarchist” veneer?

The dominant conception of “politics” is of something civil, devoid of violence. We propose the opposite: real politics are inherently violent. This violence is required to either enforce social relations under capitalism or to destroy those relations. This fact is inseparable from the question of the state.

We recognize that the state is the instrument of organized violence by the ruling class, or the bourgeoisie, against the working class for the purpose of maintaining and reproducing capitalist social relations, meaning the continued realization of profit. The police serve to coerce poor and working class people into conforming to the capitalist system.

The liberal conception incorrectly views the state as an arbiter between social classes, and does not view class society as an inherently violent system. With this understanding of social relations under capitalist society, liberals view the police as a neutral organization which maintains peace and order. But we stand on the side of the working class, of the oppressed, of the imprisoned— and that is why we chant Fuck the Police.

Likewise, we have no basis for unity with “communists” or “anarchists” who work to reproduce the structures of capitalist domination over the workers and the poor. They are collaborators who get paid for their services to union and non-profit bureaucracies, which mollify the rage and rebellion of working people. To take a revolutionary position is not to utter meaningless rhetoric about socialism or revolution, but to build autonomous working class organization against the state through resistance and combat. Unions and non-profits are the primary obstacle to the formation of such organization in this country today. Working with and apologizing for such systems of pacification is serving counter- revolutionary purposes.

We have zero trust in any agent of the state— cops, social workers, union bureaucrats, or non-profit staffers. The working class, or proletariat, is the revolutionary class under capitalism. Its class interest is rooted in the elimination of class society. As a social class, it does not wish to be exploited. Its inherent drive is to struggle to end its own exploitation, which cannot be accomplished without the destruction of the state which enforces such exploitation.

Any group that doesn’t share our understanding poses a security risk to our members. Consciously or unconsciously, they are collaborating with the state and its agents. This sort of collaboration is a very real way in which these abstract ideological differences translate into concrete and specific practices.

FUCK Trump! Reportback

It is of paramount importance that we get organized and remain vigilant, ready to smash white supremacy wherever it appears. They have promised us violence, and we must promise them the same


Organizers met at Monroe Park at 6:30, and for the next hour and a half trickled in until we numbered around 60. We headed out, chanting “No Trump, no KKK, no fascist USA,” “Fuck Trump,” and “Black Lives Matter.” A pathetic contingent of bike cops kept a continual chorus of “Get to the sidewalk” and “Stop blocking the street.” They were completely ignored by all present. After this pitiful effort, the police completely folded, surrendering the streets to us. We marched down Broad, then turned down Marshall. The police had given up on trying to contain us at this point, and bystanders flocked to join us on the way. We arrived outside the coliseum around 8:30, joining around 40 other protesters already present, and we all continued chanting.

The first confrontation came when a Trump supporter—a slimy looking white yuppie—decided to antagonize us, confident that the police would support him. He was immediately surrounded, screamed at, and denounced, but nobody touched him. Some liberals tried to hand out flowers and tried to preach “love,” but were immediately shouted down by all else present. The police were the first to initiate violence, attempting to crush the crowd back. The first of us to fall was an elderly man, and the pigs continued to push people back on top of him. The crowd would not tolerate this, and pushed the police line back, chanting “Fuck the Police.” Once again, liberals that took issue with this were shouted down. After a brief scuffle, the cops were pushed back against the barricades, once again humiliated. This would be their last attempt to assert their authority against us.

The crowd refused to be containted in the ‘free speech zone’ and continued to march through downtown Richmond aggressively confronting multiple small groups of Trump supporters before ending in Abner Clay Park. We held the streets in defiance of police authority for over two hours which sets a good precedent for future action in this city.

Trump represents a coalition of the most reactionary elements of the white working and middle class in favor of defending the eroding material benefits of white supremacy through the escalation of genocide and imperialist aggression at home and abroad. His campaign has enabled an unprecedented mainstreaming of openly fascist discourse in US politics and emboldened the grassroots base of white nationalism throughout the country. This white nationalist resurgence is a existential threat to oppressed black and brown people in this country and to white women with its blatant and open endorsement of racist and misogynist violence.

Keeping Trump out of office is not enough. Focusing on electing the “right” candidate completely misses the point. Real political change comes from mass movements. Even if Trump loses, the fascist movement will not simply go away. It will still be stronger than ever, and it will be angry.

Militant opposition is the only way to deal with fascists. Liberals complain about us denying fascists their “right to free speech” as if we do not already know where that sort of “free speech” always leads. They expect us to give fascists the benefit of the doubt, and to wait until we re all in concentration camps before we start resisting. We refuse. The radicals in San Jose, across the country, and tonight in Richmond understand that white nationalists must be shut down wherever they appear. They must know that they are not welcome in Richmond or anywhere else. No matter what liberals say we have no obligation to respect the “rights” of those who deny our humanity. It is of paramount importance that we get organized and remain vigilant, ready to smash white supremacy wherever it appears. They have promised us violence, and we must promise them the same.

Tonight marks a significant shift in the intensity of protests in Richmond. The march was emboldened by every person who left the sidewalks to join the protesters, and at no point did the energy of the crowd waiver. The cops, the white supremacist Trump supporters, the lecherous reporters, and the frightened, sage-burning liberals were all taken aback by this action, which surpassed our expectations.

Actions like this must be built into a continuity of struggle towards the construction of autonomous working class organizations in workplaces, neighborhoods, schools and prisons with the strategic objective of destroying the system which perpetuates whiteness and breeds fascism.

VCU Board of Visitors and Richmond City Council Rubber Stamp Cuts to Working Class Education


On May 13th, the VCU Board of Visitors voted to authorize a 2.8 percent increase in tuition and fees for the upcoming academic year. This is only the latest in a long series of annual increases, which are the local manifestation of a state and national attack on higher education carried out in the interests of capital.

Tuition hikes make VCU increasingly inaccessible to working class students. Increasing tuition is a key factor in the ongoing process of gentrification in Richmond, contributing to the displacement of the black working class. An unaffordable university is required to make the city center a sterile playground for predominantly white professionals. The only adequate response to this ongoing attack is building unity between workers and students on the basis of struggle
against the bosses and bureaucrats.
A small contingent from RSCI carried out agitation against the vote. The Board of Visitors timed their final meeting to pass the tuition increase at the end of the semester after most students had already gone home or were burdened with finals. We see this action as only a beginning. We look forward to building militant mass action that is required to force concessions from the university administration. The future is only bright if we renounce the helpless dead end of lobbying, petitions, and voter registration in favor of organizing as a material force to impose our interests.



On the same day, the Richmond City Council held a meeting where Council members voted to continue the defunding of the already dilapidated RPS system after silently “listening” to the frustrated and angry comments of students, teachers, and others. Richmond officials can find more than a hundred million for a new jail to warehouse the black working class, but when it comes to keeping the schools open—or even repairing schools to the point where they no longer pose a daily risk to the health and safety of students—money is nowhere to be found.
RSCI members used the public comment period to point out to those in attendance that the crisis of public education cannot be resolved by appeals to elected officials whose job is to represent the business interests that own this city. Only through organizing independently of electoral parties, non­ profits, and bureaucratic unions on the base of our common class interests can we begin to reverse the degradation of our living conditions of those in power.
Appealing to City Council or voting for this or that bogus “reform” candidate will only divert our energies from the task at hand: the unification of students, parents, and teachers in a struggle to stop school closures, improve living conditions, and democratize education.


VCU Board of Visitor Profiles

Richmond Struggle Committee Initiative would like to introduce you to the board of visitors at VCU. These are the people who are voting to increase the tuition at VCU and we think it is important for everyone to know a little bit about them. While we find this information to be interesting and important for demonstrating just how little these people care about the students at VCU it is not just about these particular individuals and what they are directly responsible for, but what their social roles are. We must understand that no matter who fills these seats under the capitalist, white supremacist system, these social relations will never change unless we force them to by smashing the structure through which they hold power.


john snow

John W. Snow

At 69 years of age Snow’s net worth of $90 million puts him among the 100 richest people in Virginia, and he’s made a career of defending the interests of his fellow plutocrats. In the 80s, he was an advisor to Reagan’s policy team, and a visiting fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, a neo-liberal thinktank dedicated to furthering the interests of big business through privatization and tax cuts. Other figures associated with it include neo-cons Dick Cheney, Paul Wolfowitz, and John Yoo. He came to Richmond in the 90s as CEO of railway company CSX, which paid him $29.3 million over six years. From 94-96, he was chairman of the Business Roundtable, the main actor behind the passage of NAFTA, which devastated Mexico and Central America to reap profits for corporations. In 2003, he was Secretary of the Treasury under George W. Bush. His main accomplishment there was in selling the Bush tax cuts to Congress and the public, which amounted to a massive transfer of $670 billion from the public coffer to the private hands of the rich. Right now, John Snow is Chairman of Cerberus Capital Management, a multi-billion dollar private equity fund that owns shares in hundreds of multinational corporations. Among its assets is Freedom Group, which it owns wholly. Freedom Group is a coalition of firearms manufacturers, which Snow promised to divest from after the Sandy Hook shooting. Cerberus owns it to this day. Other interesting companies Cerberus owns are Dyncorp and IAP World Services, military contractors that profit from war by selling weapons, equipment, and mercenaries to the United States government for its imperialist adventures. Whether in the US or abroad, murder means big profits for John W. Snow.


Dr. Bob Holsworth, well-known political analyst and director of VCU's public policy center. For Player's Corner feature.

Robert D. Holsworth

Robert D. Holsworth is a friend to pigs city-wide. His company DecideSmart Inc. “is committed to an ethos of public service and to providing clients with real world, cost-effective solutions to the challenges they face.” Now whatever the hell that means, we know one of the major clients Holsworth provides with “real effective solutions” is the VA Department of Juvenile Justice, which our city provides with bountiful funding while our schools crumble. There are certainly many “challenges” the department faces in its quest to criminalize and repress the Black youth of the city, but rest assured that Holsworth is finding them “effective solutions.” But that’s not all! Robert Holsworth did Richmond-Pig-in-Chief Rodney Monroe a solid by awarding him a degree for completing 6 out of the necessary 121 credit hours. Holsworth lost his position as dean for this fraud, but now he’s back in action on the Board of Visitors.

William M. Ginther

Want your university run like a ruthless, profit-driven corporation? Look no further than William Ginther. He has lots of experience with ruthless, profit-driven corporations, having spent 37 years of his life as Corporate Executive Vice President at Suntrust Bank. But even more interesting than the company he ran is the company he keeps. Disgraced former Governor Bob McDonnell—convicted by a federal court of felony corruption—received campaign donations of over $16,000. That probably has something to do with the fact that McDonnell later was the one to appoint him to the board. McDonnell may be out, but his appointees are carrying on his legacy.




John A. Luke

John A. Luke is first and foremost a businessman, and he brings that attitude with him to the world of educations. As President, Chairman, and CEO of the Richmond packaging corporation MeadWestVaco. In 2002, with John Luke then as now at the helm, MeadWestVaco was named by researchers at the University of Massachusetts Amherst as the 57th-largest corporate producer of air pollution in the United States, with roughly 35,000 pounds of toxic chemicals released annually into the air, including sulfuric acid, chlorine dioxide, chlorine, and methyl iodide. When he’s not poisoning your air—or figuring out how to spend his $5 million a year compensation for it—Luke sits on the Board of Trustees at the American Enterprise Institute, a right-wing thinktank dedicating to pushing forward pro-business, anti-worker legislation and otherwise making the lives of the ruling class that much easier and ours that much harder.



Colette W. McEachin

Collete McEachin is Richmond’s Deputy Commonwealth’s Attorney, making her one of the highest-ranking law enforcement officials in her jurisdictions, a real pig’s pig. Her job description is to prosecute defendants for the State of Virginia, a state that disproportionately targets the poor Black population. No matter her own skin color, McEachin serves a key role in this city’s war on the black population, a war that counts among its casualties 85% of our city jail’s prisoners. McEachin is doing just fine for herself, though. She and her husband have multiple houses and apartments throughout Richmond and Washington DC. For her multiple residences. For you, a concrete cell.

Former Delegate Alex B. McMurtry, left, a commission member, talks with Del. G. Glen Oder, R-Newport News, chairman, right, at the General Assembly Building in Richmond, VA Wednesday, Sept. 8, 2010, as Gov. McDonnell's commission on government Reform & Restructuring met to discuss reccomendations, among them, privatization of state ABC stores.

Alexander B. McMurtrie Jr.

With a net worth of over $100 million, Alexander B. McMurtrie, Jr. doesn’t have to do much of anything, but keeps busy nonetheless. When he’s not raising your tuition or kicking back at his multiple estates throughout Virginia, MrMurtrie enjoys buying influence in elections. Over the years he has offered hundreds of thousands of dollars of gifts to politicians, in exchange. One of the recipients of his largesse was corrupt, convicted former Governor Bob McDonnell. McMurtrie paid over ten thousand dollars to fly Bob and his family to see a Notre Dame football game, among other things Something tells us he doesn’t show this same generosity to people who can’t grant him favors.

Ron McFarlane

Ron McFarlane is no stranger to the corridors of power. He’s married to Nancy McFarlane, the current mayor of Raleigh North Carolina. With the mayor’s office under their control, the McFarlanes have made sure to help their own circle come to power in Raleigh, and to continue in Raleigh the nationwide project of gentrification and the displacement of poor people. However politics turns out for them, they can always fall back on MedProRx, the $80 million dollar company they own.

Michael D. Frazier

Michael D. Frazier is ruling class to the core. He served for 24 years at corporate giant GE in various leadership roles, including CEO of GE Japan and executive vice-president of GE as a whole. He came to Richmond, however to work as CEO of local GE-offshoot Genworth Financial. For this position, he earns $2.72 million a year in salary and benefits. He’s also tight with disgraced Gov. Bob McDonnel. Frazier is a sports fan, which is why he headed the committee that brought the enormously waste that is the Washington Redskins training camp to town. Michael D. Frazier feels that he has not done enough to our city, however. That’s why his current position is an adviser to Blue Heron Capital and The Frontier Project. These two finance firms are instrumental in the gentrification and displacement plans that the ruling class has in store. Their function is to provide capital and assistance to hip, white business people seeking to displace the historically black residents of neighborhoods like Church Hill and Jackson Ward. The name Frontier Project is apt: they believe these territories must be colonized and civilized. Shame for the people that have lived there for decades, but such is progress. People like Michael Frazier know that progress necessitates casualties. Whether it’s black residents forced out of their homes, or poor students forced out of their school, he’s happy to oblige.



Rick Wagoner

Rick Wagoner is the former chairman and CEO of General Motors. During his tenure, the company lost $85 billion and laid off more than 25, 000 workers. Rick Wagoner is one of the many people responsible for the 2008 financial crash that suffered very few repercussions. In exchange for GM receiving almost $50 billion dollars of public money, Obama personally asked Rick Wagoner to resign, which he promptly did. Don’t feel too bad for Rick, though, despite his incompetent leadership he retired with an exit package of over $10 million: $1.65 million in benefits per year for his first five years of retirement, $74,030 per year pension for the rest of his life, and a $2.6 million life insurance policy that can be cashed out at any time. And that’s not to mention the nearly $40 million he “earned” during his tenure. It sounds like GM takes care of it’s retirees, right? Not so much: while Wagoner was walking away with $10 million, working-retirees saw their benefits slashed.


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Teresa Carlson

One of Carlson’s official bios states, in the typical lingo of big business, that she “has more than 20 years of experience as a business executive driving innovation and change and producing successful business results.” We all know what “innovation” and “successful business results” means for us, the working class. It means lower wages, if not termination, increasingly exploitative working conditions, and the sacrifice of more and more of our life, health, and sanity in the name of corporate profits. Nowhere is this more true than at the company where Carlson currently holds an executive position, Amazon Web Services. Even among ruthless corporations, Amazon is notorious for the egregious working conditions in its warehouses. Workers are constantly on their feet, rushing from one package to the next, covering over 12 miles a day in un-air-conditioned buildings that often exceed 100 degrees. In fact, one worker was killed in the Richmond warehouse by these conditions in 2013. Nevertheless, desperate people continue to sign up to endure these conditions for only $11/hr and no benefits (if that—Amazon has also been accused of wage theft). Now, that’s what you can call “successful business results”!


Jaquelyn E. Stone

Jaquelyn Stone is a partner at consulting firm McGuire-Woods. The sort of “consulting” this firm does is nearly exclusively that which serves the interests of massive corporations against the working class. For instance, for a large fee they can help your company avoid being charged for committing financial crimes, or as they delicately put it “ prevent regulatory inquiries from becoming criminal issues” At the moment, McGuire-Woods is representing telecom giant Verizon against its striking workers. They are also taking the side of Goliath in a suit brought by the Seminole Indian tribe against the bank Wells-Fargo. In addition to her work with McGuire-Woods, Jaquelyn E. Stone also sits on the board of Venture Richmond, the organization doing its utmost in our city to push forward gentrification and displacement of poor black communities.


Update on the School Front: City Council is Part of the Problem


April 26th – RSCI militants have been working around the clock since initiating struggle around the crisis of Richmond Public Schools.


  • developing a newsletter with regular updates on the state of the struggle
  • distributing the newsletter to students and their allies affected by the slated school closures
  • discussing and informing students about the significance of this struggle and its larger implications for the East End and the city in terms of gentrification, destruction of public housing, inadequate housing, inadequate jobs, and the overall degradation of the black, poor, and working class.


Today we marched, from MLK Jr Middle School to City Hall, rallied out front, and then took our seats for the city council meeting. The set agenda and meeting procedure was largely formalistic and substanceless. There was no real democracy in this space. The meeting began by covering announcements, congratulations, and formal recognitions to various groups, the most ironic being the celebration of a white, West End neighborhood association. Everyone at the meeting filled the chambers because of the school crisis. They opened up the floor for public comment, only half of the registered speakers were in attendance, and the called names were quickly shuffled through, the city council was quick to close the comment section of the meeting.

It was only when an RSCI militant interrupted the formalistic jargon being spoken by city council that a new space was opened for a real expression of working class hostility directed at these city officials, challenging their authority and claims of an inability to properly fund the schools. The crowd was stirred by this attack and provided the room for mass democracy to momentarily emerge with two black working class women severely attacking the council, one woman brought to tears describing how hard it is for her to have to work two jobs, and also have to deal with the destruction of the public school system.

Others had lined up to go to the floor and speak as well, but the council tried to halt the derailment of their agenda. RSCI militants encouraged people to speak out, broke city council rules that we were “not allowed” to stand up and we were “not allowed” to clap in agreement of a person speaking. This was a powerful moment, to have these women place shame upon these officials. The police and security tried to remove and silence us, but we refused to leave.

After this first wave of disruption subsided, the city council was placed on the defensive. Several members paid lip service that they didn’t want to see schools close, but basically claimed that they didn’t know where any additional funds were located, while implying the School Board was misappropriating funds. They acknowledged the historical legacy of the school system being neglected, but offered no way forward.

It was at this time that another RSCI militant interrupted and told the city council that they can’t fix this problem, that they admit their incapacity to address this fundamental issue that goes to the heart of living under the white supremacist, capitalist state. After emphasizing this, the militant was kicked out and removed by security.

We consider this intervention at this particular site of struggle a success. We created the space for mass democracy, where exploited people were given a window to speak bitterness at those who are the source of their degradation, who are functionaries of the white supremacist, capitalist state. It is correct to view them as the political enemy of the masses in their struggle to defend their right and access to public education. We are fully aware that this success is simply the beginning of a struggle against the white supremacist capitalist state that will require continued work to develop. Even if the city refrains from closing all the schools their attitude towards the working class of this city is clear and must be opposed.

These governing bodies all deny responsibility in the replication of this oppressive system, that it is out of their hands, and they are merely appendages of a larger structure that forces them to govern the wealth of the city for the interests of the rich. In fact their only proposal to deal with these “budget shortfalls” is to “generate more revenue”. So essentially they say we can solve the problems of capitalism and white supremacy with more of the same.

We must have no faith in these governing bodies, we have to form our own organizations and parallel structures to counter theirs. They make it clear they will only continue with more of the same. If we want something new, if we want a real change in how the city is run, then we must do it ourselves and we must struggle to build our collective power through political organization to break free from the yoke of this system. No more illusions, no more avoiding struggle, we have to intensify our efforts.




Update on the School Front


April 20th – After a recent city council meeting to potentially amend budget proposals, the likelihood for closing Armstrong and other schools are high. As expressed by School Board Member Mamie Taylor:

“With a vote of 6 to 3, the Board majority…voted to uphold the administration’s recommendation to close Cary, Swansboro, Armstrong, Overby Sheppard, and Southhampton schools and grossly impact Blackwell, Carver and three high schools (George Wythe, TJ, and John Marshall). The vote also impacts Clark Springs, which was closed in 2013 (with exception) to save $1,000,000.00.

In addition, with a vote of 8 to 1, the Board voted…to create a hub (bus) system for middle and high school students next school year; all without public input. This means that parents will be responsible for ensuring that their children (6th graders through 12th graders) arrive at an elementary school location chosen by administrators. From there the children will be bused to their perspective schools. The expected savings for this incredible inconvenience is less than $400,000.00. It cost the district and taxpayers almost the same amount to replace stolen keys at John Marshall High School this year, and the District survived.”

The School Board for RPS is actively participating in the destruction of Richmond public education. The ability to have a state-funded school system was fought for with the blood of oppressed black people and their allies. This concerted effort between the School Board and the City Council has to be stopped, to be resisted, to rebel against if working class, black, and poor people of the city are to halt the loss of their basic rights – such as education.


According to sources participating in this struggle, City Council is already placing restrictions on the local masses to voice opposition to their plan. Apparently at the next City Council meeting on the 25th there will only be a handful of speakers allowed to speak and they cannot mention the budget or funding. Why are these bureaucrats attempting to silence the masses? We cannot allow them to set the terms in which we struggle to stop their onslaught they lead against students and allies.



Struggle At VCU

The Board of Visitors with President Rao have decided to increase tuition, once again, by $358 dollars. They increase these costs, trying to generate revenue off the backs of the students. Their choice to increase cost is a choice to increase the barrier between the predominantly black working class of Richmond and access to an education at VCU.

The predominantly black working class and poor of Richmond are also facing several school closures and budget shortfalls in the Richmond Public School System. Both of these campaigns by those in power are attacks upon poor people, further degrading their condition in the city, while consolidating the power of VCU and its dominance alongside local developers who want to turn Richmond into an affluent white urban playground.

This is only one example of the continuation of the white supremacist social order. We need to build organization to struggle against these onslaughts, while building real power to demolish the rich and their control over the resources of the city.