New River Workers Power objects to the proposed amendments to the Blacksburg town codes which will restrict the right to free speech, including the right to assembly. These amendments will set a new legal precedent which will give the town government and police greater power to disrupt community members engaging in their rights to make their collective voice heard.
The faulty logic which Blacksburg authorities use to justify these anti-democratic measures are based around the fear of fringe white supremacist groups and a legalism which naively thinks more law will somehow keep us “safe”. The reality is these measures will result in the continuing slide towards criminalization of protest and protesters who more than likely will be community members rather than outside white supremacist groups.
The way to defend a community is by community members banding together independent of authorities who only know how to operate within the logic of legalism and liability. As the infamous events in Charlottesville this past August have shown, it was community members who worked together and formed their own organizations and efforts to confront fascists that kept people safer while the Charlottesville police and government stood aside.
These measures by the Blacksburg town council in collaboration with the Blacksburg police will only serve to protect themselves and local elites’ class interests at the expense of everyone else and our rights, including the right to self defense.
In response to these proposed amendments to the town codes we call for the following demands:
- Rescind all proposed amendments to town codes 15-101, 15.5-102, 15-201, 15-202, 15-203
- Amend town codes 15-101, 15.5-102, 15-201, 15-202, 15-203 to remove all requirements to register picketing that exceeds ten people.
- Enforce only what federal law mandates rather than adding additional punitive measures. This would entail relaxing current town code which arbitrarily restricts first amendment rights.
Call and email the town council immediately and let them know we are against these anti-democratic measures!
Tell them to meet our demands and stop this attack on our rights!
Email – TownCouncil@blacksburg.gov
Mayor Phone Number – 540-443-1025