Damp squib in Fredericksburg

From Baltimore I headed south for Richmond, Virginia with a NEFAC supporter Alex in his old little red sports car (it may have been a Mustang but I'm rubbish with cars).  The boot was bust so there wasn't much room inside once my small bag had been crammed in and it was making some alarming noises he said not to worry about but it was a beautiful sunny spring day as we pulled out of Baltimore and took the highway south.

On the way to Richmond a lunchtime meeting had been arranged at the University of Mary Washington in Fredericksburg.  This turned out to be a big red sprawling 'red brick among green lawns' place, we were early so we wandered around for a while before finding the canteen where we had lunch and then went to hunt for the meeting venue.  This turned out to be a vast hall with perhaps 600 to 1000 seats lined up facing a podium.  But after a while the meeting organiser showed up and it turned out we could use a side room of more modest proportions.  This was just as well because the total attendance for this meeting turned out to be five people including myself.

Now when the tour was put together I was prepared for meetings like this.  I'd done enough organising of events in Ireland to realise that sometimes not one of the people who promise they are going to be there turn up.  I thought there would be a few of these meetings across the tour but actually Fredericksburg was the only one with such a weak attendance.  On the positive side one of the three people who hadn't already heard my presentation was someone I 'knew' from years before on the Organise email list, Scott R*.  It turned out he had driven a couple of hours to make the meeting so we went ahead with it.  

The amusing angle to the day was that while the meeting organiser was giving out about all his friends who promised they would show up but hadn't he let slip that several of them had stopped washing for the week before they went to NCOR.  I had commented on 'the strange smell in DC' in my blog post on the NCOR meeting so this bit of further information was revealing.  Anyway if one meeting had to be a damp squib it was probably best it was this one as the venue lay more or less on the direct route from Baltimore to Richmond and we'd probably have had to do a lunch time stop anyway.

More entries at Extending the accounts of my North American speaking tour

* Scott R was Scott Rittenhouse (FB profile) who died in September 2012.  The three paragraphs below were comments left by friends and comrades of his on his FB profile shortly after they had heard.

"Scott was a former army sergeant who became a revolutionary, a former city planner & white collar union rep in Los Angeles, a former activist in Anti-Racist Action. (…) He was a white southern working class guy who read on his own, was thoughtful, anti-racist, anti-capitalist, anti-authoritarian."

"His work with the Insurgency Culture Collective and Red and Black Book Project provided many people with their first introduction to anarchist ideas. I tabled a lot of his pamphlets over the years, and his short, concise explanations of the alternative to hierarchy and capitalism."

"Scott almost single-handedly saturated the Los Angeles basin with anarchist literature throughout the later half of the '90s. As he worked in city planning department of the city of LA, he quietly (if you can believe Scott could do anything quietly) produced thousands of pamphlets with hundreds of various titles. If you were an anarchist in the '90s, you had numerous pamphlets produce by Scott in your library. I still have many today. He produced his own newspaper - the Leveler and was a one man organization (ICC - Insurgency Counter Collective.) Man of us saw him struggle, disappear and then reappear with same loud, abrasive personality that we all learned to love. He was loud, obnoxious, but he was ours. He was our comrade. Good bye, Peanut head. For you and the revolution."

WORDS: Andrew Flood (Follow Andrew on Twitter )


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