Tuesday, June 4, 2013

151 arrested in latest NC Moral Monday protest

Police arrested 151 protesters during the fifth "Moral Monday" rally at the Statehouse in Raleigh yesterday, nearly doubling the number of those arrested at the previous four events combined.

In another sign of strength in the movement, organizers said the event drew 1,600, by far the best turnout to date. Originally started by the NAACP's state chapter, the protest has grown to include unions, the North Carolina Democratic Party, other political organizations and student groups. All are united in trying to stop legislation that would put the powerful before the people.

Protesters are fighting ALEC's agenda to empower billionaires and eradicate public education, suppress voting, weaken workers' rights and eliminate environmental protections. Last week, lawmakers unveiled three new bills last that would raise taxes on working families and lower them for rich corporations. Organizers said it is critical the middle class continues to push back.

Rev. William Barber, the NAACP's state chapter president, told attendees they are starting to be noticed:
The people are awake now, and we have decided to stand up. We are a movement. This is not a moment.
Protesters are rebelling against the anti-worker efforts of North Carolina state budget director Art Pope, a close ally of the Benedict Arnold Koch brothers. The Koch brothers help bankroll ALEC, an escort service matching state lawmakers with corporations.

Before assuming his position as state budget director, the multimillionaire Pope spent years touting tax policies that shift more payments to the middle and lower class and away from the wealthy. He helped get Gov. Pat McCrory elected last year, and now he is trying to make those tax policies the law.

While the 2014 elections are important, however, there is much that can be done right now. Let your state representatives and Gov. McCrory know that you oppose HB 998, SB 394 and SB 677. Tell them you should be setting the state's agenda, not ALEC.