Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Dozens more arrested in latest Moral Monday protest in NC

Dozens were arrested yesterday in the weekly Moral Monday protest outside the North Carolina Statehouse, where thousands rallied against the Legislature's anti-worker agenda.

More than 375 people have been arrested over six weeks of protests.

Religious leaders led the charge yesterday against proposals to raise taxes on the middle class, gut public education, suppress voting, further enrich billionaires, weaken workers' rights and eliminate environmental protections.

Catholic, Protestant and Jewish clergy joined in solidarity with the state NAACP, unions, the Democratic Party and others to oppose the Republican-controlled Legislature and Gov. Pat McCrory, the Raleigh News and Observer reported.

The Rev. Jimmie Hawkins of Covenant Presbyterian Church in Durham helped organize the effort and held planning meetings at his church. He told the Herald-Sun newspaper it's important for lawmakers to hear from the religious community about what's going on in North Carolina:
This is a moral stand we’re taking here. We’re ministers and tremendously bothered by legislation being proposed.
Said Jason Williams, a clergyman from Charlotte:
We’re here to stand on the side of the poor, the marginalized, the oppressed.
Seven North Carolina rabbis issued their support for the demonstrations after their efforts to meet with legislative leaders were rebuffed. They said civil disobedience is a worthy vehicle to express disagreement:
We recognize the need for solidarity at this time in North Carolina. The Jewish vision of social justice is broadly shared by all people of faith who are mobilizing this Monday, and now is the time to speak out.
Lawmakers unveiled three new bills late last month that would raise taxes on working families and lower them for rich corporations.

The anti-worker tax policy proposals are the brainchild of North Carolina state budget director Art Pope, a close ally of the Benedict Arnold Koch brothers. The Koch brothers help bankroll ALEC, the American Legislative Exchange Council that serves as an escort service matching state lawmakers with corporations. 

ALEC's agenda has sparked massive protests throughout the country since 2011, including the Wisconsin uprising in 2011, the fight against SB5 in Ohio and protests in Michigan against No Rights At Work. Now, North Carolina is the key battleground in the fight between billionaires and working families. 

Stay tuned.