Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Moral Mondays starting to rattle ALEC in NC as arrests near 500

Police arrested 84 protesters last night during the seventh Moral Mondays demonstration at the Statehouse in Raleigh, N.C. Thus far nearly 500 people have been jailed while standing up to the anti-worker agenda pushed by state budget director Art Pope and the Republican-controlled Legislature.

Following the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) playbook, Pope and GOP lawmakers are trying to raise taxes on the middle and working class, make it harder to vote, hamper health care availability and gut education and the environment. In response, about 2,000 North Carolinians showed up last night to say they won't quietly sit by.

Opponents have attempted to label the demonstrators as outsiders, but a survey conducted yesterday by University of North Carolina researchers showed that was not the case. Of the 316 people surveyed, only five were not state residents. The racial breakdown of attendees also largely followed the state's demographics.

Those on hand said they came to the rally because they have had enough of the pro-corporate platform that is winding its way through the Legislature. Raleigh resident Elizabeth Banfield said:
I want the legislators who are intending to roll back our rights to hear our voice and know we're not in favor of it. There's too much at stake, and just will always prevail. They can pretend not to listen, but we cannot be silenced. 
Added 90-year-old Raleigh resident Cyrus King, who has been to all of the demonstrations:
I just think the Legislature is doing damage to our state and our people.
The rallies might be having an effect on the Koch brothers good friend Pope, as the Pope-backed Civitas Institute took aim at Moral Monday demonstrators this week. As detailed in the Camel City Dispatch:
The Civitas Institute ... has launched an attack against Moral Monday protesters proving once more that the demonstrations are getting to them. The response from North Carolina’s right wing has become hysterical and has begun to sound offended at the very idea that people may not find their current agenda either “Godly” or “Moral”.  From today’s Civitas hit, to the NC Values Coalition Executive Director Tami Fitzgerald’s attempt to paint “lowering taxes” as a component of Christian teachings, the far right in North Carolina seems frightened, challenged, and above all offended at the demonstrators and their message that the last shall be first and the  first shall be last.
The Civitas hit is by far the funniest, while Fitzgerald’s embracing of Ayn Rand over Jesus Christ is probably most disturbing to her fellow Christians. The Art Pope funded Civitas released a statement today calling Moral Monday “Civil Disobedience Lite” – basically stating that unless the Governor or General Assembly decided to act violently to put down the protest, then the demonstrations have no merit because the protesters are not suffering enough.
We think standing up to the ALEC agenda is a noble act. North Carolina is the latest battleground in the fight between billionaires and working families. Unions have played an active role in these demonstrations. We will continue in solidarity.