Tuesday, June 25, 2013

NC's biggest Moral Monday crowd yet fights ALEC policies

Police arrested 120 people protesting the ALEC-backed anti-worker agenda at the eighth Moral Monday protest in Raleigh, N.C., last night. Organizers and law enforcement agreed it was the largest such rally to date, attracting upwards of 5,000 attendees.

So far nearly 600 people have been arrested for voicing their disgust with the policies put forward by Gov. Pat McCrory and the Republican-majority Legislature. These elected officials are pushing bills that would slash education and health care while cutting corporate taxes, all of which would hurt the working- and middle-class. Supporters of those views received significant support during last year's elections by state budget director Art Pope, a disciple of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC).

James Andrew, president of the North Carolina AFL-CIO, was among those arrested yesterday. The Moral Monday protesters criticized unemployment benefit cuts that will end extended benefits for some 70,000 state residents at the end of the month. North Carolina is the only state in the country opting to restrict benefits instead of using federal dollars to continue covering these job seekers.

Raleigh resident Lee Creighton said he's been having trouble finding work since earning a master's degree. He argued he isn't the deadbeat that some lawmakers are trying to portray:
If this is such a vacation, why do I cry to sleep every night?
Despite the dire consequences that could result from the Legislature's actions, demonstrators who took to social media said the mood of attendees was largely upbeat. That includes those who ended up on one of the five buses that carried them off to jail.

Carrsboro resident Kyle Bailey tweeted that a crowd gathered outside where those who had been arrested were booked to lend them support:
At detention center, arrestees starting to stream out to applause.
Others said it is time to further grow the movement. From Twitter user Thurman:
Looks like it's time for the other 49 to take a lesson from North Carolina. Let's take Moral Monday nationwide!
We can't either.