Monday, June 24, 2013

Pope-backed group attempts to make joke out of N.C. protesters

The Moral Monday protests in North Carolina have already resulted in nearly 500 arrests, not including tonight's Statehouse rally. That's scores of real North Carolinians standing up against the gutting of education, health care and the environment and for fairness in the tax code. But for some, it's all just a game.

The Civitas Institute, a state-focused stink-tank largely funded by state budget director Art Pope, decided it would be "fun" to create a "Pick the Protester" game. It lets the user choose among three mug shots of those arrested to answer a question. For instance, it asks, "who's from Raleigh" or "who is 73 years old" or "who is unemployed"? It attempts to make a joke out of those who are standing up for the middle class.

If that's not your kind of humor, you also won't like the website's more insidious roster of arrestees which links their photo to information about each person's name, age, residence, race, occupation, employer and interest group memberships. It reeks of the some of the actions taken to tamp down on civil rights protests in the 1950s and 1960s.

As stated by the Institute of Southern Studies:
Civitas' database brings to mind another troubling episode of mid-20th century U.S. history: how in some Southern cities at that time the white-supremacist White Citizens' Councils (WCC) would publish in local newspapers the names of NAACP supporters and those who signed anti-segregation petitions in order to encourage retaliation against them. The WCCs, like Civitas, also had close ties to powerful government officials.
Thankfully, the plan doesn't seem to be working. Organizers are expecting a huge turnout for tonight's rally, which is focused on labor and economic issues. Union members are expected to be out in force. We stand tall with those who are sticking up for working men and women.