Monday, February 10, 2014

80K march against North Carolina's anti-worker government

Raleigh, N.C., yesterday. Photo: Planned Parenthood
The Washington Post is finally getting around to telling us that 80,000 people -- maybe even 100,000 --protested North Carolina's anti-worker, ALEC-dominated government -- yesterday.

Ari Berman at The Nation had the story when it happened.
North Carolina’s Moral Monday movement held a massive “Moral March” in Raleigh today which began at Shaw University ... Tens of thousands of activists—from all backgrounds, races and causes—marched from Shaw to the North Carolina State Capitol, where they held an exuberant rally protesting the right-wing policies of the North Carolina government.
They're protesting the state's Republicans, who took over the legislature in 2010 and the governor's office in 2012 with the financial support of greedy billionaire Art Pope and with their marching orders written by ALEC.

Here's what they did:
  • eliminated the earned-income tax credit for 900,000 North Carolinians; 
  • refused Medicaid coverage for 500,000; 
  • ended federal unemployment benefits for 170,000; 
  • cut pre-K for 30,000 kids while shifting $90 million from public education to voucher schools; 
  • slashed taxes for the top 5 percent while raising taxes on the bottom 95 percent; 
  • axed public financing of judicial races; 
  • prohibited death row inmates from challenging racially discriminatory verdicts; 
  • passed one of the country’s most draconian anti-choice laws;  
  • enacted the country’s worst voter suppression law, which mandates strict voter ID, cuts early voting and eliminates same-day registration.

Writes Berman:
The fierce reaction against these policies led to the Moral Monday movement, when nearly 1,000 activists were arrested for nonviolent civil disobedience inside the North Carolina General Assembly. Rallies were held in more than thirty cities across the state and the approval ratings of North Carolina Republicans fell into the toilet. Sample signs at today’s rally: “OMG, GOP, WTF. It’s 2014, not 1954!!!” “Welcome to North Carolina. Turn Your Watch Back 50 Years!”... 
The Moral Monday protests transformed North Carolina politics in 2013, building a multiracial, multi-issue movement centered around social justice such as the South hadn’t seen since the 1960s. “We have come to say to the extremists, who ignore the common good and have chosen the low road, your actions have worked in reverse,” said Reverend William Barber II, president of the North Carolina NAACP and the leader of the Moral Monday movement, in his boisterous keynote speech. “You may have thought you were going to discourage us, but instead you have encouraged us. The more you push us back, the more we will fight to go forward. The more you try to oppress us, the more you will inspire us.”
Here's what the Moral Monday protesters want:
  • Secure pro-labor, anti-poverty policies that insure economic sustainability;
  • Provide well-funded, quality public education for all;
  • Stand up for the health of every North Carolinian by promoting health care access and environmental justice across all the state's communities;
  • Address the continuing inequalities in the criminal justice system and ensure equality under the law for every person, regardless of race, class, creed, documentation or sexual preference;
  • Protect and expand voting rights for people of color, women, immigrants, the elderly and students to safeguard fair democratic representation.
Berman predicts the movement will continue to grow this year. Let's hope.