Fifteen people were arrested for civil disobedience in the latest Moral Monday protest (on Monday, of course) against the North Carolina Legislature's efforts to impoverish working people. According to reports, Moral Monday activists will turn their attention to getting out the vote for candidates who support working families.
After the arrests at the teach-in/pray-in/sit-in event, a block party broke out in front of the Capitol.
The NAACP says the latest arrests put the total number of people arrested since the "Moral Monday" protests started last year at over 1,000.
This week's rally included a series of seminars in the halls of the Legislative Building just before the House and Senate went into session that focused on how to get people to the polls in November and organize local protest groups.
General Assembly Police asked the protesters to leave shortly before the 15 arrests, saying the group was disturbing the business of the House and Senate.Moral Monday activists object to the Legislature raising taxes on the poor and middle class while lowering them for the rich. They oppose new voter suppression laws, cuts to education, cuts to unemployment insurance benefits and weaker environmental protections. Their agenda comes straight from the playbook of ALEC, the corporate dating service for corporations and state lawmakers.
Moral Monday protests embarrassed North Carolina's lawmakers, so they tried to ban them after 900 activists were arrested last year. This year they passed a law letting police arrest anyone who poses a threat to create a disturbance. So just the possibility of an 'imminent disturbance' could get you arrested in North Carolina.
A state superior court judge temporarily suspended the law as overly broad. He schoolchildren were often the loudest visitors to the Statehouse.
The Moral Monday actually began in 2006. Campaign for America's Future explains:
The movement had its beginnings in 2006, when Rev. Barber and others, recognizing the need for a new form of “fusion politics,” began building the Historic Thousands on Jones Street movement (HKonJ)...
“We recognized that many of the same political forces that are against, say, gender rights, are often also against education equality, environmental justice, and policies that help the poor,” Barber said, explaining the beginnings of the Moral Mondays movement. “And so we said that we needed in North Carolina — and we said this is when Democrats were in office — to have a new form of fusion politics if we were going to really address the South...”
The new “fusion politics” fuses together political issues that are often seen and addressed as separate concerns. This “fusion” is reflected in the 14 point agenda of the HKonJ movement, which embraced issues like public education, livable wages, health care, voting rights, environmental justice, collective bargaining and workers’ rights in the context of “liberty and justice for all.”