Nel's New Day

February 10, 2014

Moral Mondays Start to Sweep Nation

Filed under: Uncategorized — trp2011 @ 7:08 PM
Tags: , , ,

“Moral Mondays” marched last Saturday, and the mainstream media took note. They started last year when crowds showed up the North Carolina capitol on Mondays to protest the draconian laws that legislators persisted in passing. After lowering taxes for the wealthiest top 5 percent, Republicans took some of these actions after they controlled the legislature and governor’s mansion in 2012:

  • Raised taxes for the poorest bottom 95 percent
  • Eliminated Medicaid coverage for 500,000 people
  • Deprived 70,000 North Carolinians of unemployment benefits on June 30, 2014
  • Ended federal unemployment benefits for 170,000
  • Enacted a voting law requiring voter ID and cutting early voting
  • Repealed an earned-income tax credit for 900,000
  • Stopped public financing of judicial races
  • Cut preschool for 30,000 children
  • Shifted $90 million from public schools to voucher schools
  • Repealed a law permitting death row inmates to appear a conviction proved to include racial bias in sentencing
  • Allowed hydraulic fracking
  • Amended the state constitution to ban marriage equality
  • Mandated that women “listen to the heartbeat of the unborn child” before an abortion 

Gov. Pat McCrory was dismissive of the protesters, but polls show that by last summer, more North Carolina residents approved of the Moral Monday protesters than of the state legislature. Last Saturday, a crowd of between 80,000 and 100,000 people turned out for the Raleigh rally and marched for justice including reproductive, voting, LGBT, health care, and environmental rights. Last year, the march brought only about 15,000 people.

moral-monday-stage_img 

People in North Carolina know that Art Pope, a right-wing multi-millionaire with close connections to the Koch brothers, bought many of the GOP legislators in the 2010 election who then redistricted the state to protect their grip on the state legislature. It was the first time since 1870 that North Carolina had a Republican government. Art Pope’s bonus from his victory was being in charge of the state budget.   

The 84 people arrested at Saturday’s rally joined the almost 1,000 others who were arrested in last year’s demonstrations, many of them clergy who had never participated in civil disobedience. Last week, police even arrested a journalist who was merely covering the protest.

The state NAACP meeting in Raleigh plus 200 other organizations the number of protesters in Saturday’s “Moral March on Raleigh” from 15,000 in 2013 to almost 100,000 this year. It was the largest civil rights rally in the South since tens of thousands of voting rights activists marched from Selma to Montgomery in support of the Voting Rights Act.

The Moral Monday group has five demands

  • Secure pro-labor, anti-poverty policies that ensure 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.

Spinoffs in George and South Carolina have already started the movement in other states. At the Georgia state capitol, 23 protesters were arrested and housed in Fulton County Jail when they went to the office of state Sen. Jesse Stone, GOP chair of the Judiciary Non-Civil Committee. Stone has declined to act on a Democratic effort to repeal the state’s “stand your ground” law and refused to meet with the entire group. The law was recently evoked when a Georgia homeowner shot and killed a 72-year-old Alzheimer’s patient he thought was an intruder. Ten Moral Monday members were arrested on January 27, 2014 when they protested Gov. Nathan Deal’s refusal to expand Medicaid in the state.

Moral Monday can provide a blueprint for the nation. The GOP may want to start taking notice.

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