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'Uh-Oh, Instead of Defeating Us They Made Us Defiant' (Union/Black rage in North Carolina)
Labor Notes ^ | September 23, 2013 | Ajamu Dillahunt

Posted on 09/23/2013 7:54:53 PM PDT by 2ndDivisionVet

Since April North Carolina has made national and international news with a remarkable social movement that has gathered thousands to protest, with nearly 1,000 arrests for civil disobedience.

The Forward Together Movement, led by the North Carolina NAACP, showed up at the General Assembly in Raleigh for 13 consecutive Mondays while the Republican/Tea Party-controlled legislature was in session.

Although 17 clergy members made up the first wave of arrestees, the activists who formed the backbone of the actions were part of the six-year-old, NAACP-led HKonJ Coalition (Historic Thousands on Jones St.—site of the legislature), which had mobilized thousands to the Capitol every February for a 14-point progressive agenda.

It includes civil rights, labor, environmental, and other social and economic justice groups. With each Moral Monday, more groups and thousands of individuals joined the ranks.

Each week displayed a different theme. After a rally, those who intended to risk arrest and their supporters entered the legislative building and stood outside the Senate chambers singing, chanting, and praying. When they refused to disperse, they were arrested.

The NAACP leads the Forward Together Movement, but has mobilized thousands of white middle-class residents in addition to its historic Black constituency. Those who filled the grounds outside the General Assembly and those who entered the building to be arrested were majority white, as is the state as a whole.


United Electrical Workers Local 150, a pre-majority union for public employees, and Black Workers for Justice, a 32-year-old organization dedicated to workplace and community organizing, put out the call for a labor delegation and theme for the third Monday.

UE, BWFJ, the Farm Labor Organizing Committee, and postal union members showed up wearing yellow wristbands. Ten were among the 47 arrested that day.

State AFL-CIO top leaders and staff attended the early mobilizations, but it was not until the eighth Monday, after the NC AFL-CIO board voted to mobilize, that member unions turned out. State Fed Secretary-Treasurer MaryBe McMillan was a speaker, along with UE 150 President Angaza Laughinghouse.

The North Carolina Association of Educators (NCAE), an NEA affiliate, was also late to the game. Political advisors had urged the union to remain cautious and quiet in dealing with legislators and the growing movement—in spite of pending cuts to teacher and teaching assistant positions, threats to tenure, the elimination of higher pay for master’s degrees, proposals for merit pay, and the introduction of school vouchers.

NCAE President Rodney Ellis was finally arrested in the twelfth wave and mobilized at least 1,000 teachers for the final action. Rank-and-file teachers and retirees report that members were ready to fight from the very beginning.

Perhaps the biggest scandal was the behavior of the State Employees Association of North Carolina, a Service Employees (SEIU) affiliate. Director Dana Cope denounced the protests. INDY Week quoted Cope, “If you want to move a progressive cause forward right now, what that takes is being at the table. Moral Mondays is just creating a spectacle.”

In one Tweet, Cope said, “we think it unwise to break the law & overburden fellow public employees. Prefer sit down/talk policy.” And in response to a conservative blogger he tweeted that he could not “control crazy people @1199 SEIU from coming in and acting against us.”

It is rumored that Cope told the predominantly Black and Latino union members of 1199 in New York City who were invited to join the protest to “keep their Yankee asses out of North Carolina.” Eleven 1199 members did become Moral Monday arrestees, however.

In any case, organizers took advantage of the large number of potential allies. OUR Walmart and the SEIU-initiated Fast Food Workers campaign were on hand to educate and recruit.

Organizers for the Southern Workers’ Assembly, which attempts to bring together union and non-union workers across the South, had a regular presence. The NCAE has even begun to relate to the Assembly.

Teacher activist Bryan Proffitt said canvassing at Moral Mondays helped recruit to a rank-and-file social justice caucus he is helping build. “There were so many school workers there, and they had pre-identified themselves as activists and potential activists,” he said.


Often the legislative changes were framed as an assault on all the people of North Carolina. But the July verdict in George Zimmerman’s trial for shooting Trayvon Martin seemed to boost Black participation, after local rallies protesting the verdict.

During one protest, veteran BWFJ member Rukiya Dillahunt was chided by a white participant for holding a sign saying “Stop the War on Black America.” The person felt it should say “and white Americans.”

“I put her in check,” said Dillahunt, “by laying out the high Black unemployment rates, mass incarceration, and the ‘school-to-prison pipeline’ we face.”

The next week, white protesters requested and carried several hundred of the same signs, along with Justice for Trayvon signs.

NAACP leader Rev. William Barber expressed the movement’s outcome best: “Uh-oh, instead of defeating us they made us defiant.” He said right-wing leaders had inspired unity and fire in young people.

At the thirteenth and last Moral Monday, as the legislative session ended, Barber told the crowd of thousands, “Here we are, all races, all colors, all sexualities, all communities, all incomes”—summing up the coalition that had developed on the ground.


Proffitt’s take-away is that “Moral Mondays allowed everyone to walk away with a keener understanding of the ways that their lives and issues related.

“By being on the mall together, workers and women’s rights activists understood each other’s issues better. Environmentalists heard, relentlessly, about why the attacks on voting rights were so devastating.”

Now activists across the country are asking about the Moral Monday movement, hoping to duplicate its energy and politics. Georgia activists are planning their own Moral Monday campaign, and a Moral Monday protest in Chicago greeted ALEC, the incubator of right-wing legislation.

Local Moral Mondays have been held in four North Carolina cities, and another was held at the governor’s mansion September 16 against restrictions on youth voting and severe cuts to education.

Intensified voter registration drives are underway, aiming at both local and 2014 statewide elections—coupled with a call for local Peoples’ Assemblies, mobilization, and civil disobedience aimed at elected officials in their home districts.


Ajamu Dillahunt is a retired Raleigh Area Local Postal Workers president, a member of the Black Workers for Justice Coordinating Committee, and a former Labor Notes Policy Committee member.

TOPICS: Culture/Society; Government; Politics/Elections; US: North Carolina
KEYWORDS: blacks; northcarolina; trayvon; unions

The Author

1 posted on 09/23/2013 7:54:53 PM PDT by 2ndDivisionVet
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

Yep, your average commie drummer.

2 posted on 09/23/2013 7:58:53 PM PDT by Viennacon
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To: 2ndDivisionVet
What a petulant, wasted douchebag. Five bucks says he knows he sucks crease. LMAO!!!


3 posted on 09/23/2013 8:03:02 PM PDT by Gargantua ("Da amber lamps. Bring dem..." LMFFAO!!!!)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet
Head moocher on Moocher Mondays: William "Buffet Slayer" Barber.

4 posted on 09/23/2013 8:25:14 PM PDT by RightGeek (FUBO and the donkey you rode in on)
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To: Viennacon

OMG. The old Communist Party union the UE (Electrical Workers of America) still exits. They were the most hardcore marxist union in the Communist camp (others included the ILWU of Harry “Soviet agent” Bridges; Local 11 99 of the Hospital Workers Union created by CPUSA member Leon Davis; District 65 led by CPers David Livingston and others; the Amalgamated Meat Cutters and Butcherworkmen’s Union led by Soviet agent Abe Feinglass and many other CPUSA labor leaders (Chicago, where else?), the UPWA, etc.

Most of them were kicked out of the CIO in the late 40’s before it merged with Meaney’s very anti-communist AFL. The sociaist Reuther Brothers stayed out of the AFL-CIO (Victor Reuther was a ruthless marxist, even to other reds).

The UAW was literally created by the CPUSA and led by them for decades until the Reuther boys took them over. Bought out some old CPUSA friends, possibly including Rep. John Conyers father (Sr.). Junior is still a CPUSA red and has been since the 50’s.

Just thought I’d present a little labor history that you won’t get in school.

5 posted on 09/23/2013 8:48:34 PM PDT by MadMax, the Grinning Reaper
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To: RightGeek

William Barber should stop protesting and help poor democrats find jobs!

6 posted on 09/23/2013 8:53:10 PM PDT by o2bfree (Lindsey Graham is left of South Carolina.)
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To: RightGeek

William Barber should stop protesting and help poor democrats find jobs!

7 posted on 09/23/2013 9:02:56 PM PDT by o2bfree (Lindsey Graham is left of South Carolina.)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet; All

” - - - a Moral Monday protest in Chicago greeted ALEC, the incubator of right-wing legislation. - - - “

A.L.E.C. = _________________________________________________________________ ?

8 posted on 09/23/2013 9:27:50 PM PDT by Graewoulf (Traitor John Roberts' Commune-Style Obama'care' violates U.S. Constitution AND Anti-Trust Law.)
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To: o2bfree

Barber, aka Pork Chop

9 posted on 09/23/2013 9:36:26 PM PDT by Ready4Freddy
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To: Graewoulf

Q: What is the American Legislative Exchange Council?

A: The American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. It provides a constructive forum for state legislators and private sector leaders to discuss and exchange practical, state-level public policy issues. The potential solutions discussed at ALEC focus on free markets, limited government and constitutional division of powers between the federal and state governments. The organization respects diversity of thought; it is a non-partisan resource for its members, which include more than 2,000 Republican and Democratic state legislators.

Q: What does ALEC do and on what issues?

A: ALEC is a think-tank for state-based public policy issues and potential solutions. It publishes research and writing on issues that are of importance to its members. It holds meetings where people from public and private sectors share their views. It also develops model bills and resolutions on economic issues. These materials can be helpful resources for state legislators who have an interest in free markets, limited government and constitutional division of powers between the federal and state governments. ALEC serves solely as a resource for its members; it does not lobby state legislatures.

ALEC’s task forces cover a variety of economic issues of importance to the American people, including job creation and growth, state tax issues and budget solvency, education and healthcare reforms, corrections and reentry programs, civil justice reforms, and sound energy and environmental solutions.

Q: What is ALEC Model Legislation?

A: ALEC model bills serve as public policy resources. Many organizations that focus on state-level issues also offer model state legislation or codes. These organizations include the American Bar Association, National Conference of Commissioners on Uniform State Laws, and advocacy organizations, such as the National Consumer Law Center. Model bills are ideas that can be taken, modified or rejected, depending on the needs of a particular legislation. State legislators often find model bills valuable for learning from each others’ experiences and expertise, while tailoring the bills they introduce to meet the interests of their own state’s constituents. Any model bill, regardless of where it is from, rises or falls in a state based on whether it provides the solutions that makes sense in that particular state.

Unlike in many private sector groups that offer model legislation, elected state legislators fully control ALEC’s model legislation process. Ideas for model legislation are presented in a task force, which any member can join. The task forces often have vigorous discussions on whether to adopt a model bill, as well as the language for that model bill. When a task force believes a model bill is ready, ALEC’s Board of State Legislators must review and approve the bill for it to be posted for other ALEC members.

Each state legislator and their constituents then decide which solutions are best for them and their states. As ALEC Treasurer Rep. Linda Upmeyer (IA) has said, model bills are like “a file cabinet. If something can help my constituents, I can take what I need; and if it doesn’t help, I leave it alone.”

Q: How do members interact with ALEC?

A: ALEC provides a forum to facilitate the exchange of policy ideas from a variety of perspectives. ALEC model policy and resolutions are developed by ALEC members and may or may not reflect the positions of any individual member, company, association, or non-profit.

Q: What role does ALEC’s corporate membership have in the organization?

A: ALEC is run by and for state legislators. What makes ALEC valuable for the public is that ALEC provides a forum for the private sector to provide practical input on how state public policy decisions can impact jobs and the local economy, which has been particularly helpful during the recent tough economic times. These private sector members include corporate and nonprofit members, along with more than 500 individuals. No ALEC member donates more than 5% of ALEC’s revenues. As in all organizations, sometimes public and private sectors disagree on an issue. In the end, ALEC’s Board of State Legislators approves all model bills and public policy decisions at ALEC.

Q: What does ALEC have to say about its detractors, including Common Cause?

A: ALEC encourages all Americans to actively participate in the public policies of this country. As legislatures and governors pursue the best solutions for their states, ALEC understands and expects that some groups may oppose solutions that emphasize free markets and limited government. ALEC respects these disagreements. It is disappointed, though, that some have chosen rhetoric over honest discussion by attacking and distorting ALEC’s nature and record to advance their own political agendas.

ALEC is proud of its work and its limited role. It provides a venue for earnest discussion on important economic issues. ALEC does not lobby in any state. Its model bills and resolutions are public policy resources for state legislators. To the extent any ALEC model bill is successful, it is because it provides legislators and their constituents with the kind of free market, limited government solutions they want.

10 posted on 09/23/2013 9:49:05 PM PDT by 2ndDivisionVet (You can't invade the mainland US There'd be a rifle behind every blade of grass.)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

” - - - ALEC is run by and for state legislators. - - - “


Now I know why it is never in the news.

11 posted on 09/23/2013 10:08:05 PM PDT by Graewoulf (Traitor John Roberts' Commune-Style Obama'care' violates U.S. Constitution AND Anti-Trust Law.)
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To: Graewoulf

The Left complains about it constantly.

12 posted on 09/23/2013 10:09:27 PM PDT by 2ndDivisionVet (You can't invade the mainland US There'd be a rifle behind every blade of grass.)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

Sounds more like a “straw man” hoax created by the lefties to look like they are whupping up on Conservatives.

13 posted on 09/23/2013 10:23:42 PM PDT by Graewoulf (Traitor John Roberts' Commune-Style Obama'care' violates U.S. Constitution AND Anti-Trust Law.)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

Second only to “The Koch Brothers.”

14 posted on 09/23/2013 10:34:10 PM PDT by Cyber Liberty (It's hard to accept the truth when the lies were exactly what you wanted to hear.)
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To: RightGeek

What a pig! Looks like he and mochelle need to have a long talk.

15 posted on 09/24/2013 4:42:11 AM PDT by freeangel ( (free speech is only good until someone else doesn't like it)
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