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Hullabaloo


Sunday, February 12, 2017

 

A moral disruption

by Tom Sullivan

Yesterday was a good day to be heard. In Minneapolis, about 2,000 protesters marched to support immigrants and refugees. Another 2,000 took to the streets in San Diego in support of Planned Parenthood and against moves in Congress to cut funding to women's health services.

In Raleigh, North Carolina, tens of thousands marched in the 11th Annual Moral March on Raleigh & HKonJ People’s Assembly. The local ABC affiliate reports:

A coalition of social justice advocacy groups organized by the North Carolina NAACP also included speakers focused on opposition to actions by President Donald Trump, particularly on immigration. Other rallies held in Raleigh this year have been critical of Trump.

The "J" in "HK on J" stands for Jones Streets, where state lawmakers meet. Most of Saturday's marchers oppose policies pushed by the Republican-led legislature.

Saturday's protesters also pushed for the repeal of House Bill 2, which limits LGBT rights and which bathrooms transgender people can use. Other topics include opposition to gerrymandering in redistricting and to the repeal of former President Barack Obama's health care overhaul.

The News and Observer reports:

“A racist and greedy extremism that came to power in North Carolina four years ago now controls the White House and the Congress in D.C.,” said the Rev. William Barber, president of the state NAACP branch, at a speech before the march. “Millions are afraid.

“A loud majority is outraged and the whole world is in turmoil asking what can we do. Well, we know we’ve got a hard fight ahead, but we know how to win.”

Barber has been the leader of the “Moral Monday” movement that has protested GOP state policies in recent years.

Barber has managed what progressive groups have failed to sustain. The Forward Together fusion movement "was based on the simple principle that if the wealthy few were cynical enough to stand together against justice, then we should be smart enough to come together for justice." His fusion coalition has bought single issue groups out of their silos to work together as a group in a way that confounds the conservative opposition. The issues they tackle, Barber preaches (and he does preach), are beyond right and left. They are about right and wrong.

"And when we examine policy, we'd ask three questions: Is it constitutionally consistent, is it morally defensible, and is it economically sane?"

This casts Barber as a kind of disrupter. While the issues and groups in the movement are clearly left of center, by being careful to avoid partisan branding and affiliations, and by reviving the kind of church leadership that Martin Luther King drew on during the Civil Rights era, the powers that be are somewhat lost in how to assault it. After years of Christian Coalition influence on the Republican politics, some on the left find the mixing among progressive groups uncomfortable. But it would have been hard to find them among the estimated 80,000 marchers yesterday.