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12,000 Strong March in North Carolina against the Politics of Exclusion

Women have no right to control their own bodies.

Workers have no right to earn enough to live on.

Children have no right to eat.

Unprivileged citizens have no right to vote.

People of color have no right to organize.

Same-sex couples have no right to marry.

Those are the policy priorities of the right wing in North Carolina. Taken together, they exclude a supermajority of the people of North Carolina.  North Carolina has a long history of political rule that privileges straight, rich, white men at the exclusion of other groups, but it also has a history of building alliances across lines of race and class to pursue a more inclusive vision.  In the 1890s, populists and Republicans joined together in a strategy dubbed “fusion politics” to promote policies of greater racial and economic equality.  That movement was eventually undone by waves of white supremacist violence and intimidation, but 120 years later fusion politics re-emerged in the “Moral Mondays” movement.  Centered around the NAACP but bringing in feminists, progressive religious groups from multiple Christian and non-Christian faiths, LGBT groups, Greens, labor unions and more, this new fusion politics is in many ways broader than the fusion politics of old, embracing an agenda of equal political rights across lines of race, class, gender, and sexuality.

When all the different groups excluded from the conservative North Carolina power base are put together, they create impressive numbers.  Blogger DocDawg attended a Moral Movement March in Raleigh this past Saturday, and he documented attendance in pictures…

DocDawg image: Moral March in Raleigh, North Carolina, February 2015

But more importantly, he documented numbers.  In his article he declares that “we were 12,000 strong by my calculation,” and in private conversation he explained that:

“you can take that number to the bank (or to the State Capitol). I get so pissed off by wildly inaccurate estimates of turnout, so decided to do it right. I ran up ten flights of stairs to the top of a parking structure beside the parade route, photographed the whole length of the march, then took those pictures home, analyzed the mean packing density of the marchers, google-mapped the precise length and average width of the route, and thus came to that number.”

Twelve thousand voices raised in protest on a cold winter’s day in Raleigh should be heard. Will North Carolina’s Republican-dominated legislature listen?

5 thoughts on “12,000 Strong March in North Carolina against the Politics of Exclusion”

  1. Ella says:

    Reading the list of ‘exclusions’ leaves a gap in what, in recent history, has become the norm.

    1) ‘Blacks’ organize when and where they wish.
    2) ‘Blacks’ march and engage in violent group activism when directed to do so.
    3) ‘Blacks’ organize other ethnic groups, i.e. Hispanic. (Can’t get anywhere with Asians, Oriental, and people from the Near East)
    4) LBGT community has politically benefited from the organization and demonstrations of ‘Blacks’.
    5) Biblical Christianity is one religion and other forms exist, but are re-written versions of Biblical Christianity.
    6) More poor children (and adults) eat today than have historically in manufacturing communities. (More, of course, eat in farming communities.)
    7) Single poor people, both male and female, of working age, have almost no rights unless they are employed, registered to vote, have a legal residence (can afford rent and utilities), and are in some cases, eligible for food stamps (a right). (whites were proportionally considered not qualified in that category.)

    The Civil Rights Act gives all people in minority groups first class citizenship, both male and female. Not whites.
    Poor, white, single, females are at least 2nd class if not lower.
    Single, poor, white males are 2nd class if not born into 1st class families.

    All citizens of the United States have the right to vote. It is a privilege of citizenship.
    Drawing Social Security and Medicare benefits are privileges of citizenship in the United States.
    Legal immigrants and visiting scholars have the privilege of free education or funded education.

    These facts remain still today, to all United States citizens however, are in danger of being forever lost – to everyone. Once non-citizens gain citizenship rights, there is no benefit to being a citizen anymore and the once citizens have given away their birthright. At that point it will not matter what your social status is, there will be no social benefits left.

    Better to shore up your once citizenship rights than to be so bored as to find points to argue about. Idle minds and hands need to find something to do. Let it not be destroying what you have.

  2. Bill says:

    Ella, at the risk of misinterpreting your less than entirely coherent rant, I will simply point out what a great example it is of the old ‘fission politics’: “Waaah! Poor me! My life sucks because members of an oppressed minority are getting all the attention that I should get!” The Kochs and other plutocrats who buy elections, rig the world, and keep you down thank you sincerely, for without infighting among the oppressed the oppressors could never have their way as they do today.

    As Jim nicely points out in his article, North Carolina’s Moral Movement is the exact opposite of this old-style fission politics which so successfully keeps the poor and the oppressed in their places. Fusion politics…or, as the article Jim discusses calls it, “fusion power,” seeks to help us realize that oppression is oppression is oppression, whether it is the oppressions of people of color, of gays, of working folks, of poor whites, of women, of men, of the environment…what have you.

    Reverend William Barber, president of the NC NAACP and father of the Moral Movement, says it best in this short clip of a moving speech he delivered a couple of years ago. Check it out: When The Stones Come Together

    P.S.: You mis-state so many things in your comment. All citizens of the United DO NOT have the right to vote (for example felons, those without voter ID, those under 18), and drawing Social Security and Medicare benefits ARE NOT privileges of citizenship (you have to pay into it to get money out of it). All citizens ARE entitled to free public education through the 12th grade, but Republicans are doing the best they can to put an end to that. Finally, and most amazingly, you state “Once non-citizens gain citizenship rights, there is no benefit to being a citizen anymore.” My grandparents were non-citizens. So were yours (or some earlier relatives), too. SO WERE SOME ANCESTORS OF EACH AND EVERY U.S. CITIZEN. What makes you think you’re so special that the door should close behind YOU?

    1. Ella says:

      Bill, I don’t want to close the door behind me and yes, my ancestors were also immigrants. The Native Americans, who were here when they considered this continent to be many nations, struggle to receive the benefits they were promised. The “fusion power” sounds so good, a real advance in people strength in political matters. You are so right, the conflict between different groups, social and racial, is bedrock for political campaigns and governing. But there are some facts that should not be understated, or maybe overstated. One of them is that the NAACP is not organized. That ‘Black’ people are not very organized across this nation. That is not to say that each individual does not have a choice, just that there is a large organization which coalesces when directed. Millions can be brought from all over the country in a very short period of time. Granted that many different races may be included in the protest or whatever. Tell me how many marches or protests have been organized in the U.S. in the past five years have been other than ‘black’ and how many of them have lead to businesses being robbed and/or burned.

      Legal immigrants have every right to citizenship in their turn. Illegal immigrants have always had a path to citizenship by having their children on American soil. But there comes a time when too many people are included for the economy to absorb and take care of those who are already citizens.

      Felons and minors have two different circumstances. Felons break laws, children grow up, yet many disabled children, through their parents do draw disability, from the Social Security Fund. Felons had the right and lost it.

      My ancestors did not have the right to Social Security, Disability, or Welfare. My parents lived to see Social Security set up, Welfare and Disability developed from the overage funds in the Social Security Fund and Medicare, finally Medicaid. Both actually lived long enough to draw small Social Security checks. These benefits haven’t been around very long. My parents fought in the halls of Congress for them.

      1. Bill says:

        I think you may have a mistaken impression regarding the NAACP in general, and ‘blacks’ in particular. I can help you with the former, as I am a member, but not so much with the latter, as I am white.

        You write: “Tell me how many marches or protests have been organized in the U.S. in the past five years have been other than ‘black’” While that’s not a number I (or anyone else) have on hand, I can tell you that the NC NAACP’s Moral Mondays program alone organizes about 20 (or more) marches and protests per year. I attend most of them, and — surprise — they are not ‘black.’ They are well-attended by blacks, asians, hispanics, whites, pretty much in keeping with the ethnic diversity of North Carolina…in fact I would have to say that the MAJORITY of attendees are usually white. So I would have to say that ALL of these have been “other than black.”

        “…and how many of them have lead to businesses being robbed and/or burned?” I’m not even going to dignify that question with a response.

        It sounds to me like the first thing you see when you look at a non-caucasian is color…and that that might well be the last thing you see, too. If so, you should work on that. You’re missing the blessing of loving the vast majority of God’s children.

      2. Jim Cook says:

        Do you have DOCUMENTATION of your claims, Ella? Have you studied all this? If so, share your documentation. If not, why are you saying what you’re saying?

        If you want are looking for white crowds trashing towns, look no further than the yearly spectacle of college football aftermaths, March Madness student riots, and “Pumpkinfest.” If you want, I can document these if you’d like. Just ask.

        Where is the documentation for your claims?

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