A New Stage of a Powerful Social Movement Arises
In our assessment of the Trayvon Martin situation we noted that we are seeing the beginnings of a new stage of a powerful spontaneous movement. It is an inevitable social response to oppression. The “Moral Monday” movement in North Carolina is another case in point of a new stage of a movement rising to confront its oppressors.
A broad coalition of religious leaders, educators, unions, activists and ordinary people have assembled on each Monday at the North Carolina legislature, now in session, occupying the legislature until they are handcuffed and hauled away to jail. To date more than 900 have been arrested.
They are there to protest what they call extreme legislation that is targeting the very means of livelihood for millions of North Carolinians. They see this as a moral outrage, and vow to stand up to this onslaught and take “Not one step back.” Some of the legislation that has been passed or is pending includes eliminating the Earned Income tax credit for 900,000, declining Medicaid coverage for 500,000, ending federal unemployment benefits for 170,000, cutting pre-K for 30.000 children while shifting the money to vouchers for private schools, and slashing taxes for the top 5 per cent while raising taxes on the bottom 95 per cent.
In addition, a number of extreme restrictions to voting rights have been enacted, including the requirement for a state-issued photo ID, which 318,000 registered voters don’t have, drastically cutting early voting, eliminating same-day registration, and rescinding the automatic restoration of voting rights for ex-felons. The gutting of the Voting Rights Act by the Supreme Court is a green light to proceed unchecked.
All of this taken together represents a direct attack by the ruling class on the very means of survival of the working class, and is at the same time an assault on democracy. It is a ruling class directly imposing its power. Theirs is a program that arises right out of Southern history, a history rooted in white supremacy and the dictatorship of corporate power. It is a program for fascism.
This is what the movement in North Carolina is rising to confront, and this is why it is so significant. This movement represents a new stage in the spontaneous movement precisely because it chooses to do battle, not on scattered defensive fronts, but to directly confront the State. That is, they directly oppose the Southern program which the State seeks to impose, but they oppose it with their own program. Their battle is for the necessaries of life, for food, homes and education for their children. And yes, it is a battle for democracy.
This movement is significant also because it is breaking out in the South. We have long understood, precisely because of the history of this country, that as the South goes, so goes the nation. The South, and the Southern worker, is key to the advance of the revolutionary process.
In some ways what is happening with the Moral Monday movement is an expression of the “rising new electorate” we saw emerging in the 2012 elections. But while the “extreme” legislators in North Carolina may happen to be Republican, it is not a matter of Democrat vs. Republican, although some of those features may appear to be in the mix. Likewise, while much of the rhetoric of the movement may be expressed in the religious idiom (it could not be otherwise in the South), it is much more than that. That may be its form; its content is the immorality of a system that oppresses its people without compunction. That is a moral outrage, an outrage we share.
September/October 2013. Vol23.Ed5
This article originated in Rally, Comrades!
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The age-old vision of a world without scarcity, without exploitation, class domination, organized violence, and stultifying labor has been the dream of millenia. The new completely socialized labor-eliminating means of production ... sets the basis for its realization. Now human history can begin, the light of the individual shining in the full brightness of liberated life, that can only be realized within true equality and cooperation: communism, a cooperative society.'Without Vision, the People Perish'
Rally, Comrades ! May/June 2011