Why North Carolina’s ‘Moral Mondays’ Matter for Democracy and the Planet
Every Monday for the past month, North Carolina citizens from across the spectrum have gathered at the State House in Raleigh to protest the pro-corporate, anti-rights agenda of the legislature’s newly elected Republicans. The top priority of these Republicans is to pass every law imaginable to wreck the environment and strip away the ability of people to defend their communities — which is exactly why Reverend William Barber and the hundreds of dedicated people of North Carolina will be there again this Monday, singing, chanting, and raising their voices in every way they can to make sure the corporate right doesn’t win in North Carolina.
Greenpeace activists will be there alongside Reverend Barber and groups across issues, because this fight matters in a big way — not only for North Carolina but for everyone in the country who cares about voting rights and environmental protection.
Because the big money groups fighting the citizens of North Carolina are the same big money groups fighting across the country to disempower the majority who believe in the rights of communities to be safe and self-determined. If the corporate right sees it can win in North Carolina, it will take the same tactics to every vulnerable state in the Union in a full court press against people and the environment. We can’t let that happen.
For years, the people of North Carolina have struggled against the State House influence of big corporations like Duke Energy, which has had the state’s regulators and politicians on lockdown for decades but now sees its old, dirty energy business model barreling towards obsolescence. So Duke and other old economy behemoths are getting desperate, trying to hold onto all the power they can before demographics and history sweep them aside.
Art Pope, North Carolina’s self-appointed kingmaker and honorary Koch Brother, along with the right wing legislation factories ALEC, AFP, and State Policy Network are gleefully running amok at the state house, trying to ram through legislation that would fire all the state’s environmental regulators, restrict renewable energy, wish away global warming, and make sure disenfranchised voters stayed that way.
These guys don’t divide us into social justice groups and environmental groups — they see us as all one enemy, which is why in North Carolina we are one movement. They try to take away voting rights from people of color because they know those are the people that — if empowered — will fight to make sure that coal plants and toxic waste incinerators don’t end up in their back yards. Communities of color and low-income communities are hurt first and worst by Duke’s rate hikes for dirty energy. They are hurt first and worst by pollution, since companies usually site the coal plants and toxic waste dumps in their communities. They are the people who could benefit most from solar panels on their rooftops and the ability to free themselves from the regressive, costly, polluting electricity grid that Duke currently offers. Which is why we’re standing together to make sure the people are empowered. An attack by corporate interests against North Carolina’s working people, women, people of color, or any other vulnerable group, is an attack on North Carolina’s environment too, and we will stand with our allies to fight that corporate funded threat.