Who’s your Valentine?
We can’t have any of that here. Josh Holland connects the dots, explaining why Tennessee Republicans are very, very unhappy that VW workers in Chattanooga might unionize:
For years, economist Dean Baker has waged a lonely campaign urging progressives to stop accusing business-friendly politicians of being “free-market fundamentalists.” In his 2011 book, The End of Loser Liberalism: Making Markets Progressive, he wrote, “The vast majority of the right does not give a damn about free markets; it just wants to redistribute income upward.” Today, you don’t need to look any further than Tennessee for proof that the “free market” rhetoric of business-friendly politicians is in fact thin cover for favoring the investor class over workers and the environment.
VW workers in Chattanooga finish voting today. They’ve been threatened with economic reprisals — from Grover Norquist’s merry men, to state senators, a U.S. senator, and Tennessee’s governor himself. Heaven forbid workers should have any power in the workplace.
Because in the end that’s what this is about. Not about markets, capitalism, communism, economics or comparative advantage. It’s about power. Who doesn’t have any and who’s terrified of sharing it. Right now, the powers that be in Tennessee are terrified of losing their monopoly on it.
Roger Hickey of Campaign for America’s Future (CAF) sums up what makes this moral movement work:
Long years of organizing and networking had built trust among groups representing various parts of the North Carolina community. And attacks on “my group” coming at the same time as attacks on “your group” forged stronger bonds. An inclusivePeople’s Agenda was forged, supported by an impressive list of coalition partners – from faith groups to labor unions to LGBT rights organizations to women’s groups and environmentalists. Look at these two links, which can both be found athttp://www.hkonj.com/about. They are models for almost every state coalition in the nation.
Isaiah Poole, editor of OurFuture.org, CAF’s blog), quotes Chapel Hill-based education activist, Jeff Bryant:
“With the current dysfunction of government at the national level, these state movements will begin to get more attention as they become more of a visible new dynamic contrasting to the stalemate we see in Washington, D.C.,” Bryant said. “And the messaging around morality rather than values of economic efficiency and financialization that have been the heart of neoliberalism over the past two to three decades will strike many Americans as a better direction forward.”
Isaiah graciously allowed me the last word:
“I expect the movement to build,” Sullivan said. “Fifty years ago, it was ‘segregation now, segregation tomorrow, and segregation forever!’ until it wasn’t, until the weight of the world’s collective moral judgement broke it. Same with apartheid. Same with this tea-party nonsense.”
The News & Observer opines that the broad coalition of protesters that assembled in Raleigh on Saturday represents mainstream North Carolina, not that the Republican-led legislature acknowledges it, or cares:
To see the long ranks of protesters was to wonder how much longer North Carolina’s Republican leaders can dismiss them as a rabble, as outsiders, as “takers,” as agitators, and not see them for who they are: The People. Their issues include labor conditions, pay for public employees, environmental protections, voting rights, fair taxation, help for the unemployed, gay rights, abortion rights and civil rights.
But another of their issues is one they hold in common: They feel they are not being heard. And the deafness of the state’s political powers is deliberate. Legislative leaders and the governor can’t hear above the sound of the corporate money that steers their agenda. And even if they could, they wouldn’t listen. The people in the streets holding signs and chanting are not people they consider “the mainstream” or “real Americans.”
Led by NC NAACP president Rev. Dr. William J. Barber II, the Forward Together movement may be indigenous to North Carolina, but Saturday’s mass rally showed that its influence is expanding. Moral Monday protests are starting in Georgia and South Carolina. Over two dozen states sent marchers to Raleigh on Saturday — from neighboring southern states to New York, Florida and Missouri.
Not just a coalition of single-issue groups, this fusion movement recognizes that their varied interests are connected in their struggle against the “extremism” of North Carolina’s General Assembly and Gov. Pat McCrory. Forward Together set five demands for 2014:
• Secure pro-labor, anti-poverty policies that insure economic sustainability;
• Provide well-funded, quality public education for all;
• Stand up for the health of every North Carolinian by promoting health care access and environmental justice;
• Address inequalities in the criminal justice system;
• Protect and expand voting rights for people of color, women, immigrants, the elderly and students to safeguard fair democratic representation.
(Cross-posted from Crooks and Liars.)
Who’s minding the blog? It’s Friday.
Moral March on Raleigh tomorrow! Live streaming starts at 9 a.m.: http://bit.ly/1g3gy1J
That was the original title for this essay generously published in the Mountain Xpress this week. Click through to read the whole thing. Excerpts:
I’m proud to be a part of a city where people care about each other. One recent study cited Asheville as one of the most generous cities in America, whose residents volunteer lots of time and money to make the world a better place. This is a community that knows we’re all in it together, and that’s why we’re going to be able to rise to the challenges facing us today.
We love living here, but we’re acutely aware of the fact that Asheville has a very high cost of living and very low median household income. Helping us get that median wage up are Living Wage Certified businesses that have made human value and dignity central to their business models. Great businesses like New Belgium Brewing, Linamar and PLI are helping too. The sad fact, however, is that too many employers here pay low wages for an honest day’s work. No one who works a full-time job ought to live in poverty. The city, county, Economic Development Coalition and Chamber of Commerce are working hard and all rowing in the same direction: toward better paying jobs. Asheville is examining our economic-incentive policies to better support homegrown entrepreneurs who pay living wages.
Asheville aspires to be a city of equal opportunity for all. Increasing incomes and offering affordable transportation options are two parts of a three-pronged approach to ensure a thriving city for generations to come.
The third leg of that three-legged stool is affordable housing, defined as spending no more than 30 percent of your income on housing costs. We all want a vibrant city where economically mobile citizens can get a leg up, and where the elderly and disabled can live in dignity. We want an Asheville where residents can save money toward homeownership, business startups, tuition and increased opportunities for their children. Without affordable housing, a big part of our Asheville family struggles just to stay afloat.
This is my work week.