June 10, 2014
United Steelworkers president slams Thom Tillis
USW President Leo Gerard has some harsh words for how extremist legislators in North Carolina handle the growing moral opposition to their immoral legislative and policy agenda.
Writing for the Huffington Post, Gerard describes what happened when a group of 14 demonstrators staged a sit-in in Speaker Thom Tillis’ office when Tillis refused to meet with them:
They waited patiently for 10 hours in Tillis’ office in the state Capitol late last month. Then police charged them with trespassing, handcuffed them, and hauled them out of the people’s house.
These Moral Monday protesters didn’t understand the situation as Tillis did or, for that matter, from the perspective of his fellow hardline Republicans from Wisconsin to Georgia. The way GOP hardliners see it, Tillis is the Speaker. He speaks, and everybody else shuts up and listens. These lawmakers don’t represent constituents in a constitutional democracy. They are overlords. And as rulers over the people, they’ve awarded themselves the power to muzzle and handcuff anyone who disagrees with them.
The 14 people arrested after Moral Lobby Day on Tuesday, May 27th joined 924 arrested during Moral Monday demonstrations last year for refusing to be obedient in the face of economic, social, and environmental injustice.
This year, the Republican-majority on Jones Street, the home of North Carolina’s General Assembly, adopted new rules to criminalize protest inside the legislative building – including a ban on “imminent disturbance”:
This is Republican rule, not representative governance. This is the arrogance of King George, not the deference of a public servant. It’s unconstitutional and un-American.