Tomorrow my sister Kathie plans to go to a “Moral Mondays” demonstration in Raleigh. She may even participate in civil disobedience there. Because she lives in North Carolina, I’ve been watching the right-wing coup that has been taking place in what has been a relatively progressive Southern state. The state took over Asheville’s public water district, which has always been locally-run and locally-funded, without negotiation or compensation. The legislature is now in the process of dismantling voting rights, firing environmental regulators, cutting unemployment compensation, firing teachers’ aides, increasing class sizes, and ending safety net protections for the most vulnerable people.
Powerful billionaire Art Pope, active in ALEC, is now North Carolina’s Budget Director. Pope has been called “a cross between the Koch brothers and Karl Rove.” Big money, corporate sponsors, and entrenched political players are clearly at work here, aligned to make true democracy irrelevant. And yet, in the face of incredible odds against them, people are rising up to say “no.”
This is not just happening in North Carolina, but around the world: in Taksim Square, in Brazil, in Idle No More and related actions against the Keystone XL pipeline, in anti-drone actions, in appearances of still-alive Occupy movements. People are also engaged in smaller but persistent struggles taking place around the world.
It is heartening to see people rising up in resistance to the Powers that Be. Why? For one thing, many of us know that only through “we the people” is there any hope of turning back the ascendant evil of today’s domination system, which consumes life and threatens the future. For another, when people join together, rise up, say “enough,” and organize new ways of being in community, it is an expression of our humanity. I’m convinced that the Spirit is present wherever people resist dehumanization and come more fully alive.