As noted in this morning’s Weekly Briefing, state lawmakers will be welcomed back to Raleigh tomorrow morning by, among other things, a large gathering of “Pots and Spoons” protesters on Bicentennial Mall across from the front entrance to the Legislative Building. The event is a follow-up to the successful inaugural effort of 2012. The simple and powerful goal: to re-create the energy and straightforward symbolism of similar protests launched by working people around the world – most notably in several Latin American countries where the events are known as cacerolazo protests.
As the flyer for the event urges:
“Now is the time to bring the spirit of the cacerolazo back to our state, where our out-of-control legislature and governor have since the 2012 election catered to corporations, tax evaders, and right-wing ideologues; raised barriers to voting; made cruel cuts to unemployment benefits; gutted public education; rejected Medicaid expansion for 500,000 people without health insurance; raised taxes on 900,000 of the working poor only to cut them for the 23 wealthiest families in our state; brought fracking to North Carolina; and enabled corporate polluters like Duke Energy to foul our air and waterways.”
Here’s another factor that could help make for an interesting and potentially high-impact event: The pots and spoons will commence banging just as the Committee to Elect Republican Women concludes its 8:00 am to 10:00 am big money lobbyist fundraiser at the swanky Cardinal Club just down the street from the protest.
For those not familiar with events of this ilk, the fundraiser is part of a long and cynical tradition in North Carolina politics whereby politicians of both parties evade legal bans on gifts by lobbyists to lawmakers during legislative sessions by holding their cash-collection shindigs just minutes (in this case 120 of them) before the session officially convenes at 12 noon. Pretty depressing, huh?
Perhaps there will be at least some consolation tomorrow, however, as a result of the happy coincidence that the Pots & Spoons protesters will be stationed directly between the fundraiser attendees and the Legislative Building at the very moment the GOP gala lets out. Maybe the lawmakers will be forced to look a few protesters in the eyes.