While it’s obvious that spokespeople for political parties have a job to do — namely to defend their politicians at all costs — they are also usually better served by grounding their comments in at least some small measure of reality. On this count, state GOP chair Claude Pope swung and missed today with his almost comically off-base broadsides against Rev. William Barber and tomorrow’s Moral March on Raleigh.

As someone who has had the privilege of knowing Barber and working with him frequently in recent years, I can assure Pope and anyone else who cares that he and and the movement he leads are anything but “partisan,” “left-wing,” or “radical.”

First off, as Pope seems to have conveniently forgotten, the HK on J movement was birthed during a period in which Democrats controlled all the main arms of state government.  In those days, the protests were directed against the Democrats in power.  And Pope can rest assured that were the Democrats to somehow regain power in the state, the movement would continue. Indeed, I’ve personally watched Barber chase off politicians who’ve tried to use events in which he was involved for partisan purposes.

This brings us to point #2, which is that the agenda advanced by the HK on J/Moral March movement is actually quite mainstream. If Pope would just check it out and consider it honestly in its historical context — something he’s likely never done — he’d discover that many of the ideas have long been supported by leaders of both parties and huge majorities of average Americans. Heck, go back a few years, and many of these ideas (things like health care for all, environmental justice and affordable housing) were supported (and even launched) by conservatives.

The bottom line: The HK on J/Moral March movement is about many things, but mostly it’s about mainstream, American values that are supported by large majorities of average folks — especially people of low and moderate income who have watched in dismay as their government has been hijacked by corporate plutocrats. Moreover, its leaders are more than happy (thrilled, even) to work with politicians of any party who are willing to sit down and discuss genuine societal progress.


A new press release from the North Carolina NAACP:

NC NAACP Releases Letter Calling on Sen. Richard Burr to Stop Blocking a Vote on Ms. Jennifer May-Parker’s Candidacy to Fill an Open Seat on the U.S. District Court for Eastern North Carolina

RALEIGH – The North Carolina NAACP released a letter today urging Sen. Richard Burr (R-NC) to stop blocking the congressional confirmation vote of Ms. Jennifer May-Parker for the U.S. district court judgeship in Eastern North Carolina.

Reverend Dr. William J. Barber, II and the state conference also call upon the NC NAACP’s partner organizations and other people of conscience to contact Sen. Burr and let him know that they oppose his continued efforts to obstruct the appointment of a well-qualified African-American attorney to the court seat.

“The North Carolina NAACP, the people of North Carolina, say today that we will never stand by as justice is delayed,” Dr. Barber said on Jan. 25 when he announced the initiative. “Because justice delayed is justice denied.” Read More


Moral MondaysICYMI, an editorial in this morning’s edition of the Greensboro News & Record calls for the dismissal of charges against all Moral Monday protesters and a coherent rewrite of the the rules regulating protests in the state Legislative Building:

“This has been bungled from the start. Demonstrators who gathered in the second-floor lobby of the Legislative Building on Monday evenings last year never should have been arrested. They were expressing their disapproval of Republican policies but did not impede legislators from going about their business. If they had become overly disruptive, they could have been escorted out of the building. At no time did they attempt to occupy the facility beyond the hours when it’s normally open to the public.

Instead, over the course of the General Assembly session, 945 people were taken into custody and charged with trespassing, failing to disperse and violating building rules…. Read More


The editorial staff of the Greensboro News & Record issued a strong condemnation of yesterday’s convictions in Wake County District Court of 12 Moral Monday protesters including state NAACP leader, Rev. William Barber. According to the N&R:

“Wake County District Court Judge Joy Hamilton brushed aside constitutional claims Wednesday and convicted a dozen Moral Monday demonstrators of trespassing and violating legislative building rules. The defendants should prevail on appeal….

There should have been no arrests. The protests were peaceful. Participants didn’t damage property or attempt to occupy the premises or stop lawmakers from entering their chambers and conducting business. They were expressing their views — and, yes, praying — inside a government building at a time when it was open to the public….

The problem is that the exercise of rights is sometimes disorderly. The people’s right to gather in public places means their presence must be tolerated by government officials who would prefer they go away.

Moral Monday protesters did not go away. All North Carolinians, no matter their political views, should stand with them, because all hold the same rights. The courts should defend them.”

Read the entire editorial by clicking here.


As Raleigh’s News & Observer reported yesterday, the executive director of the Pope-Civitas Institute, Francis DeLuca, has publicly apologized for last week’s blog post in which he criticized the the man who serves — technically anyway — as his chief funder’s boss (i.e. Gov. McCrory) for attending an event sponsored by minority economic development nonprofits. 

Among other things, DeLuca said that:

“In talking about the event the Governor attended, I painted with too broad a brush by implying that an elected official’s appearance at an event involving organizations that lobby for state funds is tantamount to cronyism.”

In short, DeLuca admits that, as his group has long had a tendency to do, he got carried away with his conservative rhetoric. Good for him.  Though imperfect and at times borderline incoherent (the apology features a new attack on N.C. Policy Watch for, it would seem, raising the issue of his initial attack in the first place) DeLuca deserves credit for admitting that he was wrong.

Now then, as long as he’s taken that important first step, here are just a few of several other things for which he should publicly apologize: Read More