April 26, 2013. The North Carolina Student Power Union (NCSPU) will hold a mass demonstration and march on the state legislature on Wednesday, May 1 – International Workers’ Day – beginning at 2 p.m.
Students are mobilizing statewide, and hundreds are expected to attend the student rally and march. The student march will begin from the N.C. State Bell Tower, stop at the Civitas Institute for a speak out, and join with the larger May Day demonstrations meeting at Moore Square Park in downtown Raleigh. From there, groups will march to the NC legislature on Jones Street.
The demonstration serves as a major escalation point of the NCSPU’s campaign for a just budget. For months, NCSPU has been organizing to oppose the governor’s proposed budget which includes nearly $200 million in cuts for the UNC system, cuts to financial aid and massive tuition hikes for out of state and undocumented students.
“We’ve just had enough,” said UNCG sophomore Daniel Wirtheim. “There’s no reason why students and working class people and people of color should lose their public services while the governor’s energy company and state budget director’s Art Pope’s friends get tax breaks. Hopefully on May Day we can inspire more people to fight for their right to a decent life.”
NCSPU feels that students represent an important political contingency in North Carolina.
“As students, our struggles are not separate from those of workers, immigrants, women, LGBTQ folks, people of color, or any other marginalized group,” said Emily Morton-Smith, a junior at UNC Chapel Hill. “That’s why we’re joining in solidarity with all the other groups who feel shut out by McCrory’s budget and the political climate in general.”
May Day arrives after months of action by N.C. students. In February NCSPU held a conference to educate students on organizing against oppression. In April students held teach-ins, call-ins, speak-outs and press conferences across the state. Members of NCSPU have also reached out to chancellors and student body presidents at several universities to take a stance against the proposed budget.