#ncpol: Obsessed with race and African socialism. Getting to Know Anita Earls

Since Barbara Jackson has decided to go away on vacation during this campaign season, we’ve decided to step forward and provide a little voter education.  Radical left-winger Anita Earls and Democrat plant Chris Anglin are trying to knock incumbent Republican Barbara Jackson off of the NC Supreme Court.

We found an “oral history” of Earls compiled by some Duke students.  The document reveals a woman apparently obsessed with race and passionate about various left-wing political causes.  Like African socialism.  Here are some highlights:

[…] Could you describe a little bit more how that transition from your predominantly black neighborhood to the predominantly white neighborhood was for you when you were a child?


I was pretty young, so my memory of it is more about how it affected me. I think I was probably six or seven. I guess the two things that I remembermost. When we moved, there was one woman on the street who didn’t wantus there. She turned her garden hose on us as we would ride our bikes down the street. Which just seemed, from a child’s perspective, as just an absurd thing to do. It just made no sense. But certainly it made us feel unwelcome and wary. And the other thing I remember is once, that my brother. You know, kids. We played with kids in the neighborhood. It’s not like no one wanted us there. There was some incident, and my brother got hurt by another kid.

And my father went over to talk to the family, and I was very, very afraid because I thought they were going to hurt him. I mean this was a time, late 60’s, when there were riots in the streets in some communities and there were marches. I don’t think there were ever riots in Seattle. But I always had this great fear that because my family looked the way we did, with my brother looking more black than I did, that if we were ever in a neighborhood and a riot broke out, people wouldn’t know that we were a family. And it felt like the wrong people would be trying to hurt us. So as a child and trying to live in those dynamics of a very personal, your neighbors don’t want you on your street, kind of environment, it was frightening, personally.[…]

Would you say then that your family history and your family background and the environment you grew up impacted the work you do now?


Well, definitely. I would say that, early on, I saw the challenges my dad faced at his work. He was paid less than white. He was a urological technician. There were white urological technicians who were earning more than him, and there was no explanation. And it really challenged him. So,my mother’s family totally rejected us, so I grew up in the environment of my father’s family. And in that era, it was sort of, you should be a doctor ora lawyer. You should be a professional; that was kind of how you proved yourself. And I thought that if I became a lawyer, I could try to help other people who were facing discrimination on the job. So in that sense, I think it definitely influenced what I’m doing today. […]

How did you decide to move from the West back to the East Coast for college? Could you describe the kinds of things that you did in your undergraduate career?


I came to the East Coast because it seemed like my only chance to see another part of the country. I went to Williams because there were at least some mountains around. Not nearly as high, but a few mountains. In college, I faced a really new situation in that my racial identity had been a huge part of who I was growing up. But when I went to college, people didn’t, just by looking at me, really know my background. Often, people would say, where are you from? Which really was code for what’s your racial background.[…]

Really?  I always viewed “Where are you from?” as one of the top questions to ask someone when you meet for the first time. The answer may generate further conversations about mutual friends, experiences or other points of commonality.  Especially in environments that draw transient people from many different locales.  MORE:

[…] Could you speak a little bit more about how you were able to negotiate your identity in your time in your undergraduate career? It was a difficult time for you, but how exactly did you find that place of identity?


I think there were a couple of people there who at least had some understanding of what that might mean for a mixed race person. I’m thinking for example of a professor who was very instrumental in allowing me to explore those issues, giving me things to read and introducing me to other. I remember he told me to read Nella Larsen’s book, Passing, that’s a novel. One or two people in that regard. They had a Center for Development Economics, and twelve or fifteen students from Africa were there in Williamstown, which is this really rural town out in the Berkshire Mountains. So I hung out with them a lot. And they had some cultural issues as well, so I could identify with that. That really led to me doing a Watson fellowship in Tanzania after college. There were only a few, but finding people who could relate to what I was going through. I think that it’s something thatultimately you end up negotiating your entire life, figuring out who you arewith all the different elements that go into that. It’s not just racial identity,but gender identity and the socioeconomic background you come from. Idon’t feel like I solved that in college, I think that was just one stage in working through all those issues.[…]

And here she is praising socialism / Marxism:

Great. You said you did a Thomas J. Watson fellowship after you graduated?

That’s right.
And you went to Tanzania?

I did. It was my intent to study in Tanzania the entire year. And my topic was Ujamaa villages and the role of women, which was kind of a combination of two interests. I’m very interested in cooperative work organizations and the notion of how do you democratize the workplace.

[…] I was a Political Economy and Philosophy major, and I had written a thesis in Political Economy on worker managed enterprises and the theory of whether you could have an economy built of worker managed enterprises and would that deepen the democracy.

Can you have political democracy without economic democracy? That was all very theoretical, and it was great to have the chance to go Tanzania and see how that country was trying to implement economic democracy.The role of women wasn’t completely tied to the concept of Ujamaa villages, but I also wanted to be looking at how women’s roles in east Africa had evolved over time.[…]

The verbiage about “economic democracy” and Ujamaa are all tied to the rise of socialism in Africa just after European colonists left and granted independence.  You know, the economic policies that made Africa the mess that it is today.   And Ms. Earls seems okey-dokey with it all. 

Let’s not forget her more contemporary work.  Earls and her activist group came after Pinehurst, Southern Pines and Aberdeen in Moore County:

[….] A second example would be the case I’ve spoke of early in the Pinehurst area. Our clients decided that– and this was a case that didn’t involve a lawsuit but involved pressure or advocating for inclusion with local governance, local governing bodies city council in Pinehurst, Aberdeen, Southern Pines.

In 2006 the US Open was played in Pinehurst and our clients decided that they would do a media effort to– so the national sports media but nevertheless that national media attention’s would be on that region while the US Open was there. And they were able to get a story in the New York Times and they had wanted the New York Times Magazine they didn’t quite make it to that. But there was a front page story in the New York Times about the need– how these all black neighborhoods were on the edge of Pinehurst and the luxury and wealth that exists in that area for the resort community right alongside homes that didn’t have public water and sewer and that had a huge impact on changing the political will in Pinehurst to incorporate these communities and to make sure that they had equal services.[…]

Oh, yeah.  Pay no property taxes whatsoever to the local government.  Get ALL the benefits that folks who DO PAY get.  *Ah, fairness.*  MORE:

[…] And that to me is a real success because it’s structural— we’re not just solving one person’s problem. We’re changing structures that create greater equality, and as long as you have people that continue to be active, it will be sustained over time.

Okay.  More cheerleading for socialism.  MORE:

[…] That’s really wonderful. Would you say that that type of community organizing and coalition building is what led you to form the Southern Coalition for Social Justice?


Yeah, absolutely.


Could you describe exactly how creating the Southern Coalition for Social Justice began, and how you initiated that process?


I had been in really four different types of civil rights practice. I’d been in private practice, I’d been in a government entity, I’d been in a large,national non-profit and I’d been at the Center for Civil Rights at UNC, whichwas a university based project. In each of those settings, I felt like I did not have all of the resources that my clients needed. I take very seriously the concept that we are general counsel for community-based organizations, and the role of a general counsel is to bring to their organization all of the different skills and resources that that organization needs to thrive. So, what I think some of the core things that groups need are, in addition to legal advice and the capacity to access the legal system, they also need good social science research. They know what’s happening to them but documenting it is often very, very important. They need community organizing support skills—how do you sustain a community organizing effort over time.

Ah, community organizing.  Barack Hussein Obama is beaming with pride.  MORE:

[…] And then they need to be able to use the media, whether it’s print media, social media. That’s an important way to tell their story and an important way to influence decision makers. I couldn’t find a place where allfour of those resources were made available to the clients. In national civil rights organizations, they do have a media person, but the media person is really more about promoting the organization itself, not necessarily the clients.



Could you tell me a little bit more about the actual work that you do at the Southern Coalition for Social Justice?


[…] Right now, our biggest program area is our voting rights and criminal justice system reform and environmental justice. We have a fourth program area that we call human rights which is really just the general category—educational issues, housing issues, economic justice issues, pretty much everything else would fit in the human rights categories.We do a mix of advocacy; sometimes it’s litigation, but sometimes, for example in Durham, around policing issues. We’re working with the CityCouncil and the Durham Human Relations Commission to try to correctwhat’s a glaring problem in Durham with a disproportionality in how law enforcement deals with African American and Latino residents in Durham. It’s a mix of types of advocacy and a range of issues.


Earls is especially proud of her work to get illegal alien kids access to public schools in North Carolina:

Immigration work was an opportunity to reach out to other communities, and it was really too much of a challenge for us Iwould say. We’re so small and developing an immigration practice is like awhole other area of law with a different court system that you go to, andthat’s one area that I have no experience in. I think that’s probably another reason why we did that for a while, but we’re not doing so much of that. We have one immigration matter right now where we’re advocating on behalf of undocumented children who have been denied the right to enroll in public school in North Carolina, and we’re doing that with the Southern Poverty Law Center and the Justice Center and Legal Services of Southern Piedmont.

[…]  Ultimately, the vision is to be like the Southern Environmental Law Center or the Southern Poverty Law Center. Those are two organizations that have been around a lot longer than we have.[…]

Let’s not forget her courtroom harassment of the military:

Okay. Going back toward the issues that you guys address, what are some of the more successful campaigns within the organization?


Early on one of our first clients was a group in northeastern North Carolina called Citizens Against OLF. And they were facing the Navy building an outlying landing field in their community, which would have not only caused a lot of noise with the Super Hornet jets landing and taking off but also it would have thwarted any economic growth. And they were highly motivated and really strong community organizers. It was several years campaign, and there was the potential for litigation if the Navy had moved forward. But fortunately the Navy announced, I think now about a year ago, that they are not going to pursue placing an outlying landing field in northeastern North Carolina. So that was a victory by the community with our support. We did everything from spokesperson training, so they could talk to the media to community organizing support, a little bit of research, we also brought in other researchers because part of the issue was to show environmental impacts from the building this big concrete landing field in that part of the state. So we didn’t have on staff an environmentalist who could research that but we were able to bring resources to that community and get a foundation grant to pay for a study that identified what some of the negative environmental consequences would be. So that, I think, was a good example of the success of our model early on.[…]

And then there’s the defense of dorm-dwellers on college campuses being able to run for city council in their respective locales:

[….] Another big high profile success was the Montravius King case. And Montravius King is a senior at Elizabeth City state University and this past fall he wanted to run for city council. And the local board of elections– he filed for office and the local board of elections decided that because his residence, his campus address was his residence address for voting purposes, that that was not legitimate. And that since he didn’t live there all year round, he didn’t live in the summer, they said you’re not really a resident at your campus dorm. So you’re not a resident of Elizabeth [City] so you can’t vote here you can[‘t] run for office here.

Letting college kids vote where their schools are located has been a disaster.  Check out ANY college town in the state for evidence.  How can transient, non-property owning individuals have the best interests of year-round property owners and business-people at heart?