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Mon May 14, 2018, 03:39 PM

The lessons of the past shape the launch of a new Poor People's campaign

Source: Washington Post, by Gordon Mantler


Today begins what Reverend William Barber calls the next phase of the new Poor People’s Campaign. Having led the Moral Mondays movement in North Carolina since 2011 to challenge the state’s regressive, right-wing politics, Barber is now beginning 40 days of national direct action to shine a bright light on poverty and demand a “moral revival” in the United States.

This effort attempts to resurrect the Poor People’s Campaign that the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. started more than 50 years ago, using King’s legacy of human rights activism to inspire a new chapter in the anti-poverty movement. While King’s campaign has remained largely a footnote in history, as if it did not matter much after its architect died, the crusade against poverty continued, giving rise to the new chapter on display today.

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In this new phase of the Poor People’s Campaign, however, activists will focus less on national solutions like the 1960s Great Society programs, and more on organizing at the state level. Although there will be a significant presence in the nation’s capital, the most important work might be in lobbying the so-called laboratories of democracy in state capitals such as Nashville, Lansing and Albany to embrace anti-poverty policies. Rather than creating and maintaining a Resurrection City on the Mall — as culturally rich as that space was — activists will instead spend their energy organizing supporters, meeting with officials and working on policy solutions, mostly in their home towns and state capitals.

If the current crusade does not achieve immediate policy success, much of the news media most likely will dismiss the campaign and move on. That is certainly what happened in 1968. Yet, in the weeks and months afterward, it became clear that the campaign had made some difference, especially in terms of building relationships among individual participants, connecting members of a burgeoning Chicano movement with one another and enhancing federal anti-hunger policies through surplus commodities, cheaper food stamps and even changes to welfare. Women, in particular, found a valuable space to discuss how poverty affected them disproportionately, whether it was Coretta Scott King, native leader Martha Grass or Chicana activist Maria Varela.

Will the new Poor People’s Campaign have a similar effect? Maybe. It certainly should command our attention — not just during the 40 days of action, but in the weeks and months after the last rally is held.


Read it all at: https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/made-by-history/wp/2018/05/14/the-lessons-of-the-past-shape-the-launch-of-a-new-poor-peoples-campaign/


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Reply The lessons of the past shape the launch of a new Poor People's campaign (Original post)
yallerdawg May 2018 OP
guillaumeb May 2018 #1

Response to yallerdawg (Original post)

Mon May 14, 2018, 09:25 PM

1. Recommended.

No critical comments?

Reverend Barber has the potential to be this eras MLK Jr.

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