The Poor People’s Campaign: Putting Humanity Before Politics

Before Martin Luther King’s tragic death 50 years ago this month, he had begun organizing what he would call the Poor People’s Campaign. The focus was to bring economic justice to all poor people regardless of their race. Though the campaign continued after King’s death, it never had the success he envisioned. Now 50 years later that campaign has seemly been revived as “A National Call for Moral Revival,” and for the first time in quite awhile I feel a sense of hope. I know it’s going to take a lot more than old negro spirituals and civil disobedience to succeed, but it’s a start.

This campaign is about more than a few well chosen speeches: it’s about fighting against oppression. It’s about empowering those who feel they don’t have a voice to find them (God that sounds familiar). For far too long we have been weighed down by systemic racism, poverty and the continued destruction of Mother Earth. I say ENOUGH.

We like to brag and call ourselves the greatest country in the world, but how can we say that when we have people sleeping in the streets, we have people who have to choose between medication and eating, and we have rampant discrimination and a flawed justice system. On top of all that, we have a maniac in the White House with a base that wants to take us back to the 50s.

This movement is not about politics, though if it becomes successful politicians will be jumping on the bandwagon and trying to control the narrative to suit their needs as we’ve seen with the recent marches. The leaders of this campaign have mandated that no politician, elected or running, will serve on the committees or its stage.

It’s not about Democrats or Republicans, it’s about right and wrong.

This campaign is about people’s right to have basic needs fulfilled. Having those needs met is not a privilege, it’s a fundamental  human right, and yet so many in power seem to believe that certain people don’t deserve to be treated as human. In order to perpetuate that belief, they spread misinformation that the American Dream is only attainable through wealth and power, and that the poor are lazy, uneducated criminals who spread disease and have no right to the American Dream. The religious right, mainstream media, corporations and their allies keep us divided with these lies.

The truth is that if anyone is excluded from it, the American Dream is a lie. The narrative must be changed, and it will be changed. We must no longer sit idly by and allow this injustice to continue. That’s what this is all about. We don’t have to “Make America Great Again,” we just make it fair and equal to everyone.

James Shearer

James Shearer is a writer and co-founder of Spare Change News.

Related posts

Top