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The Voice of Poverty and Disability

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PPC pt.3 The power of a movement led by the poor

  • Dragonfli (1351 posts)
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    PPC pt.3 The power of a movement led by the poor

    The poor and dispossessed have come to embody all the major injustices of our time. This gives us the ability to provide a rallying point for an even broader and more powerful social movement. Far from putting aside the immediate problems we’re facing and struggles we’re waging, such a movement would strengthen our different struggles by recognizing them as inter-connected, inseparable and central to the fight to end poverty and create a moral and just society. The leading role of the poor in these struggles is critical to building this movement. History teaches us that successful movements’ essential first step is uniting those most affected by the problem.

    History has also shown that powerful social movements require the involvement and support of all sectors with an interest in a radically different society. This means nearly everyone. A recent study measuring “economic insecurity” found that 4 of 5 people living in the U.S. live in danger of poverty or unemployment at some point in their lifetime. A key objective of building the unity and power of the poor is to help those who feel they are still in the “middle class” to realize their common interest in the fight to end poverty. This task is all the more crucial as the wealthy attempt to win the same battle by turning those who have little against those who have even less. But the scale, extent, and endurance of the economic crisis has made this long standing game harder for them to win.

    The permanent crisis has raised the most serious questions about the prevailing ideological orthodoxies which for too long have defined what is “realistically” possible in terms of social change. And even those who feel economically secure can see that mass poverty and economic hardship amidst such wealth and productive power is an obscene violation our most sacred values. Part of the power of a movement led by the poor is its ability to win the middle to a project to end poverty for everyone, and away from the rhetoric of “re-building the middle class,” which doesn’t address the root causes of many of our current crises.

    King understood, as we must, that we cannot abolish poverty without curing the social ills that create it, the same social ills that damage the security and well-being of people everywhere. You cannot end poverty without ending the structures of racial, gender, and class inequality. Mass incarceration is mass incarceration of poor people. Climate change endangers everyone but has its most immediate and devastating effects on the poor. Immigrants are in movement because of the conditions of poverty in their home countries, and they find the same poverty producing system at play wherever they arrive. The lack of reproductive and child rearing choices hurts all women while pushing many into poverty and making it harder to survive. The attacks on workers labor rights reduce wages while dramatically increasing the number of workers in poverty. Part of the power of a movement led by the poor is our ability to link all these fights together and begin to get at their common roots.

    edited to include link https://poorpeoplescampaign.org/

    FanBoy, Enthusiast, Haikugal and 2 othersPADemD, ThouArtThat like this

    “We must dissent from the indifference. We must dissent from the apathy. We must dissent from the fear, the hatred and the mistrust. We must dissent from a nation that has buried its head in the sand, waiting in vain for the needs of its poor, its elderly, and its sick to disappear and just blow away. We must dissent from a government that has left its young without jobs, education or hope. We must dissent from the poverty of vision and the absence of moral leadership. We must dissent because America can do better, because America has no choice but to do better.” Thurgood Marshall


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