The Poor Peoples and Low-wage Worker's Assembly and Moral March on Washington happened yesterday. Watch the recording HERE.
Click the video to hear George Friday, Move to Amend Founder and Board member describe the connection between corporate power, the need for the We the People Amendment, and her work with the Poor People's Campaign.
The culmination of several years of grassroots organizing in all 50 states by the Poor People’s Campaign, this virtual event seeks to unite the 140 million poor and low-income people in our country and their allies to tell their stories and present demands which “challenge the evils of systemic racism, poverty, the war economy and militarism, ecological devastation and the nation’s distorted morality.”
Poverty affects all races. Like everything else, however, people of color are disproportionately impacted. While 33.5% of Whites, non-Hispanics are poor or low income (65.6 million people), 59.7% are Black, non-Hispanic (23.7 million), 64.1% are Latinx (38 million), 40.8% are Asian (8 million), and 58.9% are Native and (2.14 million). Poverty is not due to natural or cosmic forces, but to deliberate and conscious moral and political priorities. Our nation chooses to permit 140 million people to be poor.
The Poor People’s Campaign intentionally connects social injustice (especially race), economic injustice (inequality) and to a degree political injustice (lack of voting rights and gerrymandering for example). A politically independent, diverse, “broad and deep national fusion movement rooted in the leadership of poor people” is their vehicle to promote their demands for change.
Move to Amend stands in solidarity with the Poor People’s Campaign. Their values and principles are very much align with our Core Principles: Values to Help Build the World We Envision that we’ve built our work upon since our inception in 2009, those of:
√ Anti-Oppression and Solidarity Organizing
√ Coalition and Movement Building
√ Grassroots Organizing
√ Dedication to Political Education
√ Commitment to the Well-Being of Human and Earth Communities
√ Maintaining Political and Economic Independence
We agree that “interlocking evils of systemic” problems in our society must be addressed fundamentally. The list of bold demands of the Poor People’s Campaign represents reformational changes within our current economic and political systems. Move to Amend’s complementary approach works to build a movement for transformational changes to our societal systems.
For us, this includes the bedrock structures of our society defining our political, economic and social ground rules -- the U.S. Constitution, its Amendments and judicial decisions based on what’s interpreted to be “constitutional.”
- We must acknowledge that our original Constitution protected the rights of property more than those of people and that people of color were defined as property (slaves) rather than human beings with inalienable rights.
The 13th Amendment, which abolished slavery, contained an “exceptions” clause for prisoners that allowed human beings who had been slaves to be jailed on trumped up charges across the South and then leased out to corporations and rich farmers -- with prison labor to this day still used by scores of multinational corporations which profit by paying prisoners slave wages.
The 14th Amendment, which gave freed enslaved human beings due process and equal protection rights, was hijacked by corporations -- and continues to this day -- to shield them from efforts by people and communities to promote their health, safety and welfare.
- Meanwhile, corporations have used the Constitution’s Commerce Clause to preempt scores of democratically passed laws at the local and state levels over decades to protect people, communities and what remains of the natural world.
Our We the People Amendment would abolish all corporate constitutional rights and eliminate the legalized bribery of big money in elections. We believe it's one piece of what is an urgent and vital systemic change to our political and economic ground rules.
The original Poor People’s Campaign was organized by Martin Luther King in 1968 and was carried out by others after his assassination. King understood the need to address systemic problems and institutions.
“When machines and computers, profit motives and property rights are considered more important than people, the giant triplets of racism, materialism and militarism are incapable of being conquered...You can’t talk about ending the slums without first saying profit must be taken out of slums...You’re really tampering and getting on dangerous ground because you are messing with folk then. You are messing with captains of industry. Now this means that we are treading in difficult water, because it really means that we are saying that something is wrong with capitalism.”
The increasing scale of the many, interconnected crises we’re facing today -- including against police brutality toward people of color, economic collapse, lack of authentic democracy and ecological catastrophe -- requires responses of an equivalent scale.
People are increasingly rising up! Calls for systemic change are increasing both within and to our societal systems.
The Poor People’s Campaign/Movement is a powerful effort that won’t end this weekend. We will continue exploring ways to connect in solidarity with them at the national level. We hope you’ll consider doing the same wherever you are.