We’re ready for that change we voted for.
Hundreds of clergy members, poor and low-income wage workers gathered in Washington D.C. in front of the U.S. Capitol under the banner of The Poor People’s Campaign to demand that Congress address their needs bypassing The Build Better Act and Voter Protection just for starters.
Speakers for the rally included impacted people from West Virginia and Arizona. Senators from those states, Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema remain the biggest obstacles to passing legislation that protects the vote and helps the 140 million poor and low-income people in this country. Impacted people from New York, Texas, North Carolina, Wisconsin, and Georgia also spoke, along with economists and civil rights attorneys.
After listening to low-wage workers from across the country talk about the conditions faced back home, demonstrators marched to the intersection of Constitution and First street; holding the intersection, Capitol Police arrested 71 workers peacefully fighting to survive. Their message to Congress and the nation, “We’ve had enough, get it done in 2021, or we’ll flood the streets!”
“Poor and low-income people are saying that we can no longer wait for voting rights, living wages, healthcare, immigration reform and so much more,” said Rev. Liz Theoharis, co-chair of the Poor People’s Campaign, “We also must take life-saving action to compel Congress and the White House to defend our democracy and lift from the bottom, so everyone rises.”
For more than fifty years, Republicans and so-called moderate Democrats have shoved trickle-down economics down the throats of the working poor. Leading to more income inequality and deeper poverty, leaving a sicker, less educated working-class, filling up more prisons, and struggling to keep a roof over their family’s heads, food in their bellies. Meanwhile, the rich have gotten so grotesquely rich that they can now shoot themselves into space in giant dildos because they have money to rival entire nations, and then some.
“For too long we have heard promises during campaigns that sound like it’s going to lift up the people, and then once people get elected, they disappear,” said the Rev. William J. Barber II, co-chair of the Poor People’s Campaign, “Because somebody, somewhere with deep pockets says it’s not possible.”
For months now, Americans were told by President Biden, the Democratic leadership, and the mainstream media to be patient — Build Back Better and voter protections were coming. At the same time, the media fed us conflicting announcements about our country that was either in dire economic straits, or we were emerging from the Great Recession better than ever.
In reality, there’s truth to both perspectives. Yes, breathtaking numbers of low-income and working class Americans are in economic trouble across the country. The elite rich, however — and their multi-bazillion dollar corporations — are enjoying record-breaking profits. In our sick capitalist system, these two opposite outcomes aren’t mutually exclusive. Indeed, American Billionaires are now 2 trillion dollars richer thanks to the pandemic, yet still they complain about “lazy” workers holding out for living wages.
Now that the Child Tax Credit modifications from the last Covid Recovery bill have ended, things will get much harder for low-wage working-class families. Although to hear Sen. Manchin tell it, he won’t vote for an extension of those payments because he thinks poor people spent the money “on drugs” — he literally said that on a national broadcast. Despite ample evidence to the contrary.
But if you listen to politicians, corporations and the media, it’s the working poor who’s to blame for the country’s economic woes. That meager few thousand dollars workers received to survive during a once-in-a-lifetime catastrophic event was evidently too much, and I guess now we’re all spoiled.
Never mind those 2 trillion dollars the wealthiest Americans have raked in these last two years — of which nary a penny will be paid back in taxes. TRUE STORY: they wouldn’t have these amazing profits without the people on the factory and warehouse floors that produced that wealth for those billionaires. Yet it’s the workers’ fault they are suffering? Please.
We’re losing our patience with corrupt corporate Democrats who have been working with their crooked Republican brethren to screw the poor while gaslighting us for the last half a century. On a typical night in Pennsylvania now, 1 in 7 children went to bed hungry. This is a moral travesty and a failure of our government. We’ve got to do better. We must.
In many parts of Pennsylvania, homelessness is a crime, but yet as Rabbi Michael Pollack (ex dir March on Harrisburg) told the crowd in his address, “Bribery and corruption are a hundred percent legal in our Capitol.”
He told a story about how a corrupt senator/political boss from PA, Boise Penrose, sat down with Rockefeller, Carnegie, and Mellon and was blatantly frank about their mutually-beneficial “division of labor“: they send him to Congress, he passes laws that make them money, which they pay back to keep him in office so he can make them more money! “That’s the game that we’re here to break!” he said, “Senator Manchin and Senator Sinema are carrying this out every day. And we’re here to stop it!”
This march was planned by demonstrators who knew Senators Manchin and Sinema (and other so-called moderate Democrats) would inevitably join their Republican counterparts to kill any chance of support or relief for the people. The “clues” were obvious, representatives haven’t even bothered to pretend to have a debate. They’ve been saying all along that no matter how much Build Back Better is watered down, they weren’t going to vote for it. Why? Because it helps the poor and working-class, and the wealthiest Americans must foot the bill they’ve been skirting for generations.
“We just passed a military budget for 700 billion a year — seven times more for war than for lifting up poor/low-income citizens, 8 million more of whom fell into poverty doing COVID while billionaires made trillions of dollars,” Said Rev. Barber. “We just broke the filibuster funding ceiling. So why have we not broken the filibuster to stop people from driving this democracy into the dungeon? It’s morally inconsistent. Makes no sense constitutionally and it’s economically insane.”
Rev. Liz Theoharis summed it up with an image: “So Manchin drives a Maserati to his yacht, all the while worrying that the Build Back Better plan might be too generous to poor children, and falsely claiming that parents are using the child tax credit to buy drugs.” You can’t make this stuff up.
The uber-rich, media, Republicans, and so-called Moderate Democrats may continue to spit in the faces of the poor and working-class, but the Poor People’s Campaign is just warming up for this fight. We’re not going anywhere — in fact, there’s going to be more and more of us, joining forces with poor & working-class warriors until justice is served and progressive demands are met.
“We’ve got a plan to turn out poor and low-wealth people like you’ve never seen; the data tells us this is sleeping giant in every place,” said Rev. Barber. “In 15 battleground states poor and low-wealth people represent 40% of the electorate, many of them have stopped voting because they feel neglected. They don’t vote Republican. They don’t vote Democrat. They just don’t vote, but now they have a movement to get behind. They’ve decided they’re going to vote and fight for themselves. Watch, now! We’re going in the streets!”
The Poor People’s Campaign will announce the details for their planned Mass Poor People’s and Low-Wage Worker’s Assembly and Moral March on Washington to be held on June 18, 2022.
For More information on or to find out how you can help follow the links below.
A bit of History about the Poor People’s Campaign and Resurrection City