*Poor People-Led* Poor People’s Campaign Comes to Washington, DC

I’d learned of this group via the Popular Resistance Newsletter (Kevin Zeese and Dr. Margaret Flowers).  You might enjoy reading their overview and the goals of the PPEHRC; it was enticing enough to me to bring their story to you.

The blurb beneath: ‘Poor People’s Economic Human Rights Campaign arrives in Washington DC after a 10-day walk from Philadelphia and sets up Resurrection City II in Dupont Circle. They plan actions at HUD and around the city to highlight continuing economic inequality in the U.S.’

From the title by John Zangas and Anne Meador, DCmediagroup.us, June 12, 2018, and  by way of a partial transcript of what Rev. Bruce Wright had told John Zangas in the video above:

“The new occupants of Resurrection City are advocating for themselves as poor Americans. Many of them are homeless and have never done anything like this before. Part of their message is that in order for meaningful progress in any movement, it must be led by those affected, according to Rev. Bruce Wright. “Any movement to end poverty must be led by poor people, homeless people, unemployed people and people impacted by it,” he said.

Rev. Wright was critical of Rev. William Barber’s Poor People’s Campaign, which has been underwritten by big monied interests such as the Ford Foundation. “No disrespect to him, he’s a good man, but I think he’s been co-opted by big money,” Rev. Wright said, adding that PPEHRC does not accept corporate sponsorships, big money donations or grants.”

You may remember that Bruce Dixon of Black Agenda Report had said much the same thing about D-allied funding sources of Rev. Barber, et.al.’s PPC, plus the clarion call to ‘vote like never before!’.  He’s also noted that in his sermon on militarism that in no way did he appeal to class interests, most especially in his use of the term ‘moral’ a couple hundred times (which he calls a bad tactic for solidarity), and that Rev. Barber had refused to indict Obomba and other Democrats for their Imperial war crimes and border wall, but did indict the R team.

“Poor people are the ones that need to be heard,” said Wright. “Unless you have been homeless, unless you’ve been poor, unless you’ve experienced poverty, you have no right to dictate to poor people how their change should happen,” Wright said.

Leaders of large foundations and the Democratic National Committee are top-down organizations and want to take control, Wright said. This used against Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in the 1960s, when leaders from political parties tried to intervene in his campaign. “They tried to co-opt Dr. King and tell him don’t say anything because [President] Johnson is doing all this for the poor, and he said ‘I can’t not say anything, this isn’t about political parties.’”

Organizers are asking for support at Resurrection City II, including food, water, medical supplies, and moral support. They are also requesting donations to help with transportation costs. The plan to stay in Dupont Circle at least a week or longer if hey can generate the support needed.”

Wright had also claimed that the group’s Wiki page had been tampered with (he assumes by the PPC), claiming the group doesn’t exist, when it’s been in existence in Kensington in Philly for 25 years.  As unlikely as that seems, it’s certainly feasible, for instance see: Craig Murray’s multi-part series starting with ‘The Philip Cross Affair’ on epically alarming levels of Wikipedia editing on his, John Pilcher’s, and other key truth-tellers’ entries.

Rev. Wright describes Kensington as being one of poorest communities in the country, with the highest rate of heroin addiction, the main economy is by people on disability insurance and drug-dealing, as they’re no real jobs there.  And that ‘that’s the product of this economy, and the fact that the two parties that are in bed with capitalism.

Zangas mentions that the PPPCHR would be heading to the HUD office soon, noting that the key reason for it is that Ben [what a brain surgeon!] Carson had announced a plan in April that would raise rents for those receiving federal housing assistance by 20 percent to encourage folks to get off their asses and find jobs, help themselves, and bring back $ome pride to their mi$erable live$. According to an analysis just released by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. The proposal would affect 2 million households immediately and an additional 2 million in the next six years.

Wright further says that neither party want any control of public housing to be in the hands of poor people events, and that he’s bothered that too many groups are involved in identity politics and aren’t uniting as a class.  If they could get enough support to stay in their Resurrection City II, he says, including food, water, medical supplies, transportation costs,and moral support, they’d stay for a week or more. They number about 50, many of them homeless, disabled, and veterans who’ve never taken part in any such advocacy.

On Monday the group went to HUD to speak to Ben Carson, and Cheri Honkala (Jill Stein’s running mate in 2012) got arrested while demanding a meeting with Ben “on behalf of poor families across the entire country.  “Poor people deserve to eat. One fucking meeting!”  Federal Protective Services took her into ‘custody’.

Now this gets tricky as the rest of the story so far is on Twitter, and I’m trying to link to them not embed them…and Twitter counts time.. backwards.  But after their visit to HUD, the Park Police evicted their camp at night from Dupont Circle as Honkala demanded that they honor the permit they were given.

From Margaret Flowers on Twitter: “No one was arrested, but police confiscated tents and bedding. About 40 people staying in the park, many of them veterans as well as homeless, took refuge at a nearby church on 16th Street.  They spoke out about why political parties and monied interests have failed them.”

Their website is here, with tabs for projects for survival, movement building, consciousness raising educationals, how to donate, their vision, press releases, alternative spring breaks, a photo gallery, and so on.  This press release made me smile:  ‘Don’t tell me how to punch if you are not in the boxing ring!’ February 22, 2018  One outtake:

‘Two important lessons for today!’

  1. Don’t tell me how to punch if you are not in the boxing ring!
  2. Follow the Money! Philanthropy is a scam!

Here’s the group’s Facebook page; I can’t click into categories since I don’t belong to any social-networking media.  So: what’s next?  Do they head back to Philly?  One thing I can see is from Cheri Honkala Thursday morning:

“Interested in being clear and awake? Join with the growing army of the poor at our next two day strategy conference. We will be mapping out a plan for our army. Which will include the mapping of money of politicans, unions, churches, foundations, womens groups, “progressive” social media and non profits. Our families lives are at stake. Its time to decide which side you are on. The people or corporations. Join us. Details will be posted this week. #PPEHRC #RememberUs #623livesmatter

Now given that the group photo array from their DeeCee visit noted that Ajamu Baraka, Tom Morello, and Immortal Technique were in the photos, I’d like to bring this from Immortal Technique:

(the very raw, understandably in-your-face lyrics are here.)

Good Gawd all-friday: this  just in from John Zangas via the morning Popular Resistance newsletter, the whole run-down of the Ressurection City II eviction plus photos and a video.  Oh, well, guess I should have waited, but what else was I gonna do with these seven or eight  hours, eh?  Here’s the video featuring Cheri Honkala (about 6 mins).  ;-)  She hammers home the same messages, and good on her.

(cross-posted at caucus99percent.com)

5 responses to “*Poor People-Led* Poor People’s Campaign Comes to Washington, DC

  1. Identity politics for the poor!

    “Unless you have been homeless, unless you’ve been poor, unless you’ve experienced poverty, you have no right to dictate to poor people how their change should happen,”

    So most of these schmucks never even heard of the New Deal, and FDR obviously had NO RIGHT to help the poor!


    They don’t call them “losers” for nothing!

  2. I’m not laughing, but there does seem to be a real difficulty in the problem of identity. For me, the class of poor people is larger than the class of homeless. I’ve never been homeless, but certainly on the edge of it, as I know you are as well, wendye, having your own stretch to maintain this blog. As so many in this country now are. ( I know, by world standards we are well off, but when any extra expense cuts down on the food budget for the month, that to me puts us on the edge as far as this country is concerned.)

    It’s a shame the two groups could not some how have combined forces. The gentleman in the video is well spoken, and his claim to have been carrying on Dr. King’s campaign yearly is admirable. But there is a disconnect there, since Dr. King’s attraction was that he was inclusive and compelling – again, I wish these folk could have made the same points marching with the other group.

    Thanks, though, wendye, for finding and bringing this forward. They most definitely have a cause, and a worthy one. If there is indeed a different , larger one, I for one am not going to associate it in my own mind with either of the two D/R’s. Not at this stage of the game.

    • I mean by that I am not going to give either political party the credit, even if they contribute funds toward it. It’s a people thing.

    • it’s hard for me to know how to answer you, juliania, but the larger point is that the ‘people led ppc’ has been in existence for decades, has not had D corporate funding, and has been working toward bettering the lives of the disabled, veterans, poor, and homeless.

      whereas, rev barber has long been an NAACP preacher in search of D votes since he began moral mondays in 2013, iirc. now unlike rev al sharpton, there may not be voter registration tables at the 40 days of events, but i will say that i haven’t bingled to find out.

      now with as few as 11 recs over yonder, but 52 comments, i’d say that the dissenters were predominant, but as in: don’t be purists, cuz every little bit helps, and ‘i march with rev barber’, which fine, of course. but then, some of them have come here to say: ‘don’t let the left be divided’, and i ask: what’s the ‘left’ anyway? are our goals so unified? not mine as an anti-capitalist anti-imperialist’.

      but the questions and indeed, the pushback, has made for a great conversation for the most part (barring a few overly-represented commenters, jacob freeze’s rubbish that twas answered quite handily as to ‘current dems who’d support the New Deal now would take a flashlight to find).

      thanks or reading and offering a comment, ww.

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