The Poor People's Campaign & Non-Party Opposition

A very informative article from Counterpunch added depth and context to my understanding of The Poor People's Campaign The New Poor People's Campaign: Seeds Of A Non-Party Opposition?

Not settling for a choice between Democrats or Republicans:

There is a third strategic alternative: A “non-party opposition” which draws diverse constituencies out of their silos to combine their power but uses direct action rather than electoral politics as its means to exercise that power. Such a non-party opposition can play some of the crucial roles of a political party, bringing together different constituencies around common interests, exposing existing policies and institutions, and presenting alternatives.

The author covers the history and background of MLK's original PPC and then covers the organization that grew out of Rev. Barber's Moral Monday:

The testing ground for the new Poor People’s Campaign was what came to be known as the Forward Together movement that developed in North Carolina over the past dozen years. It shows how a coalition of movements, acting as a non-party opposition, can challenge reactionary political forces and transform the political arena.

The diverse, inclusive coalition:

Forward Together has become a coalition of 145 organizations representing Christians, Muslims, Jews, nonbelievers, blacks, Latinos, and poor whites, labor, civil rights, feminists and environmentalists, doctors and the uninsured, businesspeople and the unemployed, women and men, gay and straight, young and old, documented and undocumented. This unity was based on a belief that “none of us would be free until all of us were free.”

Solidarity manifested in “daily acts of justice and community building":

A number of principles have shaped Forward Together’s actions. One is simply “showing up to support any group in the state that was standing for justice.” In 2013 Forward Together supported the fight of Planned Parenthood and NARAL against new abortion restrictions. A few years later a hundred people filled a Durham church to demonstrate solidarity with a Durham-raised asylum seeker fighting deportation. Forward Together seeks “powerful images of solidarity” manifested in “daily acts of justice and community building.”

The new PPC is not a religious movement. I have run across a group in L.A. called Clergy and Laity United For Economic Justice that operates on the same idea:

But his is religion at its least sectarian: “It was often folk outside the church who inspired us the most, standing as examples of what the church should be,” he says; the church “didn’t have a monopoly on God’s dream.” And the goals of the movement were often expressed in secular political language: “Justice and community and the general welfare and the domestic tranquility and equal protection under the law” as guaranteed by state and federal constitutions. One journalist described the premise of the movement as a “universalist program” for health care, voting rights, reproductive choice, and higher wages that begins in “building coalitions among people whom politics have driven apart.”

(emphasis added)

The PPC is not Democratic or Republican:

Theoharis makes clear the political but non-party character of the campaign. “We surely want to influence the 2018 midterm elections and the 2020 Presidential election.” But they do not plan to endorse candidates or support any political party. Their statement of fundamental principles states that “no elected officials or candidates get the stage or serve on the State Organizing Committee of the Campaign.”

And:

Forward Together began making its demands for voting rights and equal justice when Democrats controlled the legislature and governorship and maintained that its agenda “wasn’t Republican or Democrat, liberal or conservative.” Unlike a political party or lobbying group, Forward Together has eschewed running or supporting candidates for office. Yet it has transformed North Carolina politics.

In conclusion:

The tens of millions of people who have participated in the Women’s March, the March for Our Lives, and the many other protests of the Trump era are marching in place in every community large or small. They have the potential to provide a vast grassroots network if the Poor People’s Campaign can reach out and inspire them to act together.

Conversely, all of us who have participated in one or another aspect of what has come to be known as the Trump Resistance should think about how we should be connecting with the new Poor People’s Campaign – and with each other. Perhaps we can make that campaign and similar efforts starting points for a non-party opposition that can challenge Trumpism and the power of the 1% — and indeed “transform the political, economic and moral structures of our society.”

up
12 users have voted.

Comments

Wink's picture

I was trying to make in "defense" of the PPC.
I didn't and don't care that the PPC "drives people to the Dimocratic party."
If it does, fine. So what?
The bigger picture is PPC is mostly about getting people off their dead ass and participate.

Screenshot 2018-05-15_14-13-51.png

And that action by itself will lead to more positive action, hopefully leading to Real Resistance. Hell, maybe even a 3rd party! I see PPC as the best way to do that.
ymmv.

up
9 users have voted.

the little things you can do are more valuable than the giant things you can't! - @thanatokephaloides. On Twitter @wink1radio. (-1.9) All about building progressive media.

Meteor Man's picture

@Wink
The DSA, Greens and working Families Party could all benefit. An interesting question is how long the MSM can ignore a 40 day protest where thousands of Americans are being arrested.

up
8 users have voted.

"They'll say we're disturbing the peace, but there is no peace. What really bothers them is that we are disturbing the war." Howard Zinn

Wink's picture

they'll try.
@Meteor Man
They totally ignored Occupy.
The thing now though is there are Way more "alt news" sites than there was even in Occupy days. So people that pay attention will hear about it.
And the 40 days thing is just to get the ball rolling. The fun starts when it breaks down into smaller towns and communities. That's where the "grassroots" comes into play, and where the rubber meets the road. So, even if the national networks don't cover it - which they won't - their local affiliates will becuz they have minutes to fill and PPC is a pretty good 1-2 min. story. "hun, what are all those people doing downtown... ?"

up
8 users have voted.

the little things you can do are more valuable than the giant things you can't! - @thanatokephaloides. On Twitter @wink1radio. (-1.9) All about building progressive media.

@Wink When the undercover cops wind up some of the yahoos and bottles go flying that will be the signal for massive show of police force. Cue "leftists", antifa and all the other unifiedMSMcode words and congressional action (bipartisan) to hold the ringleaders accountable.

up
4 users have voted.
Wink's picture

I don't think it will
@Snode
get Any attention for just those reasons. The Oligarchy doesn't want to stir up the masses. gawd forbid if "the people" woke from their slumbers!
But one never knows. As for rounding up the ringleaders...
they're going to need to build more privatized prisons.
Either way, the next 40 days should prove interesting - and prove whether or not "change" is on the way.

up
3 users have voted.

the little things you can do are more valuable than the giant things you can't! - @thanatokephaloides. On Twitter @wink1radio. (-1.9) All about building progressive media.

@Wink I hope you're right. I have nightmares about OWS. The provocation by the police, macing cuff tied, passive arrestees, hitting that Iraq war vet point blank with a flashbang (or was it rubber bullet?), clubbing reporters, plus the other stuff. The PTB were fixing for a showdown. I don't think they're done.

up
2 users have voted.
Wink's picture

But, sadly, you
@Snode
very well could be right! Hope not.
"We" need to start winning, and sooner rather than later.
But if it comes to blows... well, I hope "we" win that too.
Those Palestinians are brave sonsabitches to be standing up to Bibi and his gang.
I hope "we" here in the U.S. can find some just as brave.

up
3 users have voted.

the little things you can do are more valuable than the giant things you can't! - @thanatokephaloides. On Twitter @wink1radio. (-1.9) All about building progressive media.

Lookout's picture

...and though it is a long haul, I'm planning on being there the next five rounds, and maybe even in DC on the 23rd. The movement is taking place in 30 state capitols. It is an opportunity to do more than just bitch about our situation. I don't pretend to claim it will change anything, but action is better than rhetoric.

Look for a full report of my experience Sunday AM in the Weekly Watch. In the meantime you might consider getting involved - each week is a different theme, and some cities have additional activities like teach-ins and mass meetings.
https://www.poorpeoplescampaign.org/events/

I'm sure the purists among us will find fault because nothing is perfect, however here's an effort to address our problems. I intend to participate and add my part. I'm leading some songs for the antiwar rally after memorial day.

up
8 users have voted.

“Until justice rolls down like water and righteousness like a mighty stream.”

@Lookout so many times things start to coalesce and then something kind of derails it. Usually another group confronting the organization as being insufficiently supportive or inclusive of THEIR cause and demanding full leadership roles.

up
3 users have voted.
Wink's picture

Thanks for your participation!
@Lookout
PPC may not be the alpha or omega of such events, but it sure beats the hell out of what all those Bernie spinoffs aren't doing! I expect after 40 days PPC will be yuuuuge. And affect 2018 and 2020 bigly.

up
2 users have voted.

the little things you can do are more valuable than the giant things you can't! - @thanatokephaloides. On Twitter @wink1radio. (-1.9) All about building progressive media.