Home | About | Donate

What a Revived Poor People’s Campaign Needs to Do in the Trump Era


What a Revived Poor People’s Campaign Needs to Do in the Trump Era

Amanda Abrams

In 1968, Martin Luther King Jr. and his allies started the Poor People’s Campaign, a movement meant to improve the lives of low-income Americans. But King was assassinated a few months before its political actions officially kicked off, and the campaign never reached its full potential.


A movement must provide its members with a sense of belonging, and I don’t mean that in a touchy feely way.

I mean that it mirrors in its internal workings the principles it claims it wants to see in the outer world.

It will show respect for each member, it will demand of them what they can do for it, and it will honor their contribution.

In doing so, it will give members a stake and a sense of ownership in its success, and, most saliently, it will exhibit a sincere humanity that so many are lacking in their lives.

This I’ve found lacking to some degree in every organization I’ve come into contact with, and I believe it’s a major factor in the inability to overcome the enforced atomization that saturates American society.

So, for me, the bottom line is

Be a mensch, dammit.


With the money we spend blowing up defenseless nations, killing people who have never threatened us, and endangering the world, the USA could provide a basic living wage for everybody and be such good guys that nobody would want to be our enemy.

It’s also worth noting that money is not a zero sum game. Instead of allowing the Fed to create money as debt through Fractional Reserve Lending, Congress could decide to create it to fund good works without taxing or borrowing (QE accomplishes the same end). Since the only thing backing the dollar is faith in the USG, wise spending, like a global basic living wage, would actually strengthen the currency.


The fact is that poor white people are shut out. People of color don’t seem to know they exist, and white people pretend they don’t. The majority of US poor are white, but remain disappeared from the discussion. Simply raising the issue is enough to have one barred as “racist.”


We’re 20-some years into one hell of a war on the poor. The US ended actual welfare aid in the 1990s, and has lost some 5 million jobs since 2000. The overall life expectancy of the US poor has already fallen below that of every developed nation. US liberals/liberal media avoid the issue.


The exploitative elites, “liberal” or “conservative”, don’t avoid the issue

They create and exacerbate it.

That’s consistent with the arc of human history, as is the strategy of
“divide and conquer”, which blinds those whose class interests would
impel them toward solidarity with “the other”, and offers them the
chimera of “superiority” in exchange for their continued immiseration.

It would be nice if some sense of justice and humanity opened their
eyes to their true allies and adversaries

But I’d settle for some simple self interest.