Turn Out for the Poor People’s Campaign, Regardless of Its Shortcomings, by David Swanson

Poor People's Campaign March

Image by cool revolution via Flickr

by David Swanson
Writer, Dandelion Salad
Let’s Try Democracy, May 29, 2022
June 6, 2022

Everyone should get in the streets of Washington DC for the event planned by the Poor People’s Campaign on June 18 — if not sooner.

In a normal country, the streets would long since have been packed, government offices surrounded, public squares occupied, and change demanded. The U.S. — and the world with it — is suffering severely from unrepresentative government, the hoarding of wealth by a tiny group of overlords, the devastation of the Earth’s climate and ecosystems, the normalization of violence and massive warmaking and the risk of nuclear apocalypse, and the spread of all kinds of racist hatred and bigotry.

People have been conditioned to suppose that the proper response to this is to spend several months chattering about how they’re going to vote, and then take 5 minutes to vote for either an outright fascist or a completely unprincipled facilitator of maintaining a steady pace toward the approaching cliff — one or the other of whom has already been guaranteed victory by gerrymandering.

This absurd learned helplessness is actually modeled for people by the poor wittle Democrats who only have the White House and a majority in both houses of the Congress but prefer not to defy their funders.

Of all the lies told to us, powerlessness is the worst, the most unrelenting, the most effective, and the most damaging. If anyone is willing to ask anyone else to get off their ass even for a minute for any set of more-or-less good causes, they damn well ought to be encouraged. Any shortcomings of event organizers ought not to matter, both because we need a movement much larger than any individuals can lead, and because we’re up against the horrors of a sociopathic system that appears to run on dollars but is principally fueled by our own voluntary disempowerment.

A while back the Poor People’s Campaign sent around an email supporting unlimited spending on weapons for Ukraine. When some of us objected, the response was various peaceful statements, but never any opposition to sending weapons to Ukraine. I’m not for an instant suggesting that isn’t disgusting. I’m not proposing that anyone accept a Progressive-Except-For-Peace agenda. I’m proposing that we have war, oligarchy, bigotry, and many other problems to tackle, and that if anyone will attempt direct nonviolent creative action on any of them, we ought to be there. In fact the Poor People’s Campaign usually, if not always consistently, proposes to tackle all of the interlocking evils we’re up against. And that’s the best that’s ever seen in this corner of the globe.

Why are you still sitting there?


David Swanson is an author, activist, journalist, and radio host. He is director of WorldBeyondWar.org and campaign coordinator for RootsAction.org. Swanson’s books include Leaving World War II Behind (2020), Curing Exceptionalism: What’s wrong with how we think about the United States? What can we do about it? (2018) and War Is A Lie. He blogs at DavidSwanson.org and WarIsACrime.org. He hosts Talk Nation Radio. He is a 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019 Nobel Peace Prize Nominee. Support David’s work.

From the archives:

Apocalypse Given a Bad Rap By Liberal Media, by David Swanson

Eat the Rich! by Yanis Iqbal

The Poor People’s Campaign Pushes War Propaganda, by David Swanson

Disrupt! Interrupt! The Ground of Resistance is Ours

As Calls For Unions Grow, It is Worth Revisiting the Words of Martin Luther King, Jr., by Kenn Orphan

Caleb Maupin: Martin Luther King Was A Socialist!

Dr. Martin Luther King. Jr.: The Three Evils of Society: Racism, Militarism and Capitalism (must-see)

4 thoughts on “Turn Out for the Poor People’s Campaign, Regardless of Its Shortcomings, by David Swanson

  1. In a smaller country, it’s an easier matter for everyone to go visit the capital and participate in a protest demonstration. But the USA is a big country. I’ve become reluctant to travel because of the pandemic, my carbon footprint, and how inflation is eating away at the savings that I hope will sustain me through retirement. I’d like to find something I can do locally, i.e., without traveling.

    But if you want to join the Poor People’s Campaign, they’ve arranged buses. See https://www.poorpeoplescampaign.org/june18/. I don’t know what are the arrangements for eating and sleeping. Maybe someone who knows about those can post a reply to this comment.

    I attended the Poor People’s Campaign event in Memphis on May 23, because that involved less travel (I live in Nashville). But quite honestly, I can’t show up for =every= problem this world has. There are too many of them. So I concentrate on two of them: CAPITALISM and CLIMATE. I am convinced that capitalism is the cause of ALL the other problems (including poverty, war, climate apocalypse, etc.); we can’t solve any of these problems unless we defeat capitalism. And climate gets a little extra attention because it is about to kill us all — it’s coming much bigger and faster than even the IPCC says. Of course, not everyone agrees with my assessment, and this is not the time and place for me to go into more detail.

    • Thanks for what you do accomplish, Lefty.

      I agree with you about traveling at the moment. Personally, I don’t recommend it, but there are local/state chapters of this organization and others to join in for local/state protests.

  2. Support for more War and Arms for Ukraine by the Poor People’s Campaign prevents me from supporting them ever again. War spending is what makes us poor

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