It is much too soon to publish any kind of full assessment of our efforts, and too much work is still in-progress to write something that would even presume to be any kind of “evaluation,” much less to suggest a plan. But as of mid-July I just want to post some of my own thoughts, for my memory’s sake at least, and maybe to stimulate discussion:
- The Campaign has done well, nationally and in this State to get attention to the cause without weakening the message. No small feat in the midst for creating a national presence and action. . Good for everybody. We have to keep it up.
- For me, the most important parts of our practice thus far have been that we have kept to our commitments to bring the faces and voices of the people most directly impacted by poverty in the forefront — on camera and in our words and actions. We can still do better, but this Movement is already much stronger than the white anti-War New Left that defined me since 1968 because of this. It is deeper than the Black Civil Rights Movement that inspired and so challenged me since I was a wanna-be Southern white girl supporter in the mid-1950’s because of this. And it much wider than the Women’s Movement that I have been part of, despite and because of my Mean Mother, since the early 1970’s . And it even may be the long-hoped for Movement of “The People, United Who Can Never Be Defeated” that I have been chanting for and demanding , at hundreds of demonstrations and meetings, in so many places since it turned 21 in 1968. I hope so.
- As a long-time activist and radical teacher, I truly do believe in the leadership and mission of the Poor People’s Campaign. And increasingly, here in Boston, I can see ways to bring my experience directly into our popular education work, starting this summer. Now we are past the past 40 Days of NonViolent Resistance and moving into a careful, yet intense, community and organizational development phase that will push the misleaders of both parties back, and motivate new folks,– younger people, tired older people, students and union members into greater solidarity and activism. I can feel it, and I see real possibility for me personally to be a part, building from my experience, even if the body, but not the spirit, is weaker than it used to be. I must find a way, and know I can alongside my amazing new comrades, especially the group of SEIU 1199 PCA’s who so motivate me, just as Welfare Rights Mothers did 40+ years ago.
- More later, except to say that as we move forward, my priorities are to help Massachusetts PPC to go to public colleges and universities and work with students to organize around the danger coming from the student loan debt that is diminishing the ability of our younger generation to take the personal, political and social risks they must take together. We must teach ourselves the history of the Right in this country and elsewhere, in order to identify what’s happening to us, to name who is leading it, and to organize to fight back in little and big ways. We must remember always to link the problems associated with poverty with the intentional and inevitable danger stemming from immoral Wealth and irresponsible rich people. We must also learn from our own movement’s’ histories about how to speak out clearly in large and small groups, in writing on all the old and new”platforms” and, through it all, as we keep our love for each other alive AND our Eyes on the Prize. I look forward to working together with everybody as we accomplish this. We have no choice.
So let’s get going, bringing new comrades along, and strengthening Ourselves every day. Starting Now. ……Please respond however works best for you.