As groups prepared to gather in Washington D.C. to discuss poverty, the Poor People’s Economic Human Rights Campaign and Black Alliance for Peace say that in the spirit of Dr. King, opposition to war must be at the center of the discussion.
For immediate release, June 13th, 2022
Contact: Cheri Honkala 215-869-4753, [email protected]
On June 16th at 10:00am EST, the Poor People's Economic Human Rights Campaign (PPEHRC) and the Black Alliance for Peace (BAP) co-sponsored the Press Conference on "Thinking Beyond Ukraine: Their War is not our War," exposing the flawed thinking in Left Leaning and Anti-Poverty movements taking the same approach to solving problems that we’ve taken for decades with little to no results. Participants included Human Rights activists and former Green Party Vice Presidential candidates Cheri Honkala and Ajamu Baraka. Watch the press conference here!
These groups are coming together in the spirit of Martin Luther King’s famous Riverside Speech “Beyond Vietnam: A Time to Break the Silence” where he took a bold, visionary, and necessary stance against the Vietnam War. This stance, widely considered radical at the time, would prove historically validated and critical to both the core philosophy of the Civil Rights and Anti-war movements of the time. The basis for this correctness was the astute observation that the United States was not only investing millions and millions of dollars to “solve” problems abroad that they had not solved at home, but additionally that there was no genuine investment, honesty or effort towards actually solving those problems stateside.
In this speech, MLK states:
“A few years ago there was a shining moment in that struggle. It seemed as if there was a real promise of hope for the poor -- both black and white -- through the poverty program. There were experiments, hopes, new beginnings. Then came the buildup in Vietnam, and I watched this program broken and eviscerated, as if it were some idle political plaything of a society gone mad on war, and I knew that America would never invest the necessary funds or energies in rehabilitation of its poor so long as adventures like Vietnam continued to draw men and skills and money like some demonic destructive suction tube. So, I was increasingly compelled to see the war as an enemy of the poor and to attack it as such.”
It is in this spirit that we call for a radical break with the status quo in the development of the Poor People’s Army which embraces People(s)-Centered Human Rights (PCHRs), the Black radical human rights approach to human liberation. PCHRs are those non-oppressive rights that reflect the highest commitment to universal human dignity and social justice that individuals and collectives define and secure for themselves through social struggle. They are grounded in the recognition that the genesis of the assaults on human dignity that are at the core of human rights violations is located in relationships of oppression and that, therefore, it is only as a result of the radical restructuring of those oppressive relations that authentic human rights can be realized.
As such, we come today in the tradition of our ancestors to claim these rights. We come in the tradition of the Harriet Tubmans and the John Browns, the Malcolm Xs and the Black Panthers. We gather not to map out a ten-point policy plan that the Democratic Party will pay lip service to, mildly and softly teasing it during an election season only to immediately betray those who put them in office. We are calling for an end to these conditions: a solution that teaches people to reclaim land, housing, food, culture, education, and a humane society for all. On August 12-14, we will be hosting a national Boot Camp near Philadelphia to put in place this plan to secure our future. Register now at: https://bit.ly/BootcampAugust2022
The Poor People’s Army is a nonviolent ARMY of poor and working people, led by poor people, fighting for our survival by any means necessary. For three decades, The Poor People’s Economic Human Rights Campaign (PPEHRC)/Poor People’s Army has been reclaiming the basic necessities of life with free food distribution and housing takeovers of abandoned properties. We try to help anyone who comes to us. We center music, arts, and culture and practice the politics of love. The Black Alliance for Peace (BAP) seeks to recapture and redevelop the historic Anti-war, anti-imperialist, and pro-peace positions of the radical black movement. Through educational activities, organizing, and movement support, organizations and individuals in the Alliance work to oppose both militarized domestic state repression and the policies of de-stabilization, subversion, and the permanent war agenda of the U.S. state globally.