PROJECT 2018 Poor People’s Call to Action – Dr. King’s work re-envisioned fifty years on
Next April 2018 will mark the 50th anniversary of the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King. His ‘last great exertion’ in 1967/68 was The Poor People’s Campaign – a march on Washington DC that was a more radical effort than 1963. Its aim was to get racial and economic justice for all poor Americans. He was becoming an ever greater threat to anti-progressive forces as he realised that, in addition to race, class was becoming an equally critical part of the struggle. At what was to become the end of his life, he was now mobilising black and white Americans.
At the heart of this campaign was an Economic Bill of Rights, addressing employment, health, education, land, finance and participatory government. Today in the USA, there is a renewed push to mark and re-envision the Poor People’s Campaign.
We think the time is right to build on those USA efforts and today we launch a new project to ‘internationalise’ Dr. King’s Poor People’s Campaign and place a renewed vision for the Economic Bill of Rights at its heart.
Why? Because 50 years since Dr. King’s death
- The USA, UK and many other rich nations are more unequal now than in 1968 with greater levels of poverty – and in the USA with far greater levels of incarceration and war spending.
- The richest 85 people across the globe share a combined wealth of £1trillion, as much as the poorest 3.5 billion of the world’s population.
- And 69 out of the world’s top 100 economies are corporations.
Dr. King’s calls in 1967/68 speak to the present day, not least in his ever growing critique of capitalism, poverty and inequality.
“You can’t talk about solving the economic problem of the Negro without talking about billions of dollars. You can’t talk about ending the slums without first saying profit must be taken out of slums. You’re really tampering and getting on dangerous ground because you are messing with folk then. You are messing with captains of industry. Now this means that we are treading in difficult water, because it really means that we are saying that something is wrong with capitalism.”
Speech to staff, 1966
“If America does not use her vast resources of wealth to end poverty and make it possible for all of God’s children to have the basic necessities of life, she too will go to hell.”
Bishop Charles Mason Temple of the Church of God in Christ in support of the Memphis sanitation workers’ strike on March 18th, 1968, two weeks before he was assassinated.
Over the coming year PROJECT 2018 A Poor People’s Call to Action is reaching out to partners across the secular and non-secular spectrum to call for April 2018 as the first of five major mobilisations between 2018 and 2028 with King’s updated Economic Bill of Rights at their heart – mobilisations that link USA social justice movements with other social justice movements around the world.
This is the time for a global call-out of governments, institutions, big corporations and business. The 50-year anniversary of the life and work left by Dr King presents us with an opportunity to join hands, voices and actions together in our shared quest for peace and justice
Dionne, Deborah, Yolande and Ho-Chih.
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In 2018 it will be 50 years since Martin Luther King was assassinated. His ‘last great exertion’ in 1967/68 was the Poor People’s Campaign and Economic Bill of Rights.
Project April 2018 proposes the internationalising of the 1968 Poor People’s campaign with the first of 5 global mobilisations over the coming decade 2018-2028 linking USA social justice movements with other social justice movements around the world
Project April 2018 proposes linking these mobilisations with a renewed international recognition and call for Dr King’s ambitious 1968 Economic Bill of Rights – updated for today, it offers a universal economic bill of rights fit for the 21stcentury that will reverse economic inequalities, racism, militarism and climate change. All these factors combined are destroying families, communities, nations and the very planet we live on.
Project April 2018 – international mobilisations and a renewed Economic Bill of Rights