As a subscriber to The Nation magazine, I just received this email. I’ve heard The Reverend Dr. William J. Barber II, President of the North Carolina NAACP. He gave a marvelous and inspiring speech to the Planned Parenthood Federation of America. I couldn’t resist sharing his email here.
“How do we build a people’s movement?
“We start with vision. Prophetic moral vision seeks to penetrate despair, so that we can believe in and embrace new futures.
“In North Carolina, we had a movement that had already reformed the voting laws before Obama was on the ballot—an interracial, intergenerational, anti-poverty, pro-labor fusion movement that was challenging even Democrats to be more committed to a moral vision.
“Since the social, political, and economic system of slavery was defeated by progressive Northern white families aligning with hundreds of thousands of African slaves and freed people in the South in 1865, The Nation has fought to repair the deep breaches this system created in the human family of the nation. Today, when Southern legislatures have fallen to Tea Party zealots, the need for a Southern-oriented anti-racism mass movement is greater than ever. The Nation will continue to play an important role in building this movement in the South, and explaining it to the rest of the nation.
“We need a transformative movement—state-based, deeply moral, deeply constitutional, pro-justice. We need to build for the long term, not around one issue or campaign.
“We need the kind of language that’s not left or right or conservative or liberal, but moral, fusion language that says:
- It is extreme and immoral to suppress the right to vote.
- It is extreme and immoral to deny Medicaid to millions of poor people, especially when denied by people who have been elected to office and receive their own insurance through that office.
- It is extreme and immoral to raise taxes on the working poor and cut earned-income tax credits, especially in order to slash taxes for the wealthy.
- It is extreme and immoral to shut off people’s water in Detroit.
- It is extreme and immoral to end unemployment compensation for those who have lost jobs through no fault of their own.
- It is extreme and immoral to desegregate and underfund our public schools.
- It is mean, it is immoral, it is extreme to kick hardworking people when they are done.
- That’s not just bad policy. It’s a violation of the common good and a disregard for human rights. In face, this kind of philosophy is rooted in the policies of immoral deconstruction. If you look at these policies carefully, they are historically inaccurate, they are constitutional inconsistent, they are morally indefensible, and they are economically insane.
“That’s not just bad policy. It’s a violation of the common good and a disregard for human rights. In fact, this kind of philosophy is rooted in the policies of immoral deconstruction. If you look at these policies carefully, they are historically inaccurate, they are constitutionally inconsistent, they are morally indefensible, and they are economically insane.
“The day is over for quick political platitudes. The day is over for little campaign slogans. We’ve got to build a movement.
“We’ve got to think more deeply. It’s going to take more than a few texts, and a few e-mails. We must engage in action that shifts the center of political gravity in this nation. And we’ve got to do it state by state. And we’ve got to say—no matter who’s in Congress, or who’s in the general assemblies of our state, or who’s in the governor’s mansion, or who’s in the White House—we are demanding higher ground.
“We’ve got to say you don’t have enough political power to vote us away, you don’t have enough insults to talk us away, and to the Koch brothers, you don’t have enough money to buy us away.”
And The Reverend Dr. Barber ends his letter with, “In solidarity….
Yes, this letter is a solicitation letter to those of us who subscribe to The Nation magazine. And yes, I sent in a donation in response to this powerful letter.
But for this blog, I’m not asking you to give. I’m asking you to read. To absorb. To vote. To fight. In solidarity with others demanding justice.