The sobering new data on poverty has given new impetus to the One Nation Working Together movement, a coalition of union members, community activists, students, entertainers, civil and human rights leaders and progressive politicians coming together on October 2 to demand jobs, justice and education.
The figures recently released by the US Census Bureau show that one in seven Americans – that’s 45.6 million people – lives in poverty in the United States. This is the third consecutive year of increases. African-Americans saw an increase from 24.7 percent to 25.8 percent, while poor Hispanics jumped from 23.2 percent to 25.3 percent. Shockingly, the number of Americans living fifty percent below poverty level is at an all-time high of 6.3 percent of the country. That’s a total of 19 million people trying to get by on $10,977 annual income for a family of four.
It’s a full-fledged crisis and groups on the left are making every effort to marshall sufficient grassroots pressure to force the administration to rise to the occasion. Organizers are hoping the events on October 2 will herald the emergence of a new political force that can fill the void in representing the growing needs of larger and larger segments of the populace and wrest the fake populist mantle away from the Tea Partiers and Glenn Beck.
These words from Campus Progress’ Sara Haile-Mariam eloquently explain what the October 2 march represents.
And this video with AFL-CIO Executive Vice President Arlene Holt Baker lucidly details the goals of the new movement.
Initiated largely by the AFL-CIO and the NAACP, One Nation has scores of sponsoring organizations including La Raza, numerous union affiliates, all the major environmental groups, the feminist peace group Code Pink, even ANSWER, the longtime sectarian scourge of the mainstream antiwar movement. The challenge is to keep a march as diverse as this from degenerating into a laundry list of slogans that diffuse the coalition’s core message of economic equality.