The ANSWER Coalition is joining with prominent activists from a wide range of struggles and communities to organize the People's Congress of Resistance. Below is the call to action for the congress, taking place September 16-17 in Washington, D.C. at the Blackburn Center at Howard University. Click here to register.
The United States Congress does not represent the people who live and work in the United States. Given the threat posed by the Trump regime, the people must take matters into our own hands, together, and claim the power we already have.
The People demand a new Congress, a fighting Congress of the working class of all racial and ethnic backgrounds, genders and ages. We must create a Congress of communities under attack by the reactionary Trump agenda and fighting back against it, a Congress of the grassroots and the working class, of resisters, organizers, and activists, of everyone who recognizes we can no longer continue as we have. Such a People’s Congress will confront the Congress of the millionaires. It will galvanize the energy of the many groups resisting Trump. It will demonstrate that this is what democracy looks like.
The Reality We're Facing
The Trump regime is threatening to destroy the social, civil, economic, and environmental reforms achieved at great cost from decades of grassroots struggles. It plans to intensify the redistribution of wealth from the bottom to the top, while scapegoating the most vulnerable. This is an agenda of capitalism without restraints in which the government helps Wall Street and corporate elites loot the rest of society.
The U.S. Congress will not stop the Trump regime from implementing its agenda of class war against workers, immigrants, women, Muslims, the Black community, Native communities, the LGBTQ population, public education, social programs, civil liberties, and the environment. In fact, Congress will ratify that agenda — even if a few members verbally protest.
For a long time, the U.S. Congress has served the country’s biggest corporations. A majority of members of Congress are themselves millionaires, with average net worth nearly 20 times that of ordinary Americans. After the Great Recession of 2008, most Americans saw their personal wealth decline over 40 percent. African American communities took a particularly hard hit. Members of Congress, however, made out like the bandits they are. Their average wealth increased by 28 percent.
Congress takes $1.1 trillion in our tax dollars and hands over half of it to the largest military-industrial complex in the world, while health, education, housing and jobs receive less than a quarter. Congress receives top-notch, government-provided health care but eliminated that possibility for the people. It signed off on mass surveillance and endless wars. It has done nothing for the communities facing police violence and record deportations. These “representatives” don’t represent us.
The People's Congress
We need a People’s Congress of Resistance where we govern, decide and act for ourselves and our communities. Since January 20, people have been fighting back in huge numbers. Immigrants, women, and students have rallied, marched, and gone on strike. A People’s Congress of Resistance can help support and coordinate this ongoing resistance. We can create a new, collective, vision of our common future. We can put together the strategy to make it a reality.
We invite all to join us in building such a People’s Congress of Resistance. Over the next weeks and months, we will all begin the process of preparing for this Congress by launching local assemblies, determining and discussing the matters to be brought before our new People’s Congress of Resistance on September 16-17, 2017, in Washington, D.C.
Throughout history there are moments that urgently require radical change and the reorganization of political and economic power, and the building of a new power. This is such a moment.
Build a new People’s Congress of Resistance from the grassroots. No collaboration or compromise with the Trump Agenda! We will resist and resist and resist — until we overcome.
Who is launching this initiative?
The following is an initial list of conveners for the People's Congress of Resistance (organization listed for ID purposes only):
Prof. Jared Ball, Morgan State Univ., iMixWhatiLike; Dennis Banks, co-founder and National Field Director of American Indian Movement (AIM); Juan Jose Gutierrez, Full Rights for Immigrants Coalition, Coordinator; Mahdi Bray, Executive Director, American Muslim Alliance; Kevin Zeese, Co-Director, Popular Resistance; Dr. Margaret Flowers, Co-Director, Popular Resistance; Anoa J. Changa, Deputy Director, MPACT; Prof. Jodi Dean, Hobart and William Smith Colleges; Berthony Dupont, Haiti Liberte; Prof. Vijay Prashad, author and journalist; Karina Garcia, Justice Center en El Barrio; Jonathan Hutto, Coordinator, Prince George’s People’s Coalition; Eugene Puryear, Stop Police Terror Project DC; Neal Sweeney, Vice President, UAW Local 5810; Dr. Henry Clark, Executive Director, West County Toxics Coalition; Jim Lafferty, Executive Director Emeritus, National Lawyers Guild, Los Angeles; Dominic Moulden, ONE DC, Resource Organizer; Yasmina Mrabet, ONE DC, Community Organizer; Akbar Muhammad, Int’l Representative of the Nation of Islam; Gloria La Riva, Party for Socialism and Liberation; Brian Becker, ANSWER Coalition, National Coordinator; Cindy Sheehan, author/activist.