Today, members of Michigan Welfare Rights Organization and others joined forces and met Tavis Smiley and Dr. Cornel West’s “The Poverty Tour” with our point of view.
The session was electric with some 200-300 residents in attendance. A loud and well organized small group came to shout down the speakers with cat-calls of “sell-out and traitor” being slung toward both Tavis Smiley and Prof. West but they each held their own.
Prof. West started his remarks by commenting on the many fundraising and public events he sponsored for President Obama and recanted how he had remarked early on in the campaign that he would not be silent should the President falter.
The anger from some in the audience was about the false rumor that “The Poverty Tour” is being sponsored by the Tea Party or some Republican operatives; and that the intent of the Tour is to denounce Pres. Obama. Many people stood at the microphones to speak. When it was our turn, we all suggested to those loud folk that since we voted the President in we had every right to criticize what we didn’t like and will continue to do so.
Dr. West talked about “too much Geitner,” “too much Larry Summers,” and “too much Ben Bernanke” — all operatives working in Wall Street and for Wall Street.
We all agree and wish that our dear President had selected others to fill those seats. The loud group represents the antithesis to what we are all about. Class warfare was introduced and some folk wanted to turn the fight into ‘do you or don’t you support the President?’ That is not the fight. They were summarily shouted down by those who came to describe both the plight of the poor and the fight of the poor.
We won a political victory because we were able to demonstrate through our comments that the poverty issue was systemic and needed to be solved in a systemic fashion. The level of anger also exists because people are looking for answers to their problems, most immediate and some long term.
Answers were in short order so some people left unfulfilled. The answer of course is that systematic poverty based on the rise in technological production means that a new system must be created where the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few. Folks are almost ready to hear this message as the only conclusion.
MWRO, one of the founding members of THE ASSEMBLY TO END POVERTY, announced the March On Washington set for June 30th, 2012. Both Tavis and Prof. West were very warm and receptive to MWRO so they left on their way to Akron with a belly full of Detroit and the ASSEMBLY!
Image from The Poverty Tour